Author Topic: Good Samaritan Law  (Read 4313 times)

Offline Darkwinter

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Good Samaritan Law
« on: September 30, 2009, 04:37:41 PM »
Heavy G’s thread on building a medical kit got me inspired and I recently took a Red Cross first aid class.  The class was fairly basic.  It covered bleeding wounds, splinting, burns, and other day to day emergencies.

 The class was centered around how to stabilize a victim and wait for EMS.  Many of us who worry that EMS may not show up would have been slightly disappointed in the class.  But, with that being said, I would still recommend taking this class.  The reason I recommend taking it is not so much for first aid, but for legal liability.

 Before I continue, please take note that every state is different and you need to check with YOUR STATE LAWS.  But, in Ohio we have a Good Samaritan Law.  Before taking this first aid class, I assumed that if I did my best to help someone out and they took a turn for the worst, that I would be protected by the law.  NOT ENTIRELY TRUE.  Although the Ohio law is written very generally to protect any person who performs first aid outside of a medical institution without payment for services, you still need to be cautious.

In my Red Cross Class there were several requirements that you must follow in order to be fully protected under the good Samaritan law, in Ohio.  Again, with any legal matter consult with YOUR sate.  These are just guidelines and not meant to be taken as fact, they are posted for discussion only.

1.Ask for consent to perform first aid.  This seems silly, but if someone says, I am ok, then you can be at risk for lawsuit if you do any more than call 911. Also, with minors and children, get parental consent first. 

2.Do not except anything from victim.  Even a cup of coffee can be considered “payment” for services.  In order to fall under the good Samaritan law IN OHIO, under MY non professional understanding of the law; you must perform the service with NO payment of any kind.  Also you must help OUTSIDE of a medical establishment

3.You must not be malicious.  I don’t worry about this, but this part of the law protects people from being robbed or touched inappropriately if they are incapacitated.

4.You must stay with the victim until EMS/Police/Fire arrives.  You cannot abandon a person once you start to give care.

5.You must only perform actions that YOU have training for. THIS IS THE BIG ONE FOR ME.  If you use a tourniquet on someone, and they lose a leg, you can be found RECKLESS if you do not have training using that piece of equipment.  You have to of HAD TRAINING in order to give care.  If you are not trained you could be found RECKLESS.
**This last point that was taught to us in class seems to go well above and beyond the law written in Ohio**  But this is how it was taught to me at the Red Cross

 
I would like to state that no matter what the legal implications, that I would always lend a hand to help to the best of my ability under all reasonable circumstances.  Also, the law in Ohio is written more broadly than other states and is extremely difficult for a good Samaritan to be prosecuted. Also, the above guidelines  are often more cautious than the actual law itself .There are no real cases that my instructor knew of where someone was found reckless and prosecuted either criminally or in a civil suit, just for doing the right thing.  BUT, the law is there and I thought I would take a moment to pass on the information.

 
For those of you who are bored, here is Ohio’s law:

2305.23 Liability for emergency care.

No person shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctors office, or other place having proper medical equipment, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.


 

 
 

Offline TrashCanMan

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 04:43:42 PM »
Wow - At last!

A B.S law that your government has issued before ours!

How someone can even think twice about getting sued for helping someone who's dying is truly shocking.

Offline Darkwinter

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 04:47:17 PM »
Well, it is technically to prevent such prosecutions and protect the individual giving aid.  ;)


Offline TrashCanMan

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 04:50:43 PM »
I mean the need for such a law.  Poor choice of words on my behalf.

Offline Darkwinter

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 04:51:40 PM »
 :D We don't need most of these laws!!

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2009, 05:20:04 PM »
I mean the need for such a law.  Poor choice of words on my behalf.

That's because we did not follow Willie Shakespeare's admonition to first kill all of the lawyers!!   ;D

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 05:39:21 PM »
Lawyer do not make laws. However, I doubt King James would have been happy if he said kill the royalty or something like that.  :D

They tell us about this at almost every BCLS class I have taken. Is a First Aid Class permanent or do you have to take it to renew your license every 2 years like BCLS? If so, how much does it cost? Its been almost a decade since I was in Basic when they taught alot of that.

Offline Darkwinter

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 05:40:44 PM »
Lawyer do not make laws. However, I doubt King James would have been happy if he said kill the royalty or something like that.  :D

They tell us about this at almost every BCLS class I have taken. Is a First Aid Class permanent or do you have to take it to renew your license every 2 years like BCLS? If so, how much does it cost? Its been almost a decade since I was in Basic when they taught alot of that.

3 year Cert - $35.00 from the red cross.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 06:56:55 PM »
I believe there was an uproar in California? recently because a good samaritan assisted a person in need and the person in turn sued the good samaritan. The courts found that the good samaritan could not be held harmless and the law suit could proceed. There was a large public outcry and the concensus was that from now on nobody would get involved anymore or render aid because they could get sued. Anybody remember this in the news?

Offline Texasbound

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 07:06:52 PM »
I believe there was an uproar in California? recently because a good samaritan assisted a person in need and the person in turn sued the good samaritan. The courts found that the good samaritan could not be held harmless and the law suit could proceed. There was a large public outcry and the concensus was that from now on nobody would get involved anymore or render aid because they could get sued. Anybody remember this in the news?

What do you expect in that foreign country?? :P

Offline Taylor3006

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 07:10:53 PM »
What do you expect in that foreign country?? :P

Ehh it's California that is almost like a foreign country. Beautiful state, weird freaking people.

