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  • In June 2015, New York’s state Senate passed a new Good Samaritan law. The law protects

  • those who would break the window of a hot car to save a child. Good Samaritan laws around

  • the world offer different protections in different situations. So, what exactly are Good Samaritan

  • laws?

  • Well essentially, the law gives legal protection from being prosecuted, to those who attempt

  • to help people that are injured, or in danger. The idea is that in some cases, people may

  • think twice about assisting others if potentially threatened with a lawsuit. These laws are

  • found around the world. However, some countries have caveats concerning the situations in

  • which they apply.

  • In many countries Good Samaritan laws simply protect the intervening party, as well as

  • any medical professionals. However, not all parts of those countries have similar laws.

  • For example, certain regions of Canada, such as New Brunswick don’t have Good Samaritan

  • laws. But in Quebec, bystanders are legally required to step in and help. This is called

  • a “duty to rescue”.

  • This concept means that if youre near somebody who needs help, you are required to step in,

  • or call the police. Duty to rescue is found in Germany, Israel, and parts of the United

  • States. In fact, Israel even offers compensation to rescuers, and pays for any damages incurred.

  • While in Germany, refusing to assist can be punishable by law. In the US, all but 8 states

  • have Good Samaritan laws for individuals, and two have a duty to rescue.

  • Additionally, some states apply the concept ofimminent peril”. This means that one

  • is not protected under these laws if the person they are trying to help is not immediately

  • facing significant danger, injury, or death. A common example is somebody who suffers a

  • car accident and is forcibly removed from the vehicle by a “Good Samaritan”. If

  • there is nothing demanding immediate attention, like the car being on fire, then the Good

  • Samaritan is not protected by Good Samaritan laws. This is to avoid situations where injured

  • people are inadvertently injured further.

  • On the flipside, countries with no protections have disastrous cultural results. China is

  • well known for situations where Good Samaritans are sued by the people they help. This has

  • led to a phenomenon of bystanders outright refusing to assist those in immediate peril.

  • One particularly gruesome case was in 2011, when a toddler was struck by two vehicles.

  • A video shows 18 bystanders walk past the injured child lying motionless, but they do

  • nothing to help her. In a survey taken later that year, more than 70% of those polled believed

  • that the bystanders were afraid of getting in trouble for trying to help the little girl.

  • As a global society intended to help each other in times of need, Good Samaritan laws

  • prevent a chilling effect on this normal human behavior. The idea that one should fear retribution

  • for offering assistance, and potentially saving a life, has no place in modern society.

  • If you want to dive deeper into the world of complicated legal and health related issues,

  • check out our video here about the debate over assisted suicide. Please remember to

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In June 2015, New York’s state Senate passed a new Good Samaritan law. The law protects

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Can You Be Sued For Saving Someone’s Life?

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    劉宜佳 posted on 2016/02/25
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