Dubai: A senior official has reiterated warnings to residents to not intervene in a car accident scene to rescue victims as they could be held liable.
Rescuing an injured person following a major car accident should be left to emergency personnel or individuals who have gone through advanced medical response training because wrong assistance can endanger the life of the victim, warned Khalifa Bin Darrai, executive director of Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS).
“It is human nature to help anyone who needs medical assistance, but these good intentions can sometimes cause unintentional injury to the victim, disability and in some cases death," Bin Darrai told Gulf News.
“Bystanders can help by calling 999 and explaining to the medical staff at the control room what the emergency situation of the victim is until the ambulance arrives. Our average response time is less than eight minutes,” he said.
Apart from paramedics, doctors and those who have obtained a certification after passing a three-stage medical training course from DCAS can attend to a patient but they will also have to be in touch with the operations room.
“There have been cases in the past where people have tried to pull out victims trapped inside their car after a car crash. Wrong techniques used while pulling any victim can inflict more injuries, so we always advise people who are unqualified to avoid providing such assistance and instead wait for professional help,” he said.
In the UAE, the law does not recommend people to intervene, which is quite contrary to the standard practice in many European countries. The UAE also does not have a stand-alone Good Samaritan law, so they can be at risk of having a claim brought against them if that person suffers harm as a result of their intervention as per the penal law.
Good Samaritan laws generally provide basic legal protection for those who, while trying to assist a person who is injured or in danger, caused unintentional injury to or death of the victim.
In Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and China, the Good Samaritan law encourages people who have the skills to intervene in emergency situations by incorporating a ‘duty to rescue’ clause. The protection is intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.
“People here are now better aware of the dangers of intervening if they are unqualified and the possible consequences that could result from their assistance.”
Bin Darrai said the culture of helping each other in need is always encouraged in the UAE and this is why the DCAS has volunteer training programmes that legally allow them to rush to the aid of people anywhere at any time before the ambulance and paramedics arrive.
“We believe that people are ready to help, they just need the proper skills. We are soon announcing new volunteer opportunities for those who would like to get the right training and become qualified in providing medical assistance,” he said.
Meanwhile, police in the UAE have also warned motorists from circulating photos of accidents or emergencies online because it can attract a hefty fine and may include jail time, depending on the gravity of the situation.