The term “good Samaritan” originates from the Parable of the
Good Samaritan, a famous allegory included in the Christian Gospel of
Luke. Over the centuries, this designation has been repurposed into a
common metaphor that describes any charitable, helpful, or selfless individual.
For example, a good Samaritan can be a person who helps a stranger change
a flat tire or habitually donates money to an animal rescue organization.
In more serious circumstances, a good Samaritan can also refer to a citizen
who comes to the aid of others in emergency situations.
Liability Issues & the Texas Good Samaritan Act
The first hour after an accident is referred to as the “golden hour”
by the medical community. During this time period, even inexperienced
medical attention can mean the difference between life and death. Unfortunately,
it’s not unusual for an accident victim to sustain additional and
even fatal injuries because a good Samaritan is trying to be helpful.
After all, the average bystander lacks the essential medical knowledge
and insight to accurately appraise an accident victim’s condition.
and worse, the
Texas Good Samaritan Act generally protects these well-intentioned individuals from costly negligence
claims. According to the law, “A person who in good faith administers
emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable
in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the
act is willfully or wantonly negligent.” In other words, this law
protects a good Samaritan if they act in good faith and out of concern
for another person’s safety.
The Texas Good Samaritan Act does not protect:
- A good Samaritan who injures a person in an act of blatant negligence.
- An individual who requests a monetary reward for rendering aid.
- A person who was at the accident scene to solicit business.
- Someone who regularly administers health care services, such as “an
admitting physician or treating physician.”
Good Samaritan Disputes
Automobile accidents frequently result in good Samaritan disputes. When
a serious collision occurs, it’s normal to see bystanders pull over,
call 911, and even help injured parties escape from damaged vehicles.
Without the Texas Good Samaritan Act, an injured passenger could feasibly
sue a person who helped them escape a burning vehicle if it resulted in
You can review these additional examples to understand how the Texas Good
Samaritan Act protects civilians:
- An at-fault driver can’t pursue damages against a good Samaritan
just to offset the cost of an accident.
- A near-drowning victim can’t take legal action against someone who
saved their life using CPR, even if the chest compressions broke their
ribs or resulted in a collapsed lung.
Various states have enacted similar laws to encourage civilian action during
the “golden hour.” However, these protections are not available
to first responders, licensed health care providers, or even tow truck
companies because they arrived at the scene for “business purposes.”
For instance, a
car accident victim can sue a tow truck company if their vehicle suffers additional
damage while being towed.
Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC Today
personal injury attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC if you’ve been injured in an accident
or have questions about the Texas Good Samaritan Act. Our resourceful
attorneys can investigate your case, identify any negligent parties, calculate
your injury-related expenses, and help you pursue a monetary award that
facilitates your overall recovery.
We’re available to you 24/7.
Call The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.