If you are one of the first people at the scene of a car accident, or if you witnessed a car accident occur, you have an ethical obligation to help those involved to the best of your ability. While you may not have a legal responsibility to intervene, any support you give could end up saving somebody’s life. We understand that most car accident witnesses are not able to provide extensive care to those involved, but there are several steps witnesses can take to ensure that car accident victims receive the care they need. If you have been involved in an accident, contact our Chicago car accident attorneys today for a free consultation.
Immediately After a Crash Occurs
In the immediate aftermath of a vehicle accident, you need to make sure that you are safe. You cannot help others if you are in danger yourself. Being the first person at the scene of a crash has risks. There could still be moving parts, and there is always a risk of other vehicles running into the disabled vehicles at the scene. Do not get close to the accident unless you are sure you can be safe doing so.
Call For Help
Immediately dial 911 if you witness a serious vehicle accident. If you believe there are any injuries, significant vehicle damage, or deaths, call the police to report the crash. Never assume that somebody else has already called 911. Report the accident, tell the dispatcher where the accident is located, and let them know how many people you think are involved. Follow the instructions of the 911 dispatcher.
Assist The Injured
If you do enter the scene of the car accident, be alert to any possible dangers. If any drivers or passengers appear to be angry or are fighting, keep your distance. Otherwise, you can begin to assist any victims with their injuries. Only move a vehicle accident victim if necessary for their own safety, such as spills of fluids or possible flammable materials. Moving a car accident injury victim could accidentally exasperate their injuries. At this point, your job is to keep the person calm and stay with them until emergency medical services arrive.
Provide Information as an Eyewitness
After police, fire, and medical personnel arrive at the scene, your job is to step back and let them work. However, you need to remain at the scene. The responding police officers will most likely want to get your statement about what you saw. Eyewitness testimony can help all parties involved understand what happened, determine fault, and resolve the case. Tell the police officer what you saw, but stick to the facts. Do not make any guesses, and do not speak about things you did not see.
Your Statement or Testimony
In some cases, eyewitnesses will be called upon by insurance carriers to give a statement about what they saw. If you are called by the insurance carrier of any party involved, you can choose whether or not you want to participate. If you do give a statement, you need to be truthful, just like you were when you gave your eyewitness statement to police officers at the scene of the crash. Keep in mind that the insurance carrier will likely have this statement already. Additionally, eyewitnesses may be called on to testify in court if a personal injury lawsuit has been filed.