Are you a Good Samaritan who stops when you see an accident happen? There are certain pros and cons to witnessing a car, truck or motorcycle accident. Let’s take this car accident example and walk through two very different scenarios…
- A car accident happens in front of you as a driver hits a tree on the side of the road. You pull over and get out of your car to assist the person in the badly wrecked car. You help pull the driver out of the car just moments before the vehicle bursts into flames. The driver recovers and praises you for your brave act and courage.
- A car accident happens in front of you as a driver hits a tree on the side of the road. You pull over and get out of your car to assist the person in the badly wrecked car. You help pull the driver out of the car, thinking the car might catch fire or explode. The driver is badly injured, taken to the hospital by paramedics and unfortunately declared paralyzed. The driver then in turn tries to sure you for causing his/her injuries.
While witnessing an accident does not mean that you’ll encounter
one of these two scenarios, it does mean that you should be helpful without
endangering yourself or further endangering the people injured in the
accident. There are also laws protecting the public from being sued like
in scenario two- the Good Samaritan law, but, it does not guarantee that
someone will not try to sue the “Samaritan” who acted.
Some things to remember if you witness a motor vehicle accident-
- Pull your vehicle over to the side of the road keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the accident.
- Call 9-1-1 as soon as possible, ready to provide as much information to the emergency authorities as you can.
- Help anyone involved in the accident. Try not to move an injured person unless they are in a burning car or some other imminent danger. Moving an injured person can often make the injury more severe.
- If possible, take pictures of the accident scene with a camera or camera phone.
- Stay until the police arrive to give a witness statement.
Hit and Run Heroes
Two young men saw a hit-and-run accident take place the summer of 2010 and took action to assist in the driver’s arrest and conviction. Steven Sanchez and Jason Perez, both age 19, witnessed a man crash his car into a motorcycle containing two passengers. As the driver sped away from the scene, Sanchez and Perez followed the car to a dead end where the driver and the car’s passenger hopped out and began to flee on foot. The two young men somehow kept the passenger with them until the police arrived. Sadly, the motorcycle driver was killed in the accident.
The next day, the police arrested the driver of the car who pled guilty to vehicular homicide and is currently serving prison time, according to HotBikeWeb.com . The motorcyclist’s fiancé and passenger was the one who nominated Sanchez and Perez for an award given out honorably by a group of motorcycle accident attorneys called the Law Tigers.
Sanchez and Perez acted instinctually to the hit-and-run accident, acting upon courage and desire for justice. “If I had to do it all over again, I would,” said Perez. “I wasn’t really in fear for my life. I was just thinking…how does someone leave a scene like that?”
The Colorado Law Tigers awarded the two young men with $10,000 checks in recognition of their assist in the conviction of a driver responsible for a hit-and-run motorcycle accident.