Court Interprets “Good Samaritan Law” Broadly in Truck Accident Case

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Ohio issued a written opinion dealing with that state’s “Good Samaritan Law.” In the case of Carter v. Reese, the court interpreted the law broadly, including anyone who performs any kind of emergency care. Importantly, the law covers anyone, rather than just medical professionals, as the plaintiff had argued.

Old TruckThe Facts of the Case

Carter was a truck driver. He arrived at his destination and began to unload the trailer he had been pulling. After he was done, he pulled his truck about four to six inches away from the loading dock and put it in park. As he made his way around the back of his truck and up to the loading dock, Carter fell. His leg became stuck between the loading dock and the truck.

At this time, Carter began calling for help because, while he didn’t feel any pain, he was unable to get his leg free. Reese heard Carter’s calls and responded. Carter told Reese to get into the cab of the truck and pull the truck forward so that Carter could free himself. Reese agreed but realized soon after he got into the cab that he didn’t know how to operate the rig. He attempted to rev the engine and move forward, but the truck slid backward instead, crushing Carter’s leg in the process.

Carter filed a personal injury lawsuit against Reese, arguing that Reese’s negligence in moving the truck led to his injuries. At trial, Reese argued that his conduct should be covered under the state’s “Good Samaritan Law.” In Ohio, the “Good Samaritan Law” acts to protect “any person” from liability if they cause another person’s injury while attempting to provide “emergency care.”

Carter argued that the Law should not cover Reese because Reese was not a medical professional and was not providing medical care when he caused Carter’s injuries. Reese, however, argued that the language contained in the Law was specifically written in broad terms, and it should include non-medical professionals who provide any kind of care.

The Court parsed the language of the law and ultimately agreed with Reese. The court found it persuasive that the legislature could have – but chose not to – add in the terms “medical professional” and “emergency medical care.” As a result, Carter’s lawsuit against Reese will not be permitted to proceed forward.

Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law

Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law is different from Ohio’s in that the language is much more targeted. For example, the Law provides immunity for anyone providing “assistance” or “medical care,” but it also limits its application to medical professionals in most cases. Non-medical professionals may be entitled to immunity under the law if they can show that they meet additional criteria. For example, the care must be “reasonably prudent,” must be provided without a fee, and must be provided during an emergency.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland truck accident, and you believe that your injuries may have been caused or worsened by a third party’s involvement, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from one or several parties involved. While Good Samaritan Laws do exist to protect some people, they are rarely used by the courts because the facts giving rise to their application are rare. Rather than assume you do not have a case, contact a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss your case and see if you may be entitled to compensation. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up your free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Determines Insurance Contract in Trucking Accident Was Not Ambiguous, Finding in Insurance Company’s Favor, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published September 7, 2016.

One Dead, Two Injured in Chain-Reaction Semi-Truck Collision on Interstate Highway, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 17, 2016.

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