Good Samaritan Laws

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The term “good Samaritan” is popularized from a famous parable in the Bible found in Luke 10:25-37 which talks about how a stranger rescued a dying man he came across on the road when no one else, even a priest, bothered to assist. The Samaritan did not hesitate to utilize valuable resources such as wine and oil in his efforts to mend the wounds of the dying man and even spent precious currency to ensure the dying man be continuously provided with the care he needed to recuperate. The moral of this story encourages readers to take action do away with hesitation especially when encountering events that needs direct involvement which could influence life or death. Taking inspiration from this well known parable, the United States of America wrote it into a bill which was passed by President Clinton back in 1996. Today dozens of various versions of the Good Samaritan Law has been enacted, practiced and enforced throughout the world, each with their own unique set of justifications and rules set in place by their respective jurisdictions making it prudent to understand the laws of the particular area you are currently residing in just to be sure you can act within legal boundaries and prevent hesitation to assist due to fear of the law.

A short video clip from YouTube about Good Samaritan Laws:

The Good Samaritan Laws are laws or acts that provide legal protection to individuals who participated in the assistance of those who are physically hurt, in danger or incapacitated. These Laws were put into motion to motivate citizens to offer assistance and provide them with a sense of duty to participate. Understandably, bystanders will experience hesitation to assist or even acknowledge the severity of the situation for fear of being sued for accidents that could occur from assisting such as unintentional injury or even death. Provisions found within the Good Samaritan Laws are not universal in application and observation of the legal principle of imminent peril is important when judging whether or not the Good Samaritan Law can protect an individual who has rendered aid. Also, first aid that has been provided without intention of reward of financial compensation is usually covered by the Good Samaritan Law as long as it is in conjunction with the jurisdiction.

In order of the Good Samaritan Law to come into effect, consent must be obtained from the patient or the legal guardian of a patient who is a minor unless this is not possible. Failing to do so may attract a charge of assault or battery. Also, all “Good Samaritans” must state their level of training if previously trained. Implied consent may be enough to be able to render aid if the unattended patient is deemed mentally unfit to make decisions regarding their safety or if the responder has reasonable belief that this was so. This also applies to legal parents or guardians who are mentally unfit to consent for a minor. In some jurisdictions, Good Samaritan Laws only protect those who have completed basic first aid training and are certified by health organizations such as the American Heart Association, or American workplace approved provided they have acted within the scope or their training.

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