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jessi_chan

People Suing Good Smaritians for being Good Smaritians?

53 posts in this topic

Video :

http://www.yahoo.com/s/1005176

Story:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081218/ap_on_...itan_protection

With making this ruling you will be discouraging SO MANY people from helping others! And my god, there are LOTS of people ALREADY who don't care about people as it is, this is just going to add to the mix. I mean out of 4 of our family's accidents only 1 of the accidents did someone ACTUALLY help us out! And hell with the accident with Dodgefan and the Shadow like 4years ago some idiots in a Civic drove by laughing their asses off.. I mean come on people is this damn ruling really going to help anything but discourage people to help at all... What is this damn world coming to? Please discuss....

Edited by jessi_chan
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I really don't see what the big deal is. And FOG, your constant litany of didainful remarks toward west-coasters is becoming rather irksome.

All this ruling says is that a "good samaritan" CAN BE SUED. Not that the plaintiff will win, but merely that a "good samaritan" could be liable for damages caused by them if they fail to use appropriate judgement during their "assistance."

The article has virtually NO details on the case, and as anyone who knows anything about law knows, individual rulings are highly dependent on the facts of the individual case. That's how precedent is created.

So, let's posit two scenarios:

SCENARIO I: Car crashes into a light pole at 45 mph and is destroyed, leaking fuel, and starting to catch fire. Good Samaritan ruhes over, forces the car door open and forcefully extracts the incapacitated individual because he/she thinks the car is about to explode.

Saved a life, right?

SCENARIO II: Car crashes into a light pole at 45 mph and is damaged heavily, leaking fuel. The occupant is incapacitated due to shock from the collision and the deployment of the airbags, but otherwise fine. Bewildered, but suffering no life-threatening injuries, the occupant realizes someone is forcing their way into the car and forcefully removing them. Suddenly, the occupant feels a pop or snap, and can no longer move his/her limbs after being yanked out so forcefully.

Pretty different, huh? These are two extremes, and it's best to see how things play out over the long term. But Yahoo! posting this means it must have been a very slow news day, as this is a ruling that only says a lawsuit may proceed after an attempt by the defendant to have it preemptively dismissed due to the Good Samaritan statute.

Nothing earth-shattering about a court ruling that a lawsuit may proceed.

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SCENARIO II: Car crashes into a light pole at 45 mph and is damaged heavily, leaking fuel. The occupant is incapacitated due to shock from the collision and the deployment of the airbags, but otherwise fine. Bewildered, but suffering no life-threatening injuries, the occupant realizes someone is forcing their way into the car and forcefully removing them. Suddenly, the occupant feels a pop or snap, and can no longer move his/her limbs after being yanked out so forcefully.…

Been watching Cold Case, eh?

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I do not find how this fits into the sanctions of the law.

1) you are NEVER to touch an injured person if you don't know what your doing UNLESS they are in dire and immediate danger (as in must be rectified before EMTs get there)

2) according to the story it did not seem as though the persons life was in dire danger.

3) the persons actions ended up causing harm (violated statement 1) which caused damages that are NOT protected under good Samaritan laws because statement 1 was not followed thereby making it negligence imo.

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Been watching Cold Case, eh?

Never have. It's a crime show, right? I think I've seen promos, but nothing more. Just put my highly rational, legalistic mind to work.

I do not find how this fits into the sanctions of the law.

1) you are NEVER to touch an injured person if you don't know what your doing UNLESS they are in dire and immediate danger (as in must be rectified before EMTs get there)

2) according to the story it did not seem as though the persons life was in dire danger.

3) the persons actions ended up causing harm (violated statement 1) which caused damages that are NOT protected under good Samaritan laws because statement 1 was not followed thereby making it negligence imo.

Exactly, hence the lawsuit may proceed.

Edited by Croc
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Somebody's a lot of fun @ parties. Wow.
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>>"SCENARIO I... SCENARIO II... Pretty different, huh?

Nothing earth-shattering about a court ruling that a lawsuit may proceed."<<

The situations are not different from the POV of the Good Samaritan ('GS'), and it is the GS's actions that are prompting any legal action whatsoever.

Two 45-MPH impacts, both leaking fuel, both with the potential to burn/explode.

Two incapacitated drivers, unable to exit the vehicle.

This is the exact point the GS must decide to act or not, and at that point, both scenario's are identical.

Standing by and watching a person burn to death merely because of fear of a lawsuit is reprehensible, IMO.

Intent is always a key component in legal cases. It's a pretty far stretch to suggest a innocent bystander approaching a burning vehicle intended to harm the occupant, which is why a GS allowance exists.

Also, this CA ruling only notches up an already hideously over-litigious society.

Edited by balthazar
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I really don't see what the big deal is. And FOG, your constant litany of didainful remarks toward west-coasters is becoming rather irksome.

