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Helping accident victims: The 3 types of consent you need

Published on: 22 February 2018

Helping accident victims: The 3 types of consent you need

Accident scenes present a number of challenges when trying to lend a helping hand – whether you’re a witness who is first on the scene or a medical professional.

According to our friends at Arrive Alive, no matter the severity, when providing any form of assistance at an accident scene, consent is always required from the victim – even for medical professionals.

These are the different types of consent that can be obtained from an accident victim (or given if you are a victim):

  • Informed consent: This is given when the accident victim is fully conscious and able to communicate. In this state they are able to fully understand and give verbal permission to be assisted and/or treated.
  • Expressed permission: In the event of the crash victim being unable to talk but still conscious, they can give expressed permission. This is considered non-verbal consent. This can be through gestures, such as nodding, pointing, etc.
  • Implied consent: This type of consent is automatically assumed in a situation where the victim is unconscious, needing medical assistance and there are no family members present to give the necessary permission.

Always remember that all medical assistance should only be provided by medical professionals. If you are first on the scene and not a medical professional, you can use any of these to provide non-medical assistance, i.e. getting medical information, contacting a next of kin etc. Attempting any emergency procedures, if done incorrectly, could cause further harm – or even death.

In the event of an accident where you are alone and in the middle of nowhere, you can give “automatic” consent for assistance by getting the MiWay Emergency Alert. In the event of an accident, if the device detects a critical impact, an alert will be triggered to our 24-hour emergency call centre - whereupon one of our agents will contact you to check whether you’re okay.