Just Don’t Do Anything Stupid
It is sad remark on our society when we have individuals with good intentions wanting to help a fellow human being who is in grave need of medical attention, but who end up doing nothing out of fear of being sued or imprisoned!
Outrageous!!! Say it ain’t so!
It ain’t so! It is completely not true!
What is all this about?
Disclaimer: This article is written in the context of the legal codes of the United States. Other countries may have very different laws in place. And we’re not lawyers, so do your own research.
You can be sued, but...
You can be sued for accidentally mowing your neighbor’s lawn, in America. You can also be sued for saying something mean. You can also be sued for accidentally touching someone on the shoulder.
The question is not whether or not you will get sued if you give a fellow human being first aid, (you very well may be), the question is what will the Judicial System do with this lawsuit? It will get thrown out. Because it is utterly stupid.
The lawsuit will get tossed, thrown out, shut down—IT IS EXTREMELY UNLIKELY TO GO THROUGH
The suit will get thrown out because you did not do anything to harm the person, and you acted within your knowledge and training to assist them. Even if you made some mistakes and the person died on you, you are still good.
In order for you to get into trouble it has to be proven that you were basically trying to kill the person, as opposed to helping them. You’d have to be pretty damn stupid to make it look like you were trying to kill the person you were trying to save.
Basically, it has to be proven that you were negligent.
Unless you tried to kill the person instead of trying your best to save them, you are immune and won’t be punished.
How Negligence Works
In order to win a negligence case, the plaintiff (the person injured) must prove the following four elements to show that the defendant (the person allegedly at fault) acted negligently:
- Duty - The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances;
- Breach - The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way;
- Causation - It was the defendant's actions (or inaction) that actually caused the plaintiff's injury; and
- Damages - The plaintiff was harmed or injured as a result of the defendant's actions.
The Good Samaritan Act
Your State should have some form of a “Good Samaritan Act”. This is a law that protects people who want to help people in emergencies, without the worry of being sued.
“According to the Florida Good Samaritan Act, “any person, including those licensed to practice medicine” who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of such aid or treatment.
The individual who renders help can be found liable if: 1) the helper fails to exercise due care and increases harm to the other person; or 2) the other person reasonably relied upon the helper’s undertaking and suffers an injury as a result. Essentially, someone who helps another person in an emergency situation will only be liable if they act in a manner that ultimately exacerbates the injury and/or condition rather than alleviating it.”
When people are in trouble, help them! Just don’t do anything stupid! Get trained on First Aid and CPR today so you have the certainty you need if the day should ever come.
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