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Florida’s Good Samaritan Act

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Florida law does not generally require citizens to aid or assist injured persons. However, an individual who begins to provide aid has a duty to exercise due care under the Good Samaritan Act. This means they must provide the type of medical treatment that a reasonable person would provide under similar circumstances.

If an individual provides emergency treatment in good faith then he or she cannot be held liable for civil damages resulting from that treatment. This liability shield includes medical professionals acting in a public setting. In fact, one of the goals of the law is to encourage medical professionals to help when they see someone under medical duress. However, if the individual fails to act with due care and exacerbates the problem, then he or she might be liable for damages.

What Else Do You Need to Know About the Good Samaritan Act?

Here are a few other aspects of the Good Samaritan Act that Floridians should know:

  • If the individual renders medical aid that is not related to the situation that required aid in the first place, then that aid is not shielded from liability. For example, if you injure your foot and a bystander puts eyedrops in your eyes, that is clearly not related to your actual injury.
  • Conduct is judged according to the “reasonably prudent person” standard, which considers whether the good Samaritan acted how a person would typically react under the same or similar circumstances. If the individual makes the medical condition worse, but the treatment rendered is the same that a reasonable person would provide in that situation, then the liability shield will likely apply.
  • The Good Samaritan Act also protects those who, in good faith, render emergency aid to an injured animal (including veterinary professionals).

Requiring Individuals to Render Aid?

In July 2017, five teenagers watched from a distance as a man drowned in Cocoa but did nothing to help. They shot a cellphone video of the man as he yelled for help but they never called 911 or tried to assist him. In fact, on the video they can be heard making fun of the 31-year-old man as he drowned. The teens’ behavior outraged the victim’s family, who is seeking legislation to compel bystanders like them to provide reasonable assistance in similar situations.

Even though the teens cannot be held civilly liable for the man’s death, they will face criminal charges. Police officials said they would file a misdemeanor charge against them for failing to report the drowning victim’s death to the proper authorities.

Such legislation could help victims receive compensation for preventable injuries or wrongful deaths, like the man who drowned in Cocoa. 

Contact Us Today

Contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you were injured by a good Samaritan. Our experienced attorneys will analyze the facts of your case and explain your legal options. If the individual rendering aid did not exercise due care then you may have a viable cause of action.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Tampa, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.13.html

floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2017/08/05/good-samaritan-legislation-sought-after-cocoa-drowning-case-captured-video/539499001/

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