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Does NH need a stronger ‘Good Samaritan’ law?

Aug 09, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Good Samaritan laws generally provide basic legal protection for those who assist a person who is injured or in danger. In essence, these laws protect the “Good Samaritan” from liability if unintended consequences result from their assistance.

New Hampshire has a Good Samaritan law (Chapter 508) that covers emergency care. It was updated in 2015 so that people seeking medical assistance to save the life of an overdose victim will not be charged with a crime.

Most states have some form of a Good Samaritan law, but an incident in the state of Florida is raising the question of whether the laws goes far enough.

Florida is considering a bill to compel a bystander to "provide reasonable assistance" to someone, when knowingly in the presence of an individual who is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm, "to the extent that he or she is able and can."  Click here for more information.

The measure is a response to an incident in Cocoa, Fla, where police allege that five teens, ages 14 to 18, watched from a distance on July 9 as a man entered a pond. They took a cellphone video of him while he was calling for help. They could be heard on the video cursing, as well as laughing at and mocking the man, but they never called 911 or otherwise tried to help him. The man drowned.

Advocates for this measure say that people should be held accountable in cases in which there is a demonstrated "blatant disregard for life" in not trying to help someone.

Opponents say people should not be forced to lend assistance, particularly in instances where they are not trained or have experience in the particular instance where help is needed.

What do you think, should New Hampshire update its Good Samaritan law to require bystanders to provide reasonable assistance to someone in an emergency situation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Susan Leighton
- Nashua

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 7:36pm

Yes, they should be held accountable. You don't have to have experience or be trained in dialing 911!


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