Alabama has a Good Samaritan law, but it generally only provides protection from civil liability for doctors and other health care providers. Medical professionals cannot be sued for malpractice as long as they provide emergency care in good faith. They could be a bystander or a witness to an accident or incident outside of their clinic or hospital.
In general, this law encourages those with medical training to put their experience and education to use when they encounter a situation that requires emergency action. There are also aspects of this law that apply to anyone who renders certain types of aid, specifically using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock a heart back into rhythm.
Understanding Alabama’s Good Samaritan Law
Under Ala. Code § 6-5-332, some trained professionals can provide aid in emergency situations outside of their own hospital or clinic without risk of civil liability. With the exception of using an AED for heart issues, this law only applies to professionals with certain types of training. The statute includes a long list of qualifying professions, which includes:
- Rescue squad members
- Firefighters, including volunteers
- Law enforcement
- Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) licensed in the state
- Public education employees
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Many Other States Offer Broad Protections
Most Good Samaritan laws began as a way to protect medical professionals. Over time, however, many states expanded their statutes and included other untrained bystanders. Whether through case law or their Good Samaritan statute, many states now protect any volunteer who provides aid to an injured or ill person during an emergency.
Alabama, however, provides relatively narrow protections for most individuals. To this end, many people may hesitate to act in an Alabama emergency if they are aware of the potential civil liabilities.
Providing help in an emergency can cause injuries in many ways. Those who already have injuries may be at an increased risk for additional issues or complications. For example, moving someone with a back or neck injury can lead to paralysis or nerve damage.
Good Samaritan Laws Encourage Trained Professionals to Provide Aid
In the past, trained professionals might have been hesitant to provide help in emergency situations outside of the facilities where they worked. Getting involved and providing volunteer services to those hurt or experiencing a medical emergency could have exposed them to civil liability if the victim they helped suffered additional injuries or they were unable to save them.
States passed Good Samaritan laws to encourage these professionals with high levels of training, experience, and knowledge to act when they encounter an emergency. With these statutes in place, they can get involved without being scared they will be sued. This is vital in many cases because seconds count. Quick action can matter. It can save a life in circumstances that include:
- Heart attacks or strokes
- Asthma attacks or anaphylaxis
- Accident injuries with severe bleeding
- Fires or drownings
It is crucial to understand that Good Samaritan legislation does not stop every victim from pursuing a civil lawsuit against the party who rendered aid. In Alabama, if that person was a bystander with no special training, they may not have any protections under the law if their actions inadvertently contribute to the victim’s injuries.
What If Someone Caused My Alabama Injuries
If you believe your injuries were caused or worsened by someone else’s actions, whether in an accident or afterward, you might have a case. Our team can determine if the Good Samaritan law applies or not. You can speak with one of our attorneys for free.
We encourage you to reach out and talk to a lawyer about what you can do and how you may be able to recover compensation. It may be possible to hold someone who tried to offer aid in an emergency situation legally responsible—regardless of their training—if they acted with willful negligence or did not demonstrate good faith to help you instead of making things worse.
You generally only have two years in Alabama to sue for compensation in a personal injury case. This deadline is set by statute: Ala. Code § 6-2-38. Certain factors may shorten it, though. In any case, if you miss your deadline, you could lose the opportunity to take legal action and recover compensation. There are also many steps you need to take before filing a lawsuit, so acting quickly is important.
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Morris Bart & Associates, LLC Offers Free Case Reviews
If you were hurt by someone else’s actions, you can discuss your case and learn about your options during a free case review with an Alabama personal injury attorney from the Morris Bart law firm. We can help you determine your rights and how we may be able to help you. We are a contingency fee firm, so your family will never pay anything up front for our aid.
Reach out to an attorney at one of our locations in Alabama today.
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