Can you be sued for giving first aid?

Discussion in 'First Aid and Medicine' started by terryse, May 24, 2016.

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  1. terryse

    terryse Member
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    If you help someone and do your best to give first aid, yet the victim died, is there a chance of being sued or legally liable?
     
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  2. Arkane

    Arkane Master Survivalist
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    Yes there is a chance
    Depends where you are and who you are!
    Check your laws in your area
    and check who YOU actually are! as in are you trained, are you paid, are you in any way in charge? is it your work place! Duty of care etc etc!

    Generally joe nobody walking down the street with no training and no responsibility is covered by the good samaratan clause!
    What it is called where you are I do not know! but might pay to check it out!
     
  3. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    This may depend on where you are living, but here in NSW Australia I believe that if you have a current first aid certificate then you can not be sued. Here are some links to more information: http://aplgroup.com.au/media/wysiwyg/LibraryArticles/FirstAid_and_Law.pdf
    http://www.stjohnnsw.com.au/faq/w1/i1004784/
    http://www.realfirstaid.co.uk/dutyofcare/
    http://www.projectnatureed.com.au/web library/First Aid Legal Considerations.pdf
    Keith.
     
  4. Arboreal

    Arboreal Active Member
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    In Poland the accuser would have to prove you purposefully neglected or sabotaged the process of giving first aid, so as long as you can demontsate that you're just a regular person with no professional knowledge of medicine, you're safe. It's allowed to sacrifice material good to save a life, so even if you cause any damages, the state will cover the liabilities. More importantly, giving first aid is actually mandatory here, and if you're caught ignoring a victim, you can be punished with a heavy fine and even prison time, up to three years (AFAIK in practice, only people who caused the accident in the first place get this punishment).

    It seems a very bad idea to punish people for giving first aid. I've once read that this is particularly bad in China - that people routinely ignore the victims of traffic accidents etc. because they fear they will be later framed and forced to pay restitution. They had once a scandal where a guy was heavily fined for helping an old woman who fainted in a bus in Nanjing. Her family claimed he injured her, and a judge agreed, claiming that no one would bother to help a stranger, unless they wanted to conceal causing the accident in the first place! The story has a happy end, since court of appeal cleared the chap and ordered the greedy family to pay him restitution, but apparently it caused a lot of soul-searching in Chinese public.
     
  5. Cara

    Cara New Member
      3/23

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    I depends (if you live in the United States) on your states good Samaritan laws are. Some states you are free and clear if you administer aid and the person dies. Other states can prosecute you IF you DO NOT stop and help too. Its a slippery slope. Also check on civil laws. A person could sue you civilly because you did administer aid and didn't have training or certification too. It all depends on the state and its laws.
     
  6. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    My father-in-law used to be a lecturer for first aiders. I remember him telling stories when he comes home from the seminar. The usual issue is the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation which was always demonstrated in fun. But on a serious thought, the CPR is a delicate matter for the need of CPR is a life and death situation. And even if you are trained in applying CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation - for those having difficulty in breathing caused by heart attack) there is the risk of being sued when the patient expires. That is one question that I would like to ask the attendees of the seminar (I haven't met any though) because if indeed CPR poses a risk to you then why would you save someone at the cost of your well-being? If you saved the patient then you are a hero but if the patient dies and the family sues you? It is like a gamble.

    I have no training or knowledge of CPR and I would just probably call someone who knows in case there is a need for CPR.
     
  7. Deeishere

    Deeishere Member
      18/23

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    There is a Good Samaritan law to protect people who are trying to resuscitate or provide help in an emergency. I believe it varies from state to state of how much does it cover. If there wasn't a law, no one would risk saving someone. Those first few minutes are so important and may determine whether or not that person lives. I did take CPR classes many years ago. I know one instructor showed us a protective device that we place over our mouth to avoid direct contact. Having special protection comes in handy since we don't know what people have these days.
     
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  8. Cara

    Cara New Member
      3/23

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    Yes you can get portable CPR mask that fit in your pocket. They are anywhere from $5 to $15 depending on what other supplies come with it, for example like an AMBU bag. Those can be portable to and fit in you pocket. You can buy kits that come with both adult and peds. masks plus the AMBU bag, alcohol swabs and a pair of gloves for like $25 dollars. This would be good to throw in the first aid kit if you don't have one in there already.
     
  9. Lakeisha Brown

    Lakeisha Brown New Member
      8/23

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    Military certification is called Self Aid Buddy Care (SABC). I am certified to perform first aid but I would rather be sued than to let someone die without help or die waiting on help. My heart is bigger than some lawsuit.
     
  10. 111kg

    111kg New Member
      3/23

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    It depends. In Romania, you are allowed to perform basic first aid procedures, but you can't do a tracheostomy without having a medical qualification or else you could get in trouble with the law. This is why it's always better to do only what you know you can accomplish successfully. Otherwise, you may do more harm than good.
     
  11. Lisa Davis

    Lisa Davis Active Member
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    I asked my lawyer friend who also stated that Good Samaritan Laws and the general distaste for such trials by judges usually prevent lawsuits like this from ever happening or at least being fruitful. However, if someone doesn't know what they are doing and performs some sort of rescue attempt, it could result in further injury or death. Also, I worry about communicable diseases when I think of CPR. Yes, I definitely want to save someone, but what if I catch something in the process? Especially in a survivalist situation, it would really be hard to get proper medical treatment for whatever you contract.
     
