Vermont’s Bad Samaritan Statute

The key prevailing feature in Vermont’s bad Samaritan act is that it gives passersby a wide duty to provide sensible help to anybody in danger of serious physical injury. Samaritans have this obligation irrespective of whether that injury is occasioned by a crime, accident, or any form of emergency. Historically, the role of a good Samaritan has been that of helping individuals in danger, especially in circumstances where they can with minimal harm to themselves (Hunt, 2021). While a good Samaritan seeks to offer supportive assistance, subjecting them to civil liability is undeniably unfair, and such an act should be expunged from books since it has no value given the paltry fines.

Subjecting bad Samaritans to civil obligations is prejudicial since penalizing them for committing mistakes while acting in their wisdom and thoughts sometimes after assessing the prevailing situations of the crime is unfair. There are several reasons why a bystander might want to refuse a duty to assist, especially from the perspective of efficiency and effectiveness. Since bad Samaritan statutes are inefficient and productivity should prevail over effectiveness, there is no need to support such laws from an altruistic viewpoint. Altruism can be described as the act of utilizing reason and evidence to arrange how to help others optimally and assuming action on that foundation. Many proponents of bad Samaritan rules have stressed effectiveness – the anticipated end will be achieved. Therefore, if a criminal responsibility is devoted to one’s failure to offer rescue to strange persons in danger, then people will shun the activity, especially if the rescue mission is too risky.

The potential duty of beneficence also illustrates the need to shun bad Samaritan statutes. It is often prudent to progressively acquire competencies and capacities that can empower an individual to fulfill acts of beneficence in the situation of danger to strangers (Hunt, 2021). For instance, individuals may have to know how to swim to help such drowning children. In this scenario, the rescuer might not miss civil liability charges if one fails to help the children based on lacking of swimming skills. From this example, an individual need to have the requisite capacity to facilitate the fulfillment of the moral duty of saving lives. Therefore, employing such a suggestion would necessitate everyone to be ‘lifeguards’, which will also result in the aforesaid inefficiency. Existing bad Samaritan laws do not go that deeper hence having lacuna in their application. It appears that for such laws to remain effective, they need to lower the possibility of a loss occurring from an accident hence the need for incentives to acquire the capacity to handle rescue.

It is not apparent in how many instances bad Samaritan laws will be effective after the previous works on undesirable activity-level of such statutes. A notable challenge is that these acts would make it more expensive to be in a circumstance where one may be called upon to try a rescue. The added cost might presumably lower the number of possible rescuers, such as skilled swimmers, to reject crowded beaches where cases of drowning could occur. A challenge with failure to help crime is that it can prompt some likely rescuers to escape from the scene to avoid criminal liability, and honest altruistic persons would be unaffected. Therefore, if bad Samaritan statutes make it expensive to be in a circumstance where one might need to help others, then such acts might be ineffective given their supported resolution.


Hunt, L. W. (2021). The legitimacy and limits of punishing” bad Samaritans”. University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy, 31(3), 374-376. Web.

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LawBirdie. (2023, August 20). Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute. Retrieved from


LawBirdie. (2023, August 20). Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute.

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"Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute." LawBirdie, 20 Aug. 2023,


LawBirdie. (2023) 'Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute'. 20 August.


LawBirdie. 2023. "Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute." August 20, 2023.

1. LawBirdie. "Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute." August 20, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Vermont's Bad Samaritan Statute." August 20, 2023.