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Greenstein, Cruz-Perez Bill Expanding Protections for Good Samaritans Advances

Senator Cruz Perez and Senator Greenstein

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez that would expand the scope of protections granted to Good Samaritans cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today.

The bill, S-2661, provides that anyone who receives ambulance service as the result of an injury incurred while rendering care at the scene of an accident or emergency and would be eligible to receive immunity under the “Good Samaritan Act” would not be required to pay the cost of that ambulance service.

“Accidents and emergency situations create dangerous conditions not only for those involved but also for those who try to help,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer, Middlesex), chairwoman of the committee. “When Good Samaritans are injured as a result of selflessly helping others in such situations, they should not have to bear the cost of ambulatory service if they need it.”

“Because Good Samaritans who unselfishly intervene at the scene of an emergency sometimes do get hurt and require ambulatory care, we should find ways to protect them from the burden of resulting out-of-pocket costs,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden, Gloucester). “This bill addresses this issue and expands protections for Good Samaritans.”

The “Good Samaritan Act” adopted by New Jersey provides civil immunity for individuals who in good faith render care at the scene of an accident or in an emergency. The Act provides immunity to:

  1. any individual, including health care professionals;
  2. the members of volunteer first aid, rescue, and ambulance squads;
  3. municipal, county and State law enforcement officers;
  4. volunteer or paid municipal, county or State firefighters; and
  5. licensed health care professionals, emergency medical technicians, and mobile intensive care paramedics whose duty does not require a response to a patient emergency situation.

Under this bill, “ambulance service” is defined as the provision of emergency health care services, basic life support services, advanced life support services, critical care services, mobile intensive care services, or emergency medical transportation in a vehicle that is licensed, equipped, and staffed in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Commissioner of Health.

The bill was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee by a vote of 4-0. It next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.