Oftentimes, we feel like we know how to react to something. However, when you witness a commercial truck accident, the event can leave you stunned. Still, as a witness, you play an essential role in someone’s life. When you see someone injured in an 18-wheeler truck accident, it’s critical that you know what to do.
Your statement provides a very specific perspective of the event, often one that proves invaluable to law enforcement and the victims. The police, insurance companies, and victim’s attorneys will want your statement.
What to Do if You Witness a Truck Accident
When you feel the shock that commonly follows witnessing a truck accident, you might not be aware of your role. Moreover, you might not even know how to proceed. First, safely pull over and compose yourself. It is important when checking on victims that you do not panic.
Park your vehicle a safe distance from both the accident and traffic This will ensure that you are not in the way of oncoming traffic or emergency responders. Additionally, it keeps you safe.
Be sure to turn on your hazard lights and maintain distance. Distance is important in particular when you feel the situation may be dangerous. For instance, if a car is on fire, you are better off staying put unless someone is in dire need.
As Houston truck accident attorneys, we want you to understand that you are under NO legal obligation after you witness an accident. Still, it’s important to remember that your actions will have a substantial impact on someone’s life. As a witness, you help us hold the liable accountable. Moreover, you help the victims move on with their lives.
If possible, follow the next few steps.
Call the Police
Once you’ve pulled over, dial 911 and report the accident to emergency services. It’s important that you don’t assume someone else already called the police. Moreover, do not hesitate because you aren’t sure whether the crash was serious. All accidents have the potential to be more severe than they seem.
When you speak with the dispatcher, explain what happened and be ready to provide your location and a description of the vehicles involved in the accident.
Check on the Individuals Involved in the Truck Accident
If the scene is safe to move around, walk over to the vehicles as you speak with the dispatcher. It’s important to see whether anyone appears to be injured. Describe any injuries you see to the dispatcher.
If you are a trained EMT, registered nurse, or physician, you can provide emergency care to truck accident victims. If you are not a trained medical professional or don’t have CPR or First Aid certification, do not provide care to anyone unless they are in imminent danger.
For instance, if a victim is in a smoking vehicle that might catch fire, you can pull that person to safety. Similarly, if you see someone bleeding out, it’s okay to place towels or cloth over the wounds and add pressure. This can help to slow the bleeding.
However, you should avoid moving any victims who are not in imminent danger. This could worsen their injuries. Instead, do whatever you can to make them as comfortable as possible until help arrives.
Be sure to let them know that help is on the way. If they have a personal injury lawyer, you may want to call them.
Avoid Confrontation with any of the Drivers
As a witness, it is important that you try to avoid any confrontations with drivers or any other parties involved in the accident. If you see the drivers arguing after a truck accident, stay back and let the authorities handle the situation. Because 18-wheeler truck accidents are so dangerous, if people are able to argue safely, they are quite lucky.
Still, some drivers are prone to anger, especially after accidents. Keeping your distance helps you avoid anyone who decides to lash out violently.
To help the authorities and any Houston truck accident attorneys, write down license plate numbers and vehicle information. Record this for any parties involved in the accident. If possible, document the scene with your smartphone.
When you record this information, you help victims pursue compensation should an angry driver suddenly speed away from the scene. If a truck driver decides to flee the scene of the accident, provide any information you can to the police. Let the authorities know the license, make, and model. Additionally, any pictures you take can help them identify the driver.
All of this information helps us hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions.
Tell the Police What You Saw
After the emergency responders and law enforcement officials arrive at the scene, their priority is the victim. Let them know that you are a witness and wait until they begin their investigation. When they ask for information, try to clearly explain what you saw happen. As you give your statement, try to stick to the facts.
Some witnesses jump to conclusions or inadvertently assign blame to victims of truck accidents. All you have to do is be honest and objective. Simply state your observations. Here are some of the details the authorities may request.
- Directions the vehicles were moving
- Estimated speed of travel
- Whether you saw anyone run a red light or a stop sign
- Whether you saw anyone texting or talking n the phone
Try to remember that you may also be called to testify in court or at a deposition. Regardless of where you appear, your role as a witness is to share your observations and the facts of what you saw.
Help Us Hold the Liable Accountable
As Houston truck accident attorneys, we understand just how essential a witness can be to a personal injury claim. If you observe an accident, we would ask that you do not drive away or leave the scene behind. While details may seem small to you, those tiny details can have a drastic impact on a victim’s life.
At AP Law Group, we believe in holding the liable accountable for their actions. Whether the accident was caused by a drowsy driver or faulty mechanics, the victims in an accident deserve fair compensation to cover their medical costs and lost wages. Our truck accident lawyers strive to be advocates for them against insurance companies that care more about profit.
With the help of witnesses like you, we help people fight for their future.