Liability can be a concern that many people have when deciding to purchase an AED. Some states have Good Samaritan laws that provide additional liability protection for owners and users of AEDs.
Everyone is aware that the use of an AED can significantly improve the likelihood of survival for someone that has experienced a cardiac arrest.
Especially when applied within a three-to-five minute timeframe. Yet findings and statistics show that many people are still unwilling to use them. The intention of “Good Samaritan” laws is to offer protection to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist in an emergency due to a fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.
What is The Good Samaritan Law?
Good Samaritan in legal terms is “someone who renders aid in an emergency to an injured person on a voluntary basis. Usually, if a volunteer comes to the aid of an injured or ill person who is a stranger, the person giving the aid owes the stranger a duty of being reasonably careful. A person is not obligated by law to do first aid in most states, not unless it’s part of a job description.”
You may be wondering what The Good Samaritan Law is exactly. To answer your question, Good Samaritan laws are intended for non-medical professionals, often referred to as bystanders as it is not their job or responsibility to respond to an emergency, but to do so would be out of kindness. Whilst Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to someone in an accident or emergency situation, they can sometimes offer protection to the owner of the AED as well.
Protection for Companies
For many states such as California, the Good Samaritan law applies only to users. This is not the case in other states like Maine and Michigan where Good Samaritan laws do not only apply to individuals who use the AED but also the owners. This means that Good Samaritan laws could provide liability protection to companies depending on where they are located and the type of business they conduct. Some states actually require particular entities, such as fitness clubs and schools to have AEDs available and ready for use.
Even so, the protection available under existing Good Samaritan laws cannot prevent litigation. However, complying with state laws will work in your favour, increasing the likelihood of winning the case, if someone were to ever bring suit.
While all 50 states and the District of Columbia have Good Samaritan laws, there is no overarching federal law that applies, except for federal facilities, and the state laws and requirements vary a lot from state to state.
SCA is a leading cause of death in the United States and over 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur whilst victims are at work. Therefore, AEDs in the workplace are also essential even if they are not required by law. Hopefully you will be more at ease knowing that Good Samaritan laws are there to provide liability protection in the event of someone deciding to bring suit.
If you have any questions about the Good Samaritan Laws, you can get in touch with a member of the defibshop team by calling 800 989 7768.