The Good Samaritan Law: Emergency Baby Delivery, Birth Injury Law, And You

The Good Samaritan law is a law which stipulates that you should not help people in troubling or emergency situations without their express consent. The reason for this is that if a stranger causes more harm than good in attempting to rescue or help, the person being helped can sue. (Only medical professionals are required by law to respond to any emergency situations they happen upon.)

Ergo, if someone happens upon you while you are in labor and you are about to deliver your baby in a place other than a hospital, he/she may offer help. It is your right as the woman and vulnerable person in this situation to deny help. If that stranger insists on helping you when you did not ask for help or provide permission, you can sue. Here is how the Good Samaritan law applies in this situation, and why and how you can sue.

You Did Not Want a Stranger to Touch You

A woman in labor is in a very vulnerable state. She has to expose her genitals to you while giving birth. This makes many women extremely uncomfortable as it is. At some point, you may feel violated, or feel as though this stranger hurt you or your baby. Additionally, if you feel as though this "helpful" stranger hurt or violated you in some way, the Good Samaritan law does not apply. It does not apply when the stranger did not first ask you permission to help.

You Believe That You or Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury

A birth injury is any injury caused to the mother or the baby during the delivery process that later produces a lifelong disability. This can be anything from emotional trauma to the baby suffering from anoxia (i.e., a lack of oxygen reaching the brain) during birth and then suffering brain damage as the result. A birth injury lawyer would bring suit against the stranger for these injuries. However, you would have to have a doctor confirm that these injuries would not have happened had a medical professional been the one helping with the delivery and not this stranger (i.e., a doctor would have to act as an expert witness and testify to this fact).

Language Barriers, Good Samaritan Law, and Birth Injuries

If there was a language barrier and the helper did not speak English, he or she should not have attempted to help you. There is a very good chance that somebody who does not speak English would not know about the Good Samaritan law in the first place. Attempting to help without knowing how, without knowing about this particular law, and without asking your permission in a language you speak is wrong on a number of levels. You have every right to sue the "helper" in this instance since you could not communicate that you did not want his/her help, and you and/or your baby suffered harm.