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For National Do Something Nice Day, Follow Our Courts checked in with Shouse Injury Law Group in San Bernardino to explain the Good Samaritan Law.

They have created a video to explain quickly what the law is, including where you are covered and where you are not when you are trying to come to someone’s aid:

They also provide this information on their website:

California Good Samaritan law protects you from civil liability when

  1. you act in good faith,
  2. not seeking compensation,
  3. to render emergency medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency.

The law is codified in Health & Safety Code 1799.102, which reads:

(a) No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency medical or nonmedical care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission. The scene of an emergency shall not include emergency departments and other places where medical care is usually offered. This subdivision applies only to the medical, law enforcement, and emergency personnel specified in this chapter.

The protection against civil liability extended under the GSL does not include instances of gross negligence and willful or wanton misconduct.

Please note that HSC 1799.102 originally only applied to “medical care,” but with the passage of Assembly Bill 83 in 2009, it now applies to “nonmedical care” as well.

Also note that the GSL is silent on criminal liability, which means a “good Samaritan” could technically face criminal charges if he or she commits a crime in the provision of emergency care. Charges could include:

In contrast, criminal liability is extended (in some situations) to persons in possession of drugs, or using drugs, if they seek medical help if another person is experiencing a drug-related overdose.


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