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In June 2015, New York’s state Senate passed a new Good Samaritan law. The law protects
those who would break the window of a hot car to save a child. Good Samaritan laws around
the world offer different protections in different situations. So, what exactly are Good Samaritan
laws?
Well essentially, the law gives legal protection from being prosecuted, to those who attempt
to help people that are injured, or in danger. The idea is that in some cases, people may
think twice about assisting others if potentially threatened with a lawsuit. These laws are
found around the world. However, some countries have caveats concerning the situations in
which they apply.
In many countries Good Samaritan laws simply protect the intervening party, as well as
any medical professionals. However, not all parts of those countries have similar laws.
For example, certain regions of Canada, such as New Brunswick don’t have Good Samaritan
laws. But in Quebec, bystanders are legally required to step in and help. This is called
a “duty to rescue”.
This concept means that if you’re near somebody who needs help, you are required to step in,
or call the police. Duty to rescue is found in Germany, Israel, and parts of the United
States. In fact, Israel even offers compensation to rescuers, and pays for any damages incurred.
While in Germany, refusing to assist can be punishable by law. In the US, all but 8 states
have Good Samaritan laws for individuals, and two have a duty to rescue.
Additionally, some states apply the concept of “imminent peril”. This means that one
is not protected under these laws if the person they are trying to help is not immediately
facing significant danger, injury, or death. A common example is somebody who suffers a
car accident and is forcibly removed from the vehicle by a “Good Samaritan”. If
there is nothing demanding immediate attention, like the car being on fire, then the Good
Samaritan is not protected by Good Samaritan laws. This is to avoid situations where injured
people are inadvertently injured further.
On the flipside, countries with no protections have disastrous cultural results. China is
well known for situations where Good Samaritans are sued by the people they help. This has
led to a phenomenon of bystanders outright refusing to assist those in immediate peril.
One particularly gruesome case was in 2011, when a toddler was struck by two vehicles.
A video shows 18 bystanders walk past the injured child lying motionless, but they do
nothing to help her. In a survey taken later that year, more than 70% of those polled believed
that the bystanders were afraid of getting in trouble for trying to help the little girl.
As a global society intended to help each other in times of need, Good Samaritan laws
prevent a chilling effect on this normal human behavior. The idea that one should fear retribution
for offering assistance, and potentially saving a life, has no place in modern society.
If you want to dive deeper into the world of complicated legal and health related issues,
check out our video here about the debate over assisted suicide. Please remember to
subscribe now so you don’t miss any of our daily videos! Thanks for watching.
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救人一命還會被告? (Can You Be Sued For Saving Someone’s Life?)

981 分類 收藏
劉宜佳 發佈於 2016 年 2 月 25 日    劉宜佳 翻譯    Sally Hsu 審核
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