So, you’re the only one around to provide first aid at the site of a road accident since no one else is around. Is it better to wait until emergency services arrive or jump in and assist anybody who has been injured?
Clearly, if you have any first-aid training or a Basic Life Support Course in Ontario, you’ll be the one to deal with the situation. What happens if you hurt the victim?
Is it illegal to help a person who has suffered trauma or possible death? These are just some of the queries you may have if such a situation should arise. There isn’t any legislation mandating that if you’re involved in a roadside accident or witnessing one, you must provide roadside first aid, but this doesn’t imply it’s OK to leave an injured individual who you know is in danger without helping them. In fact, if you do so, you may be held responsible for your inaction.
If you don’t want to give someone first aid treatment, you may faint at the sight of blood? You can still do a lot to assist.
- Do not try to do anything yourself if an emergency. If it is a genuine emergency, dial 999 or ask someone else to handle it for you.
- Make the area safe – Collisions and fire are among the primary dangers when there’s a road accident, but there may also be damaged glass or spilt oil to beware of.
- To alert approaching vehicles, you must switch off your engine and turn on your hazard lights while driving.
- If you do, don’t let anyone in the vicinity light up.
- Monitor the situation to learn more about it.
- In the event of an accident, do not allow the victim to stroll around the scene since they may get hit by other cars.
- Maintain the victim’s body temperature (for example, by keeping them warm or shaded).
- Keep the victim safe from severe weather.
- Comfort the victim. Comfort them firmly and try to avoid leaving them alone.
- Make them as comfortable as possible, unless you have a suspicion that they’ve been involved in an accident.
- If you see any injured people on the road, try to keep them inside your vehicle. If they are in significant danger of additional harm, move them from the car.
- If you are a motorist and your helmet is removed without any compelling reason, you run the danger of being fined.
- Do not offer the victim anything to eat or drink.
You may also, if trained to do so, check the accident for the following:
- Signs of life include reactivity (breathing).
- Breathing difficulties are also common and may be a sign of more serious physical health problems.
- Bleeding wounds that are severe (e.g., arterial).
- Spinal injuries.
If you have access to emergency medical care, follow these steps:
Make sure you are not in any danger.
If someone is unconscious and unresponsive, try to get a response from them by shaking their shoulder gently and inquiring whether they are all right. If they answer, assess for injuries.
If there’s no response, open the casualty’s airway by positioning your fingertips beneath their chin and pushing it forward. If the individual is unconscious and breathing, place them in the recovery position until help arrives.
Check to see whether the victim is breathing normally. You should be able to notice their chest movement, feel the breath on your cheek, or hear them breathe. If there are no signs of breathing, you may begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation – a life-saving medical procedure that’s given to someone who has had a cardiac arrest).
Always have a first-aid kit on hand. It’s not something you’d expect to need, but it may be the difference between life and death. First aid is also an excellent skill to have. You can get first-aid training from a reputable organization like St John Ambulance, St Andrew’s First Aid, the British Red Cross, or any other competent, licensed body.
Am I liable if I injure a casualty?
If your action was viewed as negligent and resulted in an injury that the victim of the accident had not incurred, you could be held responsible for substantial damages. This isn’t just true if you are a non-professional volunteer first-aider who decides to step in; it’s also true if you’re a healthcare provider or a layman.
Furthermore, if you did chest compressions on a person who was not in cardiac arrest and caused damage to the chest wall or underlying organs because of your efforts, you would be causing injuries that would not have occurred otherwise. However, if you performed CPR on someone who was already dead and would almost certainly die without it, your conduct is unlikely to be deemed irresponsible.
There’s also the question of consent since, according to UK law, any type of physical contact without permission might be considered a common assault. Keep this in mind, but if you gave first aid to someone who needed it but unable to give consent, you would have a difficult time getting convicted.
Assume, for example, that you held the hand of a hurt individual without first asking permission. If the first aider used any sort of force against the patient to offer treatment and was found guilty, it would be meaningless to penalize the initial aider with assault.
Aside from that, if the individual you’re dealing with is unconscious or unable to consent – or has previously refused consent but then passed out – you may give treatments only for the purpose of saving his or her life.
Non-life-threatening therapy, such as suturing skin tears, is not allowed (Mental Capacity Act 2005).
Please contact Wafer Phillips Solicitors at the link below if you want to learn more about the law and roadside accidents.