Should you stop to help accident victims?
If you’ve witnessed an accident, your first impulse may be to stop and help any people who’ve been injured. But, should you stop to help car accident victims before the ambulance, paramedics, and police arrive?
Most states have no general law that states that a citizen has a duty to stop and render assistance to victims of a car accident. And, in today’s litigious society, many people worry that if they stop and render aid to accident victims, they could be sued if the help they provided caused accidental harm to the injured parties.
While you’re not legally obligated to stay at the scene of an accident if you were only a witness to it, it’s the right thing to do. The individuals involved in the accident may need witness support from you in the future should any legal issues arise as a result of the accident.
Many states, including California, have “Good Samaritan” Laws on the books which provide limited immunity from prosecution to an individual who comes to the assistance of another person who’s in danger out of concern for their welfare without seeking a reward or compensation for his or her actions.
How can you help?
Stopping to help car accident victims does save lives. If you want to help car accident victims, take the following steps:
- Call 911 to report the accident
- See if anyone has sustained injuries and is need of medical assistance. Let the 911 operator know if there are injuries.
- Avoid moving seriously injured victims. Wait for paramedics to arrive
- Remove accident victims from dangerous situations if possible
- Cooperate with police and other authorities at the scene. If you witnessed the accident, tell them what you saw.
In the U.S., 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents and approximately 2 million drivers in car accidents experience permanent injuries. Due to the fact that accidents are common occurrences, you may end up being a witness and may need to provide aid and assistance to the victims.
Your primary job is to help protect the victims until professional help arrives. Cooperate with police by providing a complete statement about what you witnessed. You may eventually receive requests for information about the accident from insurance adjusters, investigators, or a personal injury lawyer, such as Los Angeles PI attorney, Gregory Yates.
Helping the drivers after the scene is cleared
If you’ve witnessed an accident in which injuries were involved, follow the steps that were listed above and make sure you provide a statement of what you saw. This could be very helpful in determining who was at fault if the accident was due to someone’s negligence. Your statement could be helpful to the plaintiff in proving his or her case in court.
Car accidents are frightening for the victims as well as the bystanders. As a witness, the best way that you can deal with an accident is to remain at the scene and report what you’ve seen.
If you or a loved one are a victim in an accident which resulted in injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact Gregory Yates, serious car accident attorney, to schedule a consultation.