- Good Samaritan Law
According to a so-called “Good Samaritan” law, if anyone renders emergency aid in good faith at the scene of an accident or emergency to a victim, without charging for that care, cannot be liable for any civil damages. This law applies to any person who has a license to practice medicine or surgery and volunteers without medical training. However, this law does not apply to people like doctors who respond to the accident scene through their employment. Put another way, you’re only protected under this act if you are voluntarily rendering aid. The purpose of this law is to protect the “true wayside volunteer.”
But at the heart of any issue is the burden of proof. This particular law does not mean that you cannot get sued. However, this means if you are sued for rendering aid hurting the victim, you will have the burden of proof as the defendant to raise this particular defense. See Willingham v. Hudson, 274 Ga. App. 200, 202, 617 S.E.2d 192 (2005).
How does the law define “Emergency care”?
Emergency care is the performance of necessary personal services during an unforeseen circumstance that calls for immediate action. It does not require that the victim is in a critical or life-threatening condition. On the other hand, this term does not apply when the victim’s problem is a normal and repetitive event, and the need for care does not appear to be urgent. For example, in a 2002 case, Georgia Appeals court decided that no emergency existed when the victim’s blood sugar problems were normal and repetitive part of his diabetes, and circumstances of the victim’s treatment did not indicate any urgency. See Herrin Business Products v. Ergle, 254 Ga. App. 713, 715, 563 S.E.2d 442 (2002).
This law is contrary to the common-law rule that although a person is under no obligation or duty to render aid, once they undertake that act, they are required to exercise ordinary diligence or be liable for resulting damages.
1. Immunity From Liability for Aid to Choking Persons
As long as you are not charging for your services to a person choking, you will not be liable.
2. Immunity for Operators of External Defibrillators
If you render aid in good faith and without the person’s objection, you’re immune. However, this immunity does not apply to an act of willful or wanton misconduct, or in the case of a licensed professional, to acts of gross negligence.
Exemption From Liability in Operation of 9-1-1 System
The law is unambiguous! Neither the state nor any local government, nor any emergency 9-1-1 system provider, or its employees, directors, officers, and agents may be liable for death or injury to any person or for damage to property as a result of developing, adopting, establishing, participating in, implementing, maintaining, or carrying out duties involved in operating the emergency 9-1-1 system. There is also no liability related to the identification of the telephone number, address, or name associated with the named person accessing the emergency 9-1-1 system. However, liability may attach in cases of wanton or willful misconduct, or bad faith.
Wanton and willful misconduct: Requires more than evidence of gross negligence.
Willful conduct: is based on an actual intention to do harm or inflict injury.
Wanton conduct: is conduct that is so reckless or so charged with indifference to the consequence as to justify the jury in finding a wantonness equivalent in spirit to actual intent.
Bad faith: is not simply bad judgment or negligence, but rather imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obligations and implies conscious doing of wrong. It means a breach of a known duty through some motive of interest or ill will.
Note: there are more immunities that we have not mentioned here. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our Personal Injury Attorney.