Not even ONE post and someone took the bait! (What I said wasn't even insulting, merely an opinion. I could've said a lot worse) The next time someone says something about southern people or rednecks being stupid I'll be sure to tell them that they're becoming 'rather irksome' as well. (Because those kinds of comments aren't perpetuated on this board at all)

Thanks for playing! And it doesn't make me think any more of Californians or their OBVIOUSLY flawed logic.

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Not even ONE post and someone took the bait! (What I said wasn't even insulting, merely an opinion. I could've said a lot worse) The next time someone says something about southern people or rednecks being stupid I'll be sure to tell them that they're becoming 'rather irksome' as well. (Because those kinds of comments aren't perpetuated on this board at all)

Thanks for playing! And it doesn't make me think any more of Californians or their OBVIOUSLY flawed logic.

Strange, I've never made a comment about Southerners, so I don't know why you lumped me in with that...I have quite a bit of family in the South, and I'e found Southerners to be pretty much the paradigm of hospitality.

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So from now on if you want to save someone from burning to death in a car or drowning you must bring a waver form for them to sign saying they won't sue you for saving their stupid life.

Ridiculous, I hope she gets in another life threatening wreck and everyone just stands and watches, while the emergency vehicles can't get to her because of traffic or something. Then she better hope she's got a pen to sign that form...and a functional hand as well. Stupid bitch.

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I think you do or you don't....if I worried about everything I did in life, I'd be dead.

You take your chances.....

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"So the car's badly damaged and leaking fuel, but oh wait, she looks fine, so let's let someone else do it and grab a coffee!"

Edited by Dodgefan
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>>"SCENARIO I... SCENARIO II... Pretty different, huh?

Nothing earth-shattering about a court ruling that a lawsuit may proceed."<<

The situations are not different from the POV of the Good Samaritan ('GS'), and it is the GS's actions that are prompting any legal action whatsoever.

Two 45-MPH impacts, both leaking fuel, both with the potential to burn/explode.

Two incapacitated drivers, unable to exit the vehicle.

This is the exact point the GS must decide to act or not, and at that point, both scenario's are identical.

No. The first scenario involved the beginnings of a fire, and the second merely involved leaking fuel--which may or may not progress.

And from the perspectie of a GS, these should NOT be identical, ESPECIALLY when extricating someone from a vehicle. It's common sense to be careful with an injured person. According to the complaint, the GS was negligent in this regard.

Standing by and watching a person burn to death merely because of fear of a lawsuit is reprehensible, IMO.

But this isn't what happened. Accordng to the article, the GS "believed" the car would explode. It said nothing about a GS removing someone from a burning vehicle, or anything about an actual fire. Doesn't sound like there was any imminent danger whatsoever.

Intent is always a key component in legal cases. It's a pretty far stretch to suggest a innocent bystander approaching a burning vehicle intended to harm the occupant, which is why a GS allowance exists.

You're correct in this statement, but this is not necessarily what happened. If the vehicle is NOT burning/on fire, but the GS merely THINKS it will spontaneously explode...what then?

Intent rarely negates responsibility/negligence in the eyes of the law. That's where the "lesser crimes" come into play. Voluntary/involuntary manslaughter, murder I, murder II, wrongful death, etc. Those are all crimes/misdemeaners relating to the death of a person at the hands of another. And involuntary manslaughter is pretty close to "I didn't mean to do it, it was an accident." Still a charge, still a sentence...because of negligence, not any malicious intent.

Also, this CA ruling only notches up an already hideously over-litigious society.

Again, how so? The lawsuit was already filed. It goes to trial. The verdict has not been received, for all we know the GS law will remain upheld and the complaint against the GS will be dismissed. Or maybe there's something unique about this case and the GS parted ways with rationality a long time ago and in fact acted negligently.

But again, the court merely said a lawsuit could go to trial. The GS/defendant had tried to preemptively dismiss the lawsuit under the Good Samaritan statute, and the court merely disagreed with that and said that the lawsuit can go to trial. Nothing has ACTUALLY been rendered against the GS.

Here's another scenario that follows similar logic to this case:

I'm walking in a parking lot, I see someone getting into the exact same car I saw featured on an investigative report on Sudden Acceleration by the local news station last night. They aren't paying attention, and had to flood the engine to get the car started. I see a little old lady walking behind the car, and then the driver puts the car in reverse. I rush over in a panic and knock the old woman down and out of the way of impending doom! But nothing happened, the car just backed out like normal. "Phew, crisis averted!" I think. But the old woman now has broken wrists, ribs, and a hip. She was going to go on a cruise the next day to see her granddaughter's wedding in the Carribbean, and now has to miss both to get hospital care because some random dude knocked her over because he was paranoid about sudden acceleration.

I'd better be sued in that scenario...you can't go pushing old people down without any real evidence that that vehicle will strike her. Just like you can't reasonably go from zero to freak out that a car is OMG ABOUT TO EXPLODE and act impetuously, thereby seriously injuring someone.

