California court holds rescuers liable for injuries

posted at 9:45 am on December 20, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

In this season of Christmas, let us reflect on the parable of the Good Samaritan.  After a traveler had been assaulted and then ignored by the rest of the community, a Samaritan rescued him and helped him recover.  If the Samaritan moved to California, he’d better have a good lawyer, as the state Supreme Court ruled that the liability shield passed for those who conduct emergency rescues and inadvertently injure the victims only applies to medical personnel:

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.

Torti and Van Horn traveled in separate cars, and the driver of Van Horn’s car ran into a light pole at 45 MPH. Torti testified that she saw smoke and liquid coming from the car and thought the vehicle would explode, trapping Van Horn.  She rushed to pull her co-worker from the car, and Van Horn alleges that Torti aggravated a broken vertebra that damaged her spinal cord.  She sued Torti (and the driver) for causing her paralysis.

I remember when California passed the 1990 law shielding rescuers, and the intent was not just to limit the liability of EMS and other professional rescuers.  Cases like Van Horn’s had begun popping up where people who acted in good faith to rescue people in danger had gotten sued for causing incidental or aggravating injuries.  CPR, for example, can cause ribcage injuries even if done properly.  The legislature intended to encourage people to assist in emergencies, especially those that could not wait for official rescue teams to arrive — like cars about to explode with people trapped inside them.

The court, however, saw it differently, and the Times found at least one legal expert to agree with the majority:

Both opinions have merit, “but I think the majority has better arguments,” said Michael Shapiro, professor of constitutional and bioethics law at USC.

Shapiro said the majority was correct in interpreting that the Legislature meant to shield doctors and other healthcare professionals from being sued for injuries they cause despite acting with “reasonable care,” as the law requires.

Noting that he would be reluctant himself to step in to aid a crash victim with potential spinal injuries, Shapiro said the court’s message was that emergency care “should be left to medical professionals.”

In the first place, “medical professionals” in this instance would have been EMS.  I believe that they already have protection from personal liability as part of their work for the state, and wouldn’t have needed the 1990 shield from lawsuits.  But leave that aside for the moment.  What happens when no “medical professionals” are present?  If that car had caught fire and exploded and Torti had done nothing to rescue her friend, she would have died, and her family would probably have sued her for that.

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.

Update: Forgot to hat-tip Patrick Edaburn at The Moderate Voice.


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I guess before you help anybody you need to have them sign a release form.

Rick007 on December 20, 2008 at 9:36 PM

I couldn’t care less what the laws are, if I see someone in trouble, I will help them.

4shoes on December 20, 2008 at 9:53 PM

Lets face it,, most of the time we need lawyers to protect us from other lawyers.
Britain is going down the tubes,, but the one thing they do have over there that is good,, is a Loser Pays system. So,, any loser in a trial has got to pay the court and attorney fees. It adds some balance to the system. None of this crap where you don’t pay the lawyers unless you win.
It is just absolutely evil.
course,, one good test would be to check and see what the bumper stickers on the car are. If you see Obama bumper stickers, PITA bumper stickers or
Save Our Planet bumper stickers and so forth,, let em burn.
You know there’s a lib inside.
I have a good idea,,,, perhaps we could start putting stickers on our car windows like they have on some house windows in case of a fire,, you know,, perhaps a bumper sticker that says,, “In Case if Accident, Save Me, I Won’t Sue”

JellyToast on December 20, 2008 at 9:58 PM

I’m not sure why you doofuses think you can do anything to someone else resulting in them being seriously injured for life and then claim that you were only helping them and not be liable for your careless negligent behavior.

Blake on December 20, 2008 at 10:14 PM

Remember everyone… instead of yelling “Help!” from now on, now you have to yell “I won’t sue!”.

LibTired on December 20, 2008 at 10:16 PM

“In Case if Accident, Save Me, I Won’t Sue”

JellyToast on December 20, 2008 at 9:58 PM

So, if I drag you out of a care even though there is no indication that the car will catch on fire and dump you in the middle of the high way, where you are then run over by a mack track, you won’t sue me? Thanks!

Blake on December 20, 2008 at 10:16 PM

care = car

Blake on December 20, 2008 at 10:17 PM

Whatever happened to parental responsibility? Apparently. there is no liability/responsibilty in being a parent.

OldEnglish on December 20, 2008 at 9:27 PM

Liability is one of the most abused concepts of the modern left, and their views on it (feelings about it, really) have been leaking into society for a long time. Very unfortunate for all.

I just wanted to note something along these lines from the report about the Supreme Court Decision:

The divided high court appeared to signal that rescue efforts are the responsibility of trained professionals.

