Good Samaritan Laws: Can You Be Sued For Saving Someone’s Life?

Good Samaritan Laws: Can You Be Sued For Saving Someone’s Life?
Good Samaritan Laws: Can You Be Sued For Saving Someone’s Life?

This law offers legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance during an accident.

• Action Now Laws
• Good Samaritan Laws
• Universal Assist Laws
• Emergency Act Laws

Answer: Good Samaritan Law

The Good Samaritan Law offers legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance during an accident or emergency. But…before you try to go out and save the world, there are a few things you should know.

What are the “Good Samaritan Laws?
The Good Samaritan laws generally provide basic legal protection for those who assist a person who is injured or in danger. In essence, these laws protect the “Good Samaritan” from liability if unintended consequences result from their assistance. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some type of Good Samaritan law.

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Who is Protected Under These Laws?
These laws help protect physicians, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders. Some states even have Good Samaritan liability protection to cover businesses and nonprofits who act during an emergency.

Here are some Good Samaritan Law examples:

The Good Doctor
A physician just got off a 14 hour shift. As she’s driving home, she witnesses a car accident with many people seriously injured. She grabs her vehicle first aid kit and rushes over to assist. In her attempt to provide medical aid, she uses latex gloves not knowing that the victim is extremely allergic to these types of gloves, worsening the medical state of the victim.

More than likely, the physician would be protected from legal liability since she was using the latex gloves to protect herself from bodily fluids and was trying to provide aid.

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The Good Samaritan
A non-emergency personnel is helping someone who is choking by starting the heimlich maneuver. While providing aid, he breaks the victim’s ribs in an attempt to save a life. More than likely, the person will be protected from being sued because they were only trying to help.

A non-emergency personnel must keep in mind that there are some limitations. Let’s say the good samaritan could not dislodge the object and decides to drive the victim to the emergency room. In an attempt to save a life, they begin to drive erratically with disregard for the safety of others.

If they cause injury to others, they could potentially be sued if their actions amount to gross negligence. Good Samaritans must exercise at least some standard of care and safety.

Protection from Criminal Charges
Two people are doing drugs and one overdoses. One person immediately calls 9-1-1 to get help for their dying friend. In some states and jurisdictions, witnesses who may possess illegal drugs are protected from criminal charges if they call emergency services.

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The laws do not want to discourage people from helping others especially in drug overdose situations. Keep in mind, this does not apply to all states.

Good Samaritan Laws are there to help those who help others in times of emergency or medical need. You never know when it could be you being saved by a good samaritan.

~To Your Survival!

Can You Be Sued For Saving Someone’s Life?