|12-20-2008, 05:35 PM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: The IL
LOS ANGELES Ė Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, the state's high court on Thursday said a would-be Good Samaritan accused of rendering her friend paraplegic by pulling her from a wrecked car "like a rag doll" can be sued.
California's Supreme Court ruled that the state's Good Samaritan law only protects people from liability if the are administering emergency medical care, and that Lisa Torti's attempted rescue of her friend didn't qualify.
Justice Carlos Moreno wrote for a unanimous court that a person is not obligated to come to someone's aid.
"If, however, a person elects to come to someone's aid, he or she has a duty to exercise due care," he wrote.
Torti had argued that she should still be protected from a lawsuit because she was giving "medical care" when she pulled her friend from a car wreck.
Alexandra Van Horn was in the front passenger seat of a car that slammed into a light pole at 45 mph on Nov. 1, 2004, according to her negligence lawsuit.
Torti was a passenger in a car that was following behind the vehicle and stopped after the crash. Torti said when she came across the wreck she feared the car was going to explode and pulled Van Horn out. Van Horn testified that Torti pulled her out of the wreckage "like a rag doll." Van Horn blamed her friend for her paralysis.
Whether Torti is ultimately liable is still to be determined, but Van Horn's lawsuit can go forward, the Supreme Court ruled.
Beverly Hills lawyer Robert Hutchinson, who represented Van Horn, said he's pleased with the ruling.
Torti's attorney, Ronald Kent, of Los Angeles didn't immediately return a telephone call.
|12-20-2008, 05:39 PM||#2|
Teenager from Mars
Join Date: Sep 2008
Wow...suing your friend for saving you.
I hate our society, people are low. I can't wait for the apocalypse.
|12-20-2008, 05:41 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Wow. I hate people. Thanks for saving me here's a lawsuit.
|12-20-2008, 05:44 PM||#4|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Columbia, MO
I read that story. I'm not a huge fan of the state of California (which, by state law, a good Samaritan can be sued).
It's unfortunate that this person is now paralyzed, but to sue them for trying to help you? Unbelievable.
|12-20-2008, 05:51 PM||#5|
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Not here.
Once again, the system fails, and money rules over all. How depressing.
|12-20-2008, 05:51 PM||#6|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Wow and yuck. That's all I have to say.
|12-20-2008, 06:03 PM||#7|
Cobra Beard Trooper
Join Date: Aug 2008
What a sad state of affairs. How pathetic. This really makes me angry.
|12-20-2008, 06:19 PM||#8|
Join Date: Oct 2008
This isn't actually new at all. In general, in most jurisdictions, you have as a default almost no duty to strangers, and cannot be held liable for negligence towards them. (negligence can only take place where you've breached a duty) There are some exceptions -- while driving, for example, everyone owes a duty to the whole world to exercise that level of care that a reasonable person would exercise to prevent harm from coming to others.
So if you simply walk past someone who needs medical attention, you can't be sued -- you didn't owe them a duty.
Once you intervene, however, you take on certain responsibilities, and now you DO have to exercise due care.
To people annoyed by this, keep in mind three things:
1) Nobody's saying you can be sued if ANYTHING goes wrong. This simply means that a suit for negligence is an option, whereas it wouldn't have been before. In other words, simply ignoring a stranger who needs help is not being negligent -- but trying to help someone and doing it spectacularly stupidly COULD be negligence. That's not the same thing as "something went wrong." That's "you were an idiot, and any reasonable person wouldn't have done it that way." It may seem, at first, like you should never be liable for anything you didn't do on purpose, but in other contexts suits for negligence are completely reasonable. If I drive my car recklessly, if I shoot a gun in the air recklessly, if I in general act like a moron and someone gets hurt, it doesn't seem fair for me to say "I didn't mean it! I wasn't even aware they were there!" So if we can EVER sue for negligence, it makes some sense to say "once you decide someone else's affairs are your business, even with good intentions, you still have to not be an idiot and make things worse."
2) Don't want liability for this? Think of the alternatives -- you get into an accident and need a little help, but someone comes to your aid in a stupid, reckless way, and makes everything worse. And despite the level of negligence and thoughtlessness in their actions, you're out of luck.
3) If this suit is as clear-cut as it sounds -- she thought the car might explode, etc. -- then the plaintiff is simply going to lose, and probably look like a @#$@ in front of everyone. So while it's frustrating, the alternatives might very well be worse.
|12-20-2008, 09:10 PM||#9|
Iron Grenadier Sorcerer
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: The Silent Castle
It wasn't that long ago we had a thread about that person who got run over and his body was in the middle of the street and people were walking by or staring but basically doing nothing, and this is one of the reasons why people act that way.
Ah, well. The defendant can dress up like Elphaba and lip-sync "No Good Deed (Goes Unpunished)" from "Wicked" in the middle of court.
Last edited by Barefoot Jedi; 12-20-2008 at 09:13 PM..
|12-20-2008, 09:32 PM||#10|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Monrovia, CA
if a prosecutor can prove negligence, I fail to see how the system has somehow failed. in fact, I'd say it is the other way around. if someone needlessly pulled you like a rag doll and paralyzed you, the judicial system that didn't allow you to seek compensation would be screwed up.
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