Should I Stay at the Scene If I Witnessed a Car Accident in Dallas?
Anderson Injury Lawyers | September 27, 2022 | Car Accidents
Picture this: You’re driving to work along I-35 when you see someone cut across multiple lanes of highway traffic. Sure enough, that erratic driver collides with another car right in front of you. You’re scared, but you manage to avoid being part of the accident, and you feel relieved that you escaped another Dallas morning commute unscathed.
When you get to work, you tell your coworkers about what you saw, and someone mentions that you should have stuck around to talk to the police.
Is this true?
Do You Need to Stay at a Dallas Accident Scene If You Weren’t Involved?
According to Texas state law, you aren’t required to remain at the scene of a crash you witnessed if you weren’t one of the drivers or a passenger.
However, if at all possible, you should, especially if the accident is serious. Victims in a crash may rely on the testimony of witnesses who saw what happened, and if someone was driving recklessly, speeding, or under the influence, they should be held accountable.
In many crashes, the victims lose access to their phones or are hurt too badly to call 911. It’s not your obligation to stay at the scene, but any assistance you can render, even just calling 911, helps.
How Accident Witnesses Can Best Help Victims
If you’ve made the considerate decision to stick around and help after witnessing a car collision, there are a few things to keep in mind that protect you and the victims of the collision.
Always make sure that you’re safe so that the accident doesn’t claim any more victims. Find somewhere nearby to park safely, then exit your vehicle on the side away from traffic, especially if you’re on one of the Metroplex’s many interstates.
Make sure that your car is in an appropriate place or fully on the shoulder to prevent it from blocking the travel of other cars.
Then, follow these steps:
- Call 911 to report the accident; don’t assume someone else did
- Approach the accident scene with caution and keep an eye out for rubbernecking drivers who could hit you
- Talk to the victims and see who seems okay and who is badly hurt.
- Do not remove anyone from a car unless it’s on fire
- Avoid giving medical care to anyone unless you’re a medical professional
- Talk to the witnesses to learn what they remember happening and to help them remain calm
- Take photos of the scene, and jot down important information like car descriptions and license plates
The police accident report is one of the main components in any accident claim for damages that the victims of the crash may file. As a witness to the collision, you may be asked a lot of questions by the police officer, and your testimony may be used if the case goes to trial.
After the collision, avoid posting about it online or on social media, as one or both parties may use your posts in their case. Follow the instructions of the responding officer about whom to talk to and when.
Wrapping Up Your Duties as a Car Accident Witness in Dallas
Witnessing a car accident, especially a severe one, can be almost as scary as being involved in one. You may feel shaken up afterward or experience your own emotional and mental trauma. If you’ve been involved in a car crash yourself, an experienced car accident lawyer can protect your legal rights.