A good Samaritan is a person who rushes to the aid of another. Many times, good Samaritans find themselves stopping alongside the road to help car accident victims. What these good Samaritans don’t realize is that they could be held liable for injuries to the car accident victim.

You may be thinking this is a horrible idea and may deter people from helping those in trouble. You’d be right.

Good Samaritans

In many states across the country, good Samaritans can be sued by car accident victims for their assistance. If a good Samaritan rushes to the aid of a car accident victim and causes further injuries to the victim, the good Samaritan is liable for those additional injuries.

These types of laws generally deter people from rendering aid to car accident victims. If you’re not medically trained, you may not know how to give proper aid and could exacerbate the victim’s injuries. This could also create legal liability problems for yourself.

California’s Good Samaritan law

In 2007, California passed its own good Samaritan law mirroring similar laws in other states. This meant that anyone who provided aid to a car accident victim could be held liable for any further injuries to that victim.

Shortly after the law was passed, a car accident involving a good Samaritan happened. In this incident, the good Samaritan witnessed an accident and mistakenly thought the car was about to burst into flames. They responded by grabbing the victim and moving her from the vehicle.

No doubt, the victim sustained injuries from the car accident. However, medical reports and testimony showed the act by the good Samaritan caused the victim’s subsequent paralysis.

This is a terrible situation and the good Samaritan intended no harm. But according to California law, the good Samaritan was liable for the paralysis of the car accident victim.

How California Protects Good Samaritans

That specific case changed California’s good Samaritan law. Today, the law is much different and protects good Samaritans when acting in response to a car accident. Good Samaritans should be confident that when they render aid to a car accident victim, their actions will not be held against them.

But, there is an exception to good Samaritan immunity.  A good Samaritan who responds irresponsibly or with gross negligence may be held legally liable for their actions. What that is exactly varies from case to case.

Call your Southern California Injury Lawyer

This new law helps protect good Samaritans when they act to aid car accident victims. But it isn’t perfect and still allows some subjectivity as to what is and is not irresponsible.

Whether you have been injured by a good Samaritan or you are being sued for the help you provided to a car accident victim, you need the assistance of a skilled southern California injury lawyer. Steinberg Injury Lawyers has the experience you need to fight for you and help you protect your rights.

Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation of your case. 

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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