Being in a serious car accident in California is obviously a frightening experience. A violent collision can be so traumatic that even witnessing the crash could be upsetting.
As a witness, it’s natural to be in shock over what you just saw. You may have a lot of questions racing through your mind too. Is it the law in California to stop after seeing an accident? Should I pull over and render aid to the injured?
These thoughts and others will determine what happens right after you’ve watched an accident unfold on a California road.
Your Duties After Witnessing a California Car Accident
To begin with, the State of California has no law that requires you to stop after witnessing a traffic accident. The accident can involve minor property damage, damage to a parked car, or a major injury, but it is your right to continue on.
You also aren’t required to get involved after seeing a hit-and-run accident. However, you should always contact authorities if you see an injured victim, such as a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or cyclist left in harm’s way.
Of course, stopping to assist victims and provide important information to investigators is the compassionate thing to do. Your help can save a life and assist victims in holding an at-fault driver accountable for injuries and medical bills. Remember, you could be in a similar situation and could be relying on a good Samaritan’s kindness to save your life or a family member’s life.
If you decide to stop, try to follow these guidelines for California car accident witnesses:
- Only stop or pull over if it is safe to do so.
- Call 911.
- If it’s safe to get out of your car, check on victims. Never move injured victims unless they are in immediate danger where they are. If you can provide no further care, at least stay with the victim and keep them calm until help arrives.
- If you witnessed a hit-and-run, try to remember a car description and license plate number and jot them down.
- Use your cellphone to get photos of the vehicles involved and license plates in case an at-fault driver decides to flee the scene.
- Don’t get involved in confrontations between drivers.
- Offer your account of what happened to the local police investigator or the California Highway Patrol.
- Offer your contact information to the victims. Be prepared to give testimony in court if a California car accident attorney requests it.
Protection from Lawsuits if you Render Aid After Witnessing a California Accident
California does have a good Samaritan law that protects witnesses and bystanders when they attempt to offer aid to California traffic accident victims. This law prevents good Samaritans from facing lawsuits if they accidentally cause additional harm to an injured victim while trying to help.
The care must have been rendered on the scene of an emergency. The protections cover any emergency medical or non-medical care provided. The good Samaritan must have acted in “good faith” or with good intentions and the aid can’t have been rendered with the hope of compensation.
Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one are seriously injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, speak with a skilled California Car Accident Lawyer. It’s a free consultation providing a no-risk way to determine your best course of action to earn support for your medical bills and your lost time at work.
Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law, works closely with victims and their families to make sure car insurance providers for reckless drivers can’t dodge blame in an accident. Witness testimony is one way a skilled car accident attorney forces insurance adjusters to provide fair injury settlements.
If you decided to hire Mr. Gasparian to represent your case, you aren’t required to provide any upfront money. Maison Law doesn’t get paid unless we win your case for you.