Working with victims, we hear how much Good Samaritans matter. Many of our clients tell us about bystanders who stopped to help, stories filled with the deepest gratitude. We believe in helping others – it is a motivating force behind our own work as a Panama City personal injury law firm. Sadly, however, sometimes the impulse to help can put people at risk when a second accident injures or kills the individual who stopped to help. These Good Samaritan crashes, accidents that follow accidents, are doubly tragic.
Members of the National Guard are committed to helping their fellow Americans in some of the most harrowing circumstances, and their families know this role carries risk. However, families could never have expected to receive news of their loved ones death on a roadway in Northern Florida. WJGH reports that a military convoy was travelling from Camp Blanding to Quincy when a tire blew out on one of the vehicles as they travelled on Interstate 10.
All of the vehicles in the convoy had pulled to the side of the road when another driver swerved to avoid roadway debris and the car ended up on the median. Two of the guard members, true to their uniform, went to see if the driver needed any help. As they did so, the driver of a second civilian vehicle braked suddenly and swerved to avoid slowed traffic. The Nissan Sentra hit the pair, killing both Captain Tecarie Czarnecki and Tech Sergeant David Stone.
According to the St. Augustine Record, Czarnecki worked as a nuclear medical science officer and had spent more than 19 years in service. Stone joined the U.S. Air Force in 2002 and served in Iraq in 2006. Major General Emmett Titshaw Junior, Florida's adjutant general, told reporters that the pair "were two very capable and devoted guardsmen who were doing their jobs." They died, according to Titshaw, doing what the Guard does, providing safety and security to the public.
Entering the phrase "Good Samaritan accident" into Google results in pages upon pages of results, many of which are news stories about people who died trying to help others. The families of these individuals can take pride in the heroism in their loved one's actions; while many think about helping, few stop to do it. Sadly, this pride is mixed with the grief and pain of loss. While it is hard to think about in the days following a tragedy, especially one that evokes such a wide array of emotions, it is crucial for the relatives of these victims to reach out to legal counsel in a timely manner. Those who died trying to help others deserve to have their stories heard in court, and their relatives may be able to recover critical money damages through a wrongful death claim. If the accident occurred in Northwest Florida, our Panama City Good Samaritan accident law firm can help.
We applaud the instinct to stop and help at an accident. We also encourage witnesses to accidents to care for their own safety. If you witness an accident while driving, pull off to a safe place and turn on your hazard lights before calling 911. If you decide to render aid to the victims, do so while paying attention to your surroundings and staying safe. Setting up emergency flares or similar warning devices can be among the most helpful actions you can take, as can helping move the vehicles involved out of traffic lanes. Preventing a second accident can help the crash victims and help ensure you don't become a victim yourself.