Good Samaritan Law

  1. I was traveling back home from parents in a small town about 20 miles away, when from behind, a pickup truck tail-ended me and swerving all over the highway finally passed me. I noted the license plate #, with a feeling I may need it..Finally, back in the town where I live, and after this same truck (which I followed from a distance) ran 2 red lights was in a 3 car accident in front of my eyes, almost flipping over one of the other cars and completely smashing the front end of the third car. I immediately pulled over and got out to check on the drivers. Unfortunately, but not to my surprise, the driver of the pickup truck was moving but not much. I did not approach that driver, not only in fear of my liability, but having watched this person drive 20+ miles all over the road and acting crazy, thoughts of guns and crazy people these days went through my head. It did not take the ambulance, fire dept and police 2 minutes to arrive on the scene to attend to the driver that was injured. I feel comfortable with my decision to check on the drivers of the other cars. What would you have done... attend to the semi-conscious driver, who apparently was intoxicated in some way..?? I have always heard, you will not be held liable if you do not tend to the hurt driver, but if you do and they pass away, you could be held liable for not "doing it right" or "hurting instead of helping". Any opinions??
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    Joined: Jul '00; Posts: 3


  3. by   JillR
    Good samaritan laws are there to protect the bystander from getting sued in the event that they stop at the scene of an accident and provide help. These laws cover you as long as you don't go above what you are trained to do.

    Not helping someone who is injured at the scene because you are afrain that you might be in danger is not a wrong thing to do but a smart thing to do.

    I am an EMT-I and the very first rule of EMS is to provide for your own safety, then your partners, then the bystanders and the patients.

    I have had to wait to get to patients because of safety reasons such as power lines down, gasoline leaks and guns present and although it is frustrating it is nessesary. I don't belive you were wrong due to the fact that you aleady had witnessed the patient acting in violent ways by frinving the way he did. I don't think that anyone could clam negligence or anything else against you as you were providing for your own safety at the time.

    If I were you I would put in writing the incident that happened as you rmemeber it and if someone wants to accuse you of acting inappropriatly, get a good lawyer. You had every right to make sure the police secured the scene before yo attempted to help this patient. Good luck. JillR

  4. by   Looking4Seaglass
    Perhaps calling 911 when the first contact occurred with this driver would have helped prevent the MVC later on. I have done that before. Does your state provide 911 via cell phones?
  5. by   Thornbird
    Quote from Looking4Seaglass
    Perhaps calling 911 when the first contact occurred with this driver would have helped prevent the MVC later on. I have done that before. Does your state provide 911 via cell phones?
    That's definitely waht I'd have done if servce were available. Usually the police are more than happy to know about these nutcases before the accident happens.

    There's a whole thread in the news forums on the Good Samaritan Laws.

    You did right anyway because #1 you had every reason to believe this person might be dangerous and #2 Good Samaritan Laws mainly cover you for necessary lifesaving measures, anything more is best left to the EMS pros. I definitely would have checked the others as you did, let them know help was coming and sticking around to make a statement. Also to warn the police and EMS about that pickup driver.
  6. by   mcknis
    Good Sam laws are fantastic and are much needed for anyone in healthcare and out. Anyone is protected, including healthcare personnell for providing medically appropriate care in an emergency. You did the best and safest thing at the time. I am only a firefighter outside of the nursing environment, but I assist our local private EMS service when out on crashes (MVA/MVC) in whatever way possible, so I am well aware of how bad crashes can be. It would just be a nice thing if the state board of nursing would provide an exact list of skills/abilities an RN/LPN has outside of his/her working environment, just like the medical board does for the paramedics, EMTs and first responders. I have contacted the legal department of my BON, but they advised me that I can do what is dictated under state law (which is very, very vague), and to contact an attorney for the exact skills I can perform off the job. That ticks me off!!! I am not going to insert a foley or assist with a CT insertion, but I have received training in iv insertion and c/spine immobilization, and am not sure if I can do that out of work. Oh well...good luck!
  7. by   africanaloe
    After the California lady who is suing the co-worker for "negligence" I am adamant about helping and esp if its "trauma" related since I can defend myself and say I am not trained to take care of trauma patients with the numerous neuro posibilities that can arise.... I will gladly call the cops though.