Witnessing a car crash can be a harrowing experience, especially if you just avoided the crash yourself. Your first instinct may be to immediately pull over and help out. But should you? If you do, to what extend should you actually help? Are you obligated by law to stop or even provide a statement?
These, and many more, are issues that eyewitnesses to automobile or truck accidents grapple with every day. But, even if you are the first person to see a crash, there is no law in any state that compels you to pull over or even come forward. However, your moral obligation is a whole other thing and your help and testimony afterwards can go a long way for everyone involved.
As an eyewitness, you can change the course of someone’s life forever. Some may fear they could make injuries worse or even be sued if they made a bad situation worse. But with an accident that involves injuries, seconds are sometimes all a person has between a life threatening situation and one that is not. Others are simply apprehensive about getting involved in general or having to deal with the proper authorities afterwards.
Inconveniences aside, if you witness an accident, you may be able to help achieve justice for the person that was wronged. All it takes is a few minutes of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to realize that you would certainly want an eyewitness to come forward or, god forbid, help save your life following an accident.
If you do happen to witness an accident, here are several helpful tips on what you can do:
– Pull over where it is safe. You can’t help anyone if you put yourself in danger as well.
– Put on your hazards and make sure your vehicle is far enough away so that first responders have room to operate.
– Find out if the people involved are ok.
– Call 911. Don’t assume someone else called. Give them the necessary details to dispatch first responders including location, number of people involved and the severity of any potential injuries.
– Don’t move anyone needing medical attention unless they are in imminent danger. If you must move someone, most states have some version of a Good Samaritan Law meaning that a victim can’t hold you liable unless you were grossly negligent or willingly committed some form of misconduct.
– Provide a statement to the proper authorities.
– As an eyewitness, your recollection of how the accident occurred can help a victim receive the justice and compensation they deserve and help investigators uncover exactly what happened.
If you or someone you care about has been injured or involved in a car or truck accident, contact the attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen for a free and confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options at 305-374-2011 or 239-793-3331.