Liability for kind turns

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DutchLawStudent
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:44 am

Liability for kind turns

Postby DutchLawStudent » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:50 am

Hello everyone,

I'm a Dutch law student and I am doing research for my end thesis on the liability of friends and relatives who cause damage while they help eachother. I think the English term for it is libaility during a “kind turn”.

For example in the Netherlands is a law case where one of two sisters helps the other to move a closet up the stairs. This ‘helping’ sister caused the other’s arm to get stuck between the closet and a doorpost. The court decided to reject liability, but the reasons of this particular dismissal are rather vague. Even though such is not written in law nor explicitly determined by the court, there are reasons to assume in dutch law the social aspect of a kind turn justifies a different measure for liablity. This might be the reason the court did not conclude to liability in this particular case. A comparable deviate liability norm is (explicitly) utilized for sports and game situations in Dutch law. I want to research, advocate and design a similar norm for kind turns.

For a part of my research I need to compare dutch law(cases) with law(cases)on this matter of other countries. In particular I’m thinking about the UK, the US and Germany. I have found sufficient Dutch sources, but I can’t seem to find English (nor German) legislation or case law that covers this subject. I was wondering if maybe someone could help me find some English (or German) literature, legislation or jurisprudence that covers this subject. Even if it is a source where there is no special attention for the kind turn while it is a situation of a kind turn nevertheless, it would really help me out. I think if I’d had a few English sources covering this subject, I could find more on my own. The problem seems to be that I don’t know where to search and what to search for exactly.

I hope someone can help me out! Thanks in advance and sorry for my bad English.

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Capitol_Idea
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Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:54 am

Re: Liability for kind turns

Postby Capitol_Idea » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:59 am

Only vaguely remember this area from 1L torts, but the general term you're looking for is 'Good Samaritan' laws.

I think the general law is that if you render aid as a layperson, you don't take on responsibility for the underlying problem. BUT you generally have an obligation not to make it worse.

So if I see you lying in the road with a bad stomach wound, I can get a bandage and help stop the bleeding - I won't be liable for whatever your injury was OR for failing to 'cure' you. BUT, if I instead decide to cure you by grinding glass shards into your abdomen, the courts will rightly find that I am liable for subsequent damage caused by my idiocy.

Experts in this area please feel free to correct me on this.

DutchLawStudent
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:44 am

Re: Liability for kind turns

Postby DutchLawStudent » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:21 pm

Thank you for your response Zacharus! I have indeed read about the Good Samaritan laws. Though it is relevant, I think it is not quite the same as the "kind turn" I'm researching. If I understand it well, the good samaritan laws apply to a situation where someone is injured or in a dangerous situation already before you help this person. The field I'm researching is focused on acts of kindness of (most comonly) friends and familily who help one another and cause damage doing so. For example a situation where a friend who helps you move to a new appartment, or someone who helps you repairing something, or someone who babysits without charging anything etc. Do you know if the good samaritan laws also cover these sort of kind turns? Since what I know of them I think they don't, but I could be wrong.




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