California Supreme Court Rules Good Samaritans Can Be Sued

Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that a Good Samaritan is not immune from civil liability when coming to the aide of an injured victim, if that Good Samaritan’s actions cause further harm. Good Samaritan laws in California have been designed to encourage people not to pass by those in need of help in times of emergencies and accidents.

California Civil Code section 1714.2 is California law which protects the average person from being sued if that person comes to the aid of those in need of medical attention. This law provides “Good Samaritans” protection from civil liability. California Civil Code Section 1766 provides civil immunity form most organizations, both private and governmental that provide emergency medical services to the public. California Civil Code Section 1767 provides civil immunity for those “who in good faith render emergency care at the scene of an emergency.”

This landmark decision by the California Supreme Court opens the door for much debate.  In this particular case, a victim of an auto accident was taken out of the car by a “Good Samaritan” after a serious crash. The victim claims that her injuries were made significantly worse because the “Good Samaritan” dragged her out of the car like a “rag doll.”  The victim was rendered a paraplegic.

The argument will most likely be around what a “reasonable” response is in each emergency situation.


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