Witnessing a motorcycle accident is a traumatizing experience. As an eyewitness, it’s vital to stay calm, contact emergency services, and collect important information to help the injured parties. Taking the right actions is essential for helping those involved in the accident and ensuring your safety.
Since New York state is home to the 7th highest number of motorcycles in the U.S., knowing what to do if you witness a crash is crucial. If a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our team of experienced Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyers to pursue compensation for their injuries.
1. Ensure You’re in a Safe Position
If you witness a crash first-hand, you may be tempted to pull over and run to the aid of the victims. However, this can endanger your safety and cause a second-hand accident.
To minimize the risk of a secondary collision, stop your car in a safe location, around 100 feet from the crash site. Park it as far over on the right-hand shoulder as possible. Turn on your hazard lights and check your mirrors before exiting your vehicle. Use a flashlight and wear a high visibility reflective vest if you approach the crash site and victim at night.
2. Call 911
Before approaching the scene, call 911 to alert the emergency services. Don’t assume someone else has already called. Even if the accident is minor and the rider appears unharmed, you should alert the authorities. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries, don’t manifest symptoms for hours or days. The best thing you can do for a motorcycle accident victim is to call for professional help as soon as possible.
Provide the emergency operator with clear and concise information regarding the location of the incident, the number of those involved, and any notable injuries. Your first-hand witness statement can help in future insurance or legal cases.
3. Check on Those Involved in the Accident
Once you’ve alerted emergency services and safely exited your vehicle, you may approach the accident victims to check on their safety. Do not move the rider under any circumstances unless they are in immediate danger. For example, if their motorcycle is on fire or they’re lying in oncoming traffic, you may need to remove them to a safe area.
You should never remove an injured rider’s helmet, even if they are uncomfortable. If the victim has a spinal injury, removing the helmet could aggravate it and cause further harm.
4. Gather Important Details and Evidence
One of the most important things you can do while waiting for the emergency service is to gather important information regarding the accident. Injured parties may lose consciousness before an ambulance arrives. By collecting details about the crash on their behalf, you can help them if they pursue a personal injury case following the incident. Try to record the following information:
- The name and contact information of all involved parties and witnesses
- Photos and videos of the scene
- Weather conditions
- Aggravating factors like speeding, aggressive driving, or excessive swerving on the part of a negligent driver
- The police report number and contact information for the responding police department
Photos and videos of the scene can be beneficial to the injured party’s legal team. The attorneys at Catalano Law can use this evidence to determine liability in a future settlement or insurance case. Police can analyze the footage, making it easier to determine what happened.
5. Provide a Witness Statement
Witness statements are essential for police to understand all relevant facts of the accident. When the police arrive on the scene, give them a witness statement as soon as possible. The quicker you explain what you witnessed, the more details they’ll have about the accident. With the accident details fresh in your mind, be honest, accurate, and precise with the information you provide.
If the police don’t question you at the scene, record your witness statement immediately after the accident. You can do this by writing down what you say or taking a video of your account. This will preserve your account so that if you’re asked day or weeks after the accident, you can provide accurate details.
6. Seek Quality Representation from Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Witnessing a motorcycle crash can be stressful, but your actions can directly impact the health and welfare of the victim. If your loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Contact Catalano Law for a free consultation with one of our compassionate motorcycle accident attorneys. Our lawyers complete independent investigations, interview witnesses, and build strong cases, helping our clients receive maximum damages. With Catalano Law, our clients don’t pay unless we win a settlement or obtain damages in court.