Rubbernecking can be a big problem when traffic accidents occur, but if you're one of the few who actually got a good look at the actual event in progress, your help and testimony could be critical. If you see a car wreck in progress, be extra careful not to be pulled into a multi-car pileup, slow down traffic, or put yourself at risk trying to help. Here are four steps you should take when you witness an accident.
1. Stop somewhere safe
If you are on a high-speed road, be sure to turn on your hazard lights as you slow down and look for a safe place to pull off the road. Use a nearby exit if one is available, being sure to leave plenty of space (ideally over 100 feet) between you and the wreck. Make sure you park in a location that puts you well out of the way of traffic; an accident scene can distract other drivers, so this is an especially bad place to open the door into a traffic lane.
2. Call 911
Even if you end up being the second or third person who calls in the accident, it's better to be safe than sorry. Don't be a victim of the someone-else-will-do-it mentality. Let the operator know where you are and what the situation is and don't be embarrassed if someone else has already called it in. If you can identify how many people are hurt without putting yourself in danger, give this information to the operator.
3. Help only if you can do so safely
Remember, emergency professionals are on the way. If you injure yourself trying to help, you'll be making more work for them. You also have to be mindful of the people involved in the wreck; if they're injured and non-mobile, you have to assume that it's not safe to move them. In this case, the only good reason to move them is if they're in more immediate danger where they are (for example, if the vehicle is on fire).
4. Wait for emergency personnel
When the police arrive, you can give them a statement. Your testimony may be vital if a court case ensues. In addition, taking some photos of the damage to the vehicles may be of help either in a court case or in an insurance claim.
These four steps will help you calmly react to a car accident in a way that enables you to potentially assist without putting yourself or other people in danger. Be sure to read up on the laws for good samaritans in your state so you know what you're getting into if you do something that you could be liable for (such as pulling someone from a burning car).
For a car accident lawyer, contact a law firm such as Scherline And Associates.
Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.