MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. AzCentral reports that after a semi-truck crashed into a Greyhound bus in New Mexico, passing motorists stopped to help bus passengers escape the wreckage. These bystanders are heroic. Their actions helped countless people escape to safety, and their vigilance possibly helped prevent other accidents from occurring. However, when drivers witness accidents on highways, they could unwittingly put themselves in danger by stopping to help. If you witness an accident on Minnesota roads, what can you do to help?
According to Jalopnik, if you witness an accident, the biggest risk is that you will become distracted by the accident and put yourself at risk of another accident. While you may want to pull over to help, it is important to do so in a calm and orderly fashion. Slow down slowly, and put on your hazard lights. If you plan to exit your vehicle to check on victims, do so from a side of your car that isn’t in the path of oncoming fast-moving traffic. Every year, several Good Samaritans are hit and killed by passing vehicles while trying to render aid, so don’t forget to look out for your own safety before crossing a street or running out into the street to help. Check on the victims if you can, but be aware that crashed vehicles could be a fire or explosion risk. Watch for smoke or gas leaks. The very best thing you can do is call 911. Emergency operators can walk you through first aid if you are not trained, and if you are not sure about the fire risk they can help you assess the safety of the situation and call trained fire fighters to the scene.
If it is nighttime, carry a light, or wear clothing with reflective surfaces. Your risk of getting hit at night is much greater.
When dealing with victims, your best bet is not to move them. If victims have suffered spinal cord injury, moving them could result in permanent paralysis or worsened injuries. However, there are circumstances where you may need to move a victim—like if there is the risk of a fire. Here it is helpful to have emergency services on the phone to walk you through the situation. Ideally, if a nurse or doctor is at the scene of the crash, leave the emergency treatment to them. However, there are circumstances where you may be the only one there.
Stay on the scene to speak to police. If you witnessed the accident, you may be asked to give information about what you saw.
The law offers important protections to Good Samaritans who render aid at the scene of a crash. You cannot face prosecution or lawsuits for helping a victim, within reason. However, if you act unreasonably, you could face a lawsuit from victims if they believe your actions worsened their injuries. This is why it is important to get help and exercise common sense.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino salutes the brave witnesses who rendered aid to Greyhound passengers in New Mexico. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Minneapolis, Minnesota, consider reaching out to the personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Martin T. Montilino today.
THE LAW OFFICE OF MARTIN T. MONTILINO, LLC
3109 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: (612) 236-1320