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Good Samaritan Law Essay

1755 words - 8 pages

Good Samaritan Law

Definition - A Good Samaritan in legal terms refers to someone who renders aid in an emergency to an injured person on a voluntary basis.
What Is The Good Samaritan Law

The "Good Samaritan Law" is the legal term that refers to someone who renders aid in an emergency to an injured person on a voluntary basis. The Good Samaritan laws offers legal protection to the person that gives reasonable assistance to another person who is injured, ill, or otherwise incapacitated. They made this law to encourage people to offer assistance without the fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death (Good Samaritan law, 2009).

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2) if the "volunteer" has other motives, such as the hope of being paid a fee or reward, then the law will not apply ( USLegal, Inc).

The Good Samaritan law does not protect people from arrest for other offenses, such as selling or trafficking drugs, or driving while drugged. These policies protect only the caller and overdose victim from arrest and/or prosecution for simple drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence (911 Good Samaritan Fatal Overdose Prevention Law). Also, the law does not provide protection from arrest or charge for drug or alcohol possession if you have an open warrant for your arrest. There is also no specific protection by this bill if you are currently on probation or parole (911 Good Samaritan Fatal Overdose Prevention Law).


The responder must obtain the consent of the patient, or of the legal guardian of a patient who is a minor, unless this is not possible; failing to do so may attract a charge of assault or battery. Consent may be implied if an unattended patient is unconscious, delusional, intoxicated or deemed mentally unfit to make decisions regarding their safety. Consent may also be implied if the legal parent or guardian is not immediately reachable and the patient is not considered an adult (Good Samaritan law, 2009).

If the victim is a minor, consent must come from a parent or guardian. However, if the legal parent or guardian is absent, unconscious, delusional or intoxicated, consent is implied. A responder is not required to withhold life-saving treatment from a minor if the parent or guardian will not consent. The parent or guardian is then considered neglecting, and consent for treatment is implied by default because neglect has been committed (Good Samaritan law, 2009).

In some states, the Good Samaritan laws only protects people who have completed basic first aid training and are certified by health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, or American Red Cross, provided that they have acted within the scope of their training. In these jurisdictions, a person who is neither trained in first aid nor certified, and who performs first aid incorrectly, can be held legally liable for errors made. In other jurisdictions, any rescuer is protected from liability so long as the responder acted rationally (Good Samaritan law, 2009).

Pros and Cons

Even though the Good Samaritan laws are supposed to protect people from legal action after they try to help someone. As with many laws, though, it has both pros and cons. Despite the best intention that a person has, administering first aid is tricky at the best of times. In the heat of the moment, mistakes happen. Good Samaritan laws ensure that people who have good intentions and act responsibility will not be punished for honest mistakes. For instance, a person who administers CPR but breaks a person's ribs through overenthusiastic chest compressions would not be charged with assault...

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