Most people’s instincts encourage them to assist a person in danger when they are hurt or unconscious. However, many people are reluctant because they do not want to be held responsible for more injuries or fatalities in the event that they worsen the situation. These circumstances give rise to the Good Samaritan law, which has the ability to save another life. It is in your best interest to speak with an experienced Cunnane Law attorney if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident so that we can work together to determine the best course of action for your case.
Though you may be hesitant when helping those who are in peril because you fear liability, there are laws in Washington that protect Good Samaritan efforts and can help save lives.
The Good Samaritan Law Explained
A Good Samaritan is understood as any everyday person who helps someone injured or unconscious and doesn’t expect to be paid for their services. Of course, helping in an emergency is commendable, but many people have concerns. Will they be held liable if the person is injured further? What if they die?
Those valid concerns often lead to people deciding not to help. But in Washington, you don’t have to worry about liability when you rescue someone. As long as you aren’t willfully negligent or reckless when helping, you have no civil or criminal liability.
Washington state also has a Good Samaritan Law where if a person seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug overdose, they won’t be charged with possession of a controlled substance. The Good Samaritan law protects anyone who is making a good faith effort to seek medical attention for an overdose, whether it is caused by opioids, alcohol poisoning, or another substance. Calling 911, asking a friend who works in medicine for help, or taking someone to the emergency room are examples of good faith efforts.
The Good Samaritan Law and Volunteer Services
According to the new law, which was passed in April 2021, a volunteer will not be liable for civil damages while giving non medical treatment at the scene of an emergency or disaster unless the act is “gross negligence” or “willful or wanton misbehavior.” For example, a volunteer breaking down a door or window without fear of personal liability when trying to help someone escape from a flood.
When a person is fighting for their life, the last thing they need is a bystander questioning whether or not they should help. Washington state has made it easier for those who need help the most to receive it in a timely manner. You have immunity to come to the aid of others without fear of being held liable. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s important that you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced person injury lawyer can help you with your case. Contact the office of Cunnane Law online for a free consultation.
Note: This information was provided not for any specific claim and is written in broad and general terms and may not be the right path to follow for a particular claim or case. This information is not intended to create an attorney client relationship. It is always best to receive direct legal counsel for your legal issues. It is never too early to call the attorney, but it can be too late.