But what if you are not involved in the accident? What if you have, unfortunately, a “great view” of the accident and have seen it, in detail, with your own eyes? What do you do?
You’re An Important Witness
If you have had a good view of an accident, you may possess important information that could prove critical to many parties, including the police, the drivers involved, insurance companies that may step in, and possibly even lawyers for a resolution in court. What you just saw, or recorded, if you had an active dashboard camera when the incident occurred, could be vital.
Your first order of business should be ensure your own safety. If you are sufficiently far away from the accident that you safely witnessed it, with no danger to yourself, your passengers, or your automobile, continue your safety status by safely getting yourself off the road.
If no one else has done so, then “call it in,” and dial 911 on your cellular or smartphone if you have one available, and report the accident. Ensure that you give as many details as you can reliably provide, especially with regards to location, and the condition of the car and drivers/passengers that are involved. This is particularly important if medical attention is required, and an ambulance needs to be sent over for first first-aid and transport to the hospital.
You should now remain calm and, if possible assess the situation. See to the people involved, and provided assistance if required. However, unless you are a medical professional, such as a nurse or a doctor, do not attempt medical treatment. Improper medical treatment on the scene can actually render you liable for a lawsuit yourself if your attempt to help results in more harm.
When the police arrive, cooperate with all requests, and make sure you provide contact details. You will likely be asked to make a statement at the scene of the accident. Depending on the nature of the incident, you may be contacted further by insurance investigators or even lawyers. If you did have an active dashboard camera that recorded the incident, you may be asked to allow the video to be copied for the purposes of investigation and, if need be, evidence in a court case.
Remain calm, and cooperate with all the relevant authorities. It’s your civic duty to contribute what you can to resolving these tragic incidents.