Good Samaritan laws offer protection to individuals who offer assistance to other people in an emergency situation. These laws vary by state and location around the country. So, what is the Good Samaritan law in Georgia?
O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29 represents the state’s Good Samaritan law and protects any person from liability when rendering emergency care as long as they act in good faith. You can learn more about this section of Georgia’s legal code with our team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers.
What does Georgia State Law Say About Good Samaritans?
O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29 defines a Good Samaritan as any individual who renders assistance to another person in an emergency without the expectation of receiving a financial reward. Anyone who does ask for payment for their assistance no longer qualifies as a Good Samaritan.
Good Samaritans can include medical professionals as well as people with no medical training.
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The History of Georgia’s Good Samaritan Law
Georgia first set up a Good Samaritan law in 1962. The initial version of the law offered protection from civil litigation to anyone who rendered emergency care in good faith without charging anything for their services.
Over time, Georgia added additional features to the Good Samaritan law, including:
Provisions for Health Care Workers
Healthcare workers are expected to provide assistance in emergencies. The expansion of the Good Samaritan law offered them additional legal protection if they chose to offer their services to nonprofits and schools.
The protection under this subsection of the law only applies if the health care worker provides voluntary services for free. Note that these protections do not apply if the healthcare worker demonstrates wanton misconduct or gross negligence.
Provisions for Civil Liability During Disasters
Georgia passed another subsection of the Good Samaritan code in 1995. This subsection removed civil liability for acts of assistance to civilians during disasters. Covered situations include pandemics, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.
Note that this aspect of the law only provides liability protection for acts offered freely and without any financial obligation.
Provisions for AED Usage in Georgia
Finally, Georgia added a provision to provide protection to individuals who use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to attempt to assist someone experiencing cardiac arrest in public. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation reports that over 300,000 people face this issue every year, with the majority not surviving.
AEDs provide a way to address cardiac arrest quickly. However, their use may prove risky for untrained individuals. The AED provision in Georgia offers legal protection, encouraging individuals to offer assistance, when possible, instead of worrying about possible liability.
Georgia has continued to expand the Good Samaritan law in the state over time. Additional subsections deal with emergency care facilities, free clinics offering healthcare, and even the usage of different THC products.
Comparing the Good Samaritan Laws to the 911 Medical Amnesty Law
Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law functions in a similar manner to the state’s Good Samaritan laws. The medical amnesty law offers some individuals protection from:
- Criminal conviction
The law comes into effect if an individual finds someone they believe to be experiencing a drug overdose and contacts first responders for help. Before the advent of this law, many people hesitated to call for help due to worries about facing drug charges themselves.
The 911 Medical Amnesty Law also provides expanded access to Naxolene. Naxolene works to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses in some situations, making it a lifesaving option in some cases.
Medical Amnesty and Alcohol Overdoses
The medical amnesty law also offers protection to individuals who contact the authorities to help someone experiencing an alcohol overdose. The law provides amnesty to any substance abuse charges involving alcohol as well as for violations of:
- Protective orders
- Restraining orders
- Conditions of pretrial release
- Conditions of probation
- Conditions of parole
These laws help encourage people to help others by reducing their anxiety regarding facing civil litigation.
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Obligations to Help Others in Georgia
Georgia’s Good Samaritan and medical amnesty laws make it easier for you to help others without facing legal reprisals. However, you do not have a legal obligation to offer assistance to others in an emergency situation, especially as an untrained civilian.
These laws apply to people who offer help of their own free will and voluntarily. They do not apply if you were paid money to offer assistance.
Reach Out to Our Legal Team to Learn More About the Good Samaritan Law
Did you assist someone during an emergency or sustain injuries while someone else acted as a Good Samaritan in Georgia? In either case, you may wonder: what is the Good Samaritan Law in Georgia?
Our team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can provide you with answers to this question and help you determine if you have a legal case. Contact us online to learn more.