Fatal Automobile Collisions Involving Good Samaritans
Although many automobile, commercial truck and motorcycle collisions can be labeled “accidents,” the fact is that a fair percentage of these roadway crashes may have been preventable if one or more parties involved had been prepared for trouble, or at least more attentive to the traffic situation that led to the wreck. Sadly, as we all know, despite reminders from traffic safety experts, many tens of thousands of innocent individuals become badly hurt in automobile accidents every year in this country.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys dealing with car, truck and motorcycle accident cases, we also know that too many people are killed under these sometimes preventable circumstances. The professional legal staff at the law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, understands that regardless of claims of bad timing or bad luck -- or even instances of motorists making what some would call an honest mistake -- the responsible party should be held accountable for his or her actions.
On the highway or in the city, in places such as Rockville, Bowie, Gaithersburg or Washington, D.C., severe injury-related and fatal car collisions affect many hundreds of Maryland families each year. Whether the driver responsible for the collision was not thinking straight at the time or was distracted by something else, the potential of bringing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against that motorist should always be considered, especially when the victim or his family has suffered a significant loss, either financially, emotionally or both.
Inevitably, following a bad traffic accident, witnesses and other people in the vicinity may feel compelled to help the victims involved in the collision. Acts of bravery and personal sacrifice are often reported in the news after a serious roadway wreck. In addition to police and fire department rescue personnel, Good Samaritans are often some of the first people on the scene of a car or trucking-related crash. As a consequence of having people on foot near a busy roadway, those offering assistance can often become victims themselves given the right circumstances.
As auto accident lawyers, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen understand that there are no guarantees in this life. We also know that good people, both professional public servants and private individuals, are hurt and killed every year while trying to help others in need. The chances are often quite high that a Good Samaritan may be struck by a passing car or badly burned in an automobile fire while attempting to extricate victims following a crash. Yet, without these courageous individuals, many more people would die as a result of Maryland roadway accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 16 percent of pedestrian injury accidents take place on public highways, beltways and interstates. Most of these individuals were previously in a motor vehicle prior to their being hit or otherwise injured as a pedestrian. Typically, those who are hurt or killed had gotten out of their vehicle because of some unexpected event.
Whether the initial incident is a car accident, vehicle equipment or mechanical problem, flat tire, or simply having run out of gas, the odds of a person being injured severely along the roadside increases once he leaves the relative safety of his car. This applies as much to someone in need of help as those stopping to offer help; which is where the tragedy of a fatal roadside pedestrian accident becomes truly difficult for families of many victims.
As skilled legal professionals, the staff at Lebowitz & Mzhen sympathizes with those who have lost a loved one who died while trying to help others in distress. If the danger to other parties is not imminent, safety experts often suggest that those considering offering assistance instead call 911 for help from police, fire or EMS personnel. If you feel you must stay on the scene, it is advisable to move your own vehicle as far off the road as possible and turn on your emergency flashers.
Without a doubt, under most circumstances, remaining inside one’s car with your seatbelt on is the best way to ensure your safety while waiting for help to arrive. Police and other traffic safety authorities generally recommend that motorists should not get out of a vehicle unless remaining inside will put the occupants in danger.
For those individuals who decide to stop and help the occupants of another disabled vehicle on the side of the road, it is suggested that those drivers pull into a safe area away from traffic, then call 911. Contrary as it may seem, it is wise to consider one’s own safety while in the process of helping another person in need. Be sure not to stand in front of or behind of any vehicle while traffic is in the area. In some instances, if the disabled vehicle or the Good Samaritan’s vehicle is struck by a passing car, the force could cause either vehicle to run over the person lending aid or any of the other people being helped.
If an accident does occur, the lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready and willing to assist with any personal injury claims that may arise. As drivers ourselves and members of the community, we completely understand how compelling it may be to help another person in trouble. Putting one’s life on the line for a stranger is courageous and a laudable act; however, because it is so very easy to become a victim oneself, we recommend caution no matter what a person chooses to do. As Baltimore auto accident experts, Lebowitz & Mzhen understand the increased odds of being hurt or killed on the roadside by passing traffic.
Regardless of the cause of an auto injury accident, the best course of action after the fact is to arrange for a face-to-face meeting with a skilled personal injury lawyer experienced in auto and trucking-related road accidents. Our legal staff is ready and willing to assist victims of automobile-pedestrian accidents. We work with insurance companies to make certain that the victim’s past, present and future medical expenses, as well as any lost wages, will be covered. Call us at (800) 654-1949 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Or, you can email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen regarding your personal injury case.