Perhaps it is just human nature to want to help others. In moments of distress, most of us spring to our feet to help someone in need. Unfortunately, although helping another person is a momentous and selfless act, a Good Samaritan can unfortunately be placed in the line of danger – especially when it comes to helping someone who has just gotten into a car accident.
Last Friday, a Good Samaritan was tragically killed when he stepped out of his vehicle to help at the scene of a two-car accident in Santee, California, near State Route 67. Reports indicate the crash occurred around 5:50 a.m. – a time of day when visibility is often compromised.
The Ramona man, 23 years old, was standing near the median on the state highway when he was tragically struck by an oncoming vehicle, officials reported. According to reports, the man was attempting to help an occupant of one of the disabled vehicles when the collision occurred. Upon contact, the man was thrown into oncoming traffic where he was struck by another vehicle. Two other vehicles in the northbound lane became further entangled in the wreck and a total of five vehicles were damaged. At least one person suffered personal injury according to reports.
In light of the tragic accident, the California Highway Patrol issued the following statement:
“First and foremost, if you’re going to get out of your car, it is very dangerous and you need to be aware of oncoming traffic. We have a situation where someone was trying to help out. It’s also very important for citizens to realize there’s danger ahead and not become complacent when you’re driving.”
ROADSIDE SAFETY IN AN EMERGENCY
It seems against human nature to avoid helping another person in need; yet, the reality is that when it comes to traffic, it is NEVER fully safe to get out of your vehicle on San Diego roadways. The truth is that although we feel the desire to help others, sometimes this type of help is best left to professional police officers and firefighters. However, that’s not to say you can’t help – you can! Read on to find out how you can be the Good Samaritan without risking your own safety.
USE HAZARD LIGHTS TO WARN OTHERS
If you’ve witnessed an accident or see a potential danger for oncoming drivers, use your flash hazard lights to warn others.
IF THE ACCIDENT IS IN A RESIDENTIAL AREA, USE DISCRETION
If you witness an accident in a residential area where fast-moving traffic is NOT a concern, use discretion as it may be safe to park your vehicle and assist at the scene of the accident. This is especially true if you see a pedestrian accident. Be sure to stay out of the road, however, at all times, if possible. Use discretion when moving individuals; you should know that most of the time it is best to leave the individual in a stable position until paramedics arrive. Don’t try to move them. Wait until professionals arrive at the scene of the accident.
PULL OVER SAFELY AND THEN CALL 9-11
If you see an emergency situation on the freeway, highway or other area with fast-moving traffic, do not pull over to the site of the car accident and do not get out of your car. Instead, exit the roadway or highway to a safe area (such as an empty parking lot) and call 9-11. Police will be dispatched immediately to help at the scene of the accident while you stay safe.
WHEN CAR ACCIDENTS OCCUR
Unfortunately, accidents happen and fatalities occur even when Good Samaritans offer assistance. If you have been injured in a car accident and suspect it is the fault of another driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Understand your legal rights for FREE. Call us today at 1-858-551-2090.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines