What to Do if You Witness a Car Accident in North Carolina
Witnessing a car accident can be a terrifying experience. However, do you know what to do if you see a car accident occur? Are you supposed to call the police and wait at the scene? Here, we want to discuss what steps you need to take if you witness a vehicle accident occur in North Carolina.
1. Keep Yourself Safe
The number one priority after witnessing a vehicle accident is ensuring your safety. If you were not involved in the incident in any way, you are under no obligation to put yourself in danger. If you feel like you need to stop, park your car a safe distance away from the scene and turn on your hazard lights. Do not get out of your car if you think there is any danger.
2. Call 911
Do not assume that somebody else has already called 911 to report the incident to authorities. You should use your phone and call 911 and let the dispatcher know where the incident occurred. Provide as many details as possible, including whether or not you think there are any injuries. The dispatcher will be responsible for ensuring that law enforcement, fire personnel, and EMS officials are on the way.
3. Check for Injuries
There may be victims that need help after a vehicle accident. However, you need to make sure that you are safe and that you can approach any injured person without causing harm to yourself. Do not approach any vehicle if there is a risk of it catching fire or if the vehicle is in an awkward position (on its side, upside down, or near the edge of an embankment). If the scene is unsafe, wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
4. Assess Scene Safety
While you are awaiting emergency first responders, you may be able to take steps to ensure that a scene does not become more hazardous. It is not uncommon for individuals to forget to turn off their vehicles after an accident occurs. If you can, remind all drivers that they should turn their vehicles off if they are able to do so safely and that they should walk to the side of the road and away from the scene of the crash. However, if any person has sustained a serious injury, do not advise them to move, and try and make sure that nobody else moves them either.
5. Give Your Statement to Police
When the police arrive at the scene, you should notify them that you were an eyewitness to the incident. You should answer all of the officer’s questions about the crash and provide them with your name and contact information.
6. Be Ready for Calls
If you have witnessed a vehicle accident and left her name and contact information with the police officer, you may begin to receive phone calls from the insurance carriers of the drivers involved in the incident. As an eyewitness, you may be able to provide valuable information so that individuals can receive compensation for their injuries and property damage. However, do not speculate as to what you “think” happened. You need to relay the facts as you know them. Your statement should not deviate from the one you gave police officers at the scene.
Contact our Raleigh car accident attorneys today for a free consultation.