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Man’s Leg Crushed by Truck

History:  A truck driver was unloading his rig when he slipped and fell, getting his leg stuck in an opening.  He was unable to free himself, so he called out for help.  He was heard by a man that came to his assistance.  The truck driver told the Good Samaritan to get into the truck and put it in drive so that Good Samaritan Law - Altizer Lawhe could get his leg free, but to make sure he did not put the truck in reverse.

The Good Samaritan got into the truck and unfamiliar with how to operate this truck, he inadvertently released the brake, causing the truck to roll backwards over the truck driver’s leg.  The truck driver’s leg had to be amputated.

A lawsuit was filed and the truck driver claimed the Good Samaritan was at fault for negligently driving the truck over his leg.  The Good Samaritan claimed that even if it was negligence, he was only trying to assist the truck driver and that his effort to assist fell under the Good Samaritan law, exempting him from liability.  The injured truck driver argued that the Good Samaritan law applies only to medical professionals.

Law:  Va. Code § 8.01-225. Persons rendering emergency care, obstetrical services exempt from liability, in part says:

“A. Any person who:

  1. In good faith, renders emergency care or assistance, without compensation, to any ill or injured person (i) at the scene of an accident, fire, or any life-threatening emergency; (ii) at a location for screening or stabilization of an emergency medical condition arising from an accident, fire, or any life-threatening emergency; or (iii) en route to any hospital, medical clinic, or doctor’s office, shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such care or assistance.”

The court hearing the injured truck driver’s case agreed that the Good Samaritan’s conduct was covered under the Good Samaritan law.  The court explained that nowhere in the language is the law limited to medical care by a medical professional.  However, generally, the coverage from legal liability only comes into play if the actions of the third party are in good faith and reasonable.  A legal analysis is required — what may seem reasonable in one situation, but may be deemed to be unreasonable by a judge or jury.

If you, or any of your family, have been injured, you may have a personal injury claim involving multiple claims.  Initial investigation of any personal injury claim is crucial.  We offer free consultations to answer your questions.