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Boston Marathon Explosion Rescuers: Good Samaritan Laws

Former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi was photographed carrying an injured woman after the Boston Marathon explosion. Andruzzi is no stranger to heroic acts during times of crisis. His three brothers are New York firefighters, who aided in helping survivors on 9/11. From New York to Boston, it's often in the midst of national tragedy that we discover people who are kind, and people who are brave enough to run toward the terror.

Fortunately for "patriots" like Andruzzi, who aided the dying or injured after the Boston Marathon Explosion, Good Samaritan laws are in place to protect them from suits for negligence.

After an emergency, rescued victims suffering from cracked ribs due to CPR or medical complications from improper medical care occasionally sue their well-meaning rescuers for negligence to shoulder their medical expenses.

But Good Samaritan laws act as a legal shield for those rescuers who brave an emergency to save lives. Under Massachusetts's Good Samaritan statute, anyone who provides aid in good faith can't be held liable in a civil suit.

The shield of protection has a limit, however. A kindhearted rescuer can still wind up in court if the aid provided is reckless, even if it was a good faith effort to help the victim. In some situations, the Good Samaritan must be qualified to perform certain services, like being trained to perform CPR.

Monday was Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, a celebration of freedom and heroism. We are in awe of Bostonians like Andruzzi who did not turn from their fellow men after the explosion. Though there are a few situations when you have a duty to rescue victims, Massachusetts generally doesn't require individuals to aid someone in need of help.

To keep the spirit of camaraderie alive, America's rich tradition of Good Samaritan laws will continue to protect heroes like Joe Andruzzi who put their own lives at risk to help others.

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