Rescuers and Good Samaritans


  • Allen M. Linden



In the past, tort law has displayed reluctance to impose a duty to rescue or to compensate rescuers injured during a rescue attempt Furthermore, tort liability has been imposed upon would-be rescuers whose incompetence has led to an abortive attempt. Professor Linden argues that this reluctance to promote rescue is out-dated in modern society which espouses humani tarian ideals. The author examines Canadian and English jurisprudence to demonstrate the recent recognition of the need to encourage and compensate Good Samaritans. New tort duties to render aid, which have been fashioned by analogy to criminal legislation, are analysed as well as the rescuer's duty which arises once the rescue has been undertaken. Professor Linden also dis cusses the applicability of the principle of voluntary assumption of risk to res cuer's claim for compensation for injuries sustained during the course of the res cue. The author concludes by suggesting that the concept of contributory negligence be used to dissuade rash rescue attempts in place of the current judicial practice of complete denial of compensation.