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Good Samaritans are protected

February 20, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Many states have good Samaritan laws that hold laypersons immune from civil liability if they are, in good faith, trying to help someone in need of medical aid in an emergency situation.

Below are excerpts from state laws that refer to such situations:

Maryland

Editor's note: Another part of this section addresses professionals, members of volunteer fire and rescue companies and people with advanced first aid training.

"An individual who is not covered otherwise by this section is not civilly liable for any act or omission in providing assistance or medical aid to a victim at the scene of an emergency, if:

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(1) The assistance or aid is provided in a reasonably prudent manner;

(2) The assistance or aid is provided without fee or other compensation; and

(3) The individual relinquishes care of the victim when someone who is licensed or certified by this State to provide medical care or services becomes available to take responsibility."

Pennsylvania

Nonmedical good Samaritan civil immunity

"(a) General rule. - Any person who renders emergency care, first aid or rescue at the scene of an emergency, or moves the person receiving such care, first aid and rescue to a hospital or other place of medical care, shall not be liable to such person for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions in rendering the emergency care, first aid or rescue, or moving the person receiving the same to a hospital or other place of medical care, except any acts or omissions intentionally designed to harm or any grossly negligent acts or omissions which result in harm to the person receiving the emergency care, first aid or rescue or being moved to a hospital or other place of medical care."

Exceptions. -

"(1) This section shall not relieve a driver of an ambulance or other emergency or rescue vehicle from liability arising from operation or use of such vehicle.

"(2) In order for any person to receive the benefit of the exemption from civil liability provided for in subsection (a) he shall be, at the time of rendering the emergency care, first aid or rescue or moving the person receiving emergency care, first aid or rescue to a hospital or other place of medical care, the holder of a current certificate evidencing the successful completion of a course in first aid, advanced life saving or basic life support sponsored by the American National Red Cross or the American Heart Association or an equivalent course of instruction approved by the Department of Health in consultation with a technical committee of the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council and must be performing techniques and employing procedures consistent with the nature and level of the training for which the certificate has been issued.

West Virginia

"No person, including a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry, who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or to a victim at the scene of a crime, without remuneration, shall be liable for any civil damages as the result of any act or omission in rendering such emergency care."

- Source: West Virginia Code online at www.legis.state.wv.us

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