It is not often that people have an accident that is life threatening. Most often, one person drives into the back of another, about 1/3 of the time (1). There are other accidents that are not serious like running off the road and loss of control, which account for 23% of all accidents. However, the bad accident is something that is relatively uncommon. Per 100 million cars driven, about one ends in a fatal accident (2).
However, if you are involved in an accident -- or come upon an accident -- that is serious or fatal, there are some steps you need to take to lessen the severity of the accident.
1) Call the Authorities - Before doing anything else, call the authorities and get help on the way immediately. Make sure to give very specific directions to the emergency dispatcher. While you are on the phone with them, tell them how many people are injured and give the best description of the accident possible. This will help the dispatcher determine how many and what kind of emergency vehicles to send to the scene of the accident.
Stay on the line with the dispatcher unless you are needed for something more pressing. If you must get off the phone with the dispatcher, tell them why. Do not simply hang up or they will begin calling you.
2) Assess the Situation - Your first responsibility is to the injured. If they are not critically injured, get them out of the vehicle and move them to a safe area on the side of the road. Before moving anyone, regardless of how well they are moving, always ask them if they have pain in their neck or on their head. This can be an indication of a spinal injury. If they have any pain in the head or neck, leave them where they are and tell them to keep still.
3) Warn Traffic - In order to prevent another accident, it is imperative that you warn traffic that is coming upon the scene from both in front and from behind. Send one person in each direction and tell them to walk at least 100 feet away from the accident. If you have flashlights or bright colored clothing to provide them, make certain to do so.
4) Emergency Service Providers - Do not approach emergency medical providers unless asked to do so. Make certain to maintain eye contact with them in case they need your help or have questions to ask. The same is true for police and state patrol. Do not interfere with the tasks they have at hand, but make sure you are ready to help them in any way possible.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make at the scene of an accident is interfering with EMTs and authorities. If you remain calm and keep eye contact with them, once they assess the situation and decide what needs to be done, they will ask you for whatever help Lastly, make sure you don't call any insurance company before you speak to a low contingency fee car accident lawyer in Philadelphia.