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The Texas Good Samaritan Law

The Texas Good Samaritan Law

Texas has a Good Samaritan law requiring people to help

The requirement is to assist if people see an emergency, such as an automobile accident. It encourages people to provide emergency aid at accident scenes. 

Find out more about the Texas Good Samaritan law below. This article will cover who is protected under this law, examples of Good Samaritan acts, and how this law affects people using defibrillators to administer emergency aid. You will also learn exceptions to this law and whether this law applies when calling 911.

What Is Texas’ Good Samaritan Law?

Located in section 74.151 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Texas’ Good Samaritan law states that anyone who gives emergency care in good faith will not be liable for civil damages. Good faith is the sincere or honest intent to help victims. 

The Good Samaritan law applies to most common situations, such as auto accidents, dog attacks, slips and falls, drowning, and premises liability. Here are some examples of Good Samaritan acts:

  • A bystander witnesses a car accident and sees several people trapped in a car wreck. The bystander pulls a person out and accidentally exacerbates the person’s spinal cord injury by twisting their body incorrectly.
  • A bystander administers CPR on someone after they nearly drown but accidentally breaks a rib.
  • A driver sees a truck accident and decides to give wound care to several injured people. However, the wounds get infected due to the driver’s lack of expertise and resources.

In these examples, the injured person can’t hold the bystander responsible due to the Good Samaritan law.

What Is the Good Samaritan Law for People Using Defibrillators?

Texas’ Good Samaritan law covers people who administer emergency care using an automated external defibrillator and first responders who administer emergency care as volunteers. Simply put, people who use defibrillators in good faith to help accident victims won’t be liable for causing or exacerbating injuries.

Exceptions to the Good Samaritan Law

Texas’ Good Samaritan law has several exceptions. 

First, it does not apply to people who administer care for or in expectation of money. This applies to paramedics, paid healthcare providers, and agents for these parties. For example, suppose someone is at the scene of an emergency because they are an agent soliciting business for a medical service or clinic. In that case, the Good Samaritan law will not cover their actions. In other words, they will be liable for any injuries they cause or exacerbate.

The Good Samaritan law also does not apply to people who commit willfully and wantonly negligent acts when performing emergency care. Willful and wanton negligence means that someone is aware of the dangerousness of their actions but decides to perform emergency care nonetheless. An example of willful and wanton negligence is someone who attempts to perform a surgical procedure without proper training or qualifications.

Finally, the Good Samaritan law does not apply to the person, people, or organization whose actions caused or contributed to the accident or injury. For instance, suppose a drunk driver caused a car wreck. The drunk driver would still have civil liability for causing the car wreck and associated injuries even if they provided emergency medical assistance to other victims.

If you or a loved one were hurt by emergency care given by someone who falls under these exceptions, contact a Texas personal injury attorney for advice. The right personal injury lawyer can thoroughly analyze your case and determine the next steps.

What Is the Good Samaritan 911 Law?

Texas’ Good Samaritan law applies when calling 911. You should be transparent and honest when talking to 911 personnel. Civil liability will apply if authorities believe you made misleading or fraudulent calls to 911.

SOURCES

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. “Section 74.” https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.74.htm. 

Morris & Dewett provides this information to the public for general education and interest. The firm does not represent clients in every topic discussed in legal & injury news. The information is curated and produced based on trends in law, governance, and society to present relevant issues to the general public. Every effort is made to provide accurate information. Do not make any decision solely based on the information provided, please seek relevant counsel for each topic area. Consult an attorney before making any legal decision, consult a doctor before making any medical decision, and consult a financial advisor before making any fiscal decision. If you have any legal needs that we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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