In large cities, the number of commuters increases every day. It is no surprise that the number of accidents is also increasing. It’s unpleasant to think about it, but if you witness a major accident, it is your civic responsibility to take certain actions.
In an effort to continually educate the public regarding traffic accidents, Los Angeles personal injury attorney Michael H. Silvers offers the following advice.
First call 911 and report the accident. Try to pull over to the side of the road if you are using a cell phone or you may risk getting involved in an accident yourself. If you do not have a cell phone, try to find a phone in a nearby house, business, or from someone at the scene of the accident.
Return to the scene of the accident in a way that does not put you in danger. Do not approach a vehicle if it is on fire as there is a risk of explosion. If safe and prudent, warn oncoming vehicles of the accident. Wave your hands, use a flashlight, or use something as a flag and try to direct traffic past the scene. If it is safe for you to do so, park your vehicle before the scene with its hazard and its headlights on. This would also be a good time for you to use of any warning markers or cones that are in your car.
If you are able to approach the scene, try to determine if there are any persons who are injured. Do not attempt to move injured persons or you may risk injuring them further. Make them comfortable if possible such as covering them with a blanket or talking to them.
When the police arrive, give the officers your name and contact information and let them know that you witnessed the accident. Otherwise stay out of the way of emergency personnel when they arrive and away from the scene of the accident. The police might ask you to describe what you saw immediately or they might talk to you at a later time. You might even be called as a witness in court or by an auto accident attorney if legal action ensues.
As soon as you can, write down every detail about the accident that you can recall while it is still fresh in your mind. Your notes should include as many of the following facts as possible: the date and time of the accident; the location of the accident; road conditions; traffic conditions; weather conditions; visibility; approximate speed the vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident; whether anyone appeared to be injured and to what extent; and any other conditions that may have contributed to the accident. Write down the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the accident. This is always important, but primarily so in case one of the drivers leaves the scene. This is the same type of information that insurance companies and automobile collision lawyers might look for.
A flashlight, a notepad and pen, a blanket, and a cell phone in your car can be useful for this and other situations, particularly if you are in an accident yourself. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being injured and in an accident, try and find any witnesses to the incident, the police incident report, get medical treatment and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles who specializes in car accidents, which includes all types of motor vehicle accidents.