If one, in good faith, thinks that s/he is able to respond, then that person FEELS responsible, at least for most of the Western world for a very long time, as the construction of the word, itself, shows. To legislate or rule this reaction out of the culture is a very deep change, and likely not for the better.

progressoverpeace on December 20, 2008 at 10:33 PM

I have a good idea,,,, perhaps we could start putting stickers on our car windows like they have on some house windows in case of a fire,, you know,, perhaps a bumper sticker that says,, “In Case if Accident, Save Me, I Won’t Sue”

JellyToast on December 20, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Good idea. Black & yellow or white & orange for visibility?

Dark-Star on December 20, 2008 at 10:35 PM

So, if I drag you out of a care even though there is no indication that the car will catch on fire and dump you in the middle of the high way, where you are then run over by a mack track, you won’t sue me? Thanks!

Blake on December 20, 2008 at 10:16 PM

Yo! Blake, please put a sticker on your car that says: “I’m Blake, from Hot Air!” Then all of us can be sure and let you burn. Okay? Thanks!

mrpeabody on December 20, 2008 at 10:40 PM

Have the victim sign a release prior to removing them from the car.

this world has gone insane

though not all….in general, lawyers suck.

Jamson64 on December 20, 2008 at 10:49 PM

California is going down the tubes. In addition to this ridiculous ruling, our Attorney General, elected by the people, has decided to fight against the will of the people and argue against Proposition 8 to the State Supreme Court. I would complain to the Governator, but he’s also fighting against the majority of voters who passed Prop 8. Our Democrat-controlled legislature wants to impose billions of dollars in new taxes by calling them “fees,” thereby avoiding the two-thirds majority needed to pass a tax increase. This lunacy can only get worse after January 20th.

sgt_rich on December 20, 2008 at 11:11 PM

As we move ever closer to the Orwellian nightmare envisioned many years ago, we move ever farther from that which makes us all human beings.

KMC1 on December 20, 2008 at 11:12 PM

To make lemonade out of lemons, you can still render aid and disappear in the dusk like an unknown and unsued super hero.

BL@KBIRD on December 20, 2008 at 11:28 PM

When in California next time I’ll have a bunch of cards printed up with the following in Helvetica size 3 font :

“While I would love to render aid in your time of distress, I need you to sign this form releasing me from any and all liability regarding damages or injuries you may suffer from or which may be aggravated by my aid. Thank you and I need you to use your own pen please as germs travel fast. Please be aware that not signing will be taken as a signal that you require no aid and as such I will refrain from calling the appropriate medical professionals as this will lessen the burden on our already over extended health care system and save precious bandwidth on our taxed phone system as well as decrease our dependence on foreign oil, cut down on carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, save rubber trees from being cut down, decrease the amount of material that ends up in landfills and help The One get us out of economic ruin and onto a path of socialistic utopia. Thank you and have a good day.”

Perhaps I can give a copy to a California Supreme Court justice who is pinned under a burning car following an accident.

Bubba Redneck on December 20, 2008 at 11:32 PM

Whenever you read a citation for bravery, the “heroes” description of events never hints at deliberation, only action in the face of need.

This crap is legal hair splitting by cads and shysters. Too much of that $hit in America.

BL@KBIRD on December 20, 2008 at 11:40 PM

So in other words Mr Blake , if we found you in a wrecked car or in any emergencies , we would leave you there until till rescue and medical professionals to get you out of the wreck or bail you out because you don’t want to be crippled for life . Okay , we will do that , just put a large sticker in your windshield stating such and buy yourself a medical bracelet that says ” to be rescued and treated by trained rescue and medical personnel only” engraved on it and that goes for your whole family too . I really hope you know your BLS , ACLS , PALs as well as basic to advanced first aid because you will have to do it all alone until the cavalry arrives . Good luck

DinobotPrime on December 21, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Maybe they should put a waver sticker on the car indicating please help, or don’t bother.

Maybe everyone should have a wrist ban or a tattoo on the forehead that indicates needing help or not.

Or maybe, one should avoid California all together.

Kini on December 21, 2008 at 12:25 AM

The supreme court will over turn this stupid judgment at first glance.

Man, the California supreme court is crazy… nuts.

Karmashock on December 21, 2008 at 12:43 AM

When in California next time I’ll have a bunch of cards printed up with the following in Helvetica size 3 font :
…..
Bubba Redneck on December 20, 2008 at 11:32 PM

That would be a mistake. Federal regulations require legal notices to be in an 8-point font.

Yes, really.

theregoestheneighborhood on December 21, 2008 at 1:09 AM

Those krazy Kalifornians! I only go there to visit relatives. I wouldn’t want to live there.

miron on December 21, 2008 at 3:32 AM

Bubba Redneck on December 20, 2008 at 11:32 PM

It is, now, not uncommon for a would be rescuer to take note of the age/appearance of an injured person in certain locations because of the danger of HIV. In the case of a two car accident involving one car full of a certain type, and the other occupied by mature people, guess who gets the immediate atention.

OldEnglish on December 21, 2008 at 3:48 AM

Torti testified that she saw smoke and liquid coming from the car and thought the vehicle would explode, trapping Van Horn.

