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Liability of an Airline Passenger for Providing Medical Assistance to Another Passenger

Liability of an Airline Passenger for Providing Medical Assistance to Another Passenger

Generally, an airline passenger is not legally liable for the consequences of providing medical assistance to another passenger. The federal Aviation Medical Assistance Act of 1998 provides that a person is not liable for providing or attempting to provide assistance in the case of an in-flight medical emergency, unless the person, while rendering such assistance, is guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct. Therefore, if a passenger renders medical assistance to another passenger, and the other passenger is injured as a result, then the injured passenger cannot recover damages from the assisting passenger in a state or federal personal injury lawsuit, unless the assisting passenger is guilty of:

(1) gross negligence, which means carelessness or recklessness that amounts to a conscious disregard for the safety of others (if the assisting passenger was intoxicated when he or she rendered medical assistance, then he or she would probably be guilty of gross negligence); or

(2) willful misconduct (if the assisting passenger intentionally injured the other passenger, then the assisting passenger would be guilty of willful misconduct).

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