Good Samaritan faces lawsuit

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. dong20

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    "A court in the United States has ruled that a would-be Good Samaritan accused of rendering her friend paraplegic by pulling her from a wrecked car can be sued.

    The Supreme Court of California has declared that the state's Good Samaritan law only protects people from liability if they are administering emergency medical care"

    This reminds me of a case I heard about many years ago when a Diving Instructor was sued for ABH after attempting to revive a diver who had drowned. That suit failed in part because at the time the 'injury' was 'inflicted' the 'victim' was infact, dead and in part because no lasting damage was done.

    This case is different in detail, but I wonder; had the rescuer stood by and the vehicle exploded or caught fire and the woman died, would her family sue for her 'negligence' in failing to act - regardless of the fact that she was under no legal obligation to render assistance.

    Here's an extract from a random Google on 'Good Samaritan' laws:

    "In some cases, Good Samaritan laws may also apply to people without medical training, who attempt to act for the good of the person who might reasonably die without intervention or treatment. For example, a GoodSamaritan pulls a person out of a burning car that has been involved in an accident. To not act would surely cause the person’s death, but acting might mean the car crash victim is then paralyzed.

    In most cases, the person pulled out of the car could not sue his or her rescuer because of Good Samaritan laws, or simply because of good sense. If, however, the car is not burning and there is no imminent threat to the person in the car, moving the person could result in a lawsuit, since it is medically irresponsible to do so."

    The bold being the elements being tested here. Did the rescuer act in good faith, or irresponsibly?

    In principle, I's have to agree that rescuers have a duty of care, and alternative scenarios in this case were largely hypothetical at the time of the incident. Of course, the detailed specifics of the case are unknown; the rescue may have caused (or exacerbated) the debilitation, or it may have been caused by the initial accident.

    I also wonder if the claimant had resisted attempts to rescue her (was she fully conscious for example, from the 'rag doll' reference one assumes she was) at the time, and is she now having selective recollection ...
     
  2. jakeryder

    jakeryder Member

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    Ah yes the good samaritan.

    After many years as a paramedic I have numerous stories of the well meaning yet thoroughly incompetant "Good Samaritan". The "lets pull them out of the car before it explodes" argument makes me howl. i have never seen it happen except on American TV. Airbags have componded this problem. The baking powder that floats around after a collision causes everyone to panic. "Your steering wheel is on fire!"

    Be a Good Samaritan everyone. Just get some basic knowledge before diving in and making it worse.
     
  3. dong20

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    I agree, altough in such circumstances I imagine a great many are not thinking entirely rationally - bearing in mind they have not been trained to act or think in that way, or conditioned (as you have) by experience, their actions are understandable.

    In may cases, I'm sure the 'hollywood' factor comes into play, as you suggest.
     
  4. Smartalk

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    A doctor friend of mine, once said that if he or his collegues see an accident on the road or motorway. hey say look the other way and drive on. How sad is this that we have become a society that relies upon ambulance chasing solicitors. Litigation is everywhere around you. You are frightened to sneeze or fart incase you get sued. Yes I agree be prepared and do a first aid course, so you do the right thing and not the wrong thing at the right time.

    Is it any wonder we appear to becoming a non-caring society all because of fear and "What If"

    What do others think
     
  5. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I am trained in first aid, but will never admit it. I am petrified of something coming back at me. Before I knew CPR I seen someone have a heart attack and die, and no one knew how to help the person. Sadly she died. I've also seen someone slip and fall breaking their nose, I will search for someone else to give them care. I refuse to help. I only took CPR because my course required it.
     
  6. Viking_UK

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    I took a first aid course about ten years ago. The first thing the instructor did was pass out personal liability insurance forms. He said, "I'd advise you to fill these in because as soon as anyone you've helped finds out that you've been trained, chances are they'll sue." His advice, based on years of experience as a paramedic, was to look the other way unless you had no other option. It's kind of sad when it gets to that stage, isn't it?
     
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