Whether you were just another driver on the road or a pedestrian on a nearby sidewalk, here is what you need to do after witnessing an auto accident:
Step 1: Don’t Panic!
An auto accident can be quite traumatic for someone to witness even if you weren’t in the line of danger. However, it is important that you take a deep breath and stay calm. Panic will only hurt your judgement and ability to do the right thing. Breath and stay focused on what you need to do right now.
Step 2: Find A Safe Place!
No matter whether you are another driver or a pedestrian, you need to stay out of the way and ensure that you are somewhere safe. As mentioned before, accidents can lead to panic which can cause you to react erratically and get in the way. Before you do anything else, make sure you are not in the way to allow first responders easy access to the victims and for other drivers to get out as well.
Step 3: Call 911!
Even if it’s just a fender bender, you need call emergency services immediately. Do not go and see the injured parties need help, just assume that they do and call 911. Waiting to check on the victims’ first only means it will take that much longer for help to arrive.
Step 4: Report What You Have Seen!
When you have called 911, you need to calmly tell them as much as you can remember about the accident as possible while it is still fresh in your memory. This 911 call could be used later on to find out the origins of the accidents and help victims receive financial compensation for any medical treatment that might be needed.
Provide the 911 operator with your name, exact location, what happened, and any other details that is relevant to the safety of others such as fires, or any road debris. Stay on the line until you have given the operator all of the necessary information.
Step 5: Be Careful When Assisting Victims!
While your first inclination may be to help, you most likely do not have the proper training to do so. Unless you know what you are doing, you should avoid assisting or treating victims and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Trying to help them yourself only puts their lives in additional danger.
Step 6: Cooperate With The Police!
While you may need to rush somewhere else, it is vital that you stay and talk with police about the accident. Do your best to recall every detail. If there is something you do not know then simply admit to it. Talking with the police can be intimidating, but they highly value your effort to help as best you can. Additionally, do not leave until the police tell you they have everything they need and you’re free to go.
Step 7: Be Prepared!
Depending on the situation, there is a chance that you will be asked to recall the details of an accident by the police, an attorney or the insurance company. So as soon as you can, you should make some notes of what happened to help you remember it later on..