Suing a Good Samaritan

Trying to be a good Samaritan (at least in California)? Beware: you could be sued for rendering "non-medical" help, instead.

Carol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Times has the interesting legal development:

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a young woman who pulled a co-worker from a crashed vehicle isn't immune from civil liability because the care she rendered wasn't medical.

The divided high court appeared to signal that rescue efforts are the responsibility of trained professionals. It was also thought to be the first ruling by the court that someone who intervened in an accident in good faith could be sued.

Lisa Torti of Northridge allegedly worsened the injuries suffered by Alexandra Van Horn by yanking her "like a rag doll" from the wrecked car on Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

Torti now faces possible liability for injuries suffered by Van Horn, a fellow department store cosmetician who was rendered a paraplegic in the accident that ended a night of Halloween revelry in 2004.

But in a sharp dissent, three of the seven justices said that by making a distinction between medical care and emergency response, the court was placing "an arbitrary and unreasonable limitation" on protections for those trying to help.


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I was not there so like some of you that judge the woman for helping another human being that if in her heart thought she was helping someone lets judge how drunk we think she was. I live in Ca. this lawsuit does not suprise me, they will sue for a hang nail. Being certified as a first responder go ahead and jump in and help, but be sure you don't go beyond your scope of cert., my hat is off to this woman if in her heart she thought she was helping some one. Personally it will make me think before I help any one again.By the way I don't drink, so no excuse for me. But after hearing some of these comments, I will sure think long and hard, before ever getting involved again. Including CPR assistance.
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Yes, yes, I know you are broken, bleeding and burning alive. Will you stop the screaming and sign this before i help you?
STOP KICKING! see? now sign the pink and yellow copies and we'll get this rescue on.
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SparkS, civics 101: the Judicial branch's job is to interpret laws, the Executive enforces them. Bonus points: The Legislative makes the laws.

Good people should not be punished for rendering good aid. The stupid and clueless, however should be no where near an emergency, especially when intoxicated; as it looks like was the case here.
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