Witnessing an accident can put an individual in a position of having to think fast and making a split-second judgment decision. Many people will not get involved as a matter of personal policy, but there are situations where an individual is legally required to stop and contact officials. Of course, when an individual is involved in the accident they cannot leave the scene, but occupants of the other vehicle, or vehicles, may be in danger and need assistance. According to a Fort Lauderdale car crash attorney, eyewitnesses can make the crucial difference for victims to get proper compensation for their injuries. How does an individual know when and how to respond?
The initial reaction can range from merely calling authorities to assisting an injured or endangered party, such as helping them out of the vehicle. This may be extreme, but it is often necessary. The first concern should be the seriousness of the accident, and assessing the possibility of severe injury. Individuals who are driving vehicles that are involved in an accident must remain at the scene. The first step is to call the 911 authorities and let them give some advice, such as staying at the scene until an ambulance or officer arrives.
Helping Injured Parties
If it is necessary to help an injured passenger and no apparent danger exists, such as a ruptured gas tank, make sure the person is as stable as possible. Protect the head and neck if the passenger cannot be removed without mechanical assistance. Do not move the injured party unless the situation creates absolute necessity. Another concern is multiple injured parties, depending on the number of autos involved. This situation routinely arises in highway accidents during congested traffic, resulting in multiple car pile-ups and severe injuries.
Of course, very serious accidents may require the help of multiple people. Assisting someone who has already arrived on the scene and responded is acceptable also, even when the secondary party did not witness the crash. One person is often not sufficient. Unless the situation is dire, the best course of action is call 911 and wait for authorities and emergency medical professionals who are trained in accident rescue.
Documenting the Accident
Taking pictures with a camera or cell phone can be a good idea in some situations. They can clearly be useful, especially when determining fault in the accident. The pictures are still personal property, but can reveal evidence that may help document the accident. An automobile accident can easily be a crime scene, especially when it involves an intoxicated driver. Impaired drivers who are still mobile often make the bad decision to flee the scene, but a picture of a license plate can be the difference in locating the negligent party after the fact.
The most difficult part of helping an injured victim is not only thinking fast with clarity, but remaining calm in the process. Accidents can cause considerable levels of emotion in all parties, regardless of whether an individual is included or just a witness. The witness report can be a major factor in life and death, as many people are killed on the highways each year. Being a Good Samaritan is more than just being noble and responsible. Many times it a matter of law.
Midnight Walker writes about passenger safety, automobiles and defensive driving. Steinger, Iscoe & Green, a Fort Lauderdale car crash attorney, helps clients that have suffered lost wages, medical bills and property damage due to an accident.