Many Americans didn’t even know what a Good Samaritan Law was until the “Seinfeld” series finale in the late 1990s, when the cast stood idly by and watched a man be robbed on the street, doing nothing and even laughing.
Now, just as in the sitcom, the Good Samaritan Law – especially here in New Jersey – is enforceable.
But should it be stricter?
Two glaring cases on opposite ends of the spectrum occurred recently, both making headlines in their respective regions. In northwestern New Jersey, a mail carrier in Long Valley was honored by the United States Postal Service for helping move an elderly, incapacitated man from the roadway who fell of his motorized scooter. The mail carrier called police and waited with the bloodied man until help arrived – all during the course of his normal work schedule.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, and more prominently, a group of onlookers not only stood and watched a mother be brutally assaulted in a Salem County park in front of her child, but took photos and videos of the crime without stepping in to stop the beating.
New Jersey’s Good Samaritan Act reads:
Any Good Samaritan rendering care (in good faith and without thought of consideration) at the scene of an accident or emergency or while transporting the victim for further treatment; in a health care facility if your actual duty, including on call duty, doesn’t require a response to a patient emergency situation. Immunity is granted from liability for failure to inform when emergent situation necessitates action in absence of the ability to properly inform the patient or an authorized representative. Not immune from liability are acts or omissions by you in such situations which are determined to involve gross negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct.
But is it enough? Should the law be stricter and more heavily enforced? Or does the law put too much responsibility on fellow citizens to step in the way of a perceived or alleged crime?
Tell us in the comments section.