I wonder if the family would have sued had Torti not helped, the car blew up killing Van Horn.

I can’t believe what I have been seeing lately. Beam me up Scotty!!

gstrickler on December 21, 2008 at 4:37 AM

DinobotPrime on December 21, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Right. And when I yank you or your family members out of a car wreck and into the middle of 101 and dump you there and you are flattened by a semitruck, I will expect your heirs not to sue me because, hell, I was only trying to help.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 5:12 AM

Torti testified that she saw smoke and liquid coming from the car and thought the vehicle would explode, trapping Van Horn.

I wonder if the family would have sued had Torti not helped, the car blew up killing Van Horn.

I can’t believe what I have been seeing lately. Beam me up Scotty!!

gstrickler on December 21, 2008 at 4:37 AM

You left this part out:

Others testified, on the other hand, that there was no smoke or any other indications that the vehicle might explode … Plaintiff testified that Torti pulled her from the vehicle by grabbing her by the arm and yanking her out “like a rag doll.” Emergency personnel arrived moments later…

Then again, the defendant had been smoking dope and had several drinks so maybe she only thought she saw “smoke and liquid” and that excused her from exercising due care and not seriously harming anyone. Got to wonder how she could even see “liquid coming from the vehicle” at 1:30 am on Topanga Canyon Blvd.

But, hey, can’t let facts get in the way of a good HotAir uninformed kneejerk outrage.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 5:35 AM

When in California next time I’ll have a bunch of cards printed up with the following in Helvetica size 3 font :
…..
Bubba Redneck on December 20, 2008 at 11:32 PM

That would be a mistake. Federal regulations require legal notices to be in an 8-point font.

Yes, really.

theregoestheneighborhood on December 21, 2008 at 1:09 AM

Bubba, I thought your card was pure genius! Don’t let TGTN get you mired down in the details. :-)

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:36 AM

But, hey, can’t let facts get in the way of a good HotAir uninformed kneejerk outrage.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 5:35 AM

Initial impacts can cause releases of vapors, stream, suspended dust debris from the impact vehicles but don’t let me get in the way of your constant indignant criticisms of HA bloggers.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM

steam…

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM

Don’t any of you losers do me any favors.

Blake on December 20, 2008 at 7:23 PM

You got a promise from me too.

PS As*-wipe, there’s lots of blogs you can go to where the bloggers aren’t losers and maybe, yes, maybe they’re up to your intell-ect-ual caliber. If you hate it here, just leave.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:48 AM

Would it not be karma if a close family member of one of those Calif. Supreme Court justices was in dire need of assistance someday and the only person able to assist in time held back because of the ruling that very Justice voted for?

bk1958blue on December 21, 2008 at 7:30 AM

Initial impacts can cause releases of vapors, stream, suspended dust debris from the impact vehicles but don’t let me get in the way of your constant indignant criticisms of HA bloggers.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM

steam…

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM

In your case,if you were in an accident, it would be neither vapors, stream, steam, or dust but bullsh*t.

You got a promise from me too.

Good. And I promise that if I ever see you in a car accident, I will drag you out into oncoming traffic and after you are flatter than Rachel Corrie, claim I was only trying to give you medical assistance, because I know your heirs won’t be hypocrites and sue me. In fact, reading your posts, they will probably thank me.

PS As*-wipe, there’s lots of blogs you can go to where the bloggers aren’t losers and maybe, yes, maybe they’re up to your intell-ect-ual caliber. If you hate it here, just leave.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 5:48 AM

Make me leave, Teabag. Otherwise, if you hate the fact that I am here, you are the one that better just leave.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Make me leave, Teabag. Otherwise, if you hate the fact that I am here, you are the one that better just leave.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Fayetteville market square in NC. Any time! You pick! I’ll be in Army ACUs and I’ll assume you’re the one with the prissy little grin on face.

BTW, if you read what most of the commenters here were concentrating on, it was the legislation and not the incident in particular.

If you don’t like hotheads, don’t come here being the first one to name call and throw thread bombs. You sound like an obnoxious school bully.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 8:44 AM

Wow. Brilliant ruling. How long before they realize the error of their ways and say oops? How many must die because the good samaritan drove on by?

Sue on December 21, 2008 at 8:55 AM

Only in Cal.!!! I am so glad I left that state it has to be the most assinine state in the union, I wish it would secede, but I don’t give up hope that it will fall off into the ocean with the big one( hoping my friends there will be on vacation in another state when it happens). It seems like the good people of Calif. don’t stand a chance, their votes are overturned, prop.187 now 8, it’s really a shame this beautiful state is at the mercy of fruits,nuts and illegal aliens.

concernedsenior on December 21, 2008 at 9:02 AM

I’ll note that the California legislature can correct this rather easily, I think, by passing a so-called Good Samaritan law which basically absolves the rescuer of such responsibilities under most circumstances. Many states have such laws; I assume California does not.

