We all want to do the right thing in our communities and sometimes that means stepping in to help when someone is in danger or needs medical help. When helping one another through good deeds, we should not worry that our intent to help would ever be punished. This is the intent behind Florida’s Good Samaritan Act.
The Good Samaritan Act was passed in 2012 and states that citizens, including medical professionals, who in good faith render care or treatment during an emergency situation to a victim who does not refuse help cannot be held liable for any civil damages as a result of such care or treatment.
Who Does the Good Samaritan Law Cover?
Take for example a person who witnesses a car accident and stops to help an injured driver. They should be covered by the Good Samaritan Act as long as they were acting in good faith and had the consent of the victim to provide care. If an injured person says they do not want help and a bystander proceeds to help the victim against their wishes, this bystander may be held liable for further injury.
An exception to the law would be if a medical professional were to help or fail to provide help, and acted with reckless disregard by providing care that they knew or should have known created unreasonable risk or injury.
The law also states that medical professionals must not charge the victim for any services rendered in such situations. Additionally, if a medical professional provides emergency aid, they have a legal duty to remain with the injured party until he or she has stabilized or another medical professional with the same or additional training takes over. Leaving the scene could be considered abandonment.
This law also covers people who act in good faith when helping animals. Citizens, including veterinary professionals, can not be held liable for civil damages while treating animals during emergency situations.
Every Good Samaritan Case is Different
In general, medical professionals and ordinary citizens should not worry that helping someone during an emergency situation will put them at risk of being sued.
However, there may be gray areas surrounding the law when it applies to specific situations. There are unique details in every case. If you believe you sustained injuries as the result of someone attempting to offer you treatment or care and have questions, we recommend contacting a personal injury attorney. Our team of attorneys can be reached at (305) 662-6178.
Good Samaritan Act, The Florida Legislature. Retrieved from: