Being a Good SamaritanRonald E. Janzen
Be a Good Samaritan!
Have you ever been hesitant to assist someone in an accident because you are worried about liability? You should not be worried.
In December 2006 a new law came into effect in Manitoba called "The Good Samaritan Protection Act". That legislation is one of the shorter pieces of legislation in Manitoba and contains 3 sections which are recited in full at the end of this article.
This legislation is very simple and self explanatory and basically ensures that no one will be legally liable for injury or death to victims whom they attempt to assist who have been the victims of an accident or medical emergency. There are very limited exceptions to this such as gross negligence, or the higher duties imposed on people employed in the medical service field or providing services with a view to gain.
For example, the hockey or soccer coaches among us who might attempt to assist in an emergency situation, will not be liable.
You will also see a specific provision for volunteers. For example, volunteer fire fighters or neighborhood watch groups (such as the "Citizens on Patrol" groups in many communities) will also not be liable unless grossly negligent or employed for pay to do so. These principles are also taught through courses such as St. John's Ambulance and Emergency First Aid courses.
People still may be hesitant to assist in some situations. For example, there have been tales of people pretending to have broken down cars and then carjacking good Samaritans who have stopped to try to assist them. Also, some situations may be dangerous for other reasons. While there may be good reasons like those mentioned to avoid helping, we hope that if you are faced with a clear medical emergency situation, that you will not hesitate to assist anyone in Manitoba out of fear of being sued for the person's injuries or possible death.
“The Good Samarian Protection Act
No liability unless gross negligence
1 A person who voluntarily provides emergency medical services, aid or advice to the victim of an accident or medical emergency at the immediate scene of the accident or emergency is not liable in damages for injury or death to the victim caused by the person's acts or omissions in providing the medical services, aid or advice unless that person is grossly negligent.
2 Section 1 does not apply if the person providing the medical services, aid or advice
(a) is employed expressly for that purpose; or
(b) does so with a view to gain.
Members of volunteer organizations covered
3 For greater certainty, section 1 applies to a member of a volunteer organization that provides first aid, ski patrol, neighbourhood watch or patrol or other similar services who receives a payment or other benefit in recognition of his or her services, so long as the payment or other benefit is not provided as a result of an employer-employee relationship.”