When Can a Good Samaritan Be Sued for Helping an Injured Accident Victim?

bystander dialing 911Witnessing a car accident may compel someone to stop and render aid. He or she may dial 9-1-1, check for injuries and/or try to keep victims safe and calm while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.

Good Samaritans are generally legally protected from liability when attending to accident victims in distress. However, they are only protected to a certain extent. A Good Samaritan could be sued for damages if they cause an accident victim further injury that is deemed grossly negligent.

If you have been harmed due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to pursue significant compensation. Our firm has recovered hundreds of millions in compensation on our clients’ behalf. The initial consultation comes at no cost or obligation to you and there are zero upfront fees involved.

Learn if you have a case: (866) 320-4770

What is Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act?

Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act helps to protect individuals from legal liability when assisting others in need. The Act intends to encourage anyone to try to help when they can without fear of being sued.

However, certain criteria must be met. A Good Samaritan must be assisting voluntarily and without reasonable expectation of compensation or reward. He or she must also be providing emergency first aid assistance to a victim that is ill, injured or unconscious as a result of an accident or other emergency.

Under the law, a Good Samaritan cannot be held liable for damages while providing aid – even if his or her conduct was negligent. The only time an individual can be sued is for damages caused by grossly negligent conduct. What is considered gross negligence is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The Act also extends to health care professionals who provide emergency care outside the workplace without access to medical tools and resources. An off-duty physician, for instance, who provides care in an emergency cannot be held liable unless his or her actions are also deemed to be grossly negligent.

No Legal Obligation to Help Out

In Ontario, there is no legal obligation for a bystander to act in an emergency situation. Some people decide to help out anyway out of compassion. If an individual does act to help an accident victim in distress, he or she is expected to exercise due care and try to protect themselves from harm.

No Liability if You Act Reasonably

A Good Samaritan is legally protected from liability if he or she acted reasonably. By getting involved, that individual must do what a reasonable person would do in the same situation. This means providing assistance without causing an unreasonable risk of harm to the accident victim.

When a Good Samaritan Could Be Sued

Helping an accident victim can often do more harm than good. Unnecessarily moving an accident victim can cause further injury and complicate his or her recovery. If a victim suffered a spinal cord injury, moving the victim without knowing of this injury could increase the risk of paralysis.

Only instances of gross negligence can result in a Good Samaritan being sued. Gross negligence refers to reckless or voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care that leads to further injury and/or damages.

A Good Samaritan who knows that they could endanger a victim they are trying to help but willfully disregards that knowledge and intervenes anyway will likely not be protected under the law.

An example of gross negligence is a bystander with no medical training who performs an improvised procedure on an accident victim that was not medically necessary and ends up worsening an injury.

Helping Injured Accident Victims for Decades

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, it is important that you contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our car accident lawyers in Windsor have helped many injured accident victims and their families over the years obtain the maximum compensation possible for their damages.

An initial consultation is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. If we determine that you have a valid case and decide to move forward, we charge zero upfront fees.

Call (866) 320-4770 for legal help today.