As of 2018, all 50 states have their own version of a Good Samaritan Law, and Georgia is no exception. In fact, Georgia has had a version of its Good Samaritan Law since as early as 1962, and it has been dramatically expanded and improved over the years.
The idea of a Good Samaritan Law is simple: if someone does their best to help another person in an emergency, then that helper—the “good Samaritan”—ought to be immune to any lawsuits about their actions. This serves two important purposes:
- It allows bystanders with no special training to do their best to help, which can be a crucial life-saving factor in many emergencies.
- It makes sure that no one is punished for the instinct to help save others, which is an instinct we want to promote to help make Georgia a safer, stronger state.
Georgia’s various Good Samaritan laws basically make a deal: you can’t be sued for trying to help someone in an emergency, even if you end up making a mistake or failing to save their life.
(The name comes from a famous Bible story in which a Samaritan man stops to help someone who was left beaten on the roadside.)
How the Good Samaritan Laws Work in Georgia
Because Georgia has expanded its Good Samaritan policies over the past 50 years, there are actually several different statutes that can all be considered Good Samaritan Laws. These laws can be complex, but here’s what they mean for citizens:
- If you try to help a victim at the scene of an accident or emergency, you’re not liable for any damages (cannot be sued), as long as you didn’t charge for your services. This is true for both medical professionals and people with no special training. This is the original Good Samaritan Law in Georgia.
- Likewise, healthcare providers can’t face liability if they are offering free services to schools or non-profit organizations, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct. (This helps encourage doctors and others to provide free services to good causes.)
- Since the mid-90s, you can’t face liability if you’re providing disaster relief, as long as you’re acting under the direction of a state agency.
- You’re immune from lawsuit for using an AED (a type of defibrillator) to try to save someone’s life. The immunity also extends to the owner of the premises that had the AED available (this is common in schools and large businesses) as well as those involved in installing it, under most circumstances. This is to encourage more public places to have AEDs on the premises, since they can save the life of someone whose heart is stopped without waiting for paramedics.
That’s a pretty comprehensive set of laws. Taken together, they mean you cannot face civil liability for trying to help emergency victims, or give free aid, under most circumstances. If you see someone in need of help—PLEASE ACT and do what you can to save their life. You will not get in trouble for doing so, and you may earn a lifetime of thanks from the victim or their family.
Georgia Also Has a “Good Samaritan Law” for Drug Overdoses
While it’s not technically a Good Samaritan law, Georgia’s 2014 “911 Medical Amnesty Law” acts in a similar way. This law is designed to make sure that people who suffer from drug overdose will get the medical help they need—and that neither they nor their friends will be scared to call 911.
Under this law:
- You cannot be prosecuted for most types of drug offenses….
- …IF the evidence for that drug offense…
- …is the result of seeking medical assistance for someone believed to be overdosing.
In other words: if you believe that you, your friend, or ANYONE is having an overdose, please call 911. No one involved can be arrested, prosecuted or convicted for drug offenses based on your call for medical help—even if police respond and find drugs or drug paraphernalia.
What to Do If You’re Injured
Good Samaritan laws save lives. But often, the victims of a car accident, emergency or attack will still have serious injuries and long-term impact on their lives. If you or someone you love suffered an injury (or died) through no fault of their own, you may have legal rights to recover money when you need it most. John Foy & Associates can help you. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get a FREE consultation today.