Posted on Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 8:35 pm
Have you ever been a Good Samaritan? According to Texas law, a Good Samaritan is someone who stops by after seeing an accident or people who have been injured and tries to help in good faith. It might involve direct physical help, verbal comforting or simply directing traffic and calling emergency services.
Although the concept of a Good Samaritan seems nothing more than being a good citizen, many people are concerned about the possible implications if something goes wrong if they stop to help. What happens if you stop to give any kind of help and the person who is injured or unwell becomes worse, or even dies? Could you be blamed for what has happened, even if it had nothing to do with what you actually did at the scene?
The Good Samaritan law in Texas, like many other states, is designed to remove liability from anyone who does offer their help at the scene of an injury. It doesn’t matter what type of accident it is, although the most likely is a traffic accident. It also doesn’t matter what your skills are, or whether you have any medical knowledge at all. That means that whether you are a truck driver, an accountant or a nurse, you cannot normally be held liable if someone you are helping seems to become worse while you are at the scene.
Note that Texas law does not make it compulsory for anyone to stop and help, even if they are a medical professional. The decision is entirely left to the person’s conscience and personal ethical judgment. In fact, this is typical of most other states where Good Samaritan laws are in existence. There are a few states which have taken legislation a step further and make it necessary for health professionals to stop and render assistance where they can if they have come across an emergency situation.
The Good Samaritan law comes with qualifications
As you might expect, the Texas Good Samaritan law comes with a few qualifications. For a start, it only applies to those who stop and help through a voluntary act. If they expect to ask for payment at the injury scene, they then become liable for any medical malpractice that eventuates. That means that if a doctor turns up at a crash site and suggests to an injured person that he / she will help the victim for some kind of remuneration and the person agrees any kind of deterioration that results from the doctor’s actions could be blamed on that doctor. A medical malpractice lawsuit could then result.
Liability may also lie with the helper if that person acts with deliberate or wanton disregard for safety and that act of negligence directly results in a worsening condition of the person who is being helped.
To take an example, if someone comes to an emergency situation and attempts to move someone who obviously shouldn’t be moved before properly trained paramedics turn up, then this could be regarded as negligence if the injured person’s condition is directly negatively affected. There is obviously a grey area here where a person’s actions could possibly be regarded by some as ‘negligent’ while others may consider that the helper was only genuinely acting out of good faith.
Liability remains for a driver who has caused an injury to one of his / her passengers
The Good Samaritan law does not apply to someone who has already been implicated in causing another person’s injury. For example, imagine a driver runs down a cyclist. By law, the driver is expected to stop and give assistance, even if that is only calling for emergency services to appear. The fact that they have stopped to give assistance does not absolve them from liability as it is possible that there may be proof that their actions contribute directly to the cyclist’s injuries before the cyclist was given assistance.
If you have been injured in any kind of accident and have been injured further when someone came to help, you will need to discuss the accident thoroughly with an experienced personal injury attorney. Call The Injury Lawyer San Antonio at 833-210-4878. An assessment of the details of your accident will provide a realistic way forward for you to recover the compensation you deserve when you have been injured as a result of someone else’s poor decisions and negligent acts.