ALL PEOPLE need to practice sound judgment and evaluate the situation, ESPECIALLY good samaritans, due to the recent accidents, or whatever, just observed.

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So from now on if you want to save someone from burning to death in a car or drowning you must bring a waver form for them to sign saying they won't sue you for saving their stupid life.

Who said anything about a waiver?

NO, THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO IN THIS SITUATION IS TO CALL THE PARAMEDICS ASAP AND THEN GO OVER TO THE VEHICLE AND SEE IF YOU CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE IN ANY WAY. UNLESS THE CAR IS ACTUALLY BURNING, AND IMMINENT DANGER EXISTS, YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO EXTRICATE SOMEONE FROM A CAR BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL FOR SPINAL INJURIES. THIS IS COMMON SENSE. BY TALKING TO THE PERSON IN AN ACCIDENT, YOU CAN BETTER TAKE STOCK OF THE SITUATION INSTEAD OF ACTING BRASHLY. IF THE VEHICLE IS MERELY LEAKING FUEL, AND NO FIRE HAS STARTED, WAIT TIL THE PARAMEDICS ARRIVE. IF THE LEAKING FUEL EVENTUALLY DOES CATCH FIRE, GUESS WHAT? YOU'RE ALREADY AT THE DOOR, TALKING TO THE PERSON, AND ARE IN A GREAT POSITION TO HELP THEM GET OUT IF NEED BE.

Ridiculous, I hope she gets in another life threatening wreck and everyone just stands and watches, while the emergency vehicles can't get to her because of traffic or something. Then she better hope she's got a pen to sign that form...and a functional hand as well. Stupid bitch.

WOW you just wished serious harm on someone for filing a lawsuit that YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER OR NOT IT HAS ANY MERIT? That's extremely low. Not cool.

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I bet the guy being sued will never help anyone out again.

1) He has no obligation to, but more mportantly 2) Any ruling against the defendant will be a clarification or nuance to the GS law, not an invalidation of it. If he/she truly acted negligently and paralyzed someone, then they should learn from it and use those lessons in the future, whether they help someone or not.

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Mr. Croc, I am afraid all of your bluster is for naught in this thread. You're on the wrong side of the argument here. Edited by ocnblu
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Mr. Croc, I am afraid all of your bluster is for naught in this thread. You're on the wrong side of the argument here.

No, he's not. Neither the video nor the article tells what the scenario was that caused the co-worker to fear why the car would catch on fire. The video does an even greater disservice to the argument by trying to draw parallels between that situation and that of a family trapped in a flood who would certainly drown had they not been rescued. Standard protocol for avoiding fires is to make sure the car is turned off and call professionals ASAP. This isn't trying to discourage people from helping others, just to get them to do it in a responsible way.

Edited by Enzora
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No, he's not. Neither the video nor the article tells what the scenario was that caused the co-worker to fear why the car would catch on fire. The video does an even greater disservice to the argument by trying to draw parallels between that situation and that of a family trapped in a flood who would certainly drown had they not been rescued. Standard protocol for avoiding fires is to make sure the car is turned off and call professionals ASAP. This isn't trying to discourage people from helping others, just to get them to do it in a responsible way.

Thank you, it's really heartening to find that all the intelligent life hasn't yet deserted the site. I know half of them are just arguing with me to be contrarian anyway...and because it's me. :rolleyes:

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I don't argue with you because it's you, I just feel it's BS to sue someone who was trying to help and had the best of intentions. Maybe he could have done it better? Who knows, we weren't there to judge, and in this day and age, a lot of people with the slightest reason will try to sue. I just think it turns off people who want to help, but now have to think twice about being sued for it.

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Who knows, we weren't there to judge, and in this day and age, a lot of people with the slightest reason will try to sue.

Her actions likely led to a person being paralyzed for the rest of her life. If you're looking for an example of frivolous lawsuits, this isn't the best one you could find.

Edited by Enzora
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I don't argue with you because it's you, I just feel it's BS to sue someone who was trying to help and had the best of intentions. Maybe he could have done it better? Who knows, we weren't there to judge, and in this day and age, a lot of people with the slightest reason will try to sue. I just think it turns off people who want to help, but now have to think twice about being sued for it.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This person may have had the absolute best of intentions, but their alleged irresponsibility paralyzed someone for life. That person can no longer work, travel independently, or live anything close to a normal life. Lifespan is decreased, and the person is completely dependent on the care and goodwill of others for the rest of his/her life because of the "Good Samaritan's" good intentions but (alleged) utter gross negligence.

What about a doctor who tries to save a patient by cutting off their arm when they had a papercut? Sure you can have great intentions, but you do not have carte blanche to be as reckless, thoughtless and irresponsible as you please simply because you "meant well."

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