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accident witness

What to Do If You Witness a Car Accident

Witnessing a car accident can be nearly as stressful as experiencing one. Statistically, the more time you spend driving or walking near roads, the more likely it is that you will see a crash occur.

Here’s what to do if an accident occurs before your eyes:

  1. Make safety your first priority.

If you’re driving when you see an accident, pull over in a safe place, pay attention to other traffic near you and your speed. For instance, if you’re on the freeway, take your time and pull over and brake safely.

When you pull over, leave space for emergency vehicles to reach the scene. Put on your car’s hazard lights and use road flares or reflectors to warn oncoming drivers about the accident, if possible.

If you’re walking near a roadway and you see a crash, keep a safe distance, especially if you see signs of smoke, fire, or oil and gas leaks.

  1. Call 911 immediately.

Once you’re stopped at a safe distance from the accident, call 911 or your local emergency number. If you’re driving with passengers in your car, one of your passengers may be able to place the call while you find a safe place to stop.

  1. Help if it’s safe to do so.

Some accident scenes may be unsafe to approach. If the scene appears safe, approach cautiously to see how you can help. Those involved in the crash may need a phone to call for assistance, help setting up road flares to warn oncoming traffic, or other assistance. If you’re trained in first aid or CPR, follow your training in providing help, and remember never to move an injured person. Instead, do what you can to ensure injuries don’t get worse before emergency medical help can arrive.

  1. Stay on the scene until police arrive.

You can help both the crash victims and the police by providing a statement about what you saw, heard, or experienced when the crash happened. You can also be a source of comfort and security for those involved in the crash until the authorities arrive. Practice maintaining your own sense of calm.

  1. Focus on the facts.

If police ask you for a statement, focus on giving the facts: what you saw, heard, or otherwise experienced. Even if you have an opinion on who caused the accident, demonstrate this opinion by telling the officers what happened, rather than offering your judgment. For instance, if you believe the driver of the blue car is at fault for hitting the red car, say: “The red car was just pulling out from the stop sign when the blue car drove straight through the intersection and hit the red car,” rather than “The blue car’s driver messed up.”

If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. At the Folger Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients seek the compensation they need and deserve. We work on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay fees unless we recover for you. Contact us today to learn more.


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