Every day, accidents and events just happen. These occurrences may lead a person to be injured and requiring some form of aid to prevent death or to prevent more injuries from happening. Out of a group of bystanders milling around, a person comes to this persons’ aid, a Good Samaritan.
The general layperson is familiar with the concept of a Good Samaritan, and that Good Samaritan Laws exist to protect this person providing assistance or medical care to save a person from more harm, or possibly death.
An example that comes to mind is a person driving on the road, and getting struck by another car, and ending up in a ditch, but unconscious. The car is leaking gasoline, and may be smoking, suggesting that a fire may occur. Another person saw the accident and goes to check that the first person is alright. They find the person unconscious, unable to get out of the car themselves. Noticing that the car may be catching on fire, the Good Samaritan, who happens to be trained to respond to emergency situations, carefully opens the door, unbuckles the person, and carefully removes them from the vehicle, getting them a safe distance from the car.
In this scenario, it turns out the person suffered some more damage when being removed from the car. That person sues the Good Samaritan for the damage suffered. Due to Maryland’s Good Samaritan Act, that person was not civilly liable for the act of saving that person.
Who Is Covered?
A list of all who the Good Samaritan Act applies to is as follows:
A person licensed by Maryland to provide medical care.
Members of fire departments, ambulance and rescue squads, law enforcement officers, the National Ski Patrol, or a corporate fire department responding to a call outside of its corporate premises.
A bystander at the scene of the emergency, accident, or event.
The Maryland Good Samaritan Act, or §5–603., covers the general public, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and First Responders. The Act covers acts or omissions that are not of gross negligence, or so unreasonable that a rational person would not do it. If that Good Samaritan acted in good faith in an emergency, doing what that injured person would have done if they were able (like that person would have left the dangerously smoking car if they were awake and able to do so themselves, from the example), then that Good Samaritan is covered in the Act.
What does the Maryland Good Samaritan Act say?
The Maryland Good Samaritan Act states that, “A person is not civilly liable for any act or omission in giving any assistance or medical care, if:
The act or omission is not one of gross negligence;
The assistance or medical care is provided without fee or other compensation; and
The assistance or medical care is provided:
At the scene of an emergency;
In transit to a medical facility; or
Through communications with personnel providing emergency assistance.”
For the regular bystander not actually certified or licensed, they “are not civilly liable for any act or omission in providing assistance or medical aid to a victim at the scene of an emergency, if:
The assistance or aid is provided in a reasonably prudent manner.
The assistance or aid is provided without fee or other compensation; and
The individual relinquishes care of the victim when someone who is licensed or certified by this State to provide medical care or services becomes available to take responsibility.”
Most individuals covered under the Act have had an American Red Cross course in advanced first aid, completed an equivalent of an American Red Cross course in advanced first aid, or is certified or licensed by Maryland as an emergency medical services provider. The ordinary Joe can provide aid too, though. If a person provides aid to someone that is, or that the person believes someone to be injured, ill, in danger, or otherwise incapable of helping themselves, the person providing aid is legally protected.
Basically, if the person in need of assistance would have asked for assistance or did th
e action themselves for their own safety, and if a reasonable person would do it, then a Good Samaritan is usually covered under the Act. If you provide aid during an emergency, in a reasonable and prudent manner, you are covered under the Good Samaritan Act.
For more information regarding clarifying Maryland's 2015 Good Samaritan Law, to protect the victim of a drug or alcohol overdose from criminal prosecution, please read this article here: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/maryland/articles/2018-03-16/maryland-clarifying-good-samaritan-law-to-try-to-save-lives.
Fanning Law, LLC Can Help
We assist individuals and families with family law issues and other legal concerns in Southern Maryland, Washington DC, and throughout the region. For more information about how Fanning Law, LLC can help you and your family, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at www.fanninglawllc.com.