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Is Anyone Required To Lend A Helping Hand In An Emergency?

Stepping up or getting involved when you see someone in danger may seem like the right thing to do to you, but it is not always something that everybody else desires. If you are the one in danger or injured and in a position where you cannot help yourself, you may want another person to help you or get you help from emergency responders.  But can you sue someone for not helping you out? Is there an affirmative duty to rescue when a person sees you in need?

What is required of other people who come across an injured person in need of assistance depends on the circumstances.  Legally, very few states across the country have a duty to rescue law, and for those that do, it is very limited in scope.  For example, in Florida, it is a misdemeanor for a person who witnesses a sexual battery and reasonably believes that he is witnessing a sexual battery is required to at least report the matter to the police, if he would not be in physical danger in doing so.

In a situation where a person creates the dangerous situation that leads to another person’s injury, the person causing the situation does have a duty to offer assistance to the injured.  This is the general rule in Georgia.  Therefore, in Georgia, even when a person or entity refuses to call an ambulance or offer first aid, knowing that the injured person may be seriously injured or worse, there is no liability if the witness did not cause the emergency.  However, there are other states, including Florida, where a place of business that is open to the public, such a hotel or restaurant, may be liable to its patrons for failing to offer assistance if it knows them to be in danger.

Note that when a person creates the dangerous situation and another person comes to the rescue and is injured as part of the rescue, the person who caused the danger is liable for the rescuer’s injuries as well as the initial victim’s injuries.  There are other situations in which a person’s relationship to the victim requires him to offer assistance, such as with a parent and a child, or a teacher and a student.

Although people generally have no duty to offer assistance, a person who begins a rescue or begins to offer assistance is required to make sure that he finishes rendering aid before abandoning or leaving the injured person.  Therefore, if a person starts to offer you assistance in an emergency situation, and then abandons you before you get further assistance or are stabilized, or the person does something negligent in offering the assistance, then the person is likely to found liable for any additional injuries you sustain in the rescue.

Contact Us For Legal Assistance

If you were injured and failed to receive assistance from the person who caused your injuries, or from someone else who may have had a duty to assist you, you may have a personal injury claim against that person.  For a free consultation, contact experienced Florida and Georgia personal injury attorney Charlie J. Gillette, Jr. at Gillette Law, P.A.

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