What does one do if another is hurt seriously in a crash? In simpler times, the answer to that question would be instant and obvious. But today’s highly litigious society gives you pause. The law is on your side. It does not mandate that you provide any assistance whatsoever. Your conscience, however, tells you that you must help immediately. Wouldn’t you want a passerby to do the same for you if you were in trouble?
DC’s Good Samaritan Act absolves you of such internal debates. It reads in part:
Any person who in good faith renders emergency medical care or assistance to an injured person at the scene of an accident or other emergency in the District of Columbia outside of a hospital, without the expectation of receiving or intending to seek compensation from such injured person for such service, shall not be liable in civil damages for any act or omission, not constituting gross negligence, in the course of rendering such care or assistance.
Simply put, you’re protected from any liability if you help someone as long as you do it voluntarily, in good faith and without gross negligence. The law further states that you must also relinquish care of the victim to a medical services provider such as a paramedic or doctor. Incidentally, the same law also protects paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and licensed physicians who give instruction to certified medical personnel, even though these professionals are paid. However, if help is rendered, one must remember that gross negligence can always be claimed and one may end up in an unintended lawsuit, even if trying to help!
If you want to know about your legal rights in an emergency, please contact us. As your DC accident lawyer, we can determine the best options for you.
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