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What Are Good Samaritan Laws?

With so many natural disasters occurring throughout the country, more and more good Samaritans will be out helping their communities recover from the devastation. However, many accidents and injuries can arise when these good people attempt to help others. Luckily for them, every state has laws in place that protect good Samaritans from lawsuits if they accidently cause injury while helping during a natural disaster.

These laws are intended to urge people to provide aid or assistance to those who are in distress due to a natural disaster. Good Samaritan laws cover regular people who are doing their best to help out their community during a difficult time. However, situations involving gross negligence or willful harm aren’t covered by good Samaritan laws.

Good Samaritan laws allow any person, including doctors and other medical professionals, to provide emergency care and treatment to respond to an emergency. If the person receiving treatment or aid does not object, the good Samaritan will not be liable for civil damages.

Speaking to AccuWeather about the importance of good Samaritan laws, attorney Thomas J. Simeone had the following to say, “In a disaster or at an accident scene, someone who wants to help may not be able to provide ideal assistance or care and may be working under dire circumstances, which makes a mistake more likely. Thus, they'd be exposed to high risk of legal liability." However, good Samaritan laws allow helpful individuals to assist others with more confidence because they do not have to fear the repercussions of a civil lawsuit.

In situations where an incapacitated person is in danger of losing their life and someone helps them but ends up injuring them, the helping party would most likely be protected from liability. However, if the person in danger is conscious and refuses help, but the person assists them anyways and causes injury, the helping party can be held liable for the damage they caused.

Who Is Considered a Good Samaritan Under the Law?

Classification of good Samaritans varies from state to state. Some states only protect people who are certified by organizations like the American Red Cross, while others require public servants like police to help those in distress, regardless of whether the officer is officially on duty.

Have you suffered a serious personal injury? Do you need help filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation? If so, call (202) 888-0872 to schedule a free consultation with a Washington DC personal injury attorney.