What is Ohio’s “Good Samaritan” Law?
A recent story aired on ABC regarding the Good Samaritan Law. In California, a good Samaritan is being sued for coming to the aid of an auto accident victim. In the story, the Samaritan believed the victim was in danger of death, and pulled the victim from a crashed auto. As a result, the victim is now a paraplegic. The California Supreme Court ruled that the Samaritan can be sued. How sad! Is Ohio’s good Samaritan Law stronger than California’s? I’m a certified Red Cross instructor, and I’m sure I will get questions about this issue.
The Ohio “Good Samaritan” law provides certain protection from lawsuits to people who give first aid or other emergency care or treatment to someone suffering an injury or sudden illness.
The care or treatment must be given at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor’s office, or other medical facility. The law protects volunteers who help when someone becomes ill or is injured in places such as on the street or highway, in parks, restaurants, businesses, even private residences. If someone is already at a hospital or other medical facility, the law does not apply.
The law does not protect against lawsuits or criminal charges for “willful or wanton” (intentional or malicious) misconduct. Examples of will-full or wanton misconduct would include stealing from an accident victim or inappropriate sexual touching.
Also, if the person providing the emergency care or treatment is paid or expects to get paid for giving the care or treatment, whether by the victim or someone on behalf or the victim (such as an insurance company), the Good Samaritan law does not provide protection. This is because a person who is paid generally is not considered a volunteer, and the Good Samaritan law is intended to protect those who volunteer in emergencies. The statute provides one exception to this not-being-paid rule: An on-duty police officer or fire fighter who gives emergency care or treatment may be covered by the Good Samaritan law . The reasoning is that, even though the police officer or firefighter is being paid by the department for working a shift (or responding to a call-out in the case of volunteer firefighters), payment is not being provided specifically for giving care to a particular individual in an emergency.
If a health care professional volunteers his/her services at the scene of an emergency that is outside a hospital, doctor’s office or other medical facility. However, a professional who seeks payment for this volunteer emergency care or treatment loses the protection under the Good Samaritan law.
For the Ohio Revised Code please visit, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2305.23
The California Good Samaritan law protects the average person on the street from being sued if he attempts to give emergency cardiac care. It specifically exempts the non-professional person, who in good faith renders emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the scene of an emergency from civil liability for any damages resulting from an act or omission in rendering the emergency care; if that person has satisfactorily completed a basic CPR course which complies with the standards adopted by the American Heart Association or by the American Red Cross for CPR and emergency cardiac care.
The latest and most complete Good Samaritan is Assembly Bill 1301 which became law in the State of California May 10, 1978, There are two sections of the statute which have a great significance on the rendering of emergency medical care to others and they are identified as Sections 1766 & 1767, Article 4, Chapter 130, California Health and Safety Code.
Section 1766 reads: “In order to encourage local agencies and other organizations to train people in emergency medical services, no local agency, entity of state or local emergency medical services, no local private organization which sponsors, authorizes, supports, finances, or supervises the training of people. In emergency medical services shall be liable for any civil damages alleged to result from such training programs.“
Section 1767 reads “In order to encourage people to participate in emergency medical services training programs and to render emergency medical services to others, no person who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any act or omission.“
Thus, there is very clear-cut protection for the would-be rescuer. Now, he or she can give help with complete peace of mind and concentrate on the help that is being given rather than having to worry about whether the help should be given at all. The average person now has full immunity for helping another person even if the person being helped is injured further or dies while being helped. The rescue attempt is an act of mercy and has complete immunity from civil suit under the law.
For more information please visit, http://www.cprman.com/GoodSamAct.html