Protection Through NJ Good Samaritan Law
In an emergency, helping accident victims may not always go as planned. In attempts to provide care or medical attention to the injured parties before paramedics arrive, individuals who may not have proper medical training, can actually cause more harm. The New Jersey Good Samaritan Law is designed to protect individuals from any liability for damages who voluntarily attempt to give medical assistance to those in need. The law also allows people to report a possible drug overdose without fear of being arrested themselves.
Liability Under the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:62A-1)
The New Jersey Good Samaritan statute encourages and protects bystanders, including doctors and paramedics, at an accident scene to render assistance to someone in need without fear of being sued if things go wrong. But what happens if you are injured by a first responder? Generally, anyone who helps in an emergency is generally considered immune to liability claims in case they make a mistake but people may still have claims under a few exceptions including noticeably negligent, reckless or intentional behavior.
Protection Under the 911 Good Samaritan Fatal Overdose Prevention Statute (N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-30, 31)
Signed by Governor Christie in May of 2013, the Good Samaritan Law, also known as The Overdose Prevention Act, aims to encourage people to immediately call emergency or medical personnel if they suspect someone is overdosing from illegal or prescription drugs. Drug overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, exceeding even motor vehicle accidents among people ages 25 to 64. Often, however, medical assistance is not sought by those in need or their companions for fear of being arrested for use, possession or other drug-related crimes. In efforts to reduce the number of drug overdoses in New Jersey, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services launched the public awareness message: “Save a life. Don’t think twice, just call 911.” This campaign is to bring awareness of the protection from criminal prosecution for those who make a report.
After a three-year climb, New Jersey saw a drop in overdose deaths in 2014. Prescription drop boxes, the Good Samaritan Law and the bill to allow officers to carry Narcan all factored into the decline in overdose deaths.
A person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for him or herself or someone else experiencing a drug overdose is immune from being: arrested, charged, prosecuted, or convicted for obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, or failing to make lawful disposition of, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance.
Good Samaritan laws do not protect people from arrest for other offenses, such as selling or trafficking drugs, or driving while drugged. These policies protect only the caller and overdose victim from arrest and/or prosecution for simple drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence.
Contact Villani & DeLuca P.C. Today
Contact our Personal Injury Lawyers if you have suffered additional injuries after an accident because of a first responder’s careless behavior; you may be legally eligible to file for compensation. In addition, if you find yourself in facing criminal charges after seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose, contact our skilled New Jersey Drug Attorneys. Call the experienced attorneys at Villani & DeLuca P.C. at [dyna_phone phone=’1′ format=’dashed’] to discuss what options are available to you.