Good Samaritan Laws were devised as a way of protecting people who come to the aid of others. They stipulate that any person who comes to the aid of an injured or ill person cannot be blamed for any further injury or illness that results from the aid given. People may hesitate to give aid for fear of being wrongly prosecuted for the person's accidental injury or death. Not all places have such laws, and in some, people are required to provide assistance.
These laws can vary from country to country, but the concept is universal. The Good Samaritan Law takes its name from the parable told by Jesus in the Bible, in which a Samaritan stops to help an injured stranger. In some places, unless there is a previous caregiver relationship, no one can be made to come to the aid of another. Other places, such as the Canadian province of Quebec, legally require people to help someone they know is injured.
Assistance given for financial remuneration is not protected by Good Samaritan Laws. People such as security guards or those who give aid as part of their employment are also typically not protected by these laws. In addition, the aid giver must not leave the injured or ill person until professional medical assistance has arrived.
Good Samaritan Laws ensure that the person giving assistance is not legally liable for any harm or death that befalls the injured person. A person usually cannot give any help to a conscious injured person without his or her consent, or the act can be considered assault. If the injured or ill person is not conscious or is delusional, however, then consent is not required.
In some countries, such as Ireland and Lebanon, such laws do not exist. In Italy, the minimum required assistance is to call for an ambulance if an injured or ill person is found, although Italians who provide assistance are usually protected from court action. They can still have legal action taken against them if any harm comes to the person, however.
In France, it is a legal requirement to help someone who is injured. If an onlooker does not help, then he or she can be charged with failing to respect the law. In Germany, a person should provide help if it is required, and he or she is immune from prosecution if the assistance turns out to be harmful. The general consensus throughout the world seems to be that it is best to help someone who is injured, although in these days of litigation, people may want to check the laws in their location first.