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What Is The Tennessee Good Samaritan Law?


It is a good policy for the people of Tennessee to come to each other’s rescue, and good morally and ethically to encourage everyone to do what they can to help a fellow man or woman. But many people, when faced with the option to help someone in need, will hesitate. What if they try to help someone and end up making things worse? Can they get in trouble?

Good Samaritan Laws

Tennessee, like many other states, has what is known as a Good Samaritan law. This is a law that immunizes certain people from being sued, should they cause injury while trying to render aid or assistance to someone in need.

The immunity applies so long as the person giving aid is doing so without financial gain or profit, and so long as they act in good faith. Rescuers must be responding to an actual emergency, although there is no exact definition as to what that is. Generally, anything life-threatening will constitute an emergency that will trigger the immunity. There is also a provision in the law that protects people from liability if they render aid at “a public gathering.”

The law protects members of the general public, regardless of training, but also protects medical providers (including paramedics, or volunteer rescue personnel) who may be providing emergency care at the scene of an accident. It also covers anybody using or trying to use a defibrillator.

The law also immunizes hospitals from lawsuits that may be caused by any such medical provider.

There is no absolute definition of emergency care, but there are some cases that do provide protection to good Samaritans who come to another’s aid, even where the emergency isn’t necessarily life threatening.

Gross Negligence

The rare occasion where a good Samaritan could be sued for rendering emergency care, is if the Samaritan acted with gross negligence. This would likely be any act that anybody with common sense wouldn’t try to do.

For example, if you encountered someone who was bleeding, applying a crude bandage or tourniquet would be fine; you would not be subject to being sued if something went wrong. But trying to perform emergency surgery on the street when you’re not a doctor would go beyond what is reasonable and could subject someone to liability.

No Obligation to Help

The good Samaritan law places no obligation on any lay person to come to another person’s aid. In other words, putting aside the moral and ethical implications, someone who sees another person in need, but who does nothing to help, will not have any liability, so long as there is no special relationship between them (such as a nursing home to a resident, a day care worker to a child, or a guard to a prisoner).

There are also good Samaritan laws that protect people who come to the rescue of a child or an animal trapped or locked inside a vehicle.

Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox, Farley, Willis & Burnette, for help today if you are injured in any kind of accident.



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