How to be a Good Samaritan and not get Sued

Most states have some version of a Good Samaritan laws. The underlying idea behind these laws is to protect people who render aid in emergency situations.  If the helper uses reasonable care and the person in need doesn’t object, then the theory goes that the Good Samaritan should be protected from liability.

Yet, every so often news comes out about a Good Samaritan that’s being sued for his or her attempt to help.

Different states have different Good Samaritan laws.  In Arizona, you can typically avoid liability by acting in good faith and not acting in gross negligence.  So, if you see someone in need follow these tips and hopefully you’ll avoid liability.

  1. If you’re not medically trained, call for help first.  Only administer aid if absolutely necessary.
  2. Don’t act recklessly.  An emergency situation is not the time to try to be a hero. You’re not going to sling the j-walker across your back and take them to the emergency room.  Think “stabilize and safety.”
  3. If you have medical training, then use the same standard of care as you would normally use in administering the aid in your profession.  That means that an emergency situation is not the time to try out the experimental procedure, no matter how heroic it would make you look.