Witnessing an accident can be frightening – you may feel shocked and not be able to react right away. Still, there are certain things that witnesses can do that can help those involved in the accident. Moreover, there are things that you should never do in the face of an accident.
What You Should Do
First, it is important to know that laws do not require you to help when you witness an accident. You do have the option to leave the scene, but most people feel it is the right thing to do to stay and help. There are a few ways that witnesses can help those in the accident.
- Make sure that you are in a safe place. Observe your surroundings, and do not put yourself in unnecessary danger.
- Dial 911. The people in the accident may not be able to call for help, so calling for emergency personnel is recommended.
- Offer support to the victims. Let them use your cell phone to call relatives or insurance companies if theirs is lost within the accident scene. Be kind to the victims.
- Be cautious. Accidents are tense situations, and emotions can get out of hand. Remember to keep yourself safe.
- Cooperate with the police. When they arrive, give thorough statements in order to help them understand what happened. Make sure to stay on the scene until the police have gotten your full statement.
- Use your phone to take pictures of the scene and the people involved. These pictures will help insurance companies and police if there is an investigation.
See what to do if you witness an accident here:
What You Should Not Do
There are plenty of ways to help those involved in accidents, but there are also some things that you should not do in order to protect yourself and the victims.
- Do not rush into the scene of an accident. Rushing into the scene can cause injury or harm to you.
- Do not offer medical assistance. While it may be tempting, you should refrain from giving medical help. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
- Do not be scared of helping. Some people are wary of helping in the case of an accident because they are worried about being liable for damages or injuries in the accident, but most states have Good Samaritan laws in place that protect people that help.
Leaving the Scene
When most people witness an accident, they feel a certain level of responsibility to make sure that everyone is okay. These tips help to protect the witnesses by letting them know what to do and what to avoid doing at the scene of an accident.