Going to a pool, a lake, or other activity that involves water is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for people of all ages. However, that fun can quickly turn tragic if a medical emergency or other incident results in someone drowning. For guests in the same vicinity where a medical emergency occurs, what role should they play in trying to help the situation? In particular, what obligatory duty does an off-duty lifeguard have if they see someone drowning?
Being a Good Samaritan
Most states have some form of a Good Samaritan law in which protection is given to those who believe they are trying to help someone in an emergency. Georgia’s law is O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29 and partially states that anyone “who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or emergency to the victim or victims thereof without making any charge, therefore, shall not be liable for any civil damages.”
Georgia has additional legislation stating that no one is required to provide such emergency services to victims or victims if they are off-duty. Therefore, an off-duty lifeguard is not required to help a drowning victim if they are off-duty from their job. However, if that off-duty lifeguard were to provide care, they could not be held accountable for any potential civil damages under the Good Samaritan law.
Negligence vs. Being a Good Samaritan
While a Good Samaritan can be seen as someone who goes out of their way to help someone else, negligence can be defined as the failure to provide the level of care that a reasonable person would expect in a similar situation. If a person was struggling to get above water and a lifeguard was on duty, that lifeguard could be held liable for their negligence.
The compassionate attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC are here to provide the legal assistance you need should you pursue a claim like this. No one wants summer fun to turn into a medical emergency, but our Atlanta drowning and swimming pool accident attorneys are ready to work your case if you find yourself in this position. Reach our team online or by phone at (888) 425-6070.