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

So you’re on your way to work and you see someone who is clearly in more of a rush than you. They speed past you, leaving you in the dust, and you mumble something rude under your breath. Moments later, that same car is involved in a sudden accident just a short distance down the road. You’re shocked, but you recall what the driver just did to you 30 seconds ago, so with a grin on your face, you drive by the accident thinking he got what he deserved; little did you know that man was speeding to the hospital in an emergency when someone got in his path. You’ve witnessed the accident; what do you do now?

…and you left the scene?!

Don’t panic; you are not legally obligated to stay at the scene 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. It’s also highly recommended to stay if there weren’t many other people around. The victims may be too injured to dial 9-1-1 and if the only witness (you) leaves, the victims could be in trouble. It’s not expected for one person to change their entire schedule because of an accident they weren’t involved in, but if it happens in the future and you have a minute to spare; your support could be beneficial.

…or maybe you stayed!

So you made a generous decision and stuck around. There are some things you need to know to avoid getting injured yourself if you’re going to stay and help the victims.

  • Continue driving safely until you can find an area to park and exit your vehicle. Don’t cause another accident trying to help victims of the first one.
  • As soon as you’re in a safe area, call 9-1-1 and report the accident.
  • While emergency services are on their way, you can choose to approach the accident scene. Approach with caution—keeping an eye out for distracted drivers—and keep to the sidewalk if available.
  • 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 and usually a poor choice to attempt giving medical attention to these 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; try to figure out what happened; you’re now the primary witness. Ask everyone for a rundown and you should have a nice summary for authorities.

Wrapping Up

Automobile accidents can be just as scary to witness as they are to be a part of. It’s about how the situation is handled afterwards that will determine how it affects the victims in the future. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Clearwater based Dolman Law Group, we strive to ease the pressure placed on victims and offer a completely free consultation and case evaluation. Don’t hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group today to discuss your rights and options.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
727-451-6900

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*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group 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.