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Steps to Take if You Witness a Car Accident  - Jones Law Group

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Steps to Take if You Witness a Car Accident 

Car accidents are common on our roads, and they can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Witnessing a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and it’s essential to know what steps to take to help those involved. Here’s some information on the steps to take if you witness a car accident.

Hopefully, you’ll never be involved in a car wreck yourself. But if you are, the skilled attorneys with the Jones Law Group will fight to help you obtain the maximum compensation you have coming. You can call us at (727) 571-1333 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.

Find Somewhere Safe to Park or Pull Over

The first step to take when you witness a car accident is to find somewhere safe to park or pull over. You want to make sure that you aren’t obstructing traffic and are out of harm’s way. Once you’ve found a safe spot, turn on your hazard lights to signal to other drivers that you aren’t moving.

While you want to do the right thing, you also want to prioritize your safety. Taking a few simple steps will help ensure you won’t suffer any injury.

Call 911 and Make Sure Everyone is Okay

The next step is to call 911 and report the accident. Provide the operator with as much information as possible, such as the location of the accident, the number of cars involved, and whether there are any injuries. If someone is injured, ask if they need an ambulance and provide the operator with their location.

After calling 911:

  • Make sure that everyone involved in the accident is okay.
  • If someone is injured, don’t try to move them unless it’s necessary to prevent further harm.
  • Wait for emergency services to arrive, and they’ll take care of the injured.

Try to give the 911 dispatcher as much information as possible, such as the number of vehicles involved in the accident and how many people have suffered injuries. The more information you provide, the better job the dispatcher can do of sending enough ambulances to care for everyone who is hurt.

Stay at the Scene of the Accident

Staying at the accident scene is essential until the emergency services personnel arrive. Your presence may be required to assist the injured or to provide a witness statement to the police. You should at least stay at the scene until you’re done speaking with the officer.

If You’re Willing to Make a Statement, Give Out Your Contact Information

If you’re willing to make a statement to the police, provide your contact information to the parties involved in the accident. Your statement may be helpful in determining fault and may be required for insurance purposes. However, don’t feel obligated to provide a statement if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. You won’t be breaking the law if you refuse to talk. But if you do, you could help someone hurt in the accident and see that justice prevails.

Stick Around to Speak to the Police

When the police arrive at the scene, please provide them with any information you have regarding the accident. Be truthful and honest in your statement, and avoid making assumptions or guesses. Just provide the facts, not your opinions, of how you think the accident occurred. If those opinions are wrong, you might damage an injury victim’s case by mistake. Again, stay at the scene until the police have completed their investigation and have cleared you to leave.

Keep a Record of Your Witness Statement

Please try to remember to keep a record of your statement, either written or recorded. This record will serve as a reference if you’re required to testify in court or if your statement is needed for insurance purposes. Some car accident cases can take years just to get to trial, and keeping detailed records will ensure you can still provide critical information should the need arise.

Will I Get in Trouble if I Leave After I Witness an Accident?

No, the police won’t arrest you if you leave immediately after a car wreck occurs. But remaining at the scene is the right thing to do, no matter how difficult it may be. Those involved in the accident could very well need your testimony, and giving your account of what happened will be especially essential if no one else saw the wreck take place.

Another reason you should stay is that lives could depend on it. People might be hurt so badly that they can’t call 911. Those people could be in severe trouble if you choose to leave. It might be asking a lot to take time out of your day to provide a statement regarding an accident that had nothing to do with you. But if you can stay at the scene, you could be a significant help when people need it the most.

How Your Witness Statement Will Help a Car Accident Victim

Your witness statement can be crucial in determining fault in a car accident. If there are conflicting reports of what happened, attorneys may use your statement to establish the sequence of events. Your statement can also be used as evidence in a court of law if the case goes to court. Additionally, your statement may be used for insurance purposes to determine liability and the amount of compensation due to the victim.

You can expect attorneys to contact you soon for more information about what you saw. Again, please stick to the facts of the accident without giving your opinion regarding why the accident took place. Your words are going to carry a lot of weight and could go a very long way toward deciding the outcome of the case. Try always to keep that in mind when speaking to a lawyer.

Ready to Fight for Your Rights

The attorneys with the Jones Law Group have a long track record of helping clients injured by the negligence of others get justice. If you ever need us, you can get in touch by using our online contact form or by calling (727) 571-1333.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio