When an accident occurs, many bystanders hesitate to provide emergency assistance in case a lawsuit comes against them. To encourage bystanders to help injured parties, most states have created Good Samaritan Laws. These laws protect the individuals that assist other parties in an emergency. The state of Utah does not require you to provide emergency medical assistance unless you are a doctor, EMT, firefighter, or police officer. However, once you begin helping the injured party, you must act reasonably; acting in a negligent manner will cause you to be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Utah Code 78-11-22
According to Utah Code Annotated 78-11-22
A person who renders emergency care at or near the scene of, or during an emergency, gratuitously (this means free of charge) and in good faith, is not liable for any civil damages or penalties as a result of any act or omission by the person rendering the emergency care unless the person is grossly negligent or caused the emergency.
As used in this section, “emergency” means an unexpected occurrence involving injury, the threat of injury, or illness to a person or the public, including motor vehicle accidents, disasters, actual or threatened discharges, removal, or disposal of hazardous materials, and other accidents or events of a similar nature. “Emergency care” includes actual assistance or advice offered to avoid, mitigate, or attempt to mitigate the effects of an emergency.
Utah Code Simplified
A person who provides aid to an injured party, during an emergency (doing so voluntarily with good intentions) will not be liable for any damages. This exemption of liability only applies when the aiding party was not responsible for the emergency. For example, an at-fault driver will still hold liability for the accident even if they assist the injured party.
Define Good Samaritan
A ‘Good Samaritan’ is a person who voluntarily offers aid to another person in an emergency; without expecting compensation. Generally speaking, good samaritan laws protect those who have no responsibility to help in an emergency.
To qualify for the ‘Good Samaritan’ protection you must prove:
- The care given was a reaction to an emergency;
- The emergency did not result from the person providing aid; and
- The emergency did not result from the negligent or reckless actions of the person rendering aid.
What Does ‘Negligent’ Mean?
The term ‘negligence’ applies to actions that fall below the standard of reasonable behavior. ‘Negligence’ can further be defined as the failure to exercise reasonable care; “gross negligence” is used to describe a conscious or voluntary disregard for reasonable care. If you are found to have acted negligently, you will be held liable for any damages that result, regardless of your intentions.
What To Do If You Are First on the Scene After an Auto Accident
- Call 911
- Remain calm so you can communicate with the 911 dispatcher
- Assess the situation
- Move any injured parties out of harm’s way
- I.e. pull the driver/passengers out of a burning car
- Don’t move seriously injured people unless absolutely necessary
- Provide Basic First Aid
- I.e. CPR, Stop Wounds from Bleeding, etc
- Give emergency personnel immediate access to the accident site and the injured person
Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!