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Victor C. Mitchener, Attorney

Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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Put your safety first before stopping for car accident victims

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Firm News

Every year, North Carolina highways experience countless traffic incidents. It may only be a matter of time before you witness an accident yourself. Assisting a victim is the human thing to do. After all, you would surely appreciate the aid if you were in their place. However, rushing in to help without a thought could put you in harm’s way.

No laws state that you have to stop and provide aid if you did not cause the accident. You might want to help anyway. Before you do, there are a few things you should know.

North Carolina’s Good Samaritan law

What if something goes wrong because of your help? North Carolina’s Good Samaritan law protects those who provide assistance to a car crash victim from facing liability. In other words, the victims cannot sue you for damages unless they can prove wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing.

How can you help?

Sadly, many Good Samaritans end up becoming victims of theft, scams or dangerous accidents while trying to help. Busy roads or nighttime makes pulling over even riskier.

Of course, there are people who genuinely need aid. If you see someone, take a moment to assess the surroundings before exiting your vehicle. Don’t do anything that may endanger you.

If you’re unsure about the situation, park a safe distance away from the scene and call the police. Emergency responders are equipped to redirect traffic from the area and move any injured parties.

Otherwise, you can approach carefully to check if anyone is hurt. It is not advisable to provide first aid yourself as it might worsen their condition. Instead, you may comfort the victim by talking to keep them conscious and reassuring them that help is on the way.

If you’re the sole witness, you can choose to wait until the police arrive and provide your statement. This can help the victim with their claim later on.

Don’t let your guard down

While it is not your responsibility to stop if you did not cause the accident, seeing a person in need can tug at your heartstrings. It may seem cynical, but practicing caution before offering assistance is crucial for you and their safety. If you get into a car accident yourself, a lawyer can guide you through your next steps.