The Good Samaritan Law gets its moniker from the Bible story. It is the account of a Samarian man who stopped to help a Jewish man who had been robbed, beaten and left by the roadside to die. He took the man to the nearest inn and paid for the man’s medical care and his room and board. What makes the story interesting is that Jews and Samaritans hated each other. Mostly, chances are the Samaritan would have been left to die in the street. The Samaritan did not have to help the man, but he did it out of the goodness of his heart.
What Is the Good Samaritan Law?
Basically, Good Samaritan Laws protect those who come to the aid of others in an emergency situation. On occasion, a “good Samaritan” has been sued and bankrupted by the individual they helped. Good Samaritan laws are intended to encourage bystanders to help without fear of undue repercussions for doing so. These laws vary from state to state.
Florida’s Good Samaritan Law
If the injured person does not object to being helped and the emergency situation occurs outside of a hospital or health care facility, anyone who assists is protected under Florida’s Good Samaritan Act. This is also true for situations where a direct response is needed in a public health emergency or declared a state of emergency. If you have qualifications to render help, e.g., you are a doctor or you have had training in first aid, it is a good idea to say so before offering assistance, and get consent from the injured party to help.
Florida’s Good Samaritan Act protects those in the medical field who offer assistance as long as that help is related directly to the emergency and does not address any condition outside of the immediate emergency. Doctors who happen to be onsite at the time of an unexpected emergency are able to assist in hospital emergency situations to help someone who is not their patient if the situation calls for assistance. As long as the care provided by the doctor is reasonable and fits the situation, he or she will not be held liable should there be a problem.
There have been times when people refused to help others because they were afraid their help would end up being turned against them, and in some instances it has. As long as the help you provide does not cause more harm to the person being helped, you will be protected under the Good Samaritan Law.
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