Can I Be Sued as a Good Samaritan in California?

In general, if you are providing emergency care to someone in need at the scene of an emergency in the State of California, you can not be sued.

As of 2009, California Health and Safety Code 1799.102 reads “No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency medical or nonmedical care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission.”

The keywords here are:

  • compensation – (are you being paid to help this person, or are you pulling them out of a dangerous situation out of kindness?)
  • at the scene of an emergency – (are you in a hospital, or are you at the scene of a terrible car accident?)

Yes, back in 2008, someone did sue their friend for pulling them out of a wrecked car.

80 Good Samaritans are Killed at Accident Scenes Every Year.

In October 2018, an off duty firefighter was killed in a crash on the 215 in LA by a drunk driver.

In February 2019, a retired firefighter was killed at an accident scene in Florida by a drunk driver.

If emergency responders are getting hit and killed at accident scenes, that means you can too. So, be careful, but if you are indeed rescuing one you shouldn’t be overly worried about a lawsuit.


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