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California Supreme Court Rules That Good Samaritans May Be Liable For Damages

From the news release of the American Association for Justice:

The AP (12/19, Elias) reports, “Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, the state’s high court on Thursday said a would-be Good Samaritan accused of rendering her friend paraplegic by pulling her from a wrecked car ‘like a rag doll’ can be sued.” The court wrote “that a person is not obligated to come to someone’s aid” but once they do, “he or she has a duty to exercise due care.” Also, “Appellate specialist Lisa Perrochet, a partner with Encino, Calif.’s Horvitz & Levy who wasn’t involved in the case, had what will likely be the average person’s take on the ruling: ‘Remind me not to try to help anyone escape from burning buildings or fast-flowing rivers,” she said in an e-mail. But in a follow-up message, she added that in hindsight reasonable people could disagree.” She added, “If it’s not an emergency that requires quick thinking to avoid serious injury…then one should apply the regular rule that if you offer aid you’d better be doing it non-negligently.'”

The Recorder (12/19, McKee) reports that the “high court held that a state statute immunizing rescuers from liability applies only if the individual is providing medical care in an emergency situation.” However, “it doesn’t apply when Good Samaritans accidently cause injuries while, for example, pulling someone out of a burning house or diving into swirling waters to save a drowning swimmer.” The Los Angeles Times (12/19, Williams) also covers the story.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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