The term “Good Samaritan” refers to someone trying to help another person involved in an emergency. It derives from a Bible story where a Samaritan person stopped to help a man who was beaten and left on the roadside. This forms the basis of Georgia’s Good Samaritan law. A Good Samaritan must be protected from being sued for two critical reasons:
- It permits people passing by to do their best to assist the person in danger, even though they may not be trained to do so. However, in an emergency, their help may be an important factor in saving someone’s life.
- The Good Samaritan law ensures that no one will get punished for trying to help save a person’s life. By promoting this instinct, Georgia will become a stronger and safer state to live in.
The primary Georgia Good Samaritan Law (51-1-29) was passed in 1962 to protect any person from civil litigation who in good faith provides emergency care to the victims of an accident or other emergency incident without charging them.
The idea behind these laws is that someone helping to save another person in danger will not be sued even if they make a mistake or fail to save them.
If you have been involved in a car accident and need advice about your case, contact a Georgia auto accident lawyer.
Georgia’s Good Samaritan Laws
During the past 50 years, Georgia has developed the different Good Samaritan statutes that existed. These laws are complicated but can be interpreted as follows:
The original Good Samaritan law in Georgia states that if you stop at the scene of an accident to help someone in danger, you cannot be sued and held responsible for any damages or injuries. However, this entails that you did not charge for any service provided to them. This stands true for medical experts, as well as for people with no special training.
Similarly, medical professionals are encouraged to offer their free services to assist people in emergencies without facing legal consequences. Nevertheless, they could be held liable in an extreme misconduct case.
Moreover, the property owner with an AED available, when used to save someone’s life, is immune from lawsuits. The immunity also extends to the people installing it or reviving a person that their heart stopped. This is an emergency where it’s best not to wait until the paramedics arrive at the scene. You cannot face the consequences when you are acting under a State Agency’s instructions to provide damage relief.
These laws encourage public places, like schools and large companies, to install AED on their premises. People can act and help victims of an accident and save their lives without fear that they might get in trouble doing so. They understand that they cannot face civil liability under this set of laws and help others involved in an emergency incident.
Good Samaritan law offers liability protection against ordinary negligence, which is the failure to act in a way that a sensible person would do. Good Samaritan laws do not protect people that acted willingly or with gross negligence.
You Are Not Legally Required To Help Someone
It is not a crime not to save someone. There is no law obligating you to act and give aid to someone else. You are not legally forced to jeopardize your own well-being to save another person. Moreover, you cannot be arrested for just being there and doing nothing while someone is hurt in front of you. However, in life-threatening incidents, immediate action by a person that is nearby can save lives.
A person is obliged to call 911 if they are the ones that put you in a dangerous situation. Otherwise, they do not have the responsibility to rescue you or even contact 911.
Contact A Georgia Car Accident Attorney
The Good Samaritan law encourages bystanders to voluntarily help out in an emergency case without feeling reluctant and afraid of the risk of a lawsuit against them afterward.
If you or someone you love are victims of an auto accident or other emergency incident, and you suffer from injuries, you may have legal rights to get financially compensated and recover your costs. Good Samaritan laws may save your life. However, you may still suffer long-lasting injuries that impact your life in so many ways. Call us at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. for your free consultation. Our team of experienced car accident attorneys in Albany, GA, will help you protect your rights and fully recover your damages.