Being involved in an accident of any kind can be traumatic. Victims are often in shock and sometimes disoriented, particularly if it is a bad accident. Even smaller mishaps can leave victims shaken and confused. Witnesses to the incident can be people who are involved or observers. Either way, the information provided is valuable for police to make their report and for establishing cause and responsibility. It is also helpful for any ensuing litigation that may occur. Here are steps to help you in being a responsible citizen when you are a witness to an accident.
First Things First
One of the most important initial steps is to assess the situation. If you are involved in the accident, don’t leave the scene. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident in Florida. Whether or not you are involved, make a safe assessment of the situation. If there are or could be injuries, call 911 and report the circumstances. Try to give as many details as possible so the operator has a clear picture regarding the scope and type of help required.
Don’t make a bad situation worse by putting yourself or others in harm’s way while trying to help. People have been hurt or killed running to be good Samaritans to help another accident victim. Evaluate the scene and make sure that it is relatively safe, no fires or traffic that could cause a problem. Once you have established it is safe to check on victims, do so with care. Unless absolutely necessary, do not move anyone. Wait for medical help to arrive before attempting to move a person unless they are in imminent danger, such as gas is leaking. Moving a person with a spinal injury can cause further damage.
This is crucial, particularly if you are involved in the accident. Florida motorists are required to provide pertinent information to those involved in an accident. Pedestrians involved must share information as well. If you were not involved but witnessed the accident, it will be very helpful for you to provide your information to the parties involved. Pertinent information includes:
- Name, address and contact information (for those involved and observers)
- Driver license number
- License plate numbers of vehicles involved
- Auto insurance information for the drivers involved
Document the accident
This step can be particularly helpful when done by an unbiased observer. When you have no emotional attachment to the parties involved, you will most likely give a clearer account of what actually happened from your standpoint. If you are involved in the accident, your testimony of events is important as well. Whether involved or not, writing down as many details as close to the time of the event as possible is critical. More memory of the particulars is lost as each day goes by. Writing down your recollection of the accident is the best way to preserve those details.
Even small accidents can be traumatic. People who have had a long driving history and a clean record can be shaken to the core when involved in an accident. It is times like these when it helps to have attorneys who know the community and care about the people living there. The lawyers at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. are active in the Port Charlotte community and have a vested interest in helping community members. As part of the local community, each of our lawyers is committed to providing our clients with excellent personalized attention. Contact us when you need legal recourse. We are the lawyers who care.