When you are out on the road minding your own business, the last thing that you expect is to see an auto accident of any kind. However, there is always the chance that that is exactly what will happen. There are around 10 million car accidents every year, and most people will be in one every 18 years or so. As such, your chances of witnessing an accident of some sort are also fairly high. If you have never witnessed a car accident before, you may be wondering what you should do in case you do see one at some point in your daily travels. Get to know some of the steps you should take when you have witnessed an auto accident. Then, you can be sure you handle everything as well as possible.
The first thing you should do when you have witnessed an auto accident, no matter how bad it seems, is to call 911. Alerting the authorities will help to get any injuries addressed more quickly and, of course, get the police to the scene to help deal with the accident as quickly as possible. While you may assume that someone involved in the accident will call 911, this is not always the case. They may be too shell-shocked to think to contact the police or might be injured badly enough that they cannot do so. Because of this, it is important to make sure that a call is put in immediately.
Check to See If Everyone Is Okay
The next step, assuming it is safe to exit your vehicle and approach the accident scene, is to check on the well-being of everyone involved in the accident. If you are CPR- or first aid-certified, you can provide emergency assistance to anyone with an injury requiring immediate assistance. Talk to all of the people in the vehicles and try to do what you can to ensure their continued safety until help arrives.
Stick around to Give a Statement
Another step that you should take when you are a witness of an auto accident is to stick around until you are able to give a police statement. Many people who see accidents assume because they were not involved that they are not obligated to stay or have anything to do with the investigation. However, witnesses are very important to the process of dealing with an accident and discerning what has happened.
If you see an accident, even if you have checked to see if everyone is okay and everything seems (relatively) fine, you should stay at the scene. What you saw can help police officers determine who was at fault for the accident, understand exactly how events unfolded, and otherwise investigate the situation.
Be Prepared to Speak to Vehicular Accident Attorneys for Involved Parties
Because you were a witness to the accident, you will likely be contacted by the attorneys of the involved parties in the weeks following the accident. If there is a lawsuit or dispute about the accident of any kind, your eyewitness testimony could help clear those issues up. So, be prepared to be contacted by these auto accident attorneys and possibly asked to testify in court as well.
Now that you know what you should do if you witness an auto accident, you can be better prepared if you are ever involved in such a situation.