Henry Bowman on December 21, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Fayetteville market square in NC. Any time! You pick! I’ll be in Army ACUs and I’ll assume you’re the one with the prissy little grin on face.

I’ll be there, internet tough guy! Don’t start without me. You’ll be the one being hauled off in a straight jacket. I’ll be the one laughing.

BTW, if you read what most of the commenters here were concentrating on, it was the legislation and not the incident in particular.

Yes, most of you freaks are quite happy to deny the paralyzed plaintiff’s day in court and ignore the fact that the defendant’s version is contested.

If you don’t like hotheads, don’t come here being the first one to name call and throw thread bombs. You sound like an obnoxious school bully.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 8:44 AM

Sez the teabag who challenged me to a physical fight. I wasn’t the first one to name call and bomb throw. Seek psych help.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 9:53 AM

I’ll note that the California legislature can correct this rather easily, I think, by passing a so-called Good Samaritan law which basically absolves the rescuer of such responsibilities under most circumstances. Many states have such laws; I assume California does not.

Henry Bowman on December 21, 2008 at 9:12 A

M

I don’t know of any state that absolves a rescuer of a reasonable belief and that doesn’t require due care. Do you?

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 9:57 AM

making this country a reflection of how you want it to be Blake. You took that NYT article about It’s a Wonderful Life too seriously. Some of us are still fighting people like you turning this country into that.

Noelie on December 21, 2008 at 10:34 AM

making this country a reflection of how you want it to be Blake. You took that NYT article about It’s a Wonderful Life too seriously. Some of us are still fighting people like you turning this country into that.

Noelie on December 21, 2008 at 10:34 AM

You mean a country where you don’t after drinking and smoking dope and watching too many Hollywood movies believe you see smoke and liquid that none of the other witnesses and yank a person who has suffered serious injuries to their spinal cord already out of the truck, dumping them on the pavement instead of waiting “moments” for the EMS to arrive and possibly causing paralysis and then denying the paralysed person their day in court?

Yes, I am most people strive for that type of country.

Unlike you, sweetcheeks, I’ve rendered more medical assistance to people on the street and in the middle of nowhere, hours away from any help then you could ever imagine doing in your entire life without any problems because I didn’t act like a careless jerk.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 10:48 AM

none of the other witnesses testified to seeing

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Let’s flip it around. If the CSC said it was okay to remove this person negligently without a reasonable belief that the person was in any immediate danger and if the person suffered paralysis as a result, tough luck, how many more people would suffer serious injuries or death because you can act like a stoned doofus and not be held liable? Is that the country you want, noelie? Because I’m fighting people like you attempting to turn this country into that.

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Seems lawyer always need a new way to scam your money at the cost of human decency. So what do we do? Make the person sign a waiver before pulling them from a burning truck, or before catching them as they jump out of a burning building? What about the Boy Scouts? Sorry lady we can’t help you across the street.

Well, its what this country has become. Look at it good people. Its an acid eating away the frame of humanity. If that lady sues and wins well maybe the guy should have left her there to ROT becuase it sounds like he saved someone who got what they deserved anyway.

johnnyU on December 21, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Blake lol, you are so freaking brave behind that keyboard. You rant and rant and rant some more and rail against everyone here and then tell me to get a straight-jacket.

In my fundamentals of instruction class, we call that projection.

Anyway, not worth my time unless you really pick a day.

Oh, what’s that? Is that your Mom calling from upstairs? You better go, she might need you to run to the store or something.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 11:00 AM

maybe some lawyer will be in an accident and i can help him,…or not.

let ‘im suffer, helping wouldn’t be prudent

billypaintbrush on December 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM

OT: There is a distinct reason I don’t post here as much any more…..I’m tired of flame wars. They are a total waste of time and energy.

Vntnrse on December 21, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Blake lol, you are so freaking brave behind that keyboard.

No bravery involved to identify you as a putz.

Oh, what’s that? Is that your Mom calling from upstairs? You better go, she might need you to run to the store or something.

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Now what you said is a real example of projection!

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 11:39 AM

And all you rocket scientists: If defendant really believed the truck was going to catch on fire, explode, whatever, why did she dump the woman “immediately next to the car”?

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

And all you rocket scientists: If defendant really believed the truck was going to catch on fire, explode, whatever, why did she dump the woman “immediately next to the car”?

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Oh, I don’t know Einstein, maybe she isn’t very strong. When was the last time you tried to Fireman carry your boyfriend?

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 12:08 PM

This is another classic case that proves Hot Air really, badly needs a resident lawyer. An observation that “I remember when California passed a law that they meant to do something else” does not wash and in no way informs anyone. Please, for the love of God, hire a lawyer to blog here at Hot Air, and let the lawyer take these stories.

indythinker on December 21, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Miron: Don’t expect relief from the SCOTUS, this is a state only issue.

