Good Samaritan laws may not apply to gross negligence

Friday October 16, 2015

Good Samaritan laws were put in place because people were afraid of being sued if they tried to help accident victims. If a doctor stopped at a car crash and tried to render care, he or she could be accused of medical malpractice if injuries to the victim were deemed to be related to the doctor’s efforts. As such, some doctors felt they’d be better off to not stop and help in order to avoid these cases. Good Samaritan laws offer them protection so that people with the skills and training to help don’t just ignore the accidents.

However, it’s worth noting that these laws don’t mean a doctor can’t be charged under any circumstances — the same goes for any other individuals who stop. The laws were not put in place as a license for people to be reckless and careless at an accident site, knowing they can’t be sued.

A lawsuit can still be enacted if gross negligence was committed. This means that the person did something that they very clearly shouldn’t have done. It’s less about accidentally making injuries worse and more about directly putting the victim in greater danger.

One common example is if a person is able to move a victim, but he or she doesn’t move them to a safe place. Rather than moving the victim off of the side of the road, for instance, the doctor could remove them from the car and put them in the middle of the road, without warning other vehicles to stop, and then the victim could be hit by another car and further injured or killed as a result.

These cases can be tricky because of the Good Samaritan laws, but they show how important it is to know your rights in Connecticut.

Source: RN Central, “Good Samaritan Laws — Do They Cover Nurses?,” Jennifer Olin, accessed Oct. 16, 2015

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