I found this definition of "kidnapping" on Google:

kidnap, verb. Take (someone) away illegally by force, typically to obtain a ransom.

Synonyms: abduct, carry off, capture, seize, snatch, take hostage.

"they attempted to kidnap the president's child"

But if I am lying on ground bleeding and too weak to move much less fight, and a person I do not know/trust finds me and takes me when I don't want to go with them to his car and drives me off somewhere, even if it's to a hospital, then are they kidnapping me by law of the United States? Especially if they don't call my parents/husband?

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    What state are you asking about? Kidnapping laws vary from state to state, so it's probably not possible to answer this question accurately without knowing the state. May 26, 2018 at 3:57
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    FWIW, the definition that would matter would be the one in the particular state or federal statute in question.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 4, 2018 at 17:40

3 Answers 3


Your question is about "Would it be kidnapping if I was injured and someone took me to a hospital without my consent", so I don't understand these other answers which say "it depends on the situation".

The key point is what you mean by "without my consent".

Good Samaritan laws are also relevant, which offer defenses to people who do things that would otherwise be unlawful when they are doing it with good intentions to help someone who they believe is injured or would become injured without their intervention.

The main things to consider are the degree of injury, which is a spectrum ranging from no injury at all to being dead, and whether the injured person is conscious.

Are you so injured that you are unconscious? In most jurisdictions, being unconscious is considered as you consenting to any actions which are done with the intent of giving you medical assistance, which is on a spectrum of saying "hey are you ok?" or shaking you in order to wake you up, all the way up to treatment including major surgery.

So by being unconscious it is usually automatically consent, but if you are awake and are refusing help or treatment, even if you could die if you didn't receive treatment, it would be easy to argue that you were not consenting and that any treatment/assistance etc was unlawful. This situation sometimes happens, and EMTs are often trained to wait until the person goes unconscious to then give them medical assistance/transport etc, but assisting someone before they go unconscious could still be argued as permissible, if the injured person was so distressed that they were unable to give/refuse consent, or at least if the assistor believed that to be the case.

This is why if someone has a major medical problem and is unconscious, hospitals can resuscitate them and even perform surgery without them signing a consent form. By being unconscious, it is considered that they are consenting to any necessary surgery to help them, even including amputation or other negative consequences. Conversely, if someone has a valid Advance healthcare directive on file which forbids measures such as resuscitation, they will be considered not to consent, and will usually be left alone without life-saving assistance. Resuscitating/performing surgery on someone in this case can be cause for damages to the injured person, because it would have been clear that they did not consent to such assistance.

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    Good answer, but the part about the tattoo is rather questionable. See e.g. Do-Not-Resuscitate Tattoos: Are They Valid? for a discussion of why a DNR tattoo is probably not a valid order. I took the liberty of changing it - feel free to re-edit.
    – sleske
    Jan 20, 2020 at 9:11

It would depend very, very highly on the facts and circumstances. For a real brain-bender on that one, watch a movie called "10 Cloverfield Lane". (it's not what it first appears to be).

However you must balance that "kidnapping" charge against a duty of care which compel some people to help you, and the good Samaritan laws which indemnify anyone else who chooses to help you - those laws exist as statute in most jurisdictions, in case law in even more, and every jury is sympathetic to someone genuinely trying to help.

If you were not able to lucidly express your preference, I believe a person genuinely trying to give bona-fide assistance would be absolutely in the clear.

Even if you are saying very clearly "Let me out of this car Right Now" and that would result in you being left in the side of the road in an unsafe place from which you would be unlikely to attend to your own affairs, e.g. a remote unhospitable desert on a little-traveled road, then again I think the Samaritan would be correct to disregard you, as your request is inherently suicidal and could be attributed to delirium.

On the other hand, if you said with clear lucidity "That is a hospital Right There, take me to the front door and let me off" then she/he would definitely be obliged to do so.


It may depend on jurisdiction, but as a general rule, one of the elements of committing a crime is intent/mens-rea/guilty mind. If they were attempting to help you and you were not in a state to object, and they did not know your wishes it is unlikely they would be charged with kidnapping - note that part of your definition is "typically to obtain a ransom" - The implication here is that it is for there benefit at detriment to you.

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