Must You Stop If You Saw What Happened? Must You Give a Report to the Police?
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 20,000 motor vehicle accidents every day across the United States. The average person can expect to be involved in up to four accidents during the course of his or her life and be a witness to many more. What are your responsibilities when you observe a crash? Are you required by law to stay at the scene of a Dallas automobile accident? How can you best help the parties to a wreck?
Do You Have to Stay at the Scene of a Car Accident in Dallas?
Texas has no law on the books that requires that you stay at the scene of a traffic accident, unless you were a driver or passenger in one of the vehicles involved. You can, however, be tremendously helpful by remaining present after a crash. You may need to call 911 if participants in the wreck are injured too seriously or have lost their phones. Your testimony can also be critical to ensuring that the responsible parties are held accountable. You may also be able to identify parties to a hit and run accident or prevent an at-fault driver from fleeing the scene.
Just as you’re not required to remain at the scene of the accident, you don’t have to speak to police officers or give any kind of statement to anyone. However, memories fade with time (and can do so very quickly). It’s often best to speak to the police at the scene, as you’ll have a much clearer recollection of what happened.
How Can You Best Help at the Scene of an Accident?
The first thing you’ll want to do is make certain that you are safe. Pull over to the side of the road and exit your vehicle away from traffic. Cautiously enter the area where the accident occurred and determine whether anyone has called 911. If they have not, do it for them.
Talk to the parties to the accident and determine whether anyone is seriously injury. Be particularly careful about helping any of the accident victims unless you are a professionally trained medical caregiver. Help the parties move the vehicles out of the way of traffic, unless doing so puts anyone in further danger or risk of injury.
If there are other witnesses, speak to them and ask them what they saw, so that you can corroborate what you witnessed. Get names and contact information from all witnesses. If possible, provide that information to both drivers before they leave the scene of the accident. Wait until the police arrive, identify yourself and answer any questions they have for you.
Once you have confirmed the condition of all parties to the accident, have contacted 911 and have safely moved vehicles out of the way, get your phone out and take pictures of everything that seems relevant to the accident. If you can find a pencil and paper, take down some notes, documenting as best you can what you remember seeing. Write down license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions.
What You Don’t Want to Do after Witnessing an Accident
It’s okay to tell friends and family members that you witnessed an accident, but refrain from posting information or pictures online, as parties to the accident may use those posts in a lawsuit.
Contact the Proven Car Accident Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we have extensive experience helping people who have suffered any type of injury in a car, truck or motorcycle accident. We will be your advocate throughout the legal process, from the filing of a personal injury lawsuit through the gathering of evidence to trial or settlement. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.