Good Samaritan Laws

Many times people have true medical emergencies such that if emergency medical treatment is not rendered literally immediately they may either die or suffer permanent life-changing injuries.  Even the time it takes to call 911 could make the difference. If a young toddler is choking and you can render first aid, depending on the circumstances, it may be better to render aid first and then call 911 or go to an emergency room to ensure that the child did not suffer from any unknown or latent medical complications. In situations like this, the law protects those who act to save life and limb without regard to the legal complications that may result.


When being a good samaritan goes bad

People have been reluctant to act in such situations due to the future potential legal ramifications.  The consequence is that some people pass away or may suffer long-term brain damage or permanent injuries. Legislatures are aware of these problems and created what are called Good Samaritan laws to help protect those who act in such situations. The New York legislature created N.Y. Public Health law §3000, which states that emergency medical treatment is vital to the state. Consequently, the legislature created an exception to the normal legal standard upon which a person can seek compensation for injuries they receive due to the negligence of others.  N.Y. Public Health law §3000-a states that in order to recover for injuries or death, a person rendering aid must not a medical professional in the ordinary and normal course of their profession and not seek financial remuneration and act in a grossly negligent fashion.

Simple or mere negligence is not enough. If the person rendering aid was a medical professional acting in the ordinary and normal course of their practice, he or she would by definition be seeking financial remuneration for services and would be covered by the law of medical malpractice. Even medical professionals can act in an emergency situation, outside of the confines of their medical professional offices and act to save life or limb of another and as long as they do not seek financial recompense for their actions, they are covered by the protections of the Good Samaritan law. In other words, if a stranger is acting in an emergency to help somebody, they can make mistakes and not have to answer for those mistakes in a civil court.  More precisely, gross neglect in New York is defined as reckless behavior with little or no regards for the rights of others.


New York Attorneys fighting for victims of negligence

If you or a loved one were harmed by the grossly negligent behavior of someone else, you need an attorney who can help guide you through the process to be fully compensated and made whole and to ensure that your voice is heard by everyone involved in the case. The attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC have decades of combined experience in matters requiring discretion, good counsel and tenacity. You can call us at 212-397-1000 to setup an appointment today or fill out our online contact form so someone will call you about your case.