Faculty Scholarship

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In the United States, "Good Samaritan" laws are designed to protect from liability--in case things go wrong--those who choose to aid an injured stranger. The idea is to "reduce bystander's hesitation to assist" those in distress. Good Samaritan laws are clearly intended to cover immediate physical harm, as they tend to include the provision of first aid and the relief of the responsibility when trained assistance arrives. In other countries, Good Samaritan laws actually may require citizens to assist people, as long as it would not cause harm to the helper. These legal requirements were famously put into play recently in France, when the photographers at the scene of Princess Diana's car accident were investigated for a possible violation of these laws. While the U.S. version of such law tend to focus only on relief of personal liability, the non-American versions often put that direct responsibility on its citizens. Could the spirits of these laws -- protecting from liability those who, in good-faith, assist people in need -- translate to a professional responsibility for lawyers?

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Whittier Journal of Child and Family Advocacy

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