The Good Samaritan Law in California acts as a protective measure for people who want to volunteer in acts of emergency for no other reason than kindness and with no claim of financial gains. Individuals acting in good faith at the scene of an accident are thus protected from civil liability for their acts and omissions. However, the law is restricted to emergencies that take place in locations other than emergency departments where qualified personnel can intervene.
The law on offering emergency help
In California, the Law on Good Samaritans refers to those individuals who, in good faith and not for monetary compensation, engage providing medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency. These individuals are protected from liability and cannot be sued for civil damages resulted from any acts or omissions while performing the rescue activity. The Health and Safety Code Section 1799.102 refers particularly to these acts performed in good faith and without claiming compensation afterward, done in an emergency situation. According to this legislative document, those who offer medical or nonmedical care at the scene of an emergency, under the conditions described above, are not to be held liable. An exception does apply if the said individual who offered help did not do so in good faith and if he displayed a behavior that showed willful misconduct.
California also has a “911 Good Samaritan” overdose fatality prevention law. The law was designed to encourage individuals to report if someone they know is at risk of death of a drug overdose. Usually, because they fear police involvement, witnesses may be prevented to seek medical help in drug-related emergencies. This law offers limited protection from arrest for those individuals who seek emergency medical care in the event of a drug overdose. The law will only protect those individuals who were possessing drugs for personal use and does not cover those situations in which the individual can be accused of drug sales or trafficking.
The California Law on Good Samaritans was changed in 2004 when one woman rescued from a car crash by her friend sued her rescuer after she lost the use of her legs. The California courts made it possible for the injured party to sue her rescuer because the law did not clearly define the type of care in these cases and courts interpreted emergency care as medical care. This is why the current law refers both to medical and non-medical assistance at the scene of an accident.
Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers invite you to watch the following video about the Good Samaritan Law:
Good Samaritan liability
Because each American state has its own Good Samaritan laws it is best to know before you act and, if involved in a case where you acted as a caregiver, seek the help of one of our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys.
A professional will be able to protect your interests if, for example, you offered help after a slip and fall accident in California or intervened at the scene or a car crash. Regardless of the manner in which you can help an injured individual you should also request emergency medical help and tend to the victim while waiting for the paramedics.
It is important to know that the Good Samaritan Law applies in California only to a scene of emergency which, according to law, shall not include emergency departments and other places where professional medical care is provided by specialists.
You can talk to our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys for more information about laws in California and how you should proceed.
We can also help you in other personal injury cases because we have different teams of lawyers:
Marc Y. Lazo is specialized in personal injury cases as well as in complex business and commercial litigation. He has tried numerous cases to successful verdict and has obtained multiple six-figure judgments in both state and federal court.