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Three Steps to Take if You Witness a Car Accident

Steve Wagner


  • Whether minor or catastrophic, car accidents often involve some form of physical or emotional trauma to victims but can also be incredibly hard on innocent bystanders who witnessed the wreck.
  • Some of these people feel nervous, confused and scared about how they might be involved after witnessing an accident so they do not stop to help.
  • Since many car accident victims cannot think clearly, witnesses can offer their time and provide their take on the scene to help crash investigators.
  • Accident witnesses can provide just a few simple facts to help others cope with the situation and possibly even support a victim’s needs for medical compensation, auto repairs, and lost wages.

3 Easy Steps to Follow After Witnessing a Car Accident

All across Indiana this year, drivers and passengers in cars, motorcycles, trucks, SUVs, semi-trucks and scooters will witness a car wreck. From simple fender benders to 10 car pile-ups on I-65, regardless of what happens and where the accident takes place, drivers and their passengers have to make the decision to keep driving or to stop and safely help accident victims after calling 911. To avoid a deadly secondary crash, we want to offer these simple tips to encourage road users to stop and help victims get the services they need to recover safely.

  1. Review the Situation and Dial 911

It is important to let the authorities know of the accident as soon as you arrive on scene. Dial 911 and tell the operator you’ve witnessed a car accident and provide the address and any relevant details that will help emergency personnel come fully prepared. Once in a safe area possibly parked, away from the scene, use your mobile device to take any photographs from afar or collect your thoughts on paper about what you witnessed. Be prepared to provide these items to police.

  1. Find a Safe Place to Pull Over and Decide How You Can Help Best

This means pulling over to the shoulder of the road safely, turning on your hazard lights, and ensuring that your vehicle is far enough away from the scene that it will not cause danger to you, your passengers or other traffic. Make sure your vehicle is parked in a spot that will allow emergency personnel to access the area with ease. While being a good Samaritan is important, you don’t want to align yourself with other dangers or accident risks.

  1. Offer Assistance to Those in Need, Including Crash Scene Investigators

When there are many victims and the situation is heightened with fatalities or serious injuries, it is right to use your best judgment. But simply waiting on scene and collecting the story and photos for investigators may feel like the best way to help and that is OK. When you do speak with investigators, provide your contact information to them only. Don’t change the story, and always be honest.

Following the crash, investigators may need your statement for reporting or legal purposes. Being available to answer questions and confirm information will be helpful for everyone involved, especially victims and their families.

Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Indiana

The attorneys at Wagner Reese have more than 50 years of experience in representing people who have been through a difficult injury and accident experience. If you would like legal advice on an accident, our attorneys will review your information after you call us at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation. You can also share additional details with us by submitting our online form.


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