How to Help at the Scene of a Car Crash
Imagine you’re driving to work or the grocery store two cars in front of you suddenly collide. You’ve just witnessed a car accident! You and your vehicle are unharmed and uninvolved, but the two vehicles look seriously damaged. What are you supposed to do next?
Do I Have to Help if I Witness a Crash?
In most states, you are not required by law to stop, unless you were directly involved. Still, if you are able to assist, feel comfortable doing so, and will not be in the way, the victims will likely appreciate the help.
How Can I Protect Myself?
After deciding to help, the first thing you should consider is your own safety. Immediately rushing to the scene might seem heroic, but you could be putting yourself in danger. If possible, you should pull over to a safe spot, away from oncoming traffic. Once you have pulled over, exit your vehicle from a side that is not facing traffic, if you can. When approaching the scene, you should always be aware of any other hazards, such as:
- Spilled oil
- Broken glass
Should I Provide Medical Attention?
One of the first things you should do after witnessing an accident is call 911. Don’t assume that someone else has already called! Additionally, any car accident can cause injuries, like TBIs or deep tissue injuries. Medical attention might be necessary, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
That said, you should not attempt to perform any medical treatment on victims at the scene. If you are not professionally trained, you could actually cause further harm. For example, moving someone with a back injury could result in paralysis, or an improper chest compression could lead to internal damage.
Do I Give a Statement?
Finally, give information to anyone who may need it. The people involved in the crash might ask for your contract information, or a police officer who arrives at the scene might ask for a witness report. Be honest about the details of the accident, avoid assigning fault, and provide up-to-date contact information.
A car accident is never a good situation, and the scene of an accident can be a scary, tense place. But by stopping after witnessing an accident, you are making the aftermath easier for the victims, potentially saving a life, and of course, treating others how you would want to be treated in a moment of need. When you’re done helping out, you will probably feel better knowing you did the right thing—and will have received an important reminder of why you should always drive safely on the roads!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.