It’s a beautiful Saturday morning at the swanky Bushwood Country Club. Carl Spackler, the greens keeper, has done a remarkable job of ridding Bushwood of its recent gopher problem, and the course is in immaculate shape for the club championship. Al Czervik, a member of the day’s first foursome, approaches the first tee box, carefully places his ball on the white tee and envisions his perfect 300-yard drive. But, as Al begins his backswing, he notices a sharp pain in his chest and then collapses from a heart attack. Having taken CPR in high school many years ago, Ty Webb rushes over to help his fallen friend. After administering CPR for 5 minutes, the paramedics finally arrive and transport Al to an area hospital. Although Al survives the heart attack, he suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung as a result of Ty’s flawed CPR techniques. Is Ty potentially liable for Al’s injuries?
No. In adopting the “Good Samaritan Law,” Texas seeks to encourage bystanders to render medical assistance when an emergency exists and to reduce their hesitation to assist for fear of being sued. Texas’ Good Samaritan Law maintains that if, as a result of an accident or other emergency, Ty acts in good faith to administer emergency care, then he will not be liable to Al for civil damages for any act performed during the CPR unless he is willfully or recklessly negligent. An important exception to The Good Samaritan Law is that it does not apply to emergency care given by someone who acts with an expectation of receiving a fee or payment (e.g. a physician in a hospital E.R.).
Does a person have a legal obligation to render assistance to a person in danger? Stay tuned.