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Witnessing an Accident

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Tuesday December 29, 2020.

If you witnessed a car accident in Oklahoma, chances are you do not know what to do next. Witnessing an auto accident can be a stressful experience. The primary thing you need to think about is your own safety. Before rendering aid to the victims, make sure it is safe to do so. Call 9-1-1. It is also vital to understand your legal rights and obligations as a witness. The last thing you want is to be sued by the victim for making their injury worse.

If you witnessed a vehicle crash in Tulsa or other parts of Oklahoma, speak with an experienced car accident attorney at BDIW Law to discuss your particular situation.

Do You Have a Legal Obligation to Stay at the Scene?

Oklahoma law does not require witnesses of car accidents to remain at the scene or do anything. However, if you witness a car crash, your actions could potentially save the victim’s life, not to mention that staying at the scene could help the injured victim to get the compensation they deserve.

Under 47 OK Stat § 47-10-103, car drivers involved in collisions resulting in property damage, injuries, or deaths, are required to stop their vehicle and remain at the scene. Furthermore, they must notify the police of any crashes that lead to bodily injury and death, as provided in 47 OK Stat § 47-10-107.

Oklahoma’s statutes say nothing about a witness’s obligation to stay at the scene and/or help the victims. While you do not have an obligation to stop and render aid, your actions could not only save someone’s life but could also assist in the investigation.

What to do if You Witness a Car Accident in Oklahoma

Take the following steps if you witness an auto accident in Tulsa or elsewhere in Oklahoma:

  • Pull over if it is safe to do so. If you see that someone else was involved in a car accident, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Make sure that your vehicle is not obstructing traffic.
  • Be careful at the scene. The scene of a car accident is not exactly the safest place. There are all kinds of hazards there, including the risk of fire and explosion, traffic hazards, collapsing structures, and many more.
  • Report the accident to the police. Never assume that someone else has already called 9-1-1. If the crash is serious enough, the parties involved may be in too much stress or pain to call 9-1-1.
  • Check on the victims. Talk to the victims and check for injuries. Note: Do not attempt to move injured persons on your own unless the vehicle could burst into flames or explode. You could be held liable for worsening a victim’s injury if you aggravate their injuries. Under Oklahoma’s Good Samaritan law, the immunity from liability is provided to medical professionals and untrained rescuers only if the provided care is related to CPR or controlling bleeding.
  • Talk to the police. When the police arrive at the scene of a crash that you have just witnessed, you should talk to the responding police officer and tell them how the collision occurred.
  • Write down everything that you saw. If you choose to stay at the scene of the accident, you may want to write down what you saw.

If you witnessed an accident, it would be helpful to advise victims to contact a lawyer right away. Since insurance companies tend to undervalue and deny legitimate claims, being represented by a skilled attorney can improve the victim’s chances of seeking the compensation they deserve. Talk to our Tulsa car accident attorneys at BDIW Law if you witnessed or were involved in a motor vehicle crash. Call at 580.765.9660 to discuss your case and protect your rights.