If you are in public and someone needs help, you probably will not hesitate to offer it. In a situation where someone else’s life is in danger, you may need to take extreme measures to save the person.
In a highly litigious society, you may worry about a lawsuit popping up. It is not unheard of for someone who saves a life to face a legal claim against them for damages they may have caused in the course of saving the life. The good news is that California has a Good Samaritan law that may protect you.
In general, if you cause harm to someone while honestly trying to save a life, you are not liable for the damages. For example, if you unintentionally cause injury to a person while giving the Heimlich maneuver, that person cannot sue you for the injuries.
The Good Samaritan law only applies to those offering aid voluntarily. It does not excuse paid emergency personnel from professional liability while on the job. However, it also does not cover anyone offering aid within places providing medical care regardless of paid or unpaid status. On the flip side, it does protect medical personnel off the clock at the time.
The creation of the law and this type of law is there to encourage people to help out their fellow humans. The fear of legal liability could stop someone from offering help that could save a life. By providing legal immunity, it ensembles people to help others without worry, especially since some people will sue even if you did save their life.