Good Samaratin Decision Goes the Wrong Way

By Caomhin

California’s Supreme Court inexplicably passed down a decision which sets a precedent for accident victims to sue those who would try to help them after suffering from a trauma. Lisa Torti, friend of a victim of a car accident, will now face a civil suit and potentially catastrophic civil damages, for attempting to rescue the victim from said accident.  My heart goes out to the victim of the accident and her family, but suing a friend who felt that her life was in danger, and now the precedent it has sent in California, will cause undue suffering to both Ms. Torti and anyone else who may potentially seek to come to the aid of those involved in a horrific scenario.

I am a strong proponent of tort reform.  I have the utmost faith in our legal system, even when in certain circumstances; it appears that those with vast amounts of wealth seemingly have favoritism in proceedings.  I believe that to be more of an aberration and that we, as society, are indeed blind to prejudices caused by petty things such as income, race, religion, gender, etc.  I am Catholic, I was raised according to the faith, and I am strong believer in the Church.  I believe strongly that we are guardians of life, of all our fellow humans, that every life is precious, that every individual is deserving of our respect and that we should rush to the aid of the unfortunate.  That is not all dictated by my religious beliefs.  I believe these ethics are inherently held within all of us.  I believe that each of us yearns to see suffering end and to alleviate all concerns and tribulations that face each and every one of us.

The decision that the California Supreme Court rendered, to allow this case to go to trial, sets an extremely dangerous precedent.  Our instinct, as human beings, is to rush to help.  I can imagine no scenario where one senses extreme and present danger to simply walk past the situation.  If you happened upon a horrific accident and you thought you could provide help, you would, formal training or no.  This court case will make people question their instinct, to think twice before they make an attempt to save a life or provide aid.  The time that it takes to rationalize the decision, to worry about whether or not you’ll face a future law suit, can be the matter of life and death.  We must not punish those who pursue the defense of life.

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