Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Help Is Not on the Way

Think twice before you save people about to lose their lives, at least if you live in California.

The state supreme court there just ruled that good Samaritans can be held liable if they cause or aggravate an injury while rendering emergency help if that help is not medical.

A 1980 California law protects persons who render emergency aid from just such liability. But in a recent decision, the high court divined that this protection only pertains to “medical” care.

Therefore, Lisa Torti is liable for damages for pulling her coworker, Alexandra Van Horn, out of a car wreck in 2004. Van Horn became a paraplegic as a result of the accident. Ms. Torti did not cause the crash, but she was reluctant to stand by to witness her friend die should the car explode.

In his dissent, Justice Marvin Baxter observes that the perverse result of the ruling is that a person “who dives into swirling waters to retrieve a drowning swimmer can be sued for incidental injury he or she causes while bringing the victim to shore, but is immune for harm he or she produces while thereafter trying to revive the victim.”

So, hide your identity when you rescue people in California. That way, when you save somebody’s life and he yells, “Who was that masked man? Because I want to sue!” — he’ll be out of luck.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Barbara S says:

    Leave it to wacky California!! Or actually those crazy judges down there who have too much power and not enough brains!

  2. Michael D says:

    Paul do you even care about the actual details of the case?

    Eyewitness testimony indicates that Torti had been getting high and consuming alcohol before the accident. Of several people present she was the only one who saw “smoke” and decided Van Horn needed to be “saved” from an explosion that there’s no evidence to suggest was imminent.

    What about using “Common Sense” to gather sufficient facts before deciding that it’s the end of the world?

  3. Rubicon says:

    Several people were present & saw no smoke. Interesting. Fire, or explosion, does not require smoke. In fact, exhaust heat alone can ignite an explosion of gasoline. But even a puff of smoke means an explosion is significantly possible.
    The damage of this ruling is, many will now refuse to help at all, even if they know they could save a life & even if they know there will be fatally catastrophic results if they fail to act.
    It seems we want our cake & eat it too. We want someone to blame. We need to be “victims.” Or at least according to some.
    What we will probably end up with is the next case will be someone who decides to sue because people failed to act. Sorta a “Catch 22” situation huh?
    Apparently we are destined for laws that call for us to make every possible effort to make sure people die. Obviously because there are too many of us on the planet & we are consuming too much oxygen or some other convoluted logic.
    This is once again “judicial fiat” Now we need the legislature in California to pass law to protect Good Samaritans, even if observers who fail to intervene “think” there is no danger. Because the real fact is, if these so called observers knew there was no danger, why did they not step up & stop the woman & protect the victim? If they “knew” she should not help the victim & if they “knew” there was no smoke, then they had a human obligation to stop the woman.
    In the end, the observers who took no action, really did not “know.” They really could not be sure there was no smoke. They just decided to say, “I saw no smoke”, inferring smoke alone is the sign there is fire or explosion potential.
    Why would judges issue an all encompassing ruling that affects all life saving actions, based on one single case, where the observers only contribution was,
    “I saw no smoke?”
    Why is it we have so many who seem to want to provide every opportunity for mankind to die or be killed off?

  4. Rick L says:

    Is it any wonder why they call California the land of fruits and nuts?

  5. Common law held one need not be a rescuer. However, if you chose to be one you would be responsible for your negligence. By statue, California passed a law exempting medical personnel from alleged negligence if they were rendering medical help. The California Supreme Court followed the common law as amended by the legislature. It would be up to the legislature to extend immunity to officious intermedlers, even those with the best of intentions.

  6. W.L. Brown says:

    When are the voters going to require that judges be given IQ tests before being installed?

  7. Unfortunately, you cannot teach someone common sense. They have to learn it.

    This must be another case of proof that the “D for Dumber” grade point of graduates are getting in positions of making decisions. In this case Judges.

  8. Jerry says:

    Rubicon anaylisis is awesome. The ultimate problem is the education system. They teach kids facts as if they are theories and not just hypothesis. Kids have a high respect for educators from youth and believe they know all the right answers. Actually, many teachers think they also know all the answers. So they grow up believing everything that athoritarians tell them. ie; your a dummy if you don’t wear a seat belt, Keynesian economics, Obama is smart. Students should regularily be required ” logic and reasoning ” classes.

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