Georgia Good Samaritan Laws
The Good Samaritan laws in Georgia help protect individuals who provide emergency care and aid to those who have been injured in an accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious accident, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys can help answer your questions for how to pursue compensation. Here, we want to discuss why Good Samaritan laws are in place in Georgia and elsewhere throughout the country. Specifically, we want to examine when these laws apply to individuals.
How the Good Samaritan Law Works in Georgia
When an emergency happens in an unexpected place, assistance given by good Samaritans can be the difference between life and death. Often, good Samaritans risk their lives and safety to help others when an emergency occurs. In order to prevent these brave individuals from facing criminal or civil lawsuits, Good Samaritan laws have been established in every state, including Georgia.
When we examine Georgia Code Section 51-1-29, we can see that this law protects individuals who render aid to accident victims who have sustained injuries, including those who have sustained life-threatening injuries. If the Good Samaritan is unable to save a person’s life, or if they accidentally cause further injuries through their helpful actions, they cannot be held liable under the law in Georgia.
Some of the key elements of this state’s Good Samaritan law include the following:
- Medical providers, including doctors, surgeons, EMS personnel, and others, cannot be held responsible for civil damages if they render aid in an emergency for no charge outside of their regular jobs. They also cannot be held responsible for rendering free services to nonprofits or schools, with some exceptions. This portion of the law was designed to help encourage healthcare professionals to offer their services free of charge without fear of repercussion if something goes wrong.
- Good Samaritans in Georgia also cannot be held liable for their actions if they provide relief during a disaster, so long as they act in good faith and do not cause further injuries as a result of their extreme negligence or intentional misconduct.
- If an individual attempts to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to save a life, they cannot be held responsible in a civil lawsuit. The individual who uses the AED must have acted in good faith and not been intentionally negligent. Additionally, the property owner where the AED is located or the individuals who installed the AED are typically shielded from civil liability. This portion of the law was meant to encourage property owners to install AEDs on their sites for when emergencies happen and it may take too long for EMS personnel to arrive.
What About Georgia’s Amnesty Law?
Georgia also has a law in place that relates to Good Samaritan laws, but this is specifically in response to the dramatic increase in opioid deaths the state and this country has seen over the last few decades. The 911 Amnesty Law affords protections for individuals who seek assistance for someone they think may be suffering from a drug overdose. The law will protect the individual from arrest, prosecution, and conviction of certain drug offenses related to evidence gathered from the scene of the incident.
The goal of this particular law is to encourage individuals to dial 911 if they witness an overdose, even if they were in the same area and may have been partaking in drug use as well. Alcohol overdoses are also covered under this Georgia law.