Colorado’s Good Samaritan Law Explained
Imagine that you are driving along when you suddenly happen upon a wrecked vehicle. You appear to be the first one there. You see no police, no emergency services, and you hear no sirens. You can clearly see someone lying on the roadway. They seem to be unconscious and are not moving. What do you do in this situation? Do you stop and offer assistance? Do you keep driving and just keep a good thought for the person so obviously in need of assistance? A lot of Colorado residents are hesitant to get involved due to their worries concerning legal responsibility. These worries are approached in the Colorado Good Samaritan Act.
Who Does the Good Samaritan Law Protect?
Colorado’s Good Samaritan Law shields people from any legal responsibility should they choose to respond in an emergency situation by offering assistance to a victim who has been injured. The Good Samaritan Law is designed to reassure people that it is safe to provide emergency assistance without the worry of a potential lawsuit hanging over their heads.
Surgeons and Doctors
The Colorado Good Samaritan Act explicitly talks about those who have undergone medical training because they are in the best position to offer aid in the disordered moments that often follow a car accident. These people include licensed nurses, surgeons, doctors, and additional medical professionals. Because of the education and expertise that medical professionals possess, it is believed that they will give that same level of professional medical care if it should be called for in an emergency situation.
Medical professionals might, however, be hesitant to administer medical assistance while not in the confines of a doctor’s office or a hospital for that very reason; the care they give is expected to adhere to specific criteria. It states in the Good Samaritan Act that physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other medical personnel who volunteer their emergency help in good faith at the scene of a car crash without any expectation of being compensated may not be held responsible in any way should their action or inaction caused the victim’s injury to worsen.
In order for the law to be relevant, the emergency caregiver would have to perform any life-saving measures at the accident site and they should not have any expectation of receiving any form of payment. The kinds of actions that are included in these laws deal with medical services, first aid, transportation, and rescue procedures. Physicians may only be held responsible if their actions are considered to be grossly negligent while providing emergency care.
The Good Samaritan Law is not applicable to any funded or paid first responders who report to the site of a crash while they are on duty and render medical aid or rescue assistance because they have the expectation of receiving compensation in the form of a paycheck for doing their job. Should a first responder report to the accident scene and provide emergency help while having the expectation of financial compensation, the injured party might then have a valid legal reason to file a lawsuit if the first responder was negligent in the care that was provided.
Member of a Volunteer Rescue Squad
The Colorado Good Samaritan Act also protects individual volunteers who are part of a rescue unit from any legal accountability when they give emergency assistance in good faith. Rescue squads are non-profit organizations contracted by the state of Colorado to provide various emergency services. These rescue squads may be awarded money from the state government so that they are able to cover their costs.
Ski Patrol Members
Ski patrols administer rescue assistance in the snow-covered regions of Colorado. Many of the voluntary members of these ski patrols are physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other types of trained medical personnel.
Volunteer members of ski patrols are protected under the Good Samaritan Act. For it to be relevant to volunteer members of any ski patrol, they must have provided emergency care without any financial compensation or the expectation of any financial compensation.
Members are allowed to accept free ski passes and various other perks for being a member of the ski patrol. These incentives, however, do not qualify as payment.
Not-For-Profit Call Center Responders
The Colorado Good Samaritan Act also refers to any volunteer who handles the phone lines of a not-for-profit organization. These are groups that voluntarily answer phone calls concerning emergency situations and advise people on the best and/or safest course of action.
If someone sustains an injury during an accident and dials a not-for-profit call center, the caller is unable to bring a lawsuit against the volunteer operator for unforeseen incidents that stem from the advice that they gave.
Should Regular Citizens Take Life-Saving Measures?
The Colorado Good Samaritan Act also extends to everyday citizens who are in no way accredited health care providers. A commonplace person is allowed to provide emergency care to a victim without the fear of legal blowback should things not go as expected.
If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of another person’s distracted driving or other negligent behavior, then you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for damages. You need a reputable personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling these kinds of cases.
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