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  12. SirJoe

    SirJoe Expert Member
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    I did learn some first aid when I was in school but curiously enough this subject never really came up. In the case of CPR you do have to be extra careful, it's not like they show in the movies. If someone had to use the same amount of force they do in the movies they would probably brake the poor persons ribs. I remember when we were tested and had to do CPR on a manikin. Our first aid tester would scream, " there goes his ribs " every time some one was a bit too overzealous.
     
  13. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Expert Member
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    In some countries you need to have a license to perform first aid, otherwise you can and probably will be sued by the family if the victim dies. one of the biggest problems is that first aid can break a person's ribs, so it depends on the situation. Sure, if the victim is going to die anyway and you perform CPR, I'm sure you will win the lawsuit if you have evidence for that.
    Here in Romania you're allowed to perform CPR without a license.
     
  14. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member
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    I believe in some states in the US you can be, but not in the UK.
    in any case its only until you can hand over when the paramedics arrive.
     
  15. Lisa

    Lisa Active Member
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    In some cases I think you can be sued for injuring someone while performing CPR which I think is atrocious. Basically when you do compressions on someone the force of it can break the ribs away from the breast bone, there is nothing you can do about it it just happens sometimes but I have read stories where people have performed CPR and helped to save a life and then been sued for injuries caused by compressions. Ridiculous.
     
  16. Lisa

    Lisa Active Member
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    Breaking the ribs is not a sign of performing CPR incorrectly, you have to apply that amount of force to ensure blood flow, unfortunately on some people (particularly the elderly or frail) there is a chance of breaking ribs, I've done it myself on patients in the hospital where I work. It's not pleasant but it's necessary, you shouldn't be taught to fear breaking ribs, you should be taught to make sure you apply the correct pressure to achieve optimum blood flow.
     
  17. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member
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    I think that is bad, it would put a lot of people off trying to help.
     
  18. judyd1

    judyd1 New Member
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    There is always that possibility, maybe you've heard the new adage: No good deed goes unpunished.

    As long as accidents happen, as long as people want to blame others, as long as there are people who focus on the negative, and as long as there are ungrateful human beings, there is the possibility that you will be blamed for trying (and failing) to help someone.

    Isn't it a mixed-up world we live in when (1) someone can get sued for helping someone who later dies but (2) there are good Samaritan laws that you can break if you DON'T come to someone's aid?
     
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  19. Deeishere

    Deeishere Member
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    Yeah, I am with you on prevention of getting a disease. I would want to protect myself too and it's nothing wrong with that. We all want to survive. I agree that we all should want to promote life. The problem is when a love one dies, it's so easy to just blame someone and make them pay for the death. Then you may have greedy people who just want to make a buck off the tragedy. Sadly, it's the crooked times we are living in.
     
  20. BeautifullyBree

    BeautifullyBree Active Member
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    Unfortunately you probably do have some liability. Some people would be thankful, but others might think you cause it(mistakingly ofcourse). Its sad you can't help people anymore without worrying they may sue you. People are money hungry.
     
  21. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Expert Member
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    Technically yes, if you are not a licensed medical practitioner, and you did more harm than good in a life or death situation, you are liable to get sued as well, because of the damage you did to the victim. It goes on the opposite end of the spectrum as well, if you are a licensed medical practitioner and you did NOT do anything to aid someone in need, you are also liable to get sued, as it is your duty to help those in need if the time arises. It's a fairly complex thing, but it all comes down to knowledge and experience.
     
  22. Derek Moore

    Derek Moore New Member
      3/23

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    In the United States your are protected by a law called the Good Samaritan Act. This law summarizes that you can't be sued as long as you are trained to give first aid such as CPR. Although this is active, it cannot protect everything someone does. For example, if you perform CPR to an unconscious patient without knowing a thing anout CPR, you can be sued big time. This often happens in public recreational facilities such as parks, pools, and other locations.
     
  23. SirJoe

    SirJoe Expert Member
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    When I did my training they did talk about this. In certain circumstances it just has to be done that way, fortunately I haven't had to put it into practice. The only thing that I have is the Heimlich maneuver.
     
  24. Bonzer

    Bonzer New Member
      8/23

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    Well, it depends on local laws. Sometimes, the patient may die even after following all practices of first-aid scrupulously. Unless you have a first-aid license you may find yourself in a soup. This is unfortunate but true. Your best bet is to call an Ambulance or muster local support who could be willing to argue in your favor, out of humanity.
     
  25. crmeche2

    crmeche2 New Member
      8/23

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    For me, I am CPR and First Aid certified, I weigh the risk with the benefit. I received the training because I was required to as a high school coach, but while in the training, I realized how important this knowledge is. When considering whether or not to provide CPR or first aid because of the risk of lawsuit, I often remind myself of the reality of what could happen if I do not provide it. I would rather face a lawsuit than knowing that I knew how to save a life and did not because of fear of being sued, but that is just my take on the situation. Yes, people are money hungry, and accidents sometimes do occur. Yet, I would rather take the chance and save a life.
     
  26. My3Sons_NJ

    My3Sons_NJ New Member
      8/23

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    I believe that in the United States, the Good Samaritan laws protect the person who is giving first aid WITH the caveat that the assistance must be considered 'reasonable' and, based on the jurisdiction, the level of training that the personnel offering assistance has. It is different from a 'duty to rescue' law where you can be held personally liable if you fail to attempt to give aid to an injured or otherwise incapacitated person. The more liberal-leaning (i.e. blue states) do post some restrictions on the Good Samaritan law leaving untrained people liable in the event of further injury to the victim while trained personnel are offered immunity while giving aid.
     
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