If you saw a car accident and people were hurt by the side of the road, would you stop and help them? If you saw someone slip and fall and be knocked unconscious, wouldn’t you want to help? Or would you be afraid of making things worse and getting into trouble?
In Nevada, you cannot get into legal trouble for making a good-faith effort to help someone who has been hurt. The Nevada state law (NRS 41.500) is known as the “Good Samaritan law,” named after the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible.
By adopting the Good Samaritan law, Nevada’s leaders have said people should try to help in an emergency and can do so without fear of legal consequences if things do not go well. Many lives have been saved because of the willingness of people to help others. One afternoon in January 2023, on the Las Vegas Strip, a good Samaritan helped rescue an unconscious driver just as their car erupted in flames.
What Does Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law Say?
In the Bible story, after a couple of people pass by a beaten and injured man, a Samaritan stops to help and, after bandaging the man’s wounds, takes him to an inn for care.
Under Nevada’s law, if you provide emergency care or assistance in an emergency in good faith and without payment, you cannot be held liable for civil damages because of anything you do or fail to do. Acting in good faith means you meant well, and most people would think that what you did was reasonable.
The Good Samaritan law says that as long as your actions when trying to help do not amount to “gross negligence,” you cannot be sued.
The Good Samaritan law specifically says it applies to:
- Any person in Nevada
- Volunteer or public agency ambulance drivers and attendants
- Any person who is a member of a search and rescue organization under the direct supervision of any county sheriff
- Any person who serves as a volunteer for a public fire-fighting agency
- Any person who has successfully completed a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or a course in basic emergency care of a person in cardiac arrest or who is directed by an emergency medical dispatcher and who renders CPR in accordance with their training or as directed
- Anyone who tries in good faith to use an automated external defibrillator.
Exceptions to Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law
The Good Samaritan law protects you for the actions you take in response to an emergency. The law does not protect you if you cause an emergency situation. Regardless of your help afterward, you could still be held responsible for causing the situation, such as a car accident that led to someone’s injury.
If you attempt to provide emergency care when there is no reason to do so, you could be held responsible for any harm you cause.
The law also specifically exempts paid medical professionals who have a duty to respond in an emergency and who, under other laws, may be held liable if they are negligent when medical care is required, or they fail to provide appropriate care.
Under other Nevada statutes, we also find that some people have a duty to render aid in certain situations. For example, adults in most situations are expected to stop a child from doing something that could cause them to be hurt or injured. Teachers, coaches, and daycare providers have a legal duty to provide aid to a child in their care who has been hurt.
Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law for Reporting Drug Overdoses
In 2015, Nevada adopted the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (NRS 453C). Its primary passage says:
A person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for a person who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other medical emergency or who seeks such assistance for himself or herself, or who is the subject of a good faith request for such assistance may not be arrested, charged, prosecuted or convicted, or have his or her property subjected to forfeiture, or be otherwise penalized for violating [laws pertaining to]:
- Drug paraphernalia …
- Possession … or
- Use of a controlled substance.
Such a good Samaritan or the person the good Samaritan called about cannot be penalized for violating a restraining order or a condition of their parole or probation if the violation is only discovered because the medical emergency was reported.
Contact Our Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys for Help
If you see someone facing an emergency situation and you can help, Nevada law supports your decision to get involved and provide assistance. Nevada’s Good Samaritan Laws provide legal protection if your good faith efforts lead to you being blamed for someone’s injury.
If you have been injured in an accident and aren’t sure whether you have the right and reason to seek damages from someone who caused your injury, a personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your options. In Las Vegas, Sam & Ash Injury Law offers a free legal consultation with a car accident lawyer or a personal injury lawyer. Call us if you think someone else is responsible for a serious injury you have suffered and you have questions about the proper steps to take.
At Sam & Ash, we’re committed to seeking What’s Right for you. Contact us online today or at 702-857-6566 in Las Vegas. You can expect a phone call from our staff within 24 hours to set up your initial consultation. Call now!