May God continue to bless our beloved TEXAS!

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2009, 10:16:27 PM »
In Texas, the "Good Samaritan Law:"

Under the STATE OF TEXAS LAWS, REVISED CIVIL STATUTES, ARTICLE Ia' (R.S. Art. Ia) or Vernons annotated Civil Statutes, Article Ia (V.A.C.S. Art. Ia) is stated.

"NO PERSON SHALL BE LIABLE IN CIVIL DAMAGES WHO ADMINISTERS EMERGENCY CARE IN GOOD FAITH AT THE SCENE OF AN EMERGENCY UNLESS SUCH ACTS ARE WILLFULLY OR WANTONLY NEGLIGENT, PROVIDED THAT THE ADIMINSTERING OF SUCH CARE WHERE THE SAME IS RENDERED BY ANY PERSON FOR REMUNERATION OR WITH THE EXPECTATION OF REMUNERATION OR IS RENDERED BY ANY PERSON OR AGENT OF A PRINCIPAL WHO WAS AT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT OR EMERGENCY BECAUSE HE OR HIS PRINCIPAL WAS SOLICITING BUSINESS OR SEEKING TO PERFORM SOME SERVICE FOR REMUNERATION."

From the American Heart Association:

"Our comments are that if you render CPR in good faith in accordance with the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION STANDARDS and make nor request or accept any form of remuneration or fee, you cannot be held liable."

In the CPR class I was taking where I received this information, it was also stated that in a situation, where you might drag a victim from a burning car, and in so doing, you made other injuries worse, you could not be held liable, under the premise the person would have likely died if you had not removed them from the vehicle. Remuneration must not have been solicited or received, in any case, to protect yourself from liability.

Offline flashcard

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2009, 09:55:08 AM »
In Canada we have Good Samaritan Laws too, but thought I'd add something interesting:

In Quebec, it is actually (legally) considered the duty of every citizen to help other citizens in distress as long as it can be accomplished without risk (or without reasonable risk) to the "helping" party.  I don't think they have had many legal cases on this matter, but imagine that: if you are dying on the street and there are people standing around who do nothing, they could be held liable for your death. 

Obviously in practice this could cause complications (under/untrained people giving bad assistance), but personally, I kind of like this idea in theory.  Over-legislation perhaps, but it seems that being a good citizen who looks out for others is no longer a learned skill.  I think about the reports of rape and assaults that happen in busy places in broad daylight, or people that slow down to look at an accident that just happened but no one stops to help or call 911. 

Offline Outdoorsben

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2009, 11:41:29 AM »
IMO i'd help based on location. Here in MA I wouldn't lift a finger because this state sucks and everyone is sue happy for the dumbest things so they can screw someone and get a few extra bucks. If I were in my future BOL area in NH I'd have no problem because it's a small town and people all say hello and are quite friendly and want to help each other out.

Offline mamabear

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2009, 02:06:32 PM »
I have stopped to help at multiple accident scenes. Comes with being on the road so much. I think that at, oh maybe three of them I helped people. Not with a whole lot but helped a little. I always stayed and gave my name to the cops if I was not the one who called, and have been called regarding lawsuits to testify (did not happen-what they were claiming was not what happened so they ended up not wanting me), but not for anything I did. These all occured in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Offline fred.greek

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2009, 07:07:55 PM »
willful or wanton misconduct… if you render CPR in good faith in accordance with the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION STANDARDS….

In our sue-happy society, as hinted at with the CA case, it’s not just the statute, but the case law, the Judge, etc… 

A sad example, you took the CPR class and got your card… it’s expired, and you come across a situation…  you do CPR, and do nothing wrong…  you, without a current card though, can easily be argued to have taken willful misconduct, doing CPR when you were not properly certified…

Yes, it sucks. 

AZ has another example re lay-person use of defib devices… If you are an employee “trained” and currently certified , and use a device owned by your employer, the apparently law covers you… if you are somewhere else, and use a publicly displayed device owned by someone NOT your employer, you’re NOT covered…

Offline bubtech

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2009, 08:46:35 PM »
FYI the California case in my recollection a drunk lady who pulled her friend out of a car crash because she thought the car would blow up.  There were several other wittnesses that said there was no fire or risk of explosion.  Her friend was paralyzed or something bad like that.  Basically her being drunk and panicked hurt her friend more so she got sued.
B

Offline Taylor3006

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2009, 09:50:16 PM »
FYI the California case in my recollection a drunk lady who pulled her friend out of a car crash because she thought the car would blow up.  There were several other wittnesses that said there was no fire or risk of explosion.  Her friend was paralyzed or something bad like that.  Basically her being drunk and panicked hurt her friend more so she got sued.
B

This is very common, few cars actually catch fire after an accident but it is a huge fear of most drivers. They see the radiator steam and think smoke. Not sure if anyone keeps the statistics on this kind of thing, but I can not count how many times upon getting to an accident or driving up on one, there is inevitably someone trying to get a person out of a car.

Offline mamabear

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Re: Good Samaritan Law
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2009, 11:15:19 AM »
This is very common, few cars actually catch fire after an accident but it is a huge fear of most drivers. They see the radiator steam and think smoke. Not sure if anyone keeps the statistics on this kind of thing, but I can not count how many times upon getting to an accident or driving up on one, there is inevitably someone trying to get a person out of a car.

Maybe this is why I have never been sued. I know better than to move a person that has been in an accident and there are no external threats to safety. Steam and leaking fluids aren't always a danger.
I can also see where being drunk would be considered a wanton misconduct.