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What to Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

Car Accident Witness – what should you do?

When you are injured in a car accident, you have to take steps to protect yourself and preserve your rights, including contacting a personal injury attorney. But what if you witness an accident? You may be the person most able to ensure authorities get accurate information about the accident. But as a witness, you need to be careful.

  1. Stay Safe: If you see an accident, you need to pull over to a safe location. Don’t approach too closely; you don’t know whether the accident creates a safety hazard: fire, explosion, or even just dislodged parts of the vehicle. Find a spot sufficiently clear of the accident, pull over, and carefully exit your car.
  2. Get Help: If anyone has been injured in the accident, time is of the essence. You should never assume that everyone is okay, or that someone has called the authorities. Call 911 to get a police officer and any needed paramedics to the scene. If someone else has already called, you do no harm by calling as well. And if no one else has been able to call, you just may save someone’s life.
  3. Stand Back: You may be tempted to try to help the victims of an accident. This is a good, humanitarian impulse, but unless you are a trained medical provider, you risk doing more harm than good. Once you contact medical professionals, you should keep yourself safe and wait for qualified help to arrive. By doing so, you protect yourself and those involved.
  4. Make a Statement: When the police arrive, they will start by taking statements from everyone they can who was involved in the accident. But if their statements differ, your impartial statement can help clarify what really happened. Wait for long enough to make your statement, then jot down some notes to make sure you remember. Insurers, lawyers, or police may call on you later to verify what you saw.

Accidents happen every day, in Madison, Wisconsin and across the country. When you stop and follow the right process, you help those involved recover and obtain justice.