Charleston auto accident attorneyAs Columbia auto accident attorneys, we deal with the aftermath of auto accidents daily. Often, our cases depend on credible witnesses, but they’re not always available. Sometimes witnesses leave the scene because they don’t know what to do. If you witness an accident with no one else around, follow these tips:

Stay calm.

No matter what you see or hear, you need to remain calm. You may make the difference between life and death for the parties involved, and you need to stay alert and clearheaded.

Call  911, and make your way to the scene.

Your first priority is to the victims, so get to the scene as quickly as possible. If you’re driving, make sure your car is out of the way, and turn on your emergency flashers to help the police find you. Call 911 as you walk over so help is on the way. The 911 operator will likely keep you on the line and help you stay calm and aid the victims until the police and / or ambulance arrive.

If the accident is a hit and run, the at-fault driver may attempt to flee the scene. Read the license plate number and a description of the car to the operator.

If victims are milling around, ask them to sit and wait for help. You may need to help them calm down, so speak with them slowly, with a soothing voice. They may be in shock or frightened.

Assess the scene for possible danger.

Quickly survey the scene for immediate danger to yourself and to the victims. For example, if you witness a car accident and one of the cars is on fire, you may need to clear the area around it. Tell the 911 operator what you see, and he or she will guide you.

Approach the victims carefully.

Talk to the victims as you approach them. Quickly assess their injuries, and alert the operator. He or she will tell you what to do. If you have a non-responsive victim, the operator may ask if you wish to try CPR. South Carolina’s Good Samaritan law absolves you from civil damages if you render emergency care, gratuitously and in good faith, at the scene of an accident.

Try not to disturb any evidence.

It can be difficult to know what is evidence and what isn’t, so just do your best to disturb as little as possible. Certainly, if a car is overturned, you’ll want to look inside to see who is in there, but just be careful to touch and move as few things as you can.

When the police arrive, tell them everything you remember.

You’re a vital link to the case and to the outcome of any charges that might be filed. Tell the police as much as you can, but don’t speculate or assume anything. Stick to the facts, as you know them.

For more information on South Carolina law, visit our Resources page.

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