The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Profiles in Stupid: California Court Shuts Down “Good Samaritan Law”

Posted by iusbvision on December 23, 2008

The “good samaritan law”. Most of us have heard of it. It means that if you see a terrible accident or a medical emergency you may take “reasonable action” to help preserve life and limb without fear of being sued for not being able to give top notch medical care in the middle of a crisis.

In most states the good samaritan law is written in statute, but has always been considered a part of “equity law”. That means that judges would protect such people who acted reasonably in the interests of justice.

In California this is no more. A good samaritan who pulled a crash victim out of a likely burning car can be successfully sued for damages an idiotic California court has ruled:

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. comments:

The court has sent a signal to the people of California: don’t get involved. If someone’s drowning, don’t jump in the lake and save them. If someone’s trapped in a car that’s about to explode, sit there and watch the show. Just make a phone call, and who cares that it might be several minutes before an EMS team can make it to the scene? If you sit on your hands, no one can sue you for all you’re worth.

Now if the woman pulled the victim out in a state of panic or acted carelessly then the care given was “not reasonable” and she should pay, which may be the case, but to take the “good samaritan” rule and trash it goes beyond all good sense and is just plain stupid.

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