A "Good Samaritan" is an individual who tries to help a person who has been injured in an accident. They may not necessarily be a medical professional. Some states have Good Samaritan laws that protect or in some cases, require, others to intervene when they witness an accident. But if that Good Samaritan accidentally injures the person they intended to help, what is their liability?
West Virginia Negligence Laws & Good Samaritan Laws
Legally, you are not required to assist an injured person in an emergency situation. The decision to help is a moral and ethical one. Under the West Virginia Good Samaritan laws, a person, whether medically trained or not, can assist an accident victim in an emergency situation as long as the Good Samaritan is operating under "good faith."
In addition, the Good Samaritan can't receive any money or compensation for his or her acts. Under these circumstances, a Good Samaritan can't be sued under civil law for any injuries that they may cause when trying to help an accident victim.
Being a Good Samaritan
If you know that you are the type of person who is going to try to help another, you can take steps to reduce the possibility of injuring yourself and further injuring the very person who you are trying to help by:
- Taking a certified first aid class and learning proper CPR techniques;
- Keeping a first aid kit in your vehicle;
- Respecting the limits of your skills and not attempting any life-saving measures with which you are unfamiliar;
- Not moving victims who have suffered head, neck or spinal trauma, unless their life is in danger by staying put; and
- Not forcing help on an unwilling person. If the victim is conscious, ask if they would like help. If they refuse, wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive. You may cause more harm than good if you try to treat an unwilling individual.
With the increase in drug overdoses across the state, it is imperative that you take every precaution when assisting those that need medical attention. To learn more about West Virginia negligence laws, visit our article library.
Contacting a Clarksburg Personal Injury Attorney
Unfortunately, car accidents are a regular occurrence on West Virginia roadways such as I-79, I-77, Route 50, Route 33, and I-68. In fact, our state averages over 40,000 car crashes, over 400 deaths, and over 11,000 serious injuries each year. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a West Virginia car accident, order a FREE copy of our consumer guide, The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim then contact a Clarksburg personal injury attorney at The Miley Legal Group for a FREE consultation - 304-326-1800