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Are Good Samaritans protected after accidents?

If you watch “Good Morning America, ” “Today,” or “CBS This Morning,” you may grow tired of the leading news story being a snowstorm on the eastern seaboard. After all, it’s not like snow only falls in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, here we are again with another top news flash about a “Nor’easter” that is bearing down on the region.

Just so you know, we just dealt with a snowstorm yesterday…no major headlines. 

What is likely to make headlines in the next couple days are stories of Good Samaritans helping people who are unable to dig out of their homes, or who had cars that slid into snow banks. While we like to see that people actually care enough to help people in distress that they don’t even known, people can also be wary about the legal implications of hurting someone during a rescue. Essentially, they don’t want to be sued after taking time to rescue someone.

This is why “Good Samaritan” laws are important. Basically, these statutes protect people who come to the aid of a victim, and that person is harmed during the rescue. Generally speaking, passersby do not owe a legal duty to help someone in distress. However, once a person decides to help, they have an obligation to act as a reasonable person would in the same circumstances. If a volunteer fails to meet this standard, and the victim is injured, the rescuer could be held liable.

To avoid this ironic situation, a rescuer can take solace that he or she could be protected under the law. 

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Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC
123 7th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

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