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Good Samaritan law

Good Samaritan laws are laws aimed at protecting those who choose to aid others who are injured or ill.

Though the details of Good Samaritan laws in various jurisdictions vary, some commonalities are nearly universal:

  • Unless a prior caretaker relationship (such as a parent-child or doctor patient relationship[?]) exists prior to the illness or injury, or the "Good Samaritan" is responsible for the existence of the illness or injury, no person is required to give aid of any sort to a victim.
  • If aid begins, the responder must not leave the scene until:
    • It is necessary in order to call for needed medical assistance.
    • Somebody of equal or higher training arrives to take over.
    • Continuing to give aid is unsafe (this can be as simple as a lack of adequate protection against potential diseases, such as latex gloves to protect against HIV) -- the responder can never be forced to put him or herself in danger to aid another person.
  • The responder is not legally liable for the death, disfigurement or disability of the victim as long as the responder acted as a calm and rational person of the same level of training would have under the same circumstances.
  • The responder must not commit assault by giving aid to a patient without consent.
    • Consent may be implied if the patient is unconscious, delusional or intoxicated -- or if the responder had a reasonable belief that this was so; courts tend to be very forgiving in adjudicating this.
    • If the victim is not an adult (generally, at least 18 years old), consent must come from the legal parent or guardian.
      • If the legal parent or guardian is not immediately reachable, consent is implied (no matter what the patient claims)
      • If the legal parent or guardian is unconscious, delusional or intoxicated, consent is implied (with the same caveat as above).
      • If child abuse is suspected, no parental consent is needed.



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