Safety Tips for Good Samaritans
Local 10 News recently reported that a Good Samaritan died trying to help a driver in a fiery wreck. The 63-year-old man reportedly stopped to help put out a fire following a fiery crash on a recent Friday afternoon. A short time later, the man went into cardiac arrest. Sadly, both he and the woman who was driving the SUV that crashed perished.
This attempt to help another person obviously did not end as planned, but that doesn’t change how admirable it was for the Good Samaritan in that example to try to assist. Fortunately, all attempts to help others following a car accident do not end so tragically. However, prior to offering help, it is important for would-be Good Samaritans to understand any potential liability involved as well as ways to stay safe while doing so.
Can I Incur Civil Liability if I Stop to Help?
In most cases, a person who chooses to step up and help does not have to worry about being sued in a civil context. The Sunshine State has enacted laws that seek to protect Good Samaritans from liability – a statute that is better known as a Good Samaritan Act. Under this Act, you generally can’t be sued for civil damages for results of emergency care you administered. This is a good thing, as your actions can help save someone’s life and your observations can be essential to helping a victim of someone else’s negligence later hold the parties responsible for the accident accountable.
However, you should also understand that there are a few exceptions to this legal protection. For example, you may incur civil liability if:
You got an objection from the person you “helped”
- You failed to act as a reasonable person would have in the situation
- You acted in bad faith
What Are Safety Tips for Good Samaritans?
- Alert the authorities. Don’t assume that someone else has called 9-1-1. Instead, call authorities and tell them that you are planning to approach the scene of the accident to help the people who appear to be in distress.
- Look before you approach. Prior to approaching the scene of any accident, take a look from afar and assess the potential danger. While the desire to help someone else is important, your own safety has to come first.
- Park a safe distance away. In addition to being mindful of your personal safety, you also have to be mindful of the safety of your own vehicle. Park on the side of the highway a good distance from the scene of the accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?
Whether you were offering assistance as a Good Samaritan or were otherwise a victim of someone else’s negligent behavior when you were injured, you will need the help of a legal team you can depend on. As the Orlando personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm, we have helped many people in similar situations and you can depend on us to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Reach out to us today so we can begin discussing your legal options.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Miami, Tampa, Ocala, Bradenton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach areas.