If someone is injured in a car accident, conventional wisdom says that you should not move him or her. Wait for the emergency response team to arrive on the scene. You do not want to cause more serious injuries, even if you have a natural inclination to help. Someone with a neck or back injury, for instance, could become paralyzed if you move him or her improperly at the crash site.
However, there are three main reasons why you do want to move someone who has been hurt. They are:
- Someone else has more extensive injuries: You cannot get to the second person without moving the first. You may need to take the risk to save the second person's life.
- The person is in immediate danger: The accident scene is unsafe. For instance, perhaps the car caught on fire after the crash and the person is still inside. Even if you worry about a back injury, you need to get that person out and move him or her to a safe location to wait for the ambulance.
- You cannot provide proper care without moving the person: For example, you need to give someone CPR to get him or her breathing again, but you cannot do so in the vehicle. You may have to turn him or her or take him or her out of the car to administer CPR on the roadside.
Generally, err on the side of not moving someone, but understand that there are sometimes greater risks involved. Make sure you know when life-saving action is necessary.
If a loved one suffered a serious injury or even passed away after the crash, it may be time to look into your rights to financial compensation.