Friday, March 23, 2007

Only in California... You pull a person out of a wrecked car. That same accident victim turns around and sues you. Nice.
Bonus? The "Good Sam" law might not help you. So, I guess if you're in California and witness an accident, don't help.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman accused of rendering a friend a paraplegic by pulling her out of a wrecked car "like a rag doll" may not be protected by California's good Samaritan law, an appellate court ruled.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal wrote in a decision Wednesday that the Good Samaritan law only protects people from liability if they are administering emergency medical care. The perceived danger of remaining in the wrecked car was not "medical," the court ruled.

Attorney Robert Hutchinson who represents plaintiff Alexandra Van Horn, said the state's Samaritan law doesn't require people to render aid. But if they do, he said, they must act reasonably.

Van Horn was in the front passenger seat of a car that slammed into a light pole at 45 mph on Nov. 1, 2004, according to the negligence lawsuit filed against Lisa Torti.

Torti was a passenger in a car that was following behind the vehicle and stopped after the crash. Torti testified she placed one arm under Van Horn's legs and the other behind her neck to lift her out of the car.

Van Horn, who testified Torti grabbed her by the arm and pulled her from the car "like a rag doll," suffered injury to a vertebrae and a lacerated liver. Court documents said that the question of whether she was paralyzed during the crash or when she was pulled out of the car has been disputed.

Torti lawyer Jody Steinberg said he will appeal, saying the Samaritan law should protect everybody.

"There was no evidence that our client was doing anything but trying to rescue a person in need," Steinberg said. "This is a public policy issue that needs to be re-examined by the Legislature."

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