14
Jul
09

Good Samaritan Laws


Ever heard your granny tell you, don’t bother to go to an accident site… for all you know, you might be caught by the police guys.

Good Samaritan Laws (AKA Volunteer Protection laws) are to change this attitude and to ensure people don’t hesitate in helping the needy.

Medi-smart defines good samaritan laws as

Good Samaritan statutes are laws enacted by the various states that
protect healthcare providers and other rescuers from being sued when
they are giving emergency help to a victim provided the person uses
reasonable, prudent guidelines for care using the resources they have
available at the time of the accident. Most states have enacted some
form of Good Samaritan or Volunteer Protection law prohibiting a victim
from suing a physician or other health care professional for injuries from
a Good Samaritan act. To trigger the protection of such an act, several conditions must be satisfied: it must be a volunteer act, the person
receiving the help must not object to being helped, and the actions of
the rescuer must be a good-faith effort to help.

Good Samaritan statutes are laws enacted by the various states that protect healthcare providers and other rescuers from being sued when they are giving emergency help to a victim provided the person uses reasonable, prudent guidelines for care using the resources they have available at the time of the accident. Most states have enacted some form of Good Samaritan or Volunteer Protection law prohibiting a victim from suing a physician or other health care professional for injuries from a Good Samaritan act. To trigger the protection of such an act, several conditions must be satisfied: it must be a volunteer act, the person receiving the help must not object to being helped, and the actions of the rescuer must be a good-faith effort to help.

One India says

The good samaritan laws were enacted due to fear. The legal principle helps in preventing a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued for ‘wrongdoing.’ Its purpose is to keep people from being so reluctant to help a stranger in need for fear of legal repercussions if they made some mistake in treatment.

In Germany, “Unterlassene Hilfeleistung” (neglect of duty to provide assistance) is an offense. A citizen is obliged to provide first aid when necessary and is immune from prosecution if assistance given in good faith turns out to be harmful. In Germany, knowledge of first aid is an essential requirement for granting a driving license.

The element of subjectivity when it comes to “good faith” will remain but I really hope this would ensure the needy gets a timely help.

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