Although there were several incidents across Ontario, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you how important it is when you find yourself a witness to an accident on our roadways. One incident that comes to mind is when Hamilton Police reported that a 68 -year-old man was killed in a collision while walking with an 89-year-old woman when they were stuck by a motorcycle this past Saturday.
First and foremost, the wrongful death lawyers at Iacobelli Law Firm offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy. Hamilton Police reported that people who walked right by the accident scene not only did not help the victims but also reportedly took items belonging to the victims and other motorists just drove right by or through the accident scene itself without stopping. These days, especially around the holidays when traffic increases and the more time you spend on the road, the greater chance of being a witness to a motor vehicle accident. Whether you were driving behind a fender-bender or walking by a crash that may have taken place, here’s how you can be a good citizen and help.
Whether you are walking or driving and a motor vehicle accident takes place in front of you, make sure you walk or pull over to a safe area. If you are driving and witness a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle, stop when it is safe to do so. Don’t assume that someone else has called 911. Report the collision yourself and explain that you were a witness. Give your name, contact information, location and any other important facts over the phone. While it’s important to help others, you should not endanger your own life in the process. Only pull over and exit your vehicle when it is safe to do so. Do not stop your vehicle in the middle of the road or you could risk causing another accident. Put on your hazard lights immediately.
If you feel it’s safe to get closer to the scene of the accident to see how you may be able to help, keep in mind that if you see someone hurt you should not attempt to move them as you could make their injuries worse and you may also be held liable if you cause further injury to someone at the scene. When you make it to the scene, if someone is hurt or scared, you can act as a source of comfort until an emergency response team arrives or set up road flares to block off the accident scene. Never touch any personal belongings at the scene of an accident. Every item at the scene is of high importance in a police investigation as they re-construct the accident scene. Every bit of information and evidence is crucial to their investigation and you could be criminally charged with theft. If you are a witness to a Hit-And-Run-Driver, never try to stop or pursue them. He or she could be dangerous. Write down or take a photo of the license plate number if you can and call 911 immediately.
Your Self- Care
You can help the authorities and those involved by giving an account of what you witnessed. Or, in more tense situations, especially if someone was driving inappropriately or recklessly and caused the accident, the victim(s) will benefit from you giving a statement to the police as a witness. Always be mindful of your own safety and try to stay calm. Being a good citizen and helping victims even if you weren’t involved in the collision itself, can be distressing. If you saw a serious or fatal collision, you may still be thinking about the scene days or weeks later and it’s normal to remember your role in the incident. However, if you feel guilt or suffer anxiety to the point where it is affecting your sleeping patterns, you could be suffering from trauma and will need to speak with your family doctor.
In the event of a serious accident, it is understandable that as a witness, you may not know how to help those involved. By remaining calm and providing whatever assistance you can while keeping yourself safe, you may be able to make a difference and potentially save someone’s life. How you act in those pivotal first few minutes after a car accident can have a meaningful impact on both the victims and the emergency response team.
Iacobelli Law Firm realizes how difficult it is to recover from a serious injury and you do not have to face the consequences alone. Our Team at Iacobelli Law Firm strives to make sure that you are set up with the appropriate care that you need while you recover from your injuries. We provide compassionate and competent legal counsel for the injured throughout Ontario and offer a FREE Consultation so please feel free to call us at 1-866-234-6093. We are honored to serve our clients and our community.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada as well as offices in Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death.