Colorado Legal considerations for helping others in an emergency
When responding to an emergency, a lot of concerns run through our heads. Feeling panicked, thinking there must be someone more qualified and worried about bloodborne pathogens are all fairly common concerns. Fortunately these are fairly easy things to get past, once you have good training in CPR and First Aid. Another major concern that seems to affect most people is worrying about lawsuits.
Fortunately, Colorado offers some extremely broad protection when we decide to response to the scene of an emergency. With the Colorado Good samaritan law in place, the changes of you loosing an a cpr, first aid, rescuing emergency is incredibly small. This is not to say you cannot be sued, but your chances of being held liable is very, very unlikely as long as you hold to the scope of your training. Following is the text of the Colorado Good Samaritan Law. If you want more details about it, here is a great article about the Good Samaritan Law in Colorado.
Persons rendering emergency assistance exempt from civil liability
(1) Any person licensed as a physician and surgeon under the laws of the state of Colorado, or any other person, who in good faith renders emergency care or emergency assistance to a person not presently his patient without compensation at the place of an emergency or accident, including a health care institution as defined in section 13-64-202 (3), shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions made in good faith as a result of the rendering of such emergency care or emergency assistance during the emergency, unless the acts or omissions were grossly negligent or willful and wanton. This section shall not apply to any person who renders such emergency care or emergency assistance to a patient he is otherwise obligated to cover.
(2) Any person while acting as a volunteer member of a rescue unit, as defined in section 25-3.5-103 (11), C.R.S., notwithstanding the fact that such organization may recover actual costs incurred in the rendering of emergency care or assistance to a person, who in good faith renders emergency care or assistance without compensation at the place of an emergency or accident shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions in good faith.
(3) Any person, including a licensed physician, surgeon, or other medical personnel, while acting as a volunteer member of a ski patrol or ski area rescue unit, notwithstanding the fact that such person may receive free skiing privileges or other benefits as a result of his volunteer status, who in good faith renders emergency care or assistance without other compensation at the place of an emergency or accident shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions in good faith.
(4) (a) Notwithstanding the fact that the person may be reimbursed for the person’s costs or that the nonprofit organization may receive a grant or other funding, any person who, while acting as a volunteer for any nonprofit organization operating a telephone hotline, answers questions of or provides counseling to members of the public in crisis situations shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions made in good faith as a result of discussions or counseling provided on the hotline.
(b) As used in this subsection (4), unless the context otherwise requires, “hotline” means a telephone line staffed by individuals who provide immediate assistance to callers in emergency or crisis situations.
(5) An employer shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions made by an employee while rendering emergency care or emergency assistance if the employee:
(a) Renders the emergency care or emergency assistance in the course of his or her employment for the employer; and
(b) Is personally exempt from liability for civil damages for the acts or omissions under subsection (1) of this section.