What Is the Texas Good Samaritan Law?
The term “Good Samaritan” comes from a Biblical parable and has a place in today’s legal world in reference to a regular citizen who comes to the aid of another person after an injury or during an emergency. The Texas Good Samaritan Act is an important piece of legislation that protects individuals who act in good faith out of consideration of others.
During an emergency, a regular citizen may decide to come to the aid of another person in distress out of genuine concern. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances, lack of medical knowledge, or any number of factors, these Good Samaritans sometimes injure the people they intend to help. In other cases, the person who received the Samaritan’s help may claim the Good Samaritan caused injuries or other damages. In case you ever encounter such a situation, it’s a good idea to have some idea of your legal rights so speak with a qualified Austin personal injury attorney.
The Texas Good Samaritan Act
While some states’ laws only dictate when an individual may act as a Good Samaritan, other states also have laws protecting Good Samaritans from negligence claims if they act in good faith. The Texas Good Samaritan Act covers both. The law states:
“A person who in good faith administers emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent.”
It’s vital for people who act as Good Samaritans to understand that this law only protects them if they act in good faith, or solely out of concern for another human being’s safety and not for reward or any other motivation. The Texas Good Samaritan Act clearly states the law does not protect individuals who seek payment for the emergency aid they render to others, people present during an emergency situation who were there for business purposes or to sell a service, or “an admitting physician or treating physician associated by the admitting physician of a patient bringing a health-care liability claim.”
Good Samaritan Examples
One of the most common situations that could lead to a Good Samaritan dispute is an automobile crash. A bystander who witnesses the accident may instinctively rush to help and accidentally injure a driver while extracting him or her from a vehicle. Without a Good Samaritan law in place, the driver could sue the person who helped for negligence, despite the fact that the person was only trying to help. Another example could be an injured driver in a single car accident who falsely blames a Good Samaritan for causing an injury. The driver may realize that he or she is at fault for the crash and attempt to sue the Good Samaritan for compensation since no one else is to blame.
In another example, a tow truck driver who transports a damaged vehicle from an accident site to a repair center could face liability if the tow company causes further damage to the vehicle. Despite the fact the tow company is attempting to help the car’s owner, they are present at the scene of the accident for business purposes, and the Texas Good Samaritan Act would not protect them from a lawsuit.
If you have recently been in a similar situation and have questions about the legal protections in place for Good Samaritans in Texas, reach out to a trusted attorney for more information. In the event you are falsely accused of negligence while trying to help someone in an emergency, your attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove you acted in good faith out of consideration of others.