Can I be sued for giving first aid?
Many people fear being sued for coming to the aid of someone with an injury. This same fear often prevents people from getting trained in first aid. You’ve probably heard the parable of the Good Samaritan. The clear message in this story is that assisting those in trouble is the right thing to do.
The law in every province in Canada encourages bystanders to give first aid. In BC, we have the Good Samaritan Act. It specifically protects, against liability, citizens and medical professionals who act in good faith to give emergency assistance to ill or injured persons at the scene of an emergency. Under these laws, a person providing first aid who acts reasonably and prudently under the conditions of an emergency cannot be held responsible for the injuries suffered by the victim.
There is no general legal duty to help someone in an emergency except for a person who is involved in a motor vehicle accident. That person must stop and give all possible assistance to the persons involved. A failure to do so could mean being charged under the criminal code.
First aiders must:
– Get permission, if possible before giving care
– Give only the care they were trained to provide
– Continue giving care until another trained person takes over, they are too exhausted to continue, the scene becomes unsafe, or the person’s condition improves and care is no longer required.
Getting Permission to Help an Injured Person
– For an unresponsive person, the law assumes you have permission
– For a young child without a caregiver, provide care.
– If a person refuses care call EMS/911 and stand by if it is safe to do so.
Duty to report Child Abuse or Neglect in Canada
Every adult in Canada has a legal duty to report child abuse or neglect, even if it is not confirmed. Information about how to report details can be found in your jurisdiction’s child protection act, but the duty to report is uniform in all acts. If you think a child is being harmed, then a report to child protection and /or the police needs to occur.
You never know when you are going to be called upon to assist in an emergency situation. It could be today.
Safe + Sound provides the following Red Cross courses:
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and Online Safety Training
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If you’re not sure which first aid/CPR course to take, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
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