Does Missouri Have a Good Samaritan Law for Medical Professionals?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on December 7, 2020
Many states, including Missouri, enforce a Good Samaritan law for medical professionals. States enact these statutes to encourage bystanders who have medical training to intervene in case they witness a medical emergency. In Missouri, this Good Samaritan law provides protection from liability to certain medical professionals.
Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law
A good Samaritan is a person who provides aid to other people who are suffering from an emergency. In the past, medical professionals who have come to another person’s aid during an unexpected emergency put themselves at risk of liability; if the good Samaritan accidentally caused more harm while providing care in good faith, the victim could file a lawsuit against him or her for these injuries.
These practices deterred medical professionals from providing emergency aid out of fear of potential repercussions, but Missouri Statute Section 537.037 aimed to change this. This Good Samaritan law states that individuals with medical training will not face civil liability if his or her aid results in damages for the victim.
This law extends to drug overdose emergencies as well. People who call for emergency help for an overdose will not face criminal prosecution, even if they are involved with drugs. This law intends to encourage people to immediately intervene in these life-threatening situations without fear of repercussions.
Who Is Protected Under Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law?
Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law does not apply to bystanders or laypeople without medical training. These individuals may still face liability if he or she causes harm while providing aid during a medical emergency.
For a medical professional to qualify for this liability protection, he or she must meet the following criteria.
- The individual is a physician, registered nurse, mental health professional, surgeon, mobile emergency medical technician (EMT), or holds a first aid certification from a recognized program.
- The individual provided aid without compensation at the scene of an emergency. The individual held the good-faith belief that he or she was helping the victim.
- The individual did not commit gross negligence, willful harm, or the wanton disregard for the victim’s safety while providing aid.
What Happens If a Good Samaritan Causes Harm?
If you suffer a medical emergency and a good Samaritan harms you, you may have options for legal action in certain situations. You will need to prove that the individual either did not qualify under this law, or committed an act of gross negligence, willful harm, or wrongful disregard for your safety.
In good Samaritan cases, gross negligence occurs when a person knew or should have known that his or her actions would result in harm to the victim but continued to intervene anyway. Gross negligence can be very difficult to prove; the line between ordinary negligence, which involves careless mistakes or inattention, and gross negligence, which involves more than simple carelessness, is very thin.
Injuries involving good Samaritans require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. These attorneys have significant experience identifying the difference between gross and ordinary negligence, as well as collecting evidence, deposing witnesses, and building compelling cases for the courtroom. An attorney will understand Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law and can evaluate your case to determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit.
Immediately after your accident, visit a hospital to receive medical attention and save all documents from your visit. Once you receive treatment, contact a Kansas City personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.