Understanding Good Samaritan Laws

Understanding Good Samaritan Laws

At Patterson Legal Group, we believe in the power of helping others. National Good Samaritan Day on March 13th is a perfect time to celebrate the importance of stepping up to assist those in need. But what if you’re unsure about the legal implications of intervening in an emergency? Good Samaritan Laws offer protections for those who lend a hand in good faith. Let’s explore these laws and see how they apply in Kansas and Missouri, as well as similarities and differences between the two.

What Are Good Samaritan Laws?

Good Samaritan Laws provide liability protection to people who come to the aid of others in an emergency situation. These laws aim to encourage bystanders to act without fear of lawsuits for unintentional harm. It’s important to remember that these laws have limitations. Some of these limitations include:

  • No Duty to Act: Good Samaritan Laws generally don’t require you to intervene in an emergency. You can choose not to help without facing legal repercussions.
  • Gross Negligence or Willful Misconduct: These laws won’t protect you if your actions are reckless or intentionally harmful. For instance, attempting medical procedures you’re not trained for could be considered gross negligence.
  • Professional Standards: Medical professionals may be held to a higher standard of care compared to bystanders. Their Good Samaritan protection might hinge on acting within their training and scope of practice.
  • Compensation: Receiving payment for your assistance can negate the Good Samaritan Law’s protection in some cases.

Good Samaritan Laws in Kansas

Kansas’ Good Samaritan Law protects individuals who provide emergency care at the scene of an emergency or to a person in need of immediate assistance. This protection applies as long as the care is provided “in good faith” and doesn’t amount to “gross negligence or willful or wanton acts.” In simpler terms, as long as you act reasonably and without recklessness, the law protects you.

Good Samaritan Laws in Missouri

Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law offers similar protections. Here, anyone who renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency or to a person in need of immediate assistance is generally immune from civil liability. However, this protection can be lost if the care is provided “willfully, wantonly, or recklessly.”

Key Similarities and Differences

Both Kansas and Missouri emphasize “good faith” and reasonable actions. The key difference lies in the specific language:

  • Kansas: Focuses on “gross negligence or willful or wanton acts.”
  • Missouri: Focuses on care provided “willfully, wantonly, or recklessly.”

The difference is subtle, but it’s important to consult with an attorney if you have any questions about a specific situation, as liability could hinge on these very subtle differences in language used.

National Good Samaritan Day: Be a Hero, But Be Informed

While Good Samaritan Laws offer much-needed protection, it’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings and limitations. Here are some additional tips you should keep in mind in any emergency situation:

  • Call 911 First: Even with Good Samaritan Laws put in place, prioritizing immediate professional help is crucial.
  • Act Within Your Limits: Don’t attempt medical procedures you’re not qualified for.
  • Use Common Sense: Assess the situation first and prioritize your safety and the safety of others.

Contact Patterson Legal Group for Legal Guidance

If you’ve recently helped someone during an emergency situation and need help figuring out your legal responsibilities and any possible liability, the experienced and skilled attorneys here at Patterson Legal Group are here to help. We can also help if you believe you were injured by someone who performed a medical procedure they are not qualified to perform. Either way, our legal team can ensure that you’re informed of your rights, and that your best interests are taken to heart.

Get started today by filling out your free case evaluation. When you do, a member of our legal team will take a look at your situation and give you a better idea of what the process might involve in your particular case.

To schedule your free case evaluation today, call us day or night at (888) 687-2400. You can also get in touch by filling out this contact form, or you can reach out over our LiveChat platform to get started.

The information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as legal advice for an individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship nor does viewing this material constitute an attorney-client relationship.