Tuesday, August 18, 2009
California may be suffering from a terrible financial crisis but Governor Schwartzenner has found time to sign legislation that raises the standard for lawsuits against non-professional medical individuals who aid others in emergency situations. Law.com reports
One piece of compromise legislation, Assembly Bill 83
protects people who are not in the medical profession from being sued
after they help someone at the scene of an accident, unless their
actions rise to the level of gross negligence or recklessness. The
"Good Samaritan" bill was introduced after the California Supreme Court
ruled, in Van Horn v. Watson
No. S152360 (Cal. 2008), that only trained emergency medical responders
were immune from liability under the state's Health and Safety Code. In
that case, a woman who was rendered a paraplegic by an automobile
accident sued the friend who had pulled her out of the car.
The bill was supported both by the Consumer Attorneys of California
and the Civil Justice Association of California
, a tort reform group. Christine Spagnoli, president of the consumer attorneys and a partner at Greene, Broillet & Wheeler
in Santa Monica, Calif., said that the legislation broadens the number of people who are protected from liability.
"The bar has been set higher," she said. "People who do something and
unintentionally cause additional harm aren't going to be faced with
having to be potentially sued. It's really more for someone who is
aware of the fact that what they're doing is not right and they're
going to potentially cause harm and go ahead and do it anyway." . . . .