There are thousands of accidents occurring each year on West Virginia roadways, highways, and intersections. In many accidents, the seconds and minutes following an accident matter and can have an impact on the life and safety of all parties involved. Unfortunately, the help of emergency personnel is not always available as it takes time for law enforcement and others to arrive at the scene of an accident. Instead, good samaritans are often relied on heavily to report an accident to law enforcement and engage in other key necessities before emergency personnel arrive at the scene. The personal injury attorneys at Colombo Law thank all good samaritans for the courage and compassion exhibited under emergency circumstances. In addition, we want good samaritans to understand the potential consequences of their actions.
What is a Good Samaritan?
A good samaritan in the legal context refers to a person who provides aid and assistance to individuals in emergency encounters. Good samaritans usually do so on a voluntary basis as payment would take it out the realm of a good samaritan. Also, a good samaritan is someone who does not have a legal responsibility to act. In some states, it is a requirement to provide aid and assistance if you are involved in an accident or incident, such as a car accident, including the responsibility to report the authorities. The key difference is that a good samaritan is usually an innocent bystander who is in no way connected to the accident, but renders aid out of the impression that it is the right thing to do under the circumstances.
Civil Liability of a Good Samaritan
While many good samaritans want to help, one of the main factors causing hesitation is whether liability can arise if something were to happen to any of the victims involved in the accident. Fortunately, in West Virginia, a good samaritan cannot be held liable if he or she was acting in good faith. This means that any individuals who try to assist in emergency circumstances are shielded from any liability even if their actions unintentionally worsen the condition of the victim. The intent behind this is to encourage individuals to put life first by providing assistance when necessary.
Good Samaritans: Things to Do After an Accident
Good samaritans provide many types of assistance during an accident or incident. The different types of assistance good samaritans have provided include:
- Reporting the accident to law enforcement
- Providing medical assistance such as CPR
- Directing traffic after an accident
- Pulling victims out of /burning cars
- Stopping blood flow from a particular body part
While it is beneficial to assist in any way possible, a good samaritan should properly assess the situation to determine whether it is best to leave a victim as they were found until medical personnel arrives. Sometimes this ensures that any injuries are not further injured due to a change in position.
About Colombo Law
Colombo Law is a full service personal injury law firm located in Morgantown,West Virginia. Our attorneys assist clients who have been injured in an accident or incident in the state of West Virginia.