Helping a Friend

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Q: My friend is physically disabled.  There was ice in the parking lot.  He slipped, and I was attempting to help him stand up.  As I was doing so, he slipped again, and fell on top of me.  It had snowed two or three times in the week prior to the accident.

A: The owner will contend that the icy condition in the parking lot was not a proximate cause of your injuries – that your act of attempting to help your friend stand up, without waiting for assistance, was an ‘unforeseeable superseding cause’ that severed any causal connection.  The owner may even contend that there was no ice at all – putting you to your proof.

The determination of legal causation turns upon questions of foreseeability.  What is foreseeable and what is normal are generally for the jury to resolve.

In a classic case, an epileptic motorist had failed to ingest his medication.  He suffered a seizure, causing the car to careen into an excavation site.  The vehicle struck both a worker and a kettle of hot enamel.  The question was whether the general contractor could be liable in negligence for failure to safeguard the site.

That a driver might lose control after negligently failing to take his medication was deemed foreseeable.  It was not a superseding cause.  Your attorney will argue that your case is even stronger.  Your helping a disabled friend to stand up was not odd, and is only praiseworthy: it was thoroughly foreseeable.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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