They can only fix reading comprehension issues by idiot state judges if there is a federal nexus. This has to be corrected by the legislature or by initiative petition.

All those talking about waivers: The plaintiff’s attorneys will argue that the waiver was signed under duress, and sue anyway.

Blake: You are either, IMO:

1)A very good troll.
2)A flaming idiot.
3)An amoral attorney trying to justify bullshit that makes normal people want to murder all attorneys.

Kristopher on December 21, 2008 at 1:33 PM

When in California next time I’ll have a bunch of cards printed up with the following in Helvetica size 3 font :
…..
Bubba Redneck on December 20, 2008 at 11:32 PM

That would be a mistake. Federal regulations require legal notices to be in an 8-point font.

Yes, really.

theregoestheneighborhood on December 21, 2008 at 1:09 AM

TGTN:

1. Cool screen name!
2. I believe you.
3. 3×5 notecards should do the trick if printed on both sides.

I am surprised California does not have a Good Samaritan law. This sounds like a good thing to put into California’s state constitution.

Bubba Redneck on December 21, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Let California die. It deserves no help from anyone.

Right_of_Attila on December 20, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Only problem there is that as Cali rots, the lib Californians who created this mess start moving east to infect the rest of the country state by state.

XWing5 on December 20, 2008 at 10:02 AM

As a life-long resident of the Golden State, I’d like to set the record straight: California used to be a very conservative state (SF has always been wacky, but that another story). The “infection” began when Nanny-state Liberals from New York and Massachusetts began migrating here in the 1960s. We elected Ronald Reagan as Governor, twice, ferchrissakes.
.
Blame the sickness on New England Liberalism.

Spiny Norman on December 21, 2008 at 2:02 PM

I am surprised California does not have a Good Samaritan law. This sounds like a good thing to put into California’s state constitution.

Bubba Redneck on December 21, 2008 at 1:53 PM

It ain’t gonna happen (if the state legislature tried, and they won’t, it get struck down anyway). Good Samaritan laws are a threat to personal injury lawyers’ incomes. This state is run by lawyers. You do the math.

Spiny Norman on December 21, 2008 at 2:10 PM

To make lemonade out of lemons, you can still render aid and disappear in the dusk like an unknown and unsued super hero.

BL@KBIRD on December 20, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Kind of like The Incredibles.

I wonder if the creative work behind that movie saw this coming.

INC on December 21, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Spiny: it could be done, but only with a strong conservative majority in the legislature.

One not afraid to impeach batshit-insane judges.

Kristopher on December 21, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Oh I don’t know , considering before you get to dump me and my fictional family in the middle of the road after you rescue me in my car ( which incidentally, I don’t drive ) , you have to get out of your car first and make an attempt in which case , you are already endangering your life . From the way you are posting , you would rather keep on driving to keep all your limbs and nervous system intact . .

DinobotPrime on December 21, 2008 at 2:45 PM

How about this scenario where a young man an a young lady, driving separate vehicles, instinctively stop on the road when a bus loaded with school children suddenly catches on fire in the San Diego vicinity. The young man starts the conversation:

“Pretty bad fire. There’s plenty of time, though, to kick in the windows and rescue the children. But, you know, there’s bound to be a kid injured by flying glass and then where will we be?”

“Yeah, I know. That’s all I need is a lawsuit when I still got payments on my car and house.”

“Too bad. Look like nice kids but I wish they would stop screaming. It’s hard to talk over the racket they’re making.”

“Say, let’s get away from all the noise. I know a nice Outback Steakhouse in la Mesa….”

MaiDee on December 21, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Blake , my boy , next to the car is relative unless somebody took the time to measure the distance of the victim to the wreck of the car . Next to the car might be as near as 3 inches or as far away as 8 feet . And oh btw , you haven’t answer my question if you are certified with basic and advanced first aid and BLS . Better get certified . And the above post also refers to your previous post , Blake .

DinobotPrime on December 21, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Spiny Norman on December 21, 2008 at 2:10 PM

Unless a busload of kids burn to death in a highway accident and nobody stops to help. I can just picture it:

Reporter: “Why didn’t you help the kids Sir!?!”

Joe Q. Public: “And risk a lawsuit?!? No thank you!”

Reporter: ” And you Madam, why did you not help!?!”

Jane Q. Public: “My 3×5 note cards are not back from the printers.”

Bubba Redneck on December 21, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Blake on December 21, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Because throwing the victim would have injured the thrower’s back.

This reminds me of the Married With Children episode where Al gets sued by a guy breaking into Al’s house because Al punched him. Al counter sued because Al broke his hand on the guy’s cheekbone.

The problem with judges: most used to be lawyers. Thus they lack common sense.
I strongly believe that lawyers should be disqualified from becoming judges…and legislators.

