Lawyers and lawsuits do sometimes get in the way of good common sense. We admit it. But we feel that you should never expose yourself to legal trouble simply by helping someone at the scene of an accident. The law should protect people who want to be a hero by helping in an emergency.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about a lawyer suing you if you render emergency assistance to someone as a good samaritan. Maryland, like most states, has a law known as the Good Samaritan law. This law protects bystanders who render first aid or other emergency assistance. This is probably most applicable to car accidents in Maryland, but it can cover other types of emergency situations.
Maryland’s Good Samaritan law says that you cannot be held civilly liable for any act you do (or don’t do) when providing assistance or medical aid at the scene of an emergency. This law will cover you as long as the aid you provide is rendered in a “reasonably prudent manner” and you do it without a fee.
What constitutes a “reasonably prudent manner” is open to debate. We lawyers love to argue about the meaning of the word “reasonable.” But as a trial lawyer myself, I can tell you it would be very hard for any lawyer to sue you if you acted in good faith when rendering first aid. I imagine if you did something that crosses the line into “gross negligence”, you may be exposed to liability. But you would have to do something pretty unreasonable to cross that line.
So Maryland’s Good Samaritan law protects you if we ever need to give first aid at the scene of a car accident or other emergency. So go ahead – be a hero!