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Witness of a Car Accident:
7 Things to Do Explained

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Being a witness is important in helping those involved and providing essential information for their case.

Drawing upon my legal expertise of over a decade, I will discuss the responsibilities of a car accident witness, the steps to take if you witness an accident, and why your role is crucial in accident investigations and personal injury claims.

Quick Summary

  • Car accident witnesses must provide observations, check on the parties involved, report the incident, and exchange details with those present.
  • Documenting the scene by taking photographs and notes is essential for determining fault and liability in a car accident case.
  • Witnesses are not liable for car accidents but can assist victims by providing accurate information about what occurred at the incident scene.

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What Is the Car Accident Witness's Responsibility?

A person talking to the police about an accident

The car accident witness's responsibility is to assist those involved by sharing your observations.

This information can be invaluable for car accident attorneys to build a strong case and resolve questions of responsibility and guilt.

As a witness to a car accident, your primary obligations involve:

  • Safeguarding your well-being
  • Alerting 911 about the incident
  • Evaluating the victims' condition and offering help if safe
  • Giving an account to the police when asked

Witness statements can offer essential context and aid in ascertaining liability in an auto accident personal injury claim.

Comprehending the duties of a car accident witness is critical, as your actions could greatly influence the case's outcome.

By being aware of your role, you can help accident victims receive the compensation they deserve and contribute to the fair resolution of disputes.

7 Things to Do if You Witness a Car Accident

Two damaged cars due to an accident

Suppose you become a witness to a car accident or a car crash. In that case, certain crucial steps must be followed to guarantee the safety of the involved parties, including any injured person, and provide medical assistance when needed.

Adhering to these steps not only fulfills your duty as a witness but can also profoundly impact the lives of the accident victims.

1. Check on the Car Accident Parties

Upon witnessing a car accident, your primary focus should be on the welfare of those implicated, including injured victims.

Approach the accident scene cautiously, keeping in mind your safety and any potential hazards, such as broken glass or leaking fluids.

If you can render aid without putting yourself in danger, assess the condition of the parties involved and offer support if needed.

Remember that even if someone appears uninjured, they may be in shock and require medical attention, so wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

2. Report the Car Accident to the Police

A person reporting to the policeAfter verifying the safety of those involved, reporting the car accident to the police is a crucial next step.

When you call 911, provide accurate information about the location of the accident, the vehicles involved, and any injuries or property damage you observed [1].

Even if the accident appears minor, a police report can be essential in determining liability and supporting personal injury and accident lawsuits.

3. Exchange Details With Those Involved

Once you've reported the accident to the police and ensured the involved parties' well-being, exchanging contact details with them becomes a significant task. This will facilitate communication and follow-up after the incident.

By providing your contact information and a statement about what you witnessed, you may be helping those who sustained injuries in the accident prove liability in a personal injury claim.

4. Write Down What You Remember

A person writing down in his car

As a witness, your perceptions and memories of the car accident play a crucial role in establishing the incident's facts and circumstances [2].

To ensure the accuracy and consistency of your witness statement, you must write down your observations as soon as possible.

This could include details such as:

  • The location
  • Time
  • Weather conditions
  • Positions of the vehicles involved
  • Any actions or behaviors of the drivers that you observed

By recording your observations and memories, you can provide a more accurate and detailed account of what happened during the accident.

This information can be invaluable in helping to determine fault and liability in the case, ultimately contributing to a fair resolution for the parties involved.

5. Reporting the Accident to Emergency Services

Upon reporting the accident to emergency services, offering as much detail as possible about the location, injuries, and potential hazards at the scene is vital.

Be as detailed as possible in your description of the accident, including the positions of the vehicles, the presence of any debris or obstructions, and the nature and extent of any injuries you observed.

6. Documenting the Accident Scene

Recording the accident scene constitutes another key step in fulfilling your duties as a car accident witness.

Taking photographs and notes of the scene can help establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, providing valuable evidence for investigators, insurance adjusters, and car accident attorneys.

7. Make An Accurate Witness Statement

A person making a witness statement

Offering an accurate and thorough witness statement plays a crucial role in establishing fault and liability in a car accident case.

Your statement should include:

  • A clear and comprehensive account of what you observed before, during, and after the accident
  • Focusing on the actions and behaviors of the drivers involved
  • The conditions at the scene

"If you were a witness to an accident, you might be "deposed" by either party. That means that they will interview you as a witness. Depositions take place in a conference room or other location, rather than a courthouse."
- Narek Vardanyan, Attorney at McReynolds & Vardanyan LLP

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FAQs

Can A Witness Leave The Scene Of An Accident?

No, a witness can not leave the scene of an accident. By staying at the scene and offering assistance as needed, witnesses can make a significant difference in the lives of the accident victims and contribute to the fair resolution of disputes. Witnesses can provide valuable information to the police in hit-and-run cases, such as the speed of the vehicles involved.

What Does It Mean To Witness An Accident?

Witnessing a car accident means that you were present at the scene of the incident and observed the events that transpired. As a witness, you may be asked to provide a statement to the police or other relevant authorities regarding what you saw.

Get Trusted Advice and Representation From a Car Accident Attorney

If you participate in a car accident case as a witness, consulting a car accident attorney for reliable advice and representation could be advantageous.

An experienced attorney at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can help you navigate the legal process, draft statements, communicate with all parties involved, and protect your interests should the plaintiff attempt to shift blame.

Engaging a car accident law firm with trial experience may enhance the potential settlement in a personal injury claim.

When seeking counsel, contact us for a free consultation and professional guidance regarding car accidents and witness testimony.


References:

  1. https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/safety_and_prevention/crime_prevention/road_safety/crash_reporting_faqs
  2. https://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcementguide/investigation/witness-witness.htm

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