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If you come across a severe accident on a country road where there's no signal to call 9-1-1, can you put the victim in your car and take them to the hospital?

Asked by user in Indiana.

I live in a pretty rural area.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

This is an interesting question. The answer may depend on whether you are involved in the accident or not.

Indiana Code 9-26-1-1.1 requires that a driver who is involved in an accident “provide reasonable assistance to each person injured in or entrapped by the accident, as directed by a law enforcement officer, medical personnel, or a 9-1-1 telephone operator” and “as soon as possible after the accident, immediately give notice of the accident.”

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently described a driver’s duties as follows, “[the driver] was required to contact law enforcement, inform them of the accident, and provide the victim with reasonable assistance if instructed to do so.”

In other words, if you’re involved in an accident that results in an injury, the law probably requires that you drive to a place where you can get reception, call 9-1-1, and then return to the scene of the accident to render aid (if instructed to do so) or wait for the emergency responders. Taking the victim to the hospital is probably more than the law requires. Nevertheless, this might be the best option depending on the severity of the injury and the location of the accident.

If you were not involved in the accident, then you don’t have any obligation to call 9-1-1 or render any aid whatsoever. To put it bluntly, there’s no legal duty to stop and help someone who is injured unless you have a special relationship with the person (though there may be a moral duty to do so).

However, if you decide to be a good Samaritan and take the victim to the hospital, Indiana’s good Samaritan law protects you from being held civilly liable for any injuries that result, so long as you don’t engage in any reckless behavior.

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