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View Full Version : Better think twice about being a good samaritan


goober
12-21-2008, 11:10 AM
...at least in California .

Cali Supreme court ruled that good samaritans can be sued for nonmedical care.

http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-me-good-samaritan19-2008dec19,0,6547898.story

Strange ruling. It seems to encourage you to let somebody die in a burning car or drown in a river (both would be considered rendering nonmedical care) because you could get sued if your bravery resulted in injury. :confused:

ollinger
12-21-2008, 11:23 AM
This is human ethology. As a species lives in greater and greater crowding, the rules of social interaction become more formalized and restricting. It's not a surprise that this happened in a heavily populated state; you would never see a court act this way in a sparsely populated region.

10s talk
12-21-2008, 11:47 AM
no

typical libs

LuckyR
12-21-2008, 04:57 PM
California is a Progressive state that leads the nation in many areas. Law is not one of them. The rulings coming out of Cali are so lacking in judgment on both the criminal and civil side it is scary.

Nanshiki
12-21-2008, 08:45 PM
Worry not... karma tends to make things like this work out in the end.

JohnnyCracker
12-22-2008, 05:30 AM
At first I thought the same as you guys but after reading the case I'm having second thought.

Unless the car is on fire you should never move an injured person. Unless you're a trained professional you should not attempt to move an injured person because you wouldn't know what the heck you're doing therefore chances are you will cause more injuries.

If indeed she was in a panic and acted irrationally (yanking the injured person out like a rag doll unncessarily), she is liable for aggravating the injuries.

There's nothing there that encourages people to let people die in a burning car. The car was not on fire.

goober
12-22-2008, 05:35 AM
I am sure the person being sued is worrying. Even if he is found not liable, he will spend countless hours in a trial, pretrial preparation and tens of thousands of dollars in lawyers fees, expert witnesses, ect. If he is found liable and hit with a large settlement, he will probably have to declare bankruptcy. This incident occured in 2004 and has made it the Cali Supreme court. He already has spent almost 5 years and who knows how much money on this case and the trial hasn't even started.

It is easy to say don't worry if you are not the one involved. :|

goober
12-22-2008, 05:41 AM
At first I thought the same as you guys but after reading the case I'm having second thought.

Unless the car is on fire you should never move an injured person. Unless you're a trained professional you should not attempt to move an injured person because you wouldn't know what the heck you're doing therefore chances are you will cause more injuries.

If indeed she was in a panic and acted irrationally (yanking the injured person out like a rag doll unncessarily), she is liable for aggravating the injuries.

There's nothing there that encourages people to let people die in a burning car. The car was not on fire.


Well the coworker did say that he thought the car was going to explode which is a possible reasonable expectation after a major car accident. Also you are misreading the broader interpretation of this ruling. While the car was not on fire in this specific case, pulling somebody from a burning car is considered non medical care. One of the dissenting judges in the case said it best:

"One who dives into swirling waters to retrieve a drowning swimmer can be sued for incidental injury he or she causes while bringing the victim to shore, but is immune for harm he or she produces while thereafter trying to revive the victim," Baxter wrote for the dissenters. "Here, the result is that defendant Torti has no immunity for her bravery in pulling her injured friend from a crashed vehicle, even if she reasonably believed it might be about to explode."

JohnnyCracker
12-22-2008, 05:51 AM
She was the only one who thought the car was going to explode. Nobody else at the scene did ("None of the others reported seeing signs of an imminent explosion"). And she dropped the injured person close to the same car that she thought was about to explode. Seems like she didn't know what the heck she was doing. I think "panicking" is the right description. She was only trying to help though. Too bad for both parties.

mistapooh
12-22-2008, 05:58 AM
I was taught in first aid that you should always ask the victim if they want your help, because they have the right to refuse your care.

If the victim's body is contorted in any way, then it's best you leave them alone and don't try to move them. If the person is unconscious, but have poor vital signs, then you can proceed and give first aid. It's a tragic situation, but Van Horn did what she did with good intentions. I hope the best for all of them.

raiden031
12-22-2008, 06:08 AM
I think they should teach this kind of stuff in high school because nobody really knows what they are supposed to do in situations like this. I'd have to read more of the details, but I would say the person shouldn't be financially ruined for panicking and making a mistake during this incident. How is any normal person supposed to even know about this law?

FloridaAG
12-22-2008, 06:20 AM
I did not read this article so don't know these specific facts, but many states have either statutes or legal precedent which provides that if you voluntarily assume the duty (act as a good samaritan) - you have an obligation to do so reasonably and can be liable for damages arising from your actions.

10sfreak
12-22-2008, 03:26 PM
I did not read this article so don't know these specific facts, but many states have either statutes or legal precedent which provides that if you voluntarily assume the duty (act as a good samaritan) - you have an obligation to do so reasonably and can be liable for damages arising from your actions.
And hence the warning to be careful about being a good Samaritan...:cry: