Sunday, June 17, 2012

Death of a good Samaritan « Australian Emergency Law

Death of a good Samaritan

In Driving and Road Rules, Rescue, Volunteer compensation on June 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

ABC News is reporting the death of a man who stopped at a motor vehicle accident to assist the injured (see Good Samaritan killed at car crash scene).  This is a tragedy and our sympathy goes to the dead man and his family.

It may reassure people to know that the law has recognised that people will come forward to assist at accidents and may, by doing so, expose themselves to danger.   The law provides that if the originally accident was due to someone’s negligence, then the driver at fault is also liable for the further injury to the good Samaritan (Chapman v Hearse [1961] HCA 46; (1961) 106 CLR 112) and further, that allegations of contributory negligence ie alleging that the deceased did not take ‘reasonable care’ of his own safety by voluntary stepping up to an accident, will not be heard.

Whilst it will be little consolation, a person injured whilst rendering assistance at an accident should be reasonably confident that they be entitled to compensation under the motor accidents compensation scheme in each state.

Michael Eburn

17 June 2012.

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