Suppose you’re the witness to a St. Louis car accident. You may be wondering what you should do, especially if it’s a hit and run accident, involves an uninsured or underinsured driver, or was a very serious or fatal accident.
As a witness, you’re typically not going to be in any legal trouble during the investigations of a car accident, but you may be asked to give testimony and take other steps. Here’s what you should know if you’re a witness to a car accident in St. Louis.
1. Safety First
Do not stop if it’s dangerous to do so. Pullover to a safe area, providing plenty of space between your car and the damaged vehicle(s), and make sure first responders can access the area. Only leave your vehicle if it’s safe to do so. For example, don’t get out if you’re on a busy highway.
2. Call 911
If you witness an accident, call 911 right away, even if you think the authorities may already have been notified. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and people involved in serious accidents may not think to call the police right away due to how traumatic the situation can be.
3. It’s Generally Best to Wait For The Authorities — Helping On Your Own May Be Dangerous
Missouri does have a “Good Samaritan Law” to protect people who help in emergencies from legal liability if something goes wrong. But it generally only applies to certain first responders and for issues related to drug overdoses — not the general public.
This means there is no specific legal safeguard that will protect you if you render aid and someone is injured and tries to sue you. So be aware of this. Don’t try to help out if you’re unqualified to do so. Generally, it’s better to wait for first responders to arrive.
4. Stick Around Until Help Arrives
If you choose to act as a witness, you should wait around until the police and other authorities arrive. When asked, you may give them a truthful, honest account of what you witnessed. This will likely be filed with the police report, and your eyewitness testimony may be used as part of the insurance proceedings and legal proceedings.
5. Understand That This Is Generally Optional
If you were not involved in the accident, you generally do not have a legal obligation to stop or act as a witness. However, you may choose to do so.
Injured Hurt In a St. Louis Car Accident?
Being a witness to an accident is one thing. However, if you’re involved and are hurt in a car accident, you will benefit from the help of experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve. Our experienced legal team can help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.