On Wednesday, December 17, a Ohio appellate court upheld a lower court ruling against a man who filed a personal injury lawsuit against a Good Samaritan.
The individual had attempted to help a trucker who got a leg stuck between his rig and a loading dock. The case illustrates the potential impact of Good Samaritan laws upon certain personal injury claims, although such laws vary from state to state.
The incident occurred on April 2012, in Fairfield, OH. The trucker had just pulled his tractor-trailer forward, approximately five inches away from the loading dock. The intent was to make it possible to close the rear door of the trailer. However, the truck driver subsequently got his leg caught between the dock and the trailer. Court records further indicate that he was banging on the door of the loading dock, and he was also screaming for help.
Truck Slips Out of Gear and Rolls Backward
A man in a parking lot across the street heard the cries for help, and he proceeded across the street to offer assistance. The pinned trucker asked the man to jump in the tractor, put the rig into gear and move it forward about one foot. He also warned the Good Samaritan to not put the truck into reverse gear. The pinned trucker testified that he heard that the man yell that he could not get the truck into gear. The rig then rolled backward, crushing part of the trucker’s leg. The Good Samaritan called 911, and the injured truck driver required transport to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. There, his right leg required amputation above the knee, according to court records.
Immunity Under the Law
In a subsequent personal injury lawsuit, the injured trucker asserted that the Good Samaritan was negligent for trying to operate a truck when he did not know how. On December 17, the 12th District Court of Appeals upheld the decision previously rendered by the Butler County Common Pleas Court. The court ruled that the Good Samaritan had immunity under the relevant Ohio statute that protects Good Samaritans from negligence claims.
Laws that protect individuals who attempt to render assistance do vary from state to state. Here’s a great guide that spells out how Good Samaritan laws can differ by state, and the implications thereof. Injured parties can review details of similar accidents with an attorney. If you or someone in your family was in such an accident, you should review the details with a personal injury lawyer. For more information, please contact us.