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The Protections and Rights of Good Samaritans

When it comes to injury that results from car accidents or other types of accidents that may occur in our day-to-day life, there is always a reflexive response to determine who exactly is at fault for the resulting injuries. Fault is an interesting concept, especially in personal injury law, as a situation may have an obvious candidate who is liable, no one who is at fault where an accident is just an accident, or multiple people may be at fault and contributory in their actions to the accident. We have laws that outline certain situations in which someone may be liable or not liable for actions that contributed to the accident. We also have laws that protect those who act in what they believe is necessary, required, or appropriate ways because there is a desire to encourage heroes and heroines in our everyday society. Though there is no duty to help where there is not a special relationship or duty between or among people, laws are put into effect to protect Good Samaritans who aid at the time of an accident.

Maryland’s Good Samaritan Laws

According to Maryland’s Good Samaritan law, a person may not be civilly liable for his or her actions while providing assistance or medical care to another in time of need. To satisfy the requirements of the Good Samaritan Law, a person who is providing assistance or medical care must be at the scene of an accident or emergency, may provide this assistance or medical care before being transported to a medical facility, or if the Good Samaritan is acting on instructions provided by trained personnel. The person may only be found to be civilly liable if he or she acted in a way that was grossly negligent. In other words, if the person acted in a way that was negligent, he or she would still be protected; however, gross negligence is a different standard and assumes that the Good Samaritan was beyond just inexperienced or merely negligent, but he or she may have been reckless or otherwise had little consideration for the person whom he or she was trying to help.

Additionally, the Maryland law requires that a person may also be shielded from civil liability where he or she acted in a reasonable manner, he or she was not compensated for his or her assistance, and once certified or licensed medical professionals or emergency responders arrived at the scene and at the assistance of the injured party, the person withdrew care.

Rights of Good Samaritan if Injured or Property Damaged

A Good Samaritan may also have rights in the event that through the provision of assistance or medical care, he or she was injured in the process. This is because generally, there is no special duty to involve oneself in an accident to act as a Good Samaritan. There is no legal requirement that where an accident takes place, a person not involved has to assist or provide medical care to another. However, the law looks to ensure that where the Good Samaritan decides to provide care or assistance, not only will his or her actions be protected from a civil suit but also that he or she will have rights in the event that assistance leads to their injuries.

In the past, Good Samaritans were barred from recovering under an assumption of risk argument- that he or she assumed the risk of assisting another person in an obviously dangerous situation. Nowadays, if a Good Samaritan is injured as a result of the person that he or she decided to assist or is injured due to the actions of a third party, the courts may permit the Good Samaritan to file a civil claim against the person responsible for his or her injuries.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you or a loved one was injured while providing assistance or medical care to another person, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about your rights to recover damages. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.