Lawyers in Louisville, KY know 127,524 car accidents were reported in the state of Kentucky in 2011, according to the Kentucky Traffic Crash Facts. With so many accidents happening every day, there’s no question that thousands of people have witnessed auto accidents, and yet we give little thought about what we would do under such circumstances. crash-739118-m

Recently, in one instance where observers witnessed a car crash, the passers-by got out of their vehicles to help the motorists involved in the wreck.  Unfortunately, WDRB reports that the Good Samaritans were killed within seconds by an oncoming semi-truck.  While the driver of the semi-truck may be held responsible if the truck driver was negligent in a way that caused the Good Samaritans to die, the ability of surviving family members to recover compensation for losses is likely little comfort.

What to Do After Witnessing an Auto Accident

The Good Samaritans were traveling  I-64 Westbound at around 11:40 a.m. when they witnessed the crash. The Good Samaritans reportedly pulled over immediately onto the shoulder of the road near the fast lane. The drivers got out to try to provide aid but were struck and killed.

Unfortunately, the driver of the semi-truck that hit the victims was reportedly trying to avoid the impaired cars from the initial crash. A spokesman from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office indicated the scene on the highway was a chaotic mess and noted that: “Cars and trucks were going over large embankments, guard rail was flying, and cars were going in every single direction.”  The semi-truck driver veered into the fast line amidst this mess of cars, hitting the guard rail and then sliding down the shoulder of the road and striking the Good Samaritans.

The tragic sequence of events raises questions as to whether the Good Samaritans’ actions were the best way to respond to the accident they witnessed.  It is clear, as WDRB reports, that the actions of the drivers who stopped were totally selfless. Unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t a good one, and this accident illustrates why stopping to provide aid after an accident on a highway can be very dangerous.

So, what should you do? AOL Autos provides some tips for those who witness car accidents and want to help including:

  • Pulling completely off the road at least 100 feet away from the collision if you’re the first one to see the wreck. This allows you to avoid striking the impaired cars. You can also put your emergency flashers on, which can help emergency personnel to better see and respond to the collision.
  • Checking to see if anyone is hurt, but keeping your distance and refraining from touching anyone in the crash.
  • Calling 9-1-1 and providing as much information as possible, including the exact location of the wreck as well as the number of people who are hurt.
  • When possible, providing assistance to those who are hurt and helping the driver of the wrecked vehicle move the car out of the traffic lane.

This advice makes clear that offering help can be a good thing … but that you need to do so cautiously after assessing the situation and making sure it is safe.

Drivers have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care when approaching the scene, slowing down and trying to avoid both the impaired vehicles/victims as well as those who may be trying to help. However, when cars are tightly packed and the streets are chaotic, this is not always possible as this recent tragedy shows.

If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident, lawyers in Louisville, KY can help. Call Shelton Law Group today at 888-761-7204 for a free consultation with a Louisville attorney.