Bubba Redneck on December 21, 2008 at 3:08 PM

And yet people wonder why bystanders don’t get involved when they see some crime happening. Why run the risk by getting involved? This tells me that if my neighbor is getting mugged in his driveway I should just step away from the window to avoid the risk of doing harm by upsetting the mugger.

katiejane on December 21, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Um, I’m confused. The professionals, whose job is to rescue people and who are trained and paid to that job, are shielded from liability. Passersby, who are not financially compensated for the rescue and who may put themselves in harm’s way to help someone, are exposed to liability.

That is just twisted.

pussum207 on December 21, 2008 at 3:48 PM

While it’s fun to rant about this miscarriage of justice, it won’t last long because the ultimate judge of the laws are the people, not lawyers. It’s a matter of when, not if, this situation will be remedied about act of the state legislature by some ambitious state congressman wanting to build his resume for higher office or maybe even just do the right thing.

Tantor on December 21, 2008 at 4:44 PM

You know, between this and Biden saying he’s going to make certain the middle class grows and survives, I’m ready to sign myself into the looney bin. It’s one flow over the cuckoo’s nest time in America. Gosh, who’d a thunk we’d live to see our country go down the tubes this way. What I’d like to know is where have all the normal, hard working, church going, people helping, upwardly mobile people gone? Remember if you can, it’s been some time now since how America use to be. Friendly, outgoing, patriotic, law abiding, please take my seat I’ll stand, helping the poor without being forced, checking on your neighbors when you know their sick, letting your kids ride a bike without someone telling them they need a helmet. If I’d been all padded up instead of in fear of killing myself, I’d never have learned to keep my balance on a bike. And God help me if I ever played kick ball, tether ball, or any other game where I might get injured. When parents decided to wrap their kids in cotton, I knew it was over. Good night, and don’t forget to turn off the light. The one in the Statue of Liberty that is.

Amazing Grace on December 21, 2008 at 7:18 PM

But of course, compared to national politicians, they are girl scouts.

notagool on December 20, 2008 at 10:01 AM

But most politicians, at all levels, are lawyers.

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 8:36 PM

Tort reform and loser pays is the only way to go with civil law…

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 8:39 PM

Don’t worry folks — he ain’t drownin’, he’s just wavin’…

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 8:47 PM

We need to cap lawyer fees at like 5 percent(of course that will just make them ask for more) in personal injury cases.

Corsair on December 20, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Laws are mostly written BY lawyers, so that’s not gonna happen.

The real solution is loser pays for civil law. And it will probably never happen…

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 9:04 PM

The real solution is loser pays for civil law. And it will probably never happen…

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 9:04 PM

“Loser pays” has problems, too. If you sue some deep pockets and they hire a whole team of expensive lawyers, you risk being totally wiped out, even if you have a reasonable case, though it might lose. This could be taken care of with limits of some sort, related to the size of the suit, perhaps.

I think that the deeper issue involves lawyers who knowingly flood our system with useless claims that drain time from the court system. For this, there should be some sort of average kept of lawyers’ courtroom perfomrmance, with those dropping below some minimum percentage won, having their bar cards revoked for wasting common judicial resources, or something to that effect. As it is now, most lawyers feel perfectly confident taking moronic cases to court. If there ends up being a price to pay for that, then nuisance suits will dry up, I think. It is generally not the clients who are the real problems, it is their lawyers.

progressoverpeace on December 21, 2008 at 9:20 PM

So, if I drag you out of a care even though there is no indication that the car will catch on fire and dump you in the middle of the high way, where you are then run over by a mack track, you won’t sue me? Thanks!

Blake on December 20, 2008 at 10:16 PM

So, in another scenario, if a person or child is being mauled by a wild animal or a dog, you should do nothing?

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 9:22 PM

If you sue some deep pockets and they hire a whole team of expensive lawyers, you risk being totally wiped out, even if you have a reasonable case, though it might lose. This could be taken care of with limits of some sort, related to the size of the suit, perhaps.

This can happen now without loser pays. Not every civil case is taken on a contingency basis.

I think that the deeper issue involves lawyers who knowingly flood our system with useless claims that drain time from the court system. For this, there should be some sort of average kept of lawyers’ courtroom perfomrmance, with those dropping below some minimum percentage won, having their bar cards revoked for wasting common judicial resources, or something to that effect. As it is now, most lawyers feel perfectly confident taking moronic cases to court. If there ends up being a price to pay for that, then nuisance suits will dry up, I think. It is generally not the clients who are the real problems, it is their lawyers.

progressoverpeace on December 21, 2008 at 9:20 PM

The problem is judges are lawyers (obviously) and they generally aren’t inclined to make it harder to practice law (speaking of civil law here). Part of the problem is how the system is set up. Loser pays is better than what we have now. No solution will be perfect. I believe that it can’t get any worse for our extremely litigious society…

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 9:40 PM

Loser pays is better than what we have now. No solution will be perfect. I believe that it can’t get any worse for our extremely litigious society…

eanax on December 21, 2008 at 9:40 PM

I do agree that “loser pays” is better than what we currently have. I was only saying that we need to get limits on the lawyers, too. Of course, if we had decent judges, none of this would be a major problem, but …

progressoverpeace on December 21, 2008 at 10:36 PM

I’ve saved three people from choking by giving them the Heimlich. Since I do live in California that will not happen again. This is pure insanity.

jukin on December 21, 2008 at 10:41 PM

This is serious business.
I mean right now as a male in america
If i see
A woman being assaulted
A child being lured
A person in a car accident
A woman alone on the road in a broken car.

