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What To Do If You’ve Witnessed A Car Accident?

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A witness of a car accident on Long Island speaking with police.

In 2014, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reported that nearly 300,000 auto accidents occurred that year.  Of those crashes, approximately 1,000 people were killed, and more than 160,000 people were injured.  National statistics reveal that an average of ninety-six people die each day in motor vehicle accidents, which amounts to one fatality every fifteen minutes.  What these statistics mean is that car accidents are not all that uncommon, so chances are you will either be involved in one or at least be a witness to one.  However, if you do end up as a witness to a car accident, will you know how to react?  The following is a list of tips you may find helpful, but if you have any questions at all about what you should do, be sure to consult with an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer right away.

Guidelines for Witnesses to Car Accidents

  • If you can safely do so, pull over to a safe location and turn on your emergency flashers.
  • It is also important that you remain calm so that you can assess the situation to determine whether anyone has been injured. Call 911 to report the accident, but be prepared to answer questions and provide as much information as you can.
  • Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to render assistance to an individual, particularly if you can keep the driver calm and collected, but do not move an injured person unless they are in a burning vehicle or in other danger. Be mindful of any hazards such as broken glass or leaking fuel.
  • If you can, help the driver of the wrecked car move the car out of traffic. However, you probably should not drive the vehicle yourself unless directed by law enforcement or emergency personnel.
  • If and when the police arrive at the scene, be sure to cooperate with them and be prepared to provide a statement regarding what you saw. Your statement may be used as future evidence for someone who may file an accident claim, so know that you could be contacted at some point after the accident.
  • Because you may be called upon to act as a legal witness in the future, you might want to take some pictures and/or write down some notes about what you witnessed so that you can more easily remember the details of the accident when asked.

Contact a Long Island Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve witnessed a car accident in New York and you still have questions about your rights and responsibilities under the law, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable New York car accident lawyer as soon as possible.  An experienced lawyer can help guide you and make sure that your legal rights are protected.  Call the lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today at (516) 358-6900 and learn what we can do for you.  We are available 24/7 so don’t hesitate to contact us at any time, day or night.

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