Posted in Car Accidents on February 13, 2020
Witnessing a car accident can be incredibly scary and is often an upsetting experience for anybody involved. However, due to the frequency of car accidents in the state of Georgia, it is likely that you will witness a car accident at some point. It is important to understand whether or not you have any obligations in the aftermath of witnessing a car accident. Here, we want to discuss some steps you can take that may help others involved in the accident.
The most important thing you need to do is ensure that you are safe in the aftermath of an accident that you witness. Pull your vehicle over at least 100 feet away from the incident in order to ensure you are well away from any potential hazards and turn on your hazard blinkers. This is enough distance so you can survey whether there is any broken glass, fuel leaks, fires, or other hazards present. Do not stop unless it is safe for you to do so.
Go ahead and call 911 after you stop. Do not assume that anybody involved in the incident or any other bystanders have called 911. Be prepared to tell the dispatcher what happened, the location of the incident, and whether or not you think anybody is injured.
If it is safe for you to do so, you can check on others involved in the accident. However, do not move an accident victim unless they are in immediate danger from a fire or explosion hazard. In general, you will be protected under Georgia’s Good Samaritan laws in these situations. These laws were created to encourage medical professionals to help in emergency situations without fear of repercussions from lawsuits if they make a mistake. Good Samaritan laws also protect bystanders who assist in a car accident. However, if you do not have any medical training or are otherwise uncomfortable rendering aid, you should not do so.
You should stay at the scene of the crash until the police arrive and get your statement. The police will investigate what happened and will want to gather as much information as possible. Stick to the facts of what you saw. Do not try to provide information about the incident that you did not directly see or participate in.
Even after you leave the scene, your job may not be over with. You can expect phone calls from the insurance carriers of all parties involved. They will want your statement about what happened in order to determine whether or not they will pay out compensation for the case. Your only responsibility in these instances will be to relay the same information that you gave to the police. In some cases, the car accident you witnessed may result in personal injury lawsuits being filed but one or more party involved. This could result can you being called to give a deposition about what you saw or to testify in court, though this rarely occurs.
In general, bystanders and witnesses to accidents provide valuable assistance simply by calling authorities and rendering aid when it is safe to do so. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help.