When given the chance to do something good or save someone’s life, it’s comforting to know you can step in without the fear of being prosecuted if something goes wrong. In order to protect those who are trying to do good in an emergency circumstance, Good Samaritan laws have been put into place. These are designed to offer legal protection to people who administer assistance to individuals who are injured, ill, incapacitated, or in peril. Good Samaritan laws vary from state to state, and may change based on the relationship between the victim and the rescuer.
Florida law does not require the aiding or assistance to an injured person. But the Good Samaritan law says once an individual begins to provide aid to another, a duty forms to exercise due care. Due care means to act in a manner that a reasonably prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances.
The Florida Good Samaritan Act states, “any person, including those licensed to practice medicine” who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of such aid or treatment.
Here are three things you should know about Florida’s Good Samaritan Laws:
1. The individual who offers help can only be found liable under the following circumstances:
• the helper fails to exercise due care and increases harm to the other person
• the other person reasonably relied upon the helper’s undertaking and suffers an injury as a result
2. The purpose of this law is to protect medical professional in the instance that they help someone out in a public emergency setting without the fear of being sued. It encourages medical professionals to help as much as possible. In Florida, health care providers will only be liable if their conduct was in “reckless disregard” of the consequences. Reckless disregard means conduct that a medical professional knew or should have known would create an unreasonable risk of injury to the other person.
3. 911 Good Samaritan Act in Florida allows people to obtain help for a drug overdose without the risk of being prosecuted. This statute gives people immunity for being prosecuted for simple drug possession if they seek medical attention for someone suffering from a drug overdose. The provision is intended to save lives in a state where thousands of people die every year from drug overdose.
If you or a loved one are involved in a situation where you feel you’re covered by the Good Samaritan law, give Russell Spatz a call at (305) 442-0200 to see how he can help you. Russell has over four decades of experience and knows the ins and outs of Florida’s legal system. It’s important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help fight for you.