First Aid Tips for Accident Victims: Immediate Actions to Take

Accidents can happen anytime and any place. If you witness one, calling 911 is the most helpful thing you can do. In the meantime, the minutes immediately following a car accident are crucial for those who are injured. For many, they can be the difference between lifelong disability and making a complete recovery, and even between life and death.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident due to another person’s negligence, our nationwide car accident attorneys can help you establish fault, and seek financial compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. 

 With that in mind, it is a good idea to be familiar with basic first aid in case you are ever involved in or bear witness to a car accident. Listed below are some basic steps you can take when:

First Aid for Shock

Shock often accompanies emotional trauma and serious injuries. Symptoms of shock include skin that is clammy and cold to the touch, paleness, confusion, chills, shallow or labored breathing, and feelings of nausea or frequent vomiting. The victim should lie down with their feet elevated until paramedics arrive. Drape them in a blanket or jacket to prevent body heat from escaping. If they do not have an abdominal injury and are able to swallow, very small quantities of non-alcoholic fluid may be given.  

First Aid for Bleeding

Every attempt should be made to control bleeding until emergency responders arrive. To protect yourself from potential health risks, latex, nitrile, or rubber gloves should be worn before you touch the victim. If none are available, a clean plastic bag over your hands will do.  

If pressing your hand or finger against the wound is not enough to stem the bleeding, a bandage, clean cloth, or other type of clean padding can be applied directly to the wound, and held in place with cloth strips, a necktie, or even a belt. Ensure that you do not cut off the circulation to the rest of the body part. If the victim does not have any broken bones, rearrange them so that the wound is the highest part of the body. If the injury is extensive, shock will eventually set in.

Although they come with the risk of sacrificing a limb to save a life, a tourniquet can be used if all else fails. A tourniquet is a device secured above the wound. They stop all blood flow due to the immense pressure they apply. Unfortunately, they also crush tissue and can leave blood vessels and nerves permanently damaged. Once applied, the tourniquet must remain in place until removed by a doctor. At this point, the need for medical attention has become dire. 

First Aid for Scalds or Burns

If possible, submerge the affected area in cool water or apply a cool, clean, moist compress or towels. Never apply ice to a scald or burn because the extreme difference in temperatures can cause additional damage. Continue the application until the burning or pain subsides or emergency help arrives. Do not apply any powders, greases, ointments, or other remedies, and never pop any blisters that have formed.  

For chemical burns or those of equal severity, try to keep the injured victim calm and quiet and follow the above protocol for shock. Strip all clothing and jewelry from the burned area of the body. If it adheres to the wound, leave it. If the victim has been exposed to hazardous chemicals, flush the burn with as much water as possible, and cover it with sterile dressing. If the chemical burn is to the eye, turn their head to the side to protect the uninjured eye before flushing with water. If the victim is conscious, does not have burns in their mouth or throat, and is able to swallow, get them to sip water or any non-alcoholic liquid. All chemical burns are a medical emergency so the patient needs to get to an emergency room as quickly as possible.  

First Aid for Spinal Cord Injuries

The utmost care and caution must be taken when attempting to help someone with a spinal cord injury. Any injury to the spinal column is permanent since the nerve tissues do not regenerate. Common outcomes of nerve damage to the spinal cord include paralysis and death.

Never try to move the body or limbs of someone you suspect has a spinal cord injury unless the situation is such that they are in imminent danger of additional injury or it is necessary to confirm they are breathing. The body of the victim must be stabilized to prevent their neck and head from moving. It is worth noting that moving a spinal cord injury victim even a little can lead to paralysis or death.

If you have no choice but to move the patient, ensure that their torso, spine, and neck are kept straight. Drag, don’t lift, the body using both arms pulled over their shoulders, both hands under their arms, or their ankles. It may also be possible to drag the victim by their clothing by grabbing the collar or neckline of their shirt cross-handed and using your forearms to support their head as you pull. Never pull or drag the victim’s body sideways.  

It may become necessary, when evaluating breathing or clearing the airway, to roll the patient onto their back. When doing so, ensure that the torso, neck, and head are moved simultaneously so no twisting of the spine occurs.  

What You Need to Know About Being a Good Samaritan

The underlying premise of the good Samaritan doctrine finds its origin in the biblical parable, which ultimately resulted in a good Samaritan being defined as someone who intervenes to help another person without prior responsibility, notion, or promise of recompense. So, in legal parlance, a good Samaritan is someone who renders emergency aid to an injured party voluntarily.  

Once someone decides to provide voluntary aid to a sick or injured stranger, they now owe the victim a duty of care. Bear in mind that, in most states, passersby cannot be held liable for choosing not to offer aid to a person in distress if they are not a doctor, paramedic, firefighter, etc. There are only four states, Louisiana, Minnesota, Vermont, and Rhode Island, that have failure-to-act statutes that require bystanders to render aid, albeit in a very limited capacity.  

What is the Good Samaritan Law?  

Good Samaritan laws provide a limited degree of protection to an individual who attempts to help someone they believe to be in peril, ill, injured, or otherwise incapacitated. The Good Samaritan law was designed to lessen a bystander’s reluctance to help a person in need for fear of being prosecuted or sued for wrongful death or unintentional injury. Although the exact terms and coverage afforded by the law vary from state to state, the crux of the Good Samaritan law is acting without expecting compensation, acting in good faith, and acting without committing gross misconduct or negligence.

The Good Samaritan law has three distinct elements. They are:

  • The aid rendered was done so due to an emergency
  • The initial injury or emergency was not caused by the good Samaritan
  • The emergency aid was not administered in a reckless or grossly negligent manner

As previously stated, the purpose of this law is to encourage emergency aid by withdrawing the threat of liability. This allows people to offer potentially life-saving help without having to waste valuable seconds considering whether or not they might be sued.   

Talk to a Nationwide Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and are seeking legal guidance, contact the nationwide car accident attorneys at Local Accident Reports. If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, we can conduct a thorough investigation and help you get the financial compensation you are entitled to. Call us at (888) 657-1460 to schedule your free consultation.  

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this accident.

If you or a loved one were injured in this incident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Having your case evaluated by a lawyer immediately will ensure your rights are protected. The first step is to request a police report, and we can do that for you. 

Contact us today at


to get the help you deserve. 

Local Accident Reports is here to provide you with valuable resources after you have been injured in an accident. In addition to your free police report, you can also schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys right now to find out more about pursuing compensation. If you any have questions at all about your legal rights following an accident, please don't hesitate to call. 

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Note: These posts are created solely for the use of Local Accident Reports. We have not verified the information in these posts as the information is gathered from secondary sources. If you have personal knowledge that the information contained in these posts is inaccurate, please contact Local Accident Reports immediately so we can make the necessary corrections or remove the story.

Disclaimer: We are providing this information to the general public as a resource to use in the event you or a family member are injured in a similar incident. Every effort is put forth to honor the victims of accidents, and hope the information presented helps others avoid the same type of accidents in the future. The photos depicted in these posts are not representative of the actual accident scene. Please contact Local Accident Reports at (888) 657-1460 to be connected with an attorney in your area who will answer any legal questions you may have.

Harvey Barbee is our chief content writer who also has nearly 15 years of experience as a practicing attorney. Combining his skillset as a strong writer along with his in-depth knowledge of the legal system, Harvey uses his talents to write informative pieces for law firms about a variety of topics that affect individuals. He enjoys helping people find creative solutions to their legal problems. When he is not writing or practicing law, Harvey enjoys golf, gardening, and spending time with his family in North Carolina.

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