Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting Involved.

There's the golden rule and there may be an early-conditioned inclination to help a person in a bad situation. But, there has been the reluctance to "get involved." The considerations were loss of time, danger, messiness, risk - all of the implications of involvement. This has seemed selfish and unneighborly in the past. The Kitty Genovese case has come to be the paradigm for the uncaring big-city. Pro-bad-big city: (Kitty Genovese) Anti-bad-big-city: Kitty Genovese.

"Getting involved" has been taking on new dimensions in its ongoing encounter with a key portion of our tort law system: money compensation for injury caused by negligence. The basis of this concept is: you help another at the risk of losing a law suit for failing to help correctly.

States have enacted "Good Samaritan" laws which might be thought to protect the person who "helps" another. One notes a recent case defining this concept, Van Horn vs. Torti. A person who wants to be a legal Good Samaritan may well want to ask questions before stepping in. Is emergency medical care needed? Am I qualified under the law to render emergency medical care? What is my intention in stepping in - do I have "good faith" (whatever that is?) Will my action be considered selfishly motivated because I expect "others to do likewise to me?" The person needs aid but hasn't offered "compensation" for it, so I'm okay there. Since I can be sued (whether I qualify under the law as a true Good Samaritan or not) do I have insurance that will defend​?

The impulse to help will probably continue to involve people in aid to others - but, if a person stops to think about it, the delay may be too long.


Robbie Seal said...

I have not had to help with someone badly injured yet, but never think about helping when someone needs help. I guess I'll just go through life and treat others as I wish to be treated and hope that others will do the same. If one of them gets a lawyer after me, well, they will have to live with that. I know I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day. I know if I passed them by, it would be a little harder.

SueS said...

Well said!