Court Allows Suit Against Good Samaritan

Woman pulled her now-paralyzed friend from crashed car
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2008 6:50 PM CST
Good Samaritans aren't immune from lawsuits, a new court ruling says.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Good Samaritans, beware: California's Supreme Court ruled today that a paralyzed woman can sue the friend who pulled her out of a crashed car. The victim contends that her friend, who feared the car was about to erupt into flames, pulled her out "like a rag doll" and contributed to her injuries. The court ruled that because the friend was not specifically providing medical care, she is not immune from a lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The 4-3 ruling declared that while no one is obligated to help at the scene of an emergency, those who do must "exercise due care." It also specified that the state's Good Samaritan law protects only those who provide medical attention—and pulling someone from a car doesn't qualify. The dissenting judges criticized that distinction as far too narrow.