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Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law

A good Samaritan is someone who provides help in times of need to a stranger—most often in an emergency situation. As an example, a good Samaritan who is driving by a car crash may stop their vehicle and help the victims of the collision. To encourage people to act to help their fellow community members in an emergency situation, Nevada law protects good samaritans from being held liable if something goes wrong. Here, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyer highlights the most important things you should know about Nevada’s Good Samaritan law. 

Understanding the History of the Phrase “Good Samaritan”

What is a good Samaritan? The phrase originates from a parable told in the Bible that is found within the Gospel of Luke. It describes a Samaritan man—a member of an ethnoreligious group in the area at the time—who helps a traveler beaten and left for dead. Other people passed by without assisting. Over the centuries, the term “good Samaritan” has evolved to refer to anyone who selflessly helps others in need—regardless of their own inconvenience or risk.

Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law (NRS 41.500)

We want to encourage people to provide help to others in emergency situations. Here is the challenge: What if a person tries to help when something goes wrong? There is a concern that a good Samaritan might face legal action against them even though all they did was try to help in a chaotic emergency. Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law (NRS 41.500) provides legal protection to people who voluntarily offer emergency assistance at the scene of an accident or other emergency. The law ensures that  these helpers cannot be held liable for damages that may occur as a result of their aid as long as certain basic criteria are met. Here are the elements required for legal protection: 

  • The good Samaritan must have a good faith belief that there is a genuine emergency; 
  • The good Samaritan must be volunteering his or her help (no compensation); and
  • The good Samaritan cannot have acted with malicious intent or extreme negligence. 

As an example, imagine that a bystander in Las Vegas witnessed a car accident at a busy intersection. They rushed to help the injured driver who was trapped inside the vehicle. In helping the driver out of the vehicle, the good Samaritan may have caused them additional injuries. However, they were doing their best in an emergency. Under Nevada law, the bystander (good Samaritan) would have no legal liability for the injuries. 

Two Key Exceptions to the Good Samaritan Liability Protections in Nevada

It is useful to understand when Nevada’s good Samaritan law applies and when it does not apply. While Nevada law provides broad legal protections to people who try to help during emergencies, it is crucial to know the law does not apply to either of the two key circumstances: 

  • Gross Negligence: Gross negligence is a significant exception. It covers conduct that demonstrates a severe lack of concern for the safety of others—and it is a much higher threshold than ordinary negligence. For example, if a bystander attempted a wholly unjustified risky, unnecessary medical procedure on an accident victim they may not be protected by Nevada law. 
  • On-Duty Medical Professionals: Only volunteers are covered by the good Samaritan law in Nevada. Unlike lay bystanders, on-duty medical professionals are expected to adhere to a higher standard of care consistent with their training and experience. When medical professionals are officially on duty and performing their roles, they are not covered by the good Samaritan Law. They can be held liable for negligence. 

Why Trust the Nevada Personal Injury Attorney at Ace Law Group 

Personal injury claims are challenging. Following a bad accident, it is imperative that you are able to secure the full and fair financial compensation for your injuries. At Ace Law Group, we help injured victims navigate even the most complex of claims. With a proven record of verdicts and settlements, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers put justice first. We provide the personalized, attentive legal representation that you can rely on when it matters most. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Today

At Ace Law Group, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys are strong advocates for victims and their families. If you have any specific questions or concerns about Nevada’s Good Samaritan law, we can help. Call us now at (702) 333-4223 or contact us online for a free case review. From our Las Vegas office, our firm handles personal injury claims in Clark County and beyond.