Witnessing a car accident is a traumatic event. If you are a driver, your first automatic response is to take evasive action to be sure you do not become involved. Once the vehicles have come to a stop, there are some actions you can take to help. Insurance companies, medical care providers, auto accident attorneys and other professionals all have advice about what to do after witnessing a car accident. Here are a few suggestions.

Don’t Put Yourself in Danger

Immediately turn on your hazard lights. Get as far over to the side of the road as you can get and stop a safe distance from the accident. Do not risk being hit by a passing or oncoming car whileambulance at car accident you attempt to help. Adding another casualty to the mix will not be helpful to you or professional rescuers.

Call 911

As quickly as you can, call 911. Stay as calm as possible so you can provide sufficient details to the dispatcher in order for the dispatcher to assess the needs and to send the right help. Be prepared to give a location to the dispatcher. If on the highway, providing the name of the next or last exit will be helpful. If on surface roads, the dispatcher will likely ask for the name of the nearest intersection.

Only Provide Medical Help in a True Emergency

You should leave anyone injured in the position they are in until ambulances or emergency crews arrive to help. Improperly moving an injured person can result in injuring them further. But, if there is danger of an explosion or fire, you need to get the injured person out of the vehicle. If the person is bleeding excessively, you will want to try and stop the bleeding. North Carolina has a Good Samaritan law that protects you from liability if you provide immediate emergency care to someone who is injured. Even if the person later thinks your care compounded the injury, that person cannot sue you for providing emergency intervention even if that intervention turned out to be damaging.

Document Your Witness Statement

As a witness to a car accident, police will take your statement as to what happened. It is important for you to recall, in as much detail as you can, exactly what you observed. If your cell phone has a camera, take photos of each car involved and the roadway where the accident happened. If you can take a video, that is better. A video will capture weather and road conditions. You can even record the statements of other witnesses. Send your information to the police and to the victims.

If you were a witness to an accident involving one of our clients, one of our car accident attorneys at Campbell & Associates will be contacting you for your statement and any supporting documentation you were able to obtain.