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What Bystanders Need to Know About Good Samaritan Laws


The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that Seminole County is the latest Central Florida government to implement an application that alerts CPR-trained bystanders to nearby cases of cardiac arrest victims. PulsePoint, a free cell phone app, is linked to a community’s 911 system so a dispatch call for emergency assistance pops up as a notification on the user’s phone screen. Based on GPS location, anyone who is nearby with the app can rush to the scene of a public location and start CPR before first responders arrive. Throughout the country, around 3,600 cities and counties are connected to the PulsePoint community, including Orange County, Orlando and Winter Park.

With more than 1.7 million subscribers nationwide, the appeal of the app is not in question. However, while you may be wanting to attempt to help, you may also be wondering whether doing so will compromise you financially or legally.

Can I Incur Civil Liability if I Show Up to Help?

Fortunately, the majority of bystanders who want to help those who need it don’t have to worry about being sued in a civil context. Many states, including Florida, have enacted laws that seek to protect helping hands from liability. Authorities understand that people often hesitate to help accident victims because they are afraid of placing themselves in a position where they can later be sued – hence why there is a Good Samaritan Act. Under this Act, you generally can’t be sued for civil damages for results of emergency care you administered. Therefore, if you happen to witness an emergency or are considering downloading an app such as PulsePoint, don’t hesitate based on the fear of a lawsuit. 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.

Are There Exceptions to the Good Samaritan Law?

Yes, there are a few exceptions to the Good Samaritan laws in place here in the Sunshine State. These exceptions include:

  • The person you’re trying to help objected
  • You failed to act as a reasonable person would have in the situation
  • You acted in bad faith

Allow Us to Help.

If you or someone you know has been involved in what you suspect is a personal injury situation, you should help protect your rights by contacting an experienced legal team as quickly as possible. Whether you have been involved in a Good Samaritan situation, have been injured in a car accident, or are a victim of negligence in some other circumstances, it is vital that you connect with a personal injury attorney who can help you hold the responsible parties accountable. As the Orlando personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm, we will investigate the facts of your case  and advocate vigorously for your rights against adverse parties. Contact us for help today to begin.

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




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