Mississippi Good Samaritan and Duty to Rescue Laws

Mississippi Good Samaritan and Duty to Rescue Laws

The legitimacy of Duty to Rescue laws and what the state of Mississippi has to say regarding when you are legally compelled to help another human being and when you are not.

Being a Good Samaritan

Mississippi Good Samaritan and Duty to Rescue Laws

Each individual state has its own variant of the Good Samaritan law, also referred to as the “volunteer protection” or “duty to rescue” law.

These laws typically pertain to anyone rendering medical aid. Just think of the quintessential example of the nurse who is off duty pulling off to the side of the road so that she can help a car accident victim.

In that particular scenario, it is the off duty part that is the most critical. If the aid that the nurse provides was from the position of “concerned onlooker” and not a position of “paid medical professional”, then the nurse’s good deed will not be covered by any type of liability insurance. It will, however, be covered by the Good Samaritan laws of that individual state, provided she exercised reasonable care and used the resources that were available at that time.

It is crucial to keep in mind that Good Samaritan laws will not protect you in the event that your actions were in any way careless or reckless. 

The Duty to Rescue

On the whole, you have no statutory duty to try to help or save a human being you witness in distress or peril. The law safeguards your right to just stand there and be an onlooker. As a matter of fact, the courts have gone to very grisly and morbid lengths in an effort to clarify this point. 

In Buch v. Amory Manufacturing Co., the defense argued that the offender had no obligation to keep a child from pulverizing his hand in a piece of warehouse machinery. The court offered up an analogous hypothetical situation where a baby was lying on some train tracks. Does a person who just happens to be there at that moment have a responsibility to save the infant? 

The court decided, legally, no. They acknowledged that Buch was a “ruthless savage and a moral monster,” but stated that he had no legal obligation to save the child.

Legal Classifications of Duty

Anytime somebody is in danger, has been injured, or is in some way incapacitated, there are some precepts in which a duty to rescue is pre-determined. In these instances, reasonable help is expected to be given, and willfully neglecting to render aid under these circumstances will be enough to hold you accountable for the outcome.

The Defendant Was the Cause of the Danger 

In other words, if you called it forth, you put it down.

There is a Distinctive Relationship 

This relationship could be a student and teacher, a parent and child, a prisoner and a prison guard, etc.

The Good Samaritan Initiated an Action 

Let’s say you attempt to rescue someone who is bleeding out while going into cardiac arrest. After a minute of panicked scrambling, you realize you have no idea what you are doing so, of course, the victim dies. Unfortunately, no one else stepped up because they believed you had control of the situation even though you clearly did not. 

Once you claim ownership of rescuing someone, you are legally obligated to see it through. If your attempt is unsuccessful, there could be legal consequences.

If you or a member of your family has been injured by the reckless or negligent actions of another person, attorneys at Germany Law Firm, PLLC are in your corner. We have the experience and the knowledge necessary to help you obtain the financial compensation to which you are entitled. 

After almost four decades of legal practice, our skilled, Mississippi-based attorneys know exactly what it takes to win your case. Our attorneys are proud of their outstanding performance histories and distinguished reputations.

If you have recently been injured due to the negligence of another party, then we firmly encourage you to speak with a qualified Mississippi personal injury attorney. Give us a call at (601) 487-0555 to schedule an appointment for a  free case evaluation so that we can advise you on the best course of legal action for your situation.