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  • Niverville 204.388.9300 - Box 1120, 62 Main Street, Niverville, MB, R0A 1E0
 

Being a Good Samaritan

Be a Good Samaritan!

Have you ever been hesitant to assist someone in an accident because you are worried about liability? You should not be worried in Manitoba.

“The Good Samaritan Protection Act” was enacted in Manitoba in December 2006. That legislation is one of the more concise pieces of legislation in Manitoba. It contains only 3 sections, recited in full at the end of this article.

This legislation basically ensures that no one will be legally liable for injury or death to victims whom they attempt to assist who have been the victims of an accident or medical emergency. There are limited exceptions to this such as gross negligence, or the higher duties imposed on people employed in the medical service field or providing services with a view to gain.

For example, the hockey and soccer coaches among us who might attempt to assist in an emergency situation, will generally be protected by this legislation.

You will also see a specific provision for volunteers in the legislation. For example, volunteer fire fighters or neighborhood watch groups (such as the “Citizens on Patrol” groups in many communities) will also not be liable, unless grossly negligent or employed for pay to do so. These principles are also taught through common courses regarding Emergency First Aid. Keep in mind that those courses also teach that our goal in assisting in any emergency is to “do no harm” and not to do anything which could harm the victim even more.

People still may be hesitant to assist in some situations. For example, there have been tales of people pretending to have broken-down cars and then carjacking good Samaritans who stop to try to assist. Also, some situations may be dangerous for other reasons (for example, thin ice). While there may be good reasons to be cautious about helping, we hope that if you are faced with a clear medical emergency situation, that you will not hesitate to assist anyone in Manitoba out of fear of being sued for the person’s injuries or possible death. There are still heroes among us, and hopefully the threat of a law suit will not be the reason we fail to help someone in need.

“The Good Samarian Protection Act

No liability unless gross negligence

  1. A person who voluntarily provides emergency medical services, aid or advice to the victim of an accident or medical emergency at the immediate scene of the accident or emergency is not liable in damages for injury or death to the victim caused by the person’s acts or missions in providing the medical services, aid or advice unless that person is grossly negligent.

Exception

  1. Section 1 does not apply if the person providing the medical services, aid or advice

(a)      is employed expressly for that purpose; or

(b)      does so with a view to gain.

Members of volunteer organizations covered

  1. For greater certainty, section 1 applies to a member of a volunteer organization that provides first aid, ski patrol, neighbourhood watch or patrol or other similar services who receives a payment or other benefit in recognition of his or her services, so long as the payment or other benefit is not provided as a result of an employer-employee relationship.”

Notice: The articles on our website are provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or opinion. They reflect the current state of the law as at the date of posting on the website, and are subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion, we would be pleased to provide you with our assistance on any of the issues raised in these articles.