In legal terms, a “good Samaritan” refers to an individual or regular citizen that renders aid to another person during an emergency. One example of this is rushing in and offering to help when witnessing an automobile crash.
This help may be rendered by an attempt to get the individual out of the vehicle, if they are unable to do so themselves, or simply using a cell phone in order to call emergency personnel.For many states, there are laws dictating the specifics of good Samaritans and whether they should offer aid legally, or whether they should be protected from negligence after doing so.
In the state of Texas, the latter consideration is made. According to The Texas Good Samaritan Act, “a person who in good faith administers emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent.”
In layman’s terms this means that if an individual renders aid in any type of an emergency situation then they cannot be sued unless they are blatantly negligent.
Furthermore, it should be noted that there are special exclusions for this law. They are:
- In expectation of remuneration
- An individual who was at the scene of emergency because they were there soliciting business or a type of service.
- An individual who regularly administers care, such as an individual who works in an emergency room or hospital.
- An admitting physician or treating physician associated by the admitting physician of a patient bringing a health-care liability claim.
In short, the above indicates that those who would not be exempt from The Texas Good Samaritan Act are essentially medical professionals, those that work in hospitals or medical facilities, or those that are expecting some type of repayment.
Texas Good Samaritan Law Examples
- A passerby sees a man collapse under the extremely hot, Texas sun. Immediately, the passerby rushes over and offers the man aid, which first requires CPR to rouse the man back into breathing correctly, and then later includes a bottle of water, a wet cloth taken out of a cooler with ice, and help to get the individual under a shady street. The man thanks the passerby and goes upon his way. Later, however, the man sues the passerby because he claims that the CPR compressed his chest and damaged him. Under The Texas Good Samaritan Act the passerby may not be sued for the aid that has been rendered.
- After witnessing a car crash, a tow truck service is paid by one of the drivers to transport the car from the accident site to the body shop. However, the tow driver and the company they work for are later sued because the car has been damaged even further during the transportation phase. Under The Texas Good Samaritan Act, this kind of relationship is excluded and therefore, the lawsuit can still stand.
As a whole, The Texas Good Samaritan Act was designed to offer protection when helping your fellow citizens in need of immediate assistance.