If you are the victim of a road accident
If you are the victim of a traffic accident and you are not injured, you will have to ensure your safety as in the context of a breakdown and therefore warn other motorists. In order, the right things to do are:
- Cut the engine
- Signal your presence: put on your yellow vestand place your warning triangle. The latter must be installed at least 30 m from your car in order to warn other motorists and encourage them to be extremely vigilant.
- Get to safety: get as far awayfrom the road and your vehicle as possible. Position yourself as quickly as possible behind the safety barriers and, if there are none, behind the emergency lane.
- Once safe, call your car insurance.
If your insurance contract includes 24-hour assistance, be aware that the number to contact is on your green insurance card. In this case, your vehicle will be towed and a replacement car will be loaned to you.
If you have taken out a mechanical assistance guarantee, also called “mechanical breakdown guarantee”, 24-hour assistance may be included. If the damaged parts are covered by your contract, the cost of the repair will be covered.
In the event of a collision with another motorist, remember to complete an accident report. This must be sent to your car insurance within 5 days of the incident to be valid.
If you witness a traffic accident
What to do in case of an accident
If the emergency services are already present at the scene of the accident or a sufficient number of people are hard at work, there is no point in coming to swell the flow of onlookers. Pass the scene of the accident at reduced speed and if necessary, encourage oncoming drivers to reduce their speed.
If you are the first or among the first on the scene of an accident, your actions must be guided by three phases:
- Protect the scene of the accident: this is an essential step to prevent it from getting worse with a series pile-up.
Park a hundred metersaway, get your passengers off and take them to safety behind a security barrier.
Have the injured vehicle(s) evacuate their able-bodied or very slightly injured occupants.
Turn off the ignition of wrecked cars to reduce the risk of fire.
- Alert the emergency services: indicate precisely the place of the accident, the number of victims and the apparent seriousness of the injuries. Also indicate the type of vehicle and any additional risks such as pollution or fire risk.
- Rescue: An injured person is always cold, so you have to coverhim and talk to him to limit his stress. Loosen his clothes and inspect his mouth to remove any foreign bodies such as dirt or his dentures, if necessary.
You should also know that not stopping while the accident has taken place before your eyes exposes you to penalties defined by article 223-6 of the Penal Code. You can be sued for failing to assist a person in danger.
What not to do in case of an accident
If the law imposes a duty of assistance to others, this assistance does not require that the witness take unconsidered risks. Everyone must therefore act according to their possibilities and the situation.
In addition, here are some useful rules:
- Never remove a biker’s helmet because of the risk of skull fractures that your action will only aggravate
- Never give water to an injured person, even if he asks for it.
- Never transport a seriously injured person except in cases of imminent danger. You can accentuate his injuries and moreover expose yourself to claims for compensation that your insurer will be entitled to refuse.
- Never smoke near vehicles and ensure that other witnesses also refrain from doing so.
Finally, it is useless to stay on the premises when your presence is no longer essential. Notify the police of your departure after possibly leaving your contact details.
Here is a video showing a reputable lawyer talking about the common mistakes people make after a car accident.