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What You Should Do If You Witness an Accident

People in New York City see car accidents all of the time. However, have you ever wondered what you would do if you saw a crash happen? Your eyewitness account of the accident could end up playing an important role for the driver or passengers who suffer injuries. So, you should understand some of the steps you can take.

Here, our experienced car accident lawyers provide answers to some of the questions you may have about being a witness to a car accident:

Do I have a legal responsibility if I witness an accident?

“No” is the short answer. If you witness a car accident, you are just that – a witness. You did not cause the wreck. So, you are not responsible for what happened or what happens after.  While we all hope someone would stop for us, other people simply are not legally required to stop and assist.

Should I stay at the scene if I witness an accident?

Just as you have no obligation to stop, you also have no obligation to stay if you do stop. Your choice to stop and assist is completely voluntary. Still, you may feel that it is the right thing to do. If you do stop, here are some points to remember:

  • Do not just stop anywhere. Find a safe place to pull over that does not block other traffic.
  • Once you pull over, call 911 and report the accident. Don’t assume that someone else has done it already.
  • Check to see if everyone is OK. Be careful approaching vehicles and watch out for “rubberneckers” and distracted drivers.
  • Do not try to render first aid unless you are trained to do so.
  • Ask what happened and be ready to explain what you saw and heard to the police.

Will I have to testify?

Most car accident cases do not go to trial. Still, it is always possible that someone who is badly injured in a car accident may have to pursue justice through the court system. If you provide your contact information to the police, and if you are willing to be a witness, you could be called to testify at a trial. Note: Testifying will not create any liability on your part.

If you receive a subpoena to testify, you will have a legal obligation to show up and give your testimony at the scheduled time and place. You should speak with the injured party’s lawyer to learn more about what you can expect if you testify.

Get Help for Your New York City Car Accident Case

If you are injured in a car accident anywhere in NYC, including The Bronx and Brooklyn, you will need experienced, local representation from attorneys who understand car accidents and what it takes to fight for compensation, including contact eyewitnesses on your behalf.

Don’t trust your case to the insurance company. Instead, contact Zlotolow & Associates, P.C., to schedule your free and confidential consultation and discuss the facts of your case. Never sign anything that the insurance company gives you and never give a statement without first talking to an attorney.