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Can a Good Samaritan Face Charges of Assault or Battery for Trying to Help?

When a good samaritan selflessly wrangled an active shooter in the Greenwood Park Mall, the public unanimously applauded the brave act. Yet, good samaritans do not always receive such gratitude for their voluntary attempts to render assistance.

In fact, there have been cases where good samaritans face civil or criminal liability for their actions.

Indiana Good Samaritan Laws Protect Good-Doers from Civil Liability

Though it may be difficult to believe, good samaritans have faced lawsuits for actions taken in the service of others. For instance, if a good samaritan pulled a car accident victim from a burning wreckage and accidentally dislocated the victim’s shoulder in the process, they might face a lawsuit from the person they saved.

Fortunately, Indiana Code § 34-30-12-1 protects good samaritans from civil liability. So long as the good samaritan acts in good faith, attempts to contact emergency services, and is upfront about their efforts, they cannot generally be sued.

Good Samaritan Laws Can Also Protect You from Criminal Liability

Certain Indiana statutes incentivize bystanders to offer help by immunizing them from criminal prosecution. Aaron’s Law, for example, protects those who administer Narcan to someone who has overdosed. If the individual who administers the life-saving drug has narcotics when law enforcement officials arrive, they cannot be charged with possession.

However, Indiana’s Good Samaritan Law is not a catch-all protection for those who attempt to help someone in distress. The law contains some ambiguity about criminal liability, and you could be charged with a criminal offense if authorities decide specific actions caused unjustifiable harm to the person you were trying to aid.

Accused of Assault or Battery While Helping Someone? Get a Capable Legal Defense

If someone is in imminent danger of physical harm, it may be necessary to grab them forcefully and remove them from those circumstances. Without context, the act of grabbing someone without consent could qualify as assault or battery, presenting the possibility that a good samaritan can face criminal charges for good-faith actions.

You need a strong criminal defense if you face a charge of assault or battery in Indiana, as you should not assume that the Good Samaritan Law alone will spare you from legal consequences. Call Razumich & Associates today at 317-449-8661 or contact us online to discuss how we will fight to spare you from unjust legal penalties.

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