Many states have passed Good Samaritan laws to encourage bystanders to act and help in emergency situations. These laws came about to combat growing fears of causing more damage and ending up in a lawsuit for trying to help accident victims. Nevada has a Good Samaritan law, found in Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Section 41.500. Here’s a breakdown of what to know about this law as a Nevada citizen.
If you have questions about negligence, your liability, or the liability of someone who you believed made your injuries worse, a Las Vegas accident lawyer can help.
To Whom Does the Law Apply?
Nevada’s Good Samaritan law does not apply to just any witness to a car accident. In general, it applies only to people who have the training to “render emergency or gratuitous care,” such as:
- Those with CPR certifications
- Emergency responders
- Volunteer dispatchers
- Volunteer members of search and rescue group
However, car accident bystanders who do not have emergency or medical training should still help if it is safe to do so. They can call 911 or render aid in other non-medical ways. If the individual renders the aid in the good faith belief that he or she is helping the victim, the Good Samaritan law will generally protect the individual from liability for any injuries. Still, the Good Samaritan law specifically addresses citizens who have training or skills in rendering care in emergencies such as car accidents.
What Actions Fall Under the Protection of the Nevada Good Samaritan Law?
NRS 41.500 states that those under the umbrella of the law will not be liable for any civil damages if they act in good faith to provide emergency assistance to accident victims, without pay. In other words, if an off-duty nurse pulls over and helps a car accident victim out of a burning vehicle, that nurse will not be liable for the victim’s spinal cord injury later. If the individual rendered the assistance in good faith without pay, and if the action does not constitute gross negligence, the Good Samaritan law applies.
“Gross negligence” in Nevada refers to deliberately or recklessly breaching a duty of care. Causing someone intentional harm will also fall outside Nevada’s Good Samaritan law. The law will not protect anyone who intentionally inflicts harm on a victim or who makes obvious, wanton errors while rendering aid. Instead, the law will only protect individuals who render reasonable care in good faith that it will help the accident victims.
The Good Samaritan law typically applies only to cases involving personal injuries. If someone is rendering assistance to people who without injuries (such as a driver with car problems parked on the side of the road), the law may not apply to protect the person rendering aid. The Good Samaritan law also won’t apply if the helper in question caused the emergency. Only innocent bystanders fall under the law – not negligent or reckless parties who caused the incident in the first place.
Involved in a Good Samaritan Law Case? Contact an Attorney
If you have a professional duty to render aid, the Good Samaritan laws will not apply. You must be a bystander who assists without pay. In 2015, Nevada lawmakers extended the Good Samaritan law to protect physicians who prescribe anecdotes for potential opioid overdoses. Physicians generally aren’t liable, therefore, for the results of giving these prescriptions if they did so in good faith.
Note that the Good Samaritan law does not make it mandatory to render aid in an emergency. Instead, it offers protection from liability for those who do. Each case is unique, so it may be necessary to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your specific situation.