There are a few things to do if you witness a car accident in Georgia. While the law does not require you to take any immediate action, it can help save a life or protect an accident claim. If you feel compelled to help, it is important to do it in a way that protects both your own safety and the safety of those involved in the crash.
Below is a list of guidelines for what to do after witnessing a motor vehicle crash. If you feel the need to speak with a car accident attorney, Sheryl Burke and the S. Burke Law team are happy to help. We offer a free consultation. Call us today at 404-842-7838.
Note: If You Decide to Assist the Accident Victims, Georgia’s Good Samaritan Law Protects You from Liability
Some people hesitate to lend a hand because they worry about liability. We have all heard horror stories about people who saved someone’s life by performing CPR, only to turn around and face legal action for breaking a rib.
In Georgia, the Good Samaritan Law protects you from such a nightmare scenario. It states that any citizen who, in good faith, intervenes in an emergency situation is protected from liability for any injuries that occur.
Do Not Put Yourself in Danger
If you stop to help, do not make a bad situation worse by putting yourself in danger. It is natural when adrenaline gets flowing to go full steam ahead and try to save the day. But keep a cool head about you and avoid taking any action that could put you in harm's way. If the situation is dangerous, do not attempt to intervene.
Pull Over and Park Your Car Out of the Way
If the crash is severe, you can expect emergency vehicles to materialize on the scene in short order. Make sure you are not impeding their ability to get to the crash and its victims. Pull your vehicle to a safe location and activate your hazard lights.
If you cannot safely pull over to help, consider calling 911 when you are able to pull over or have a passenger call.
As soon as you can do so safely, pull out your phone and call 911. If you are in heavy traffic, or if cars are swerving every which way to avoid the accident scene, keep your eyes on the road and avoid reaching for your phone until you can pull over to a safe location. When you get a dispatcher on the line, calmly explain your location and describe the accident as best you can.
Take as Many Photos and Videos as You Can
Once you have stopped your vehicle in a safe location, try to take photos and videos of the accident scene — but only if it is safe to do so. These can help the police piece together what happened, which makes it easier for them to hold the responsible party accountable.
If You Can Do It Safely, Help Those Involved
The driver and passengers involved in the accident may need help getting out of the car. If you can do it safely, try to assist in extracting them. Deployed airbags can make this task difficult, and if the car is a hybrid or electric vehicle, there is an added danger of fire or shock that you should consider. If you have any doubt about the safety of approaching the vehicle, wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
If someone appears injured, DO NOT move them. You could worsen their injuries. The only time you should move an injured person is if they are in immediate danger (e.g., you smell gas, the vehicle is smoking, etc.)
When the Police Arrive, Give Them a Report
If you witnessed the accident happen, the police will probably want to talk to you and take a statement about what you saw. Even if you came upon the scene shortly after the crash, the police may still have questions. The information you give them offers a lot of value as they write up their report and deal with the aftermath of the crash. Eyewitness testimony can also be very important to an accident case.
Have Questions About a Car Accident in Georgia? S. Burke Law Can Help. Call 404-842-7838 for a Free Case Evaluation.
The S. Burke Law team can help if you were involved in a car accident in Georgia. Our team fights to help accident victims recover the damages they deserve. For a free case evaluation, call our office at 404-842-7838.