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Can I be Sued for Choosing to Help? | Florida

The following is a video transcript.

There is a shooting near your office. As you head to lunch, a victim who has fled the scene of the shooting from a few blocks away runs into the parking lot of your building and collapses in front of you. What do you do? Can you be sued for taking action? For not taking action? Unfortunately, you can be sued for anything at any time. If a lawsuit is filed, you will have to defend it. On the other hand, under Florida Law, you are under no obligation to do anything if you did not cause the injury. However, I’m sure all of us would at least call 9-1-1 to summon help for the individual.

If you choose to do more, are you exposing yourself to greater risk of lawsuit? Florida has a law called the Good Samaritan Act which provides immunity from civil liability. Florida’s Good Samaritan Act, which is found in Florida Statute Section 768.13, provides protection to those who attempt to provide aid in emergency situations where they did not cause the emergency. The Good Samaritan Act applies to any person who, in good faith, renders aid to a victim outside of the hospital or medical facility. The Act states that the Good Samaritan shall not be held liable for any civil damages they cause the victim, so long as they act as an ordinary, reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances and the victim does not object to the aid.

To help make this clearer, picture yourself in a restaurant where somebody starts choking on food. You had some basic first aid course in high school 20 years ago and had been trained in the Heimlich Maneuver. No one else in the restaurant is helping and the person is turning blue. If you administer the Heimlich Maneuver and save the individual’s life but break two of his ribs because your arms were held too high around him, this statute would be your defense and you would likely be found to be immune from paying damages if a lawsuit were filed.

Please keep in mind that this will not prevent the victim or the victim’s family from suing you, but it will act as an affirmative defense to their lawsuit. In deciding whether immunity shall be granted, it will come down to whether or not the Good Samaritan did what a reasonably prudent person would have done. A reasonably prudent person standard is an objective standard, meaning it is not what you would do, but what a reasonable person would do in your same situation. It is going to be up to a judge or jury to decide if you acted like a reasonable person.

If you have further questions, please give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to be connected to your Independent Program Attorney.

So get certified with our online First Aid Course for Gunshot Wounds through the U.S. LawShield 2A Institute, and we will teach you the specifics on application of a tourniquet and other critical life-saving techniques. It’s up to you.

So take the initiative, pursue the knowledge, and learn those critical skills that are necessary to keep yourself and those around you alive until help arrives.

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