Who's a good Samaritan?

Note: I can't help but read the title of this post in baby- or puppy-talk. "Who's a big girl?" "Who's the cutest puppy in the whole wide world?" "Who's a good Samaritan?"

My colleague came back from AED training the other day, and said something about good Samaritans that made me wonder -- is anyone, provided they act in good faith toward someone who needs help in an emergency, covered by the Minnesota Good Samaritan Law?

Yyyyyyesss! This is the opportunity I've been waiting for to read through various legal websites! Huzzah!

There's the duty to assist part, that charges bystanders at the scene of an emergency with a petty misdemeanor for failure to "give reasonable assistance" to a person "exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall" (unless said assistance would place said bystander in peril).

Then there's the immunity from liability part, where a non-professional-medical-type person can "render emergency care, advice, or assistance at the scene of an emergency" without worrying about liability. This is the part where "person" is defined as "volunteer firefighter, volunteer police officer, volunteer ambulance attendant, volunteer first provider of emergency medical services, volunteer ski patroller, and any partnership, corporation, association, or other entity."

None of those are me.

I suspect that the law is intended to encourage the regular person to help people, and if I'm the only other person in the room with a defibrillator and a person having a heart attack, that I, as a layperson, would be covered under this law in both the duty to assist and the immunity from liability if I do assist that person. But, that's just me. Or is it...

Legal Resources

Find Law
Probably the first place I would go if I really needed to find something.

Law Help MN
A collection of links to outside sources that summarize the law. A project of four legal services organizations. Nothing about good Samaritans in the search box.

The Law Library
Contains an abundance of Internet legal resources, including a full-text search of court opinions since May of 1996. Good reads, and there are a few about good Samaritans in there.

Law Moose
An easy to use, well organized site that pulls information from many legal sites into one, and uses something called MooseBoost (which sounds like their metadata system) to effectively search the site. (Refers to the public edition). While "good Samaritan" is not a topic on its own, the keyword search seems to work pretty well.


Amy said...

Actually, if I remember right from first year torts, and this was generic and not MN specific, you don't have to assist, unless you have some sort of medical training. But, like I said that's not MN specific, but I don't think people can be held liable for not assisting, unless they are a doctor or nurse or some such...

Kat said...

Thanks! And somewhere in the MN law "reasonable assistance" can mean calling 9-1-1, too. For the layperson, at least.