If you witness a car accident in Atlanta, it is important to know precisely what to do in the wake of a crash. Many crash witnesses are unsure when they first hand see vehicles run into an accident. Some people are simply not certain whether they should lend any help or wait for the first responders. Others doubt whether they have any legal obligation to stay on the scene or report the incident.
To make things clearer, here is a look at the laws that apply to you if you witness an accident. Also included are some tips on how best to respond to a crash without putting yourself at physical or legal risk.
Georgia’s Good Samaritan Law
When you see a car accident, you may want to help the victims injured in the crash. Many people have the urge to stop because they fear they may not be able to help. Many other witnesses feel that they may be open to legal action if they try to help and end up failing or exacerbating the situation.
The good news is that Georgia’s laws protect such a person from legal prosecution. Specifically, Georgia Code Section 51-1-29 says that if you respond to an emergency involving injury in good faith and try to help, you are protected from any liability.
So if you witness a crash scene and wish to render help, you may do so without worrying about legal matters. However, it is imperative that you look to your own safety before you do so.
Ensure Your Own Safety
If you see a crash ahead on the road, it is important to pull your vehicle at a good distance from the scene. Road accidents can result in fuel leaks, broken glass, and a number of other hazards. These hazards often exist around the crash scene. Pulling your vehicle at a safe distance ensures that you remain safe. This is the number one condition for you to be able to respond to the accident in a helpful way.
Once you have safely parked your vehicle and turned on the hazard blinkers, it is time to call 911. You may assume that other witnesses or people involved firsthand in the incident have already made the call. However, it is always a good idea to still make the call in case the authorities weren’t notified. On the call, tell the dispatcher what you see and know, the precise location of the crash, and any other details you are asked. If you don’t know something, simply say so.
Help if Possible
As noted above, you are legally protected against any liability should you try to help any injured persons at a crash scene. However, you must do so after taking due precautions. Sometimes, you may feel that an injured person needs urgent attention and can’t wait for the first responders to arrive. In such a case, you may help after ensuring your own safety. It is important to note that you should generally avoid moving an injured person until they are in imminent danger.
When you are on the scene of an accident, be sure to gather the relevant evidence. This may include photos and videos of the crash scene from different angles. You may share this evidence with police later. The photos and videos will help the police piece together exactly what happened and continue their investigations in finding who was at fault. Others such as insurance companies or the parties involved in the crash may also later request you to share these photos and videos.
Provide a Statement
Once the law enforcement officers arrive on the scene of the crash, they may ask you questions regarding the crash. This is where you should share as many details as possible about what you saw. Your input can help the police pen down the facts of the accident accurately.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
If you have suffered a car accident in Atlanta, GA, we can help you. If you wish to seek compensatory damages, you must be able to furnish relevant evidence. This includes statements from the witnesses who were at the scene when the crash happened. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we help you contact the witnesses, request their statements, and persuade them to appear for in-person testimony if needed. We also prepare witnesses so that they know how to face the legal procedure. Call us today to discuss your case with our lawyers.