I only dial 9/11 now because
I know that there are 15% of these Lefist idiots
who will SUE the CRAP out of me just because they can find a laywer who will make it ok to do so..

This means now that ALL males in the usa better not render assistance unless you have been trained by every department in every state in the Union..

And since this is impossible no man could do this
The leftist nuts have left our own country wide open to islamic terrorism..

Because when the islamic terrorists strike americans wont be terrified of them no

Americans will be paralyzed by the islamic terrorists lawyers and the ACLU..

jcila on December 21, 2008 at 11:13 PM

Rick007: Precisely

JellyToast: Maybe I should have that tattooed to my forehead, just in case I’m not in my car.

MrsWeebork on December 22, 2008 at 4:09 AM

What gets me is the attitude that if anything is worth doing, it MUST be left to the professionals.

As always, liberals assume that the average man in the street is an utter incompetant who must be restrained by law from hurting everyone around him.

MarkTheGreat on December 22, 2008 at 7:45 AM

Only problem there is that as Cali rots, the lib Californians who created this mess start moving east to infect the rest of the country state by state.

XWing5 on December 20, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Heck with a fence on the Mexican border, can we put one on the California border?

MarkTheGreat on December 22, 2008 at 8:16 AM

Stories like this make me so glad I live in TX.

Lex Luthor had the right idea for solving the CA problem.

SDN on December 22, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Oh, I don’t know Einstein, maybe she isn’t very strong. When was the last time you tried to Fireman carry your boyfriend?

hawkdriver on December 21, 2008 at 12:08 PM

When was the last time you tried to fireman carry your boyfriend?

Blake , my boy , next to the car is relative unless somebody took the time to measure the distance of the victim to the wreck of the car . Next to the car might be as near as 3 inches or as far away as 8 feet . And oh btw , you haven’t answer my question if you are certified with basic and advanced first aid and BLS . Better get certified . And the above post also refers to your previous post , Blake .

DinobotPrime on December 21, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Dino, sweetcheeks, if you had bothered to read the opinion you would have seen it said “immediately next to the car.” Define it as you will. However, whether 3 inches or 8 feet, if one truly believes a car is going to catch on fire or explode, just like in all the Hollywood movies noobs like you watch, you don’t dump them that close. Oh, btw, who are you to make demands of me or anyone? As I have said, those who will attempt to help those in trouble will continue to do so and those who never have or will, will pretend to use this case, which most haven’t even bothered to read, as an excuse.

Kristopher on December 21, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Krissy: You are either, IMO:

1)An idiot.
2)An idiot.
3)An idiot.

Word to the wise: If you and others can’t take it, don’t dish it out and then whine about it.

Blake on December 22, 2008 at 9:10 AM

Lawyers suck… Judges suck… Courts and Laws are broken and in dire need of attention and reform… America is headed down a very dark road and our headlights are dimming.

Mark Garnett on December 22, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Judicial activism by the court, pure and simple. The court Legislated from the bench and overturned a good law meant to help people in emergencies. But the smug anti-human, anti-common-sense liberals of the court decided this law was too bourgeois to bear.

Maxx on December 22, 2008 at 10:48 AM

OK-I just showed up today.
This Blake thing is way out of hand.
Why is anyone bothering to reply to this individual after the vitriol he/she started to spew?
Without knowing the particulars of this case, I can only say that if the rescuer really believed she was doing a good thing & tried her best, no matter what the outcome, it sets a dangerous precedent to persecute/prosecute her for it.
If the rescuer was drunk &/or stoned, then that is a separate issue. Even drunk &/or stoned people do good deeds on occasion.
Bottom line-people can be inherently brave & good-why would we want to mess with this?
Relying upon the govt (city, state, federal etc..) to “save” us is silly.
Where I live, we all have to help each other. EMT took 45 minutes to get to my husband’s father years ago. He died of a heart attack while his son desperately administered CPR the whole time til they showed up.
If I get in a car accident out here, I have no choice but to rely upon my neighbors-many of them untrained medical professionals.
WTF is wrong with our society that we must fear helping another human being?!

Badger40 on December 22, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Badger40 on December 22, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Liberal creeps like Blake makes us Conservatives understand why we hate the far left sue happy jerks of the ACLU and other lawers that pray on fears of self-reliant people, people that want the ability to help and assist our neighbors in need.

Your post gets an A ++, I wish more people thought like you and we’d have less welfare and more person responsibility.

