Do you have to stop when you see an accident?
The answer is no, you are not legally obligated to stop if you witness a car accident. If you were involved in the accident in some way, however, then you are required by law to stop at the scene of the collision. Although you are not legally obligated to stop when you see that an auto accident has occurred, if you elect to do so, you may actually be helping the individuals who were involved in the event they sustained some serious injuries.
Why might you consider stopping at the scene of an auto accident in West Covina, California?
- To render aid to anyone who has become injured as a result of the accident. Our accident lawyers in West Covina, CA advise you to be cognizant of your surroundings and first check to ensure you aren’t placing yourself in harm’s way first. If you feel the accident victim is in a dangerous situation, try and help them. Some other things you can do when stopping at the scene of an auto accident that you witnessed includes:
- Call 911 and report the accident. If there are injuries be sure to inform the dispatcher of these so they can send out emergency medical attention.
- If a victim is seriously injured you want to try and avoid moving them as this could worsen their injuries.
- Provide police with any information you might have. They may ask for a witness statement and this could definitely help clarify how the accident occurred and what the victims were going through after the accident.
Are there any laws that protect good Samaritans who are simply trying to help a car accident victim?
Yes, there are laws in the state of California that can protect you if you decide, out of the goodness of your heart, to help individuals who have been involved in an accident. Some individuals refrain from helping victims as they fear that if they attempt to render aid, they might be at risk of being sued for doing so if something goes wrong. However, because of the Health and Safety Code 1799.102, “No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency medical or nonmedical care or assistance at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for civil damages resulting from any act or omission other than an act or omission constituting gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.”
In fact, the California Legislature encourages individuals to “volunteer, without compensation, to assist others in need during an emergency, while ensuring that those volunteers who provide care or assistance act responsibly.”
While some accidents are mere fender benders, others are much more serious and leave victims struggling to stay alive. If no one stops to help these individuals and they aren’t in any position to call 911, they risk having their condition worsen or worse-they could die.
While it is important that you don’t put yourself in a compromising situation, you do have the right to help a car accident victim or keep going given you had no involvement in it.
If you were recently involved in an auto accident and would like to consult with a local accident attorney in West Covina, CA for free, we can connect you with a professional now.