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Being A Good Samaritan Requires Legal Protection

One thing that residents of Florida have to learn very quickly is that this is a state that can come down hard on people that are trying to offer help. As sad as it may be, in most situations in Florida where you see someone is in need of assistance, the best thing to do is NOT help. There is absolutely no legal ramification in Florida for not rendering aid, and in at least one case last year, a group of Florida teens watched a person drowning, laughed at the person and even filmed it, and with zero legal consequences.

On the other hand, deciding to help a person in need opens up the rescuers to legal liability. In other words, the decision to help may, if the victim decides on it, leave that rescuer open to being sued. Trying to remove someone from a car mangled in an accident, for example, and actually causing more injuries in the attempt can mean the person just rescued can successfully take that rescuer to court for negligence.

So does this mean that whenever a Floridian sees someone else in danger the only thing to do is keep walking on by? Not always. There is a legal provision, known as the “Good Samaritan” act that protects certain people under certain situations when they attempt to help.

 

Medical Professionals


 

Doctors and nurses at an accident scene that are off duty, but attempting to help are given a lot of protection under the Good Samaritan laws. This is because they are professionally trained in medical treatment, and thus already know how best to prevent additional injuries at an accident site. So when medical professionals attempt to provide aid, if it is shown that they are acting in good faith to help victims, they are not liable to a lawsuit following the accident.

 

Drug Overdose


 

For the general public, one area where things can get delicate is in attempting to help someone suffering from a drug overdose. Theoretically, if, in the attempt to help, the drugs used are found on or near the person helping, that would normally leave the helper open to criminal charges on simple drug possession.

However, in this instance, the technicalities are overlooked, since this is a case of a bystander interacting with drugs in an attempt to save someone else’s life. Good Samaritans, in this case, do not have to worry about suddenly facing drug-related criminal charges just for helping someone else.

 

Children & Animals In Cars


 

A final Good Samaritan protection is when bystanders realize a child or domestic animal such as a dog or cat is in mortal danger by being left in a hot car. If the car is locked, and it’s clear there is no other immediate way to get a door open to save the child or animal, the bystander is protected from a civil lawsuit for breaking through the window to get the child or animal out.

Just remember that in other instances, people that help are legally vulnerable. If you find yourself in this situa-tion, talk to an accident lawyer and find out what your legal options are.