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-Good Samaritan Survey-

Good Samaritan Law: "Any person who in good faith renders emergency care, without payment or expectation of payment, at the scene of an accident or emergency to the victim of the accident or emergency shall not be liable for any civil damages resulting from the persons acts or omission, except for such damages as may result from the persons gross negligence or wanton acts or omissions."

Good Samaritan Lawsuit: The car crashed into a pole after a long night at a bar, some of the women intoxicated. The Supreme Court of California has ruled that one good deed may very well not go unpunished. The court made a decision in the case of Alexandra Van Horn v. Lisa Torti. The case alleged that Torti worsened the injuries suffered by Van Horn by yanking her "like a rag doll" from a wrecked car thus rendering Van Horn a paraplegic. Torti claims that, the car started to smoke, and she had to react fast.
1. Should This Good Samaritan Be Sued?

2. What is Your Personal Opinion on This Situation?

3. Is there any way you would change this law to make it better? Or would you keep it the same?

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5 Responses to “Does Anyone wanna take this Survey? I need 10 + People. Well Educated Lawyers preferred he he.?”

  1. John S Says:

    You have to understand that the Supreme Court did not "do" anything. The Supreme Court interpreted a statute adopted by the Legislature. At common law, a person was liable for injuries caused by that person as the result of the failure to exercise due care when coming to the aid of another. So called "Good Samaritan" laws are a change in the usual rule, and thus must be interpreted narrowly. The Supreme Court determined from the history of the law that the Legislature intended it to apply only to those rendering emergency medical care, not to completely immunize somebody for careless conduct, even though that careless conduct occured at the scene of an emergency.

    This is not as clear cut an issue as some think. Why should I have to bear the results of your careless conduct, just because you thought there was an emergency? Take this case as a good example. The accident victim was in no immediate danger, yet the "Good Samaritan" pulled her out of her vehicle so recklessly as to leave her permanently paralyzed. Do we want to encourage that kind of reckless conduct? (And, of course, one must factor in the fact that we are mostly talking about whether the careless person’s insurance company will pay.)

    The old rules are sometimes the best rules, and the old rules in this situation are well established. "While there is no general duty to help, a good Samaritan who nonetheless ‘undertakes to come to the aid of another … is under a duty to exercise due care in performance … .’" “It is ancient learning that one who assumes to act, even though gratuitously, may thereby become subject to a duty of acting carefully, if he acts at all."

    The idea of "Good Samaritan" laws appears reasonable on the surface. But when you realize that the only people who are protected are those who act carelessly or recklessly, there is a real question whether they are useful.

    One additional point. It has not been established yet that Torti did, in fact, act carelessly. Maybe if it can be shown that there was a basis for fearing for Van Horn’s life, removing her from the car, even in the way it was done, was the appropriate choice. All that has been established is that IF Torti acted without due care, there will be liability.

  2. Pha King Liberals Says:

    No, should not be sued. CA is nuts

  3. Q Says:

    1. This person should definitely not be sued. The law clearly says: "not be liable for any civil damages resulting from the persons acts or omission".

    2.I think the fact that anybody has enough evil in their heart to sue someone who put their own life in danger to save someone else truly has problems that need to be worked through. Torti did a good deed and instead of being rewarded for the valiant and brave act that she did, she is now being treated like a criminal. what is wrong with our society?

    3. I think all U.S. laws need to be made better

  4. bogeyforever Says:

    1.) No, this would prevent people from helping others in the future..(if they thought they might get sued for helping)

    2. ) It’s a toughie…I mean if she hadn’t pulled her out ..she may have been burned alive (you didn’t include whether the car actually went up in flames or not). Also, if the driver of the vehicle was intoxicated…she should be the one sued. Not the person trying to save her life.

    3.) Keep it the same. People need to feel if they stop to help they won’t be sued. You know how sue happy people are….you’d start getting crazy law suits against people that helped that may not even be valid.

    Sorry, I’m not a lawyer,..just my opinion

  5. TK Says:

    As a general matter you do not want to encourage any Good Samaritan to yank an injured person out of a car like a rag doll. Unless, of course, the car is about to become consumed in flames, and/or explode, which would very like kill the person trapped inside the car. In that event it doesn’t seem prudent whether the Good Samaritan is acting in a grossly negligent manner since the alternative is death.

    What the court seems to have failed to appreciate is the fact that Good Samaritans can and do panic when, for example, a car begins smoking. The Good Samaritan doesn’t want to lose his or her life in the process of saving another person and the less professional training he or she has, then the more likely he or she is to either shy away from completing the rescue, in which case the accident victim may die, or completing the rescue amid a burst of adrenaline which causes him or her to act recklessly.

    I think the solution is legislative, not judicial. i would suggest a cap on the amount of damages one can recover against a Good Samaritan who acts in a grossly negligent manner. Perhaps $100,000 would be the right number, or maybe it should be $250,000.

    Then you could calculate the amount of damages incurred by reason of gross negligence per annum and tack on a surcharge to the auto insurance policies and casualty insurance policies issued in that particular state. A state fund that would pay the premiums on an insurance policy that would pay the claims awarded by a court or an arbitrator to an injured victim of a Good Samaritan.

    In addition, if the state driver’s education exam doesn’t cover this law then it should. People need to be aware that acting to help others who are injured can lead to profound legal liability if the Good Samaritan statute is violated. Since many Good Samaritan accidents involve car accidents, driver’s education would seem a logical place to review the pros and cons of being a Good Samaritan.