Ohio enacted its Good Samaritan Law in 1977 to make it easier for bystanders, especially trained medical personnel who are outside their hospital or clinic and off-duty law enforcement officers, to render first aid to victims of accidents and people suffering sudden health problems. Officially titled “Liability for Emergency Care,” section 2305.23 of the Ohio Revised Code states


No person shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor’s office, or other place having proper medical equipment, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.


Ohio’s Good Smartian Law covers all people who rush to assist victims. It prevents, say, a person who suffers broken ribs while receiving CPR from bringing a personal injury lawsuit. It also protects a nurse from a medical malpractice lawsuit if she fails to save the life of a car crash victim after stopping at the scene of an accident.


The Good Samaritan Law also generally prevents medical malpractice lawsuits against on-duty EMTs, paramedics, police, firefighters, and emergency room doctors and nurses. Only committing gross negligence or intentionally causing harm to an injured person would make a health care provider who was working a paid shift liable for an injury or death.


Another wrinkle to the Good Samaritan Law is that it complements Ohio’s hit-and-run statute. The Ohio Revised Code uses the term “hit-skip” to describe such wrecks. A provision of the hit-skip statute places a legal duty on the at-fault driver to render first aid when their own physical condition enables them to do so. Without the Good Samaritan Law, an Ohio driver who fled the scene of an accident in which another person suffered injuries could potentially have a legal defense for allowing the victim to suffer because a lawsuit could be filed for making things worse.


Individuals can lose the protection of the Good Samaritan Law, however. The second paragraph of section of O.R.C. 2305.23 makes it clear that no one can


  • Demand payment before rendering first aid,
  • Intentionally harm an accident victim or a person who is already experiencing a medical emergency, or
  • Ask for payment after an emergency unless the payment goes to a health care organization for which they work and for which they were on duty at the time.


To sum up, Ohio’s Good Samaritan Law enables and encourages all people to assist their neighbors in need. As personal injury and medical malpractices lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, the attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman see all the time the harm people do via acting irresponsibly. We are glad that the Good Samaritan Law increases the opportunities for Ohioans to step up and lend a hand when necessary.


If you have questions about any law related to personal injury, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, or the intentional infliction of harm, ask a Cleveland lawyer by calling Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318. You can also request a free consultation online.