Thursday, December 18, 2008

Van Horn v. Watson (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Dec. 18, 2008)

See someone stuck in a car crash and worried that the car might catch fire or explode? Don't pull 'em out. Or at least don't pull 'em out if you don't want to potentially get sued. 'Cause you can be.

I'm not saying that the 4-3 decision here is right or wrong. It's a statutory interpretation matter, and there are reasonable arguments on both sides.

I'm just telling you what the law is. There's no immunity, at least in California, for pulling someone out of a burning car. Giving 'em CPR? Yep. Immunity. Ditto for giving trying your hand at a tracheotomy with some scissors and a bic pen.

But trying to save someone's life in a different ("non-medical") way? Nope. No immunity. Not now, anyway.