good samaritan laws


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df05nova
January 26, 2011, 02:45 AM
so I am a sophomore in college for nursing and am taking a bio ethics course. We talked a lot today about the legality and protection of others from good Samaritan laws. I had a heated argument with a girl in my class who is an emt with the local fire dept. I used to be a ccw carry back in fl but currently have not had time to renew up here in va. Our argument was as such, I said that while the good Samaritan laws can protect you from criminal prosecution, ( but don't always)they almost never protect you civilly from being sued, which is why many people choose not to intervene and render aid whether in a medical emergency or what I like to cal A force on force action ( CCW intervening to save the life of another) I was wondering if you guys knew of any current events that would support or dismiss my standing. Thanks in advance for any input and I promise to be more active in the forum without lurking.:p

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Bhamrichard
January 26, 2011, 07:21 AM
Good samaritan laws not withstanding, you should also look into the various Castle Doctrine laws as well. Many of them make you immune from civil liability in the event that you must protect yourself or others.

Hypnogator
January 27, 2011, 01:15 AM
Good Samaritan laws were intended SPECIFICALLY to shield you from civil liability. I would guess it would depend on how the law was worded whether it would protect you from civil liability in a defense-of-others situation. The original intent of those laws was to prevent you from being sued for, say, pulling an accident victim out of a burning vehicle, when your actions result in him being paralyzed due to an unseen spinal injury.

isp2605
January 27, 2011, 09:14 PM
The Good Samaritan law does not prevent you from being sued. Anyone can sue anyone for any reason. What the Good Samaritan law does is give the person being sued a defense for their actions which may help prevent them from being held liable for any action they might have taken. You can still be sued and you would still have to go to court for the suit but you would raise the Good Samaritan law as part of your defense and it would be up to the judge or jury to decide if the Good Samaritan law applied in your case. You just don't say "Good Samaritan" and go on about your daily business. It's up to the judge and/or jury to decide if the Good Samaritan law applies in the suit.

Art Eatman
January 28, 2011, 12:14 PM
Further, check the wording of any Good Samaritan law in YOUR state. For instance, it might apply ONLY to medical issues, and in no way address shooting in defense of a third party.

henschman
January 28, 2011, 12:40 PM
The right to defense of another from a tort or crime is also very much a state-by-state issue, for both criminal and civil liability. Some states allow you to use reasonable force if a reasonable person in your position would think that the person you are helping is the victim. Other states put you in the shoes of the person you are helping... if you defend them when it would be justified for them to defend themselves, you are OK, but if you mistakenly help them when they are actually the aggressor instead of the victim, even if a reasonable person would think they are the victim, then you can be criminally and/or civilly liable.

Frank Ettin
January 28, 2011, 02:39 PM
...check the wording of any Good Samaritan law in YOUR state. For instance, it might apply ONLY to medical issues, and in no way address shooting in defense of a third party. Art has nailed it. And in general, Good Samaritan laws will only apply to the rendering of emergency medical assistance to someone who is sick or injured.

See for example this discussion of Good Samaritan laws at USLegal (http://definitions.uslegal.com/g/good-samaritans/), "A good samaritan in legal terms refers to someone who renders aid in an emergency to an injured person on a voluntary basis....."

I'm not aware of any court that has applied a Good Samaritan law to shield a third party from liability for negligence in the use of force in the defense of another. And given the history of Good Samaritan laws, I seriously doubt we'll ever see such a result. Good Samaritan laws historically were adopted to encourage rendering emergency medical aide.

Most self defense laws provided that one may use force if justified in defense of an innocent third party. But one can lose that protection if the third party is not "innocent" and/or his use of force under the circumstances would not have been justified. In addition, I'm not aware of any legal basis to shield someone intervening with force from liability to bystanders for damages resulting from his negligence in the use of force.

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