While being a witness does not make it mandatory for you to stop and assist those involved in a car accident, doing so can do as much as save a person’s life, help hold the responsible party accountable, and help build a claim or a case for victims of an accident. Here are the steps you should take if you are a witness to an accident who would like to assist:
- Pull over at a safe distance from the scene of the accident. Before taking any action to aid those involved in a car accident, it is imperative to pull your vehicle over at a safe distance, turn off your ignition and stabilize yourself. Take a deep breath, then do what you have to do to assist those involved in the accident. However, you must put your safety first, avoid confrontations with anyone involved, and only do what you can to assist victims if they need immediate attention.
- Call 911 - this is an imperative step to call officers to the scene of the accident so that they can file an official report. Don't hesitate to call, even if you are unsure if anybody else has already made the call.
- Photograph the crash and make a note of the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved. This is important to provide proof of the accident and the vehicles involved. It’s important to get the license plate numbers of the vehicles in the photo - this is the number one way to track them down.
- Stabilize the vehicles if needed. Check the vehicles for passengers who might be injured and make sure that the engine of the vehicle is placed in park mode and that the ignition is turned off. Doing so decreases the risk of a greater accident occurring in the case that there is a spill that can cause for explosion or fire.
- Offer your assistance to anyone who needs it. If you see that there is someone in critical need of medical assistance while you all wait for medics to arrive, offer what you can, but be sure to take the appropriate steps concerning the injury. You should not try to move somebody who is in critical condition or passed out, as doing so can cause further damages to injuries. What you can do is offer your support and comfort to them while they are awaiting assistance. However, if you see someone bleeding profusely, you can offer what cloth material you can to wrap around the wound and apply pressure to help stop the bleeding.
- Make sure no vehicles involved leave the scene of the accident before exchanging information. It is important that the parties involved exchange insurance and contact information so that they can file accident insurance claims. However, some people might way to flee the scene of an accident before doing that.
- Make a statement and leave your contact information. When police arrive, state what you witnessed in the accident and provide your contact information. This will go on file and can assist any parties involved in filing an accident insurance claim. You might also be called on by an attorney if a lawsuit is filed and might need to testify in court as well.
These are the seven steps you should take in the case that you witness an accident. While it might seem burdensome to take on this responsibility, it is a moral duty to help others and support them in their time of need. Witnesses play a key role in helping victims of injuries from car accidents recover well and get the financial compensation they deserve.