:)

Mark Garnett on December 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Blake = bag-o-douche

I was a licensed EMT in Texas for 5 years. Did it on the weekends outside my normal day job.

Since moving to California over 2 years ago, I have let my license expire, as unfortunately my regular job keeps me too busy these days. However, the knowledge and skills are still very much intact.

This past Thanksgiving, my relatives and I were traveling down the 78 in Escondido (just north of San Diego) heading to the Wild Animal Park. The 78 was jammed with traffic as usual, but especially worse being at the height of post Thanksgiving shopping. We witnessed an accident happen before our eyes involving 5 or 6 cars. My brother-in-law (a former USMC Scout Sniper, and always willing to lend a hand) and I pulled our car over and jumped out to give assistance, along with several other bystanders. In one of the cars…an 86 year old woman trapped inside (doors jammed from the impact). She was going into shock. We muscled her door open and carefully pulled her to safety. She was also gasping for air from smoke expelled from the airbag firing mechanism.

An ambulance didn’t arrive on scene for another 8 minutes due to the traffic. We may have saved her life, and somewhere, she may be having at least one more great Christmas with her loved ones. I can think of more than 2 dozen reasons to extract a victim out of a smashed vehicle before a trained professional arrives…a potential explosion or fire not included.

Thanks to this ruling…I will question helping the next time. Instead I may just stand there like the 3 other capable dopes that day in Escondido…hoping they’re making a difference, each calling 911 on their cell phones…about the same accident…while a trapped 86 year old goes into shock and asphyxiates to death.

The typical “all-or-nothing” argument you spew is a lot like your lower intestine, Blake…stinky. Just like the same slippery slope argument for abortion rights…that somehow the very rare instance of incest or rape or mother’s life in jeopardy will be overlooked by the heartless pro-life advocates…the same way you decry that all Good Samaritans will mindlessly drag a victim out of the frying pan and into the fire…or oncoming big-rig traffic.

Pffffffffffft.

selias on December 22, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Legal decisions and laws that come from the land of fruits and nuts no longer surprise me. Unfortunately, all too often, their inane, insane or mundane laws sometimes set precedent for the rest of the country. I only hope everyone involved eventually have an accident after which people are force to eatch them perish because they feared legal liability should they lend aid. THAT’S justice.

TrickyDick on December 22, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Mark Garnett on December 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Thanks. I sometimes think I am alone in the wilderness!

Thanks to this ruling…I will question helping the next time. Instead I may just stand there like the 3 other capable dopes that day in Escondido…hoping they’re making a difference, each calling 911 on their cell phones…about the same accident…while a trapped 86 year old goes into shock and asphyxiates to death.
selias on December 22, 2008 at 12:02 PM

No you won’t. Bcs you are a good person. And good people do good things, regardless of the risk.
All evil needs is for good men to do nothing. Don’t lose hope.

I only hope everyone involved eventually have an accident after which people are force to eatch them perish because they feared legal liability should they lend aid. THAT’S justice.

TrickyDick on December 22, 2008 at 12:11 PM

I’d like to think that way, too. But deep down, I don’t think any of us here wishes that upon another person.
There are pockets of good in CA. At least when I lived in Carmichael as a kid.

Badger40 on December 22, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Pffffffffffft.

selias on December 22, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Best comment and example on the entire thread. +10

I especially like the last sentence.

hawkdriver on December 22, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Mr. Blake, many of us would be more likely to listen to you if you weren’t so nasty in the way you address others. As far as I can tell, in your first comment on this topic you resorted to name-calling. I am always willing to listen to a well-considered view, but rudeness doesn’t really convey with “well-considered.” Your good points are over-shadowed by invective.

DrMagnolias on December 22, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Liberal creeps like Blake makes us Conservatives understand why we hate the far left sue happy jerks of the ACLU and other lawers that pray on fears of self-reliant people, people that want the ability to help and assist our neighbors in need.

Mark Garnett on December 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Blake isn’t a liberal. I’m not saying this to defend him but just as a matter of fact.

Esthier on December 22, 2008 at 2:54 PM

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.

Nothing to see here, people! Move along! Ignore the man in the car on fire! Keep traffic moving!

bryan2369 on December 22, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Loser pays is ridiculous. Courts generally take the side of big corporations and banks. Or whatever has more money than you because judges know that people with less money will get wiped out. And with Res Judicata (the most corrupt law ever invented where the rich wins vs. the truth), their judgment is virtually certain to stand. I never go to court anymore. It’s a waste of money. Just for showing up, they will award punitive damages against me. If you have to, do what you can, but loser pays is the same as saying regular Joe and Jane pays.

MrX on December 22, 2008 at 5:09 PM

GoodWill is in the courts. There you have it. Thats what this country has become. Thanks lawyers, now you can buy a new Lexus fighting those cases too.

johnnyU on December 22, 2008 at 5:56 PM

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