If you ever encounter a situation where you have to stop and render aid to another person do you know what liability you may face? Watch Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker instruct you on the Texas Good Samaritan law, so you won’t have to hesitate when it comes to saving a life.
Sherry Hale: We have all been there. You pass an accident on the side of the road; you want to help, but you’re worried what happens if something goes wrong can you be sued? The short answer is yes. Listen to what your Independent Program Attorney says about Good Samaritan laws in your state.Edwin Walker: Hi, I’m Edwin Walker Independent Program Attorney with Texas Law Shield today. I’d like to speak to you about Texas’s Good Samaritan law.
First, why does Texas have a Good Samaritan Law? Texas, as a matter of public policy, wants to encourage people to help others that are injured. One way to do this is to alleviate certain fears that they may have that they could be held civilly liable in the event that they cause an injury to the already injured person. The Texas Good Samaritan statute says that a person, who in good faith during an emergency renders aid and assistance to another individual, will not be held civilly liable unless they cause an injury through their willful or wanton conduct.
So what are the elements that would allow somebody to be protected by the Good Samaritan Law? First, they have to be acting in good faith. Second, the assistance has to be rendered during the course of the emergency. And third, they cannot willfully or wantonly injure the other party. Now, willfully and wantonly means that it cannot be an act that somebody would know could cause injury or would cause injury to another person. For example, you could not put a tourniquet around somebody’s neck. Obviously, everyone would know that that would cause them injury. Also, remember that the statute doesn’t apply to somebody who renders services to somebody in an emergency with the expectation that they will be paid for those services.
So let’s look at an example. Let’s say that you’re at the range and the person in the lane next to you has an accidental discharge and injures the person in the lane next to them. If you respond by giving this person first aid you will be protected by the Good Samaritan statute, and you will not be found liable for any of his injuries as long as you did not willfully and wantonly cause additional injury to the party. Now, let’s say that you’re at the range and you’re the individual that has the accidental discharge and you caused the injury. Does the law require you to assist the injured person? Well, the law doesn’t require you to assist the injured person. However, you may be subject to additional damages in the event that you do not assist the injured person. Anytime a person causes an injury to another they have a duty to mitigate their damages.
Basically, you can look at it this way people who are innocent bystanders and come upon an injured person and render aid will be protected by the Texas Good Samaritan statute. People who intentionally are negligent and injure others will be civilly liable for those injuries. They do not have a statutory duty to render aid, but they do have a duty to mitigate their damages, which would include rendering aid to the injured party. Now, remember this does not include people who were injured because of the justified use of force or deadly force. In the event that a person injures another but they were justified in doing so under Chapter 9 of the penal code because they were defending themselves or someone else, they will be immune from any sort of liability.
Sherry: The law offers you protection but the reality is you can be sued by anyone, anytime, for anything, even for acting as a good Samaritan. Texas LawShield is here to help so you don’t have to hesitate when doing the right thing. Get certified in First Aid for Gunshot Wounds today and receive our exclusive Good Samaritan coverage for free. Good Samaritan coverage is our way of protecting our good-hearted members. Go to 2aInstitute.com and get certified today!