South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Good Samaritan Immunity Covers Negligent Driving by Samaritan
Description A driver stopped to help an injured person who did not have life-threatening injuries. When taking the person to the hospital, the driver caused an accident that killed the injured party. An appeals court ruled that the Minnesota Good Samaritan law provides immunity from tort liability in such cases.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence; Good Samaritan
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Kelly Swenson, 13 years old, hurt her leg when her snowmobile went into a ditch. A passing motorist, Tiegs, stopped to help and offered to give Swenson a ride to a hospital. As Tiegs pulled back into traffic, she pulled in front of a truck, which hit her car, killing Swenson. Swenson's family sued Tiegs for negligence. The trial court held that Tiegs was immune under the Minnesota Good Samaritan law. The Swensons appealed.

Affirmed. Under the Good Samaritan law, Tiegs, attempting to provide assistance was immune from liability for damages resulting from her negligent driving by pulling into the path of a truck. The purpose of the law is to encourage laypersons to help those in need, even when there is no legal obligation to do so. That protection includes the act of trying to transport someone to a hospital, even if the injury is not life threatening.

Citation Swenson v. Waseca Mutual Insurance Co., --- N.W.2d --- (2002 WL 31749144, Ct. App., Minn., 2002)

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