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California Good Samaritan Law

Good Samaritans can be literal life-savers after a traffic accident. They can put their own wellbeing aside when they stop to assist on the scene of a car crash.

Good Samaritans make the news for pulling victims from burning cars and for administering care at the side of the road. You may not know that California has put laws in place to protect good Samaritans from facing lawsuits over the help they provide.

Good Samaritans and California Law

Good Samaritans can rush to the aid of a car accident victim even when they don’t have any medical training. This action can rescue someone from further harm or it could accidentally cause more harm.

California lawmakers decided that good Samaritans with the best of intentions should be protected from legal liability over their actions. The law prheld liable for civil damages.

The specific code can be found here:

Health and Safety Code 1799.102

  • No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency medical or nonmedical care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission. The scene of an emergency shall not include emergency departments and other places where medical care is usually offered. This subdivision applies only to the medical, law enforcement, and emergency personnel specified in this chapter.

The care must have been rendered on the scene of an emergency. The protections cover any emergency medical or non-medical care provided. The good Samaritan must have acted in “good faith” or with good intentions and the aid can’t have been rendered with the hope of compensation.

Situations in Which Good Samaritans Are Not Protected

Good Samaritans only enjoy immunity from liability when their intentions are to assist victims. If an alleged good Samaritan commits a crime at the scene of an accident they will still face prosecution.

Good Samaritans engaging in gross negligence can also face liability for their actions. Gross negligence is the conscious and reckless disregard of a victim’s reasonable care.

When they take action that a reasonable person would know is harmful to others, good Samaritans can be held accountable for the damage and injuries they cause. They may also neglect to provide the help that a reasonable person would offer.

Finding Help for Car Accident Victims

If you or a loved one are the victims of an accident, there are rights you have and benefits available to you that insurance companies won’t tell you about. Victims and their families should never have to worry about the costs of recovery. That is even when an at-fault driver causes an accident.

The driver’s car insurance policy should be called upon to provide full compensation. Insurance companies can focus on getting you to sign off on a “lowball offer” that doesn’t cover all of your damages, but a skilled personal injury lawyer knows how to hold them accountable for more.

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