Florida’s Good Samaritan Law

Anyone know what a “Good Samaritan” is? Ever been one before? In case you are presented with being one in the future let’s see if we can provide some insight…

Florida State Statute 768.13, officially known as the “Good Samaritan Act,” is designed to partially remove the risks that often prevent passers-by from rendering assistance to those in need.

As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at Aronberg & Aronberg know, the law basically states that anyone who generously and in good faith renders emergency care or treatment in situations arising from 1) a public health emergency, 2) a state of emergency, or 3) at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital or doctor’s office or other which has “proper medical equipment,” assuming the victim of the accident does not object, will not be liable for civil damages resulting from such care where the person acts reasonably.

A “public health emergency” is officially declared by the State Health Officer and a “state of emergency” is only declared by either the President of the United States or by the Governor of the State of Florida (and this is generally reserved for significant natural disasters). The other emergencies, those in the third category above, include car accidents, etc., outside of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other locations (potentially including urgent care facilities) that happen to have proper medical equipment.

So, what does type of protection does the statute actually provide? Well, as our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers know, Floridians might find people in need of help outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices or on the side of the road as a result of a hurricane in an official “state of emergency,” in addition to other situations covered under the statute. Now, if you see someone in one of those situations, and feel that you can reasonably provide emergency care (whether you are a licensed medical professional or not), you may help them and not incur civil liability from such acts assuming that you are acting in good faith, that you are acting reasonably under the circumstances, and, most importantly, assuming that the person to whom you want to provide care does not object.

A victim might very well want you to leave them alone and prefer to wait for an EMT or someone of similar qualification to arrive; if the victim communicates such a wish, you must leave them alone. If you continue to provide services to them, despite their wishes, you will be liable to any civil suit they may bring a lawsuit against you (for enhancing the injury as well as for battery and assault, etc.).

Unlike the “Good Samaritan Law” from the last couple of episodes in Seinfeld, Florida’s actual, real-life Good Samaritan law does not mandate that you provide assistance to those in need. While it is limited in scope, it does provide Floridians some degree of immunity assuming you render care in the manner a reasonably prudent individual would in that same situation. At the end of the day, we want Floridians helping one another when it is safe and helpful for them to do so – not when offering such “help” would exacerbate the problem.

If you have any questions about Florida’s Good Samaritan law, or if you have been injured due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another, please contact our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg. You may reach us by phone at 561-266-9191 or by email at daronberg@aronberlaw.com to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!


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