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The Villages
Monday, June 17, 2024

Good Samaritans have immunity to rescue people and pets from cars

In Florida, according to section 768.139 of the Florida Statutes, it is legal to rescue a vulnerable person or domestic animal from a motor vehicle. 

These good Samaritans may have immunity to damage to the motor vehicle if: 

  • The vehicle is locked, and there is no other reasonable way for the person or animal to get out.
  • Has reasonable belief based upon the circumstances that entry is necessary because the person or animal is in imminent danger.
  • Notify law enforcement or call 911 before or immediately after entering the vehicle.
  • Uses no more force than is necessary; and
  • Remains with the person or animal until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.

Florida law states that anyone responsible for a child younger than six years of age must not leave the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for a period over 15 minutes or for any time that endangers the child or causes distress. A violation of this law is a second-degree misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500. Violations that cause great bodily harm or permanent damage to a child are considered a third-degree felony. 

In Florida, it is legal to rescue a vulnerable person or domestic animal from a motor vehicle. 

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