Seconds count after an accident; bystanders can save lives when they start rendering aid rather than waiting for trained medical personnel to arrive at the scene. Unfortunately, some people don’t provide assistance because they worry about the potential consequences.
What Is the Good Samaritan Law in Georgia?
Well-meaning good Samaritans may unintentionally cause further harm to those injured in accidents. Life-saving efforts aren’t always successful. Before the Good Samaritan laws, those giving aid could face lawsuits and other adverse consequences. Instead of being recognized for trying to help, these people feared punishment. Many people chose to withhold potentially life-saving assistance to avoid negative repercussions.
In an attempt to encourage people to provide emergency aid and save lives, all 50 states enacted Good Samaritan laws. The primary goals of these laws are to ensure that those who render assistance in good faith don’t fear punishment and that bystanders can voluntarily help even if they don’t have medical training.
Georgia laws don’t require bystanders to offer aid to those injured in accidents. The Good Samaritan Law provides protection for people who help others voluntarily. Even if your actions cause additional injuries or fail to save a life, you can give free help in most situations without liability.
When Was the Good Samaritan Law Created?
The first Good Samaritan law in Georgia went into effect in 1962. It’s meant to protect modern-day good Samaritans — anyone who attempts to render aid in emergencies, regardless of their training, as long as they don’t seek compensation for their services.
Since the creation of the original Good Samaritan Law in Georgia, lawmakers have strengthened it by adding more provisions and separate laws:
- Defibrillator use: Cardiac arrest is often fatal, but an external defibrillator (AED) can keep the heart beating. AED users are immune from lawsuits, and the device’s owner and installer usually benefit from immunity as well. The goal is for public places to install AED devices to make them more readily available.
- Free services: Trained healthcare professionals can offer their services to nonprofit organizations and schools free of charge without facing liability in most cases. Exceptions to this immunity include wanton misconduct, intentionally causing harm, and gross negligence.
- Disaster relief: Many people volunteer to provide assistance after a disaster. You are immune to liability charges if you’re a disaster relief volunteer associated with a Georgia state agency.
A note on Georgia’s 911 amnesty law
Drug overdoses are increasing in Georgia. In 2021, 2,390 people died from drug overdoses in the state, with 27,388 people visiting hospitals for emergency room treatments or longer stays.
Many people using drugs do so with others present. Drug use is illegal, and those at the scene may fear being arrested if they request medical assistance for themselves or anyone else suffering from an overdose.
Georgia enacted the 911 Amnesty Law in 2014. Although this law isn’t technically the same as the Good Samaritan Law in Georgia, it provides similar protections. Law enforcement officials can’t charge you with most drug-related offenses if the only evidence results from your 911 call. If you dial 911 to request medical aid for someone you suspect is overdosing, you can do so without fear of arrest, prosecution, or conviction.
What Are Examples of Good Samaritan Acts?
Injuries can result from many kinds of accidents, so the list of potential good Samaritan acts is endless. To give you a better idea of what these acts may entail, here are a few more common examples:
- You provide first aid to a co-worker who cut their hand.
- You perform CPR on someone drowning in your neighbor’s pool.
- You stop to help an injured motorcycle rider lying on the road after an accident.
- You perform the Heimlich maneuver on someone choking in a restaurant.
Whether you have medical training or not, you can offer voluntary aid if you feel comfortable doing so without fearing repercussions. If you’re unsure about how to help, dial 911. The operator can dispatch trained medical personnel, and they can also suggest steps you can take to help those injured.
What if You Sustain Injuries While Offering Aid?
While the Good Samaritan Law in Georgia protects you from liability if you choose to render aid, it can’t protect you against suffering injuries while you’re assisting someone else. You may risk your life aiding:
- Someone trapped under debris in an unstable building
- People trying to escape a fire
- Injured bikers who are on the road
Unstable buildings can collapse further while you’re inside, and fires can spread and cause smoke inhalation. Other cars may hit you while you’re on the road helping the fallen biker. If you sustain injuries or someone you love lost their life while assisting accident victims, you may qualify to seek compensation.
Why Choose Moebes Law To Help With Cases Involving the Good Samaritan Law in Georgia?
Whether someone attempts to sue you because of your good Samaritan acts or you suffered injuries because of them, the attorneys at Moebes Law will fight to defend your rights. Our extensive knowledge, experience, case success history, and passionate dedication make us an excellent choice if you need legal assistance.
Attorney Michael Moebes, as a motorcycle rider himself, takes pride in helping injured riders and those who may have been hurt while trying to render aid. Contact Moebes Law 24/7 for your free consultation. We’ll assess your case and tell you how we can help. Reach out to us by phone or complete our contact form.
FAQs about the Georgia Good Samaritan Law
What is the Georgia Good Samaritan Law?
The Georgia Good Samaritan Law is O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29.
Do you have to be a doctor, nurse, or EMT provider to be protected by the Georgia Good Samaritan Law?
You do not have to be a registered doctor, nurse, or EMT provider to be protected by the Georgia Good Samaritan Law. To be saved, you must render care without any expectation of pay.