September 15, 2018
If you are witness to a car accident, the first step is ensuring that your own safety is put first. If you are in a car, pull your vehicle to the side of the road (or in a shoulder if one is present), at least 100 feet away from the car accident scene with your hazard lights turned on. By keeping yourself and your car at a safe distance from the accident, you will limit your chances of coming into contact with broken glass, possible flames, leaking fuel, and other car debris that was a result of the accident. Additionally, emergency vehicles will need room to pull up to the scene of accident, and by keeping a safe distance you allow ample room for them to arrive.
Should I contact the police?
If you witness a car accident, you should contact the proper authorities once you have pulled off the road safely. Never assume someone else has contacted 911. Once you reach a dispatcher, be prepared with the following information regarding the accident:
- You are a witness to this accident
- You and your vehicle are both safe from the accident
- The location the accident happened
- If you can see that anyone sustained injuries from the accident
- How many vehicles you see involved in the accident
Should I get out and help those involved in the car accident?
Although it can depend on the state you are in where the accident took place, you are not typically required to get out of your car to help those who were involved in the accident. However, some states have what is known as a Good Samaritan Act, where the person who chooses to aid those who are victims of a car accident do so in good faith, to either care for, or treat those, in an emergency situation. The person cannot be held responsible for what happens to those that he or she helps, as long as they were acting under what is considered to be a reasonable form of helping others. However, if you increase the risk of injury, death, or make injuries worse, the Good Samaritan Act is not applicable.
Should I submit a statement?
When the police arrive at the scene, expect to make a statement. The police must gather as much information as they can to piece together the accident, and, as an impartial witness, you can provide key information in your testimony. When providing a statement, take care to:
- Take as much time as you need to recall what happened
- Be clear and give as much detail as you can
- Be prepared and willing to provide contact information
- Do not assume what either driver was doing if you did not witness it
It is likely you will receive a follow-up call from the police, but it is also possible you will receive a phone call from insurance companies or attorneys seeking further clarification or statements from the accident. In these situations, it is always best to be honest about what happened. By keeping these steps in mind, you can bring clarification to an auto accident scene and help authorities build an accurate story. If you have witnessed a car accident or have further questions on what steps to take, contact a car accident lawyer Chicago, IL trusts from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian today.