Responsibility of Car Accident Witnesses
If you witness a car accident in New York, you’re not obligated to provide assistance, but doing so could save someone’s life. New York’s Good Samaritan Laws protect anyone that’s acting in good faith when they try to help or provide aid to an accident victim.
But what are your responsibilities? If you have questions about what is expected from you as a motor vehicle accident witness in New York, read on for answers. If you find yourself in need of help following a car accident, the lawyers at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP can help guide you.
Call 911 and Help the Injured
At the scene, once you’re out of immediate danger, call 911 if there are any serious injuries, fatalities, or vehicle damage. Keep in mind that in New York, motor vehicle accidents that only result in property damage under $1,000 don’t have to be reported to the police. In all other cases, calling emergency services is a must, and it may even save lives.
When you call, let the dispatcher know that you’re at the scene of a motor vehicle accident with injuries. If possible, give them your name and location so they can reach out to you later if they need additional information.
Next, check on any victims involved in the crash and help them get medical attention as soon as possible. Don’t move anyone that appears to be seriously injured because it could make their injuries worse. Spinal injuries or bleeding can be worsened if not handled by a professional. Even so, providing support as you’re able can help a car accident victim stay calm.
Identify Yourself as a Witness
You can identify yourself as a witness once law enforcement arrives and provide them with a statement describing what happened. Your statement can be useful later when they’re trying to determine the cause of the crash.
Some witnesses leave the accident scene and never hear from the victims again. In other situations, you may be contacted later by a lawyer. Whether or not you want to serve as a witness is typically a personal decision. If you move forward, you may be asked to give a deposition or testify during the trial.
The only time you’re required by law to offer your services is in response to a summons from the court. If you’re summoned, you’re required to attend court and provide your statement. If you don’t attend, you could face a fine or even jail.
Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney
While it may seem like a small task to provide contact information or jot down notes at the accident scene, your observations could be what makes or breaks someone’s case. Ideally, everyone involved gets what they deserve after a traumatic accident, and our team is here to help car accident witnesses and victims.
Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP understands how difficult the legal process can be for car accident witnesses, but you may play a vital role in helping injured accident victims recover. If you have any questions about your responsibilities, or if you’ve been involved in a car accident, fill out our online form or call 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462).