Crash! You’ve just witnessed a car accident. Now what? In the seconds and minutes that follow, you might call 911 if you suspect an injury. If the drivers are unable, another witness might call the police to report the accident and check that the drivers are okay.
Ideally, you will do what you can to support anyone who might be seriously injured. It’s essential to consider which role you might play if you witness an accident. It could depend on how close you were or what you saw happen. Thinking about this now will give you a clearer picture of what can be done in those crucial minutes following an accident.
What You Should Do if You Witness a Car Accident
If you witness a car accident, there are several helpful things you can do to help the victim:
- Call 911 if you suspect anyone might be injured.
- Give short and clear answers to the dispatcher. Be ready to give details like where you are, how many cars are involved, and any details about the scene that could help them respond.
- Evaluate the situation before diving in. It’s true that every second counts, but taking five seconds to asses the situation may give you a clearer path to help those who need it most.
- Keep yourself safe and protect those around you. If you see someone that flew out of a car onto the road, get them out of the way of traffic. Or, you could set up cones or road flares (if you have them) to warn other cars that there is an accident. This is especially helpful at night.
- Don’t move seriously injured people unless their life is in immediate danger, for example, if they are in the way of oncoming traffic.
- Give first aid if needed, and give CPR if you are trained to do so. Then, turn care over to the professionals when they arrive giving them details that will help them care for the injured person.
- Lastly, if the experience troubles you, don’t be afraid to seek help yourself. Sometimes witnessing trauma can affect your thoughts, your dreams, and maybe even your relationships.
Have you or someone you know been injured in a car accident? Bart Durham can help you get the maximum compensation.
The Good Samaritan Law in Tennessee
You might be nervous to help in a situation like this. Car accidents are scary even for those who are witnessing the event. You first thought might be to help them, but then maybe you doubt yourself. What if you pull someone out of a car and end up breaking their arm in the process?
In the state of Tennessee, there is a Good Samaritan Law to protect those who, in good faith, try to provide emergency assistance to anyone injured. We were all brought up to help those around us, and this law allows you to do what you can without the threat of a lawsuit. You just need to meet a few conditions
Emergency care provided must be done on a voluntary basis.
This means that the caregiver must not have a legal obligation to provide assistance, nor can he or she be paid for providing such support. Therefore, a doctor on duty who performs CPR at the hospital is not protected under this law. A doctor who stops at the scene of a car accident and provides first aid is protected.
The caregiver must be acting in good faith.
Anyone administering care must intend to provide aid to the person in distress without any motives. Their only goal should be saving the person’s life or preventing the opportunity for further injury. Ideally, the caregiver will operate in such a way that they only perform functions that they know won’t cause additional harm.
The person providing aid must not commit gross negligence.
A deliberate act of gross negligence would mean that the caregiver is operating in such a way that they further harmed the person in need. A good example of gross negligence would be someone trying to perform a tracheotomy at the scene of the accident rather than waiting for an EMT. Trying to go above and beyond your capabilities could put the person injured at risk. Only work within your basic information.
The point is that your intentions have to be pure, and you have to intend to help, not hurt further. If you witness a car crash, we encourage you to do what you can, whether it’s administering first aid if you are trained to do so or staying at the scene to tell the police what you saw.
If you or someone you know has been in an accident, contact Bart Durham today for a free consultation.