Should I Stay at the Scene If I Witnessed a Car Accident?

February 14, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Should I Stay at the Scene If I Witnessed a Car Accident?

So you're driving to work and you see someone who is clearly in a bigger rush than you. They speed past you, leaving you in the dust, and you mumble something rude under your breath. Moments later, that same driver causes an auto accident just a short distance down the road. You're shocked, but you recall what the driver just did to you 30 seconds ago.

You shake your head and drive by the accident thinking he got what he deserved. Little did you know, that man was speeding to the hospital with an emergency when someone got in his path. You've witnessed the accident, but should you stay at the scene if you witnessed a car accident?

As Florida car accident lawyers, we often get questions about what to do after witnessing a car accident. For more information about how to navigate the aftermath of a car accident and protect yourself from a civil liability claim, continue reading below. If you have additional questions concerning Florida car accidents, our auto accident attorneys are available for free consultations.

Can I Get in Trouble for Leaving After Witnessing a Car Accident?

Don't panic. You are not legally obligated to stay at the scene of a car accident if you simply witnessed it. However, it's the right thing to do. The people involved may need support from a witness like you in the future. If there aren't many other people around, we would recommend you consider staying at the scene.

The victims may unable to dial 911 due to their injuries. If the only witness (you) leaves, the victims could be in trouble. That being said, we don't expect you to change your entire schedule because of a car accident you weren't involved in.  However, if it happens in the future and you have a minute to spare, your support could be beneficial.

If you decide to continue driving, you should avoid being an obstacle to any approaching emergency vehicles or creating a rubberneck traffic jam. While it's often tempting to watch first responders' activity at the scene, this can lead to risky distracted driving behavior. Instead, you should focus on the road in front of you to avoid causing a car accident yourself.

What Should I Do After Witnessing a Florida Car Crash?

So, you made a generous decision and remained at the car accident scene. Now, you need to decide what to do next. If you have decided to stay at the scene of the auto accident, follow the guidelines below to avoid getting injured.

  • Continue driving safely until you can find an area to park and exit your vehicle. Don't cause another auto accident trying to help the victims of the first one.
  • As soon as you're in a safe area, call 9-1-1 and report the accident. Provide as much detail as you can to the 911 operator.
  • While emergency services are on their way, you can choose to approach the car accident scene. Approach with caution—keeping an eye out for distracted drivers—and keep to the sidewalk if available. The car accident may have produced dangerous road debris like broken glass, so you should be careful where you step.
  • At the scene, try to immediately find out if everyone's okay. Don't be a hero, though. Unless you're an experienced medical physician, it's risky to attempt to give medical attention to victims. If it's something you know you can handle, there's no problem offering a helping hand, but be careful. You don't want to end up in a civil liability case.
  • If the victims are in shock, attempt to calm them down with words. You can try to figure out what happened, as you are now the primary witness. Ask everyone for a rundown and you should have a nice summary for authorities.

Dolman Law Group Delivers Outstanding Results

Witness statements can be a critical part of a personal injury claim. Statements from witnesses can provide important context and help determine liability. If you find yourself involved in a car accident lawsuit, you may be called upon to provide testimony.

The car accident lawyers of Dolman Law Group can assist you with drafting statements and communicating with all parties involved. In some cases, the plaintiff may try to shift blame to you, even if you were just a witness. Having a skilled car accident injury attorney looking out for your interests can be beneficial.

Dolman Law Group offers the resources of a large personal injury firm, but the personal attention of a smaller operation. We have a long track history of obtaining results for our clients as well as an impressive record of client satisfaction. For more information about the type of service you can expect, we encourage you to read our client testimonials.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Lawsuit

Automobile accidents can be just as scary to witness as they are to be a part of. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

As car accident attorneys, we've handled a variety of auto accident claims. Some claims require our team to dedicate considerable time and effort in negotiations or in the courtroom. If you hire a car accident law firm with our level of trial experience, you are risking your potential settlement. The car accident attorneys of Dolman Law Group have over a decade of experience pursuing maximum compensation for injured clients.

At the Clearwater-based Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we strive to ease the pressure placed on victims. That's why we offer free consultations and case evaluations. Don't hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today to discuss your rights and options. You can reach us at (727) 451-6900 or through our online form.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756

*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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