Personal Injury

What to Do If You Witness a Car Accident

It is undoubtedly a frightening experience to witness a car accident. In the midst of dealing with bodily injuries, property damage and oncoming traffic, it can be hard to know where to begin and what needs to be dealt with first.

If you witness a car accident, read on to find out more about your role in the process, and how you can be of assistance to those involved.

Check to see if those involved in the accident are ok

The people involved in the accident may be suffering from injuries or shock, and therefore, may not be equipped to appropriately deal with the situation. If someone has been badly injured, or is unresponsive, call an ambulance as soon as possible.


Report the car accident to the police

The police are legally required to attend major traffic crashes and therefore, must be contacted immediately if:

  • Anybody involved has been trapped, seriously injured or killed
  • There is a need to deal with hazards, such as leaking fluids or damage to power poles
  • There is a need to direct oncoming traffic
  • A driver has failed to stop and/or swap details
  • A driver is believed to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • There is aggressive or abusive behaviour between those involved

When the police arrive, they may question you as to what you have witnessed. However, if you are unable to stay the scene of the accident until the police arrive, then you can later provide details on what you have witnessed at your local police station or via the Police Assistance Line on 131 44

Exchange details with those involved in the car accident

Once everybody involved in the accident is safe, you should provide them with your name and contact details. If you witness a car accident, you play an important role as your statements can help these people in verifying their car accident insurance claims, and accordingly, help them to receive appropriate compensation for their injuries and property damage.

Write down what you remember soon after the car accident

Soon after the car accident has happened, you should endeavour to write down everything you saw and remember about the accident, so that you do not forget later down the track when you are asked about what you have witnessed. One of the first things that those involved in a car accident will do will be to report the accident to their insurance provider and make an insurance claim. The insurance company will then need to investigate who was at fault for the accident and therefore who should liable for compensation. During their investigation process, the insurance company is likely to contact you and ask for a witness statement following the accident.

Make an accurate and truthful witness statement

When speaking to insurance companies, you should refer back to what you have written down about the accident. You should never feel the need to speculate about things you are unsure of, or to lie about what have you witnessed.

If you are in need of a personal injury lawyer, contact Schreuders today.

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