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Tubbs v. Argus

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence when Plaintiff was injured while riding in Defendant’s car. Defendant left the scene without offering aid to Plaintiff. The trial court sustained Defendant’s demurrer and ruled in his favor. Plaintiff appealed.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    One can be held liable in negligence for failing to render reasonable aid and assistance to one that is injured.

    Facts.

    Tubbs (Plaintiff) was riding in a car owned and operated by Argus (Defendant). Defendant crashed, causing injury to Plaintiff. Defendant left the scene of the accident without offering aid and assistance to Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence. Defendant moved for demurrer of Plaintiff’s complaint. The trial court sustained Defendant’s motion and entered judgment in his favor. Plaintiff appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

    Issue.

    Whether one can be held liable in negligence for failing to render reasonable aid and assistance to one that is injured.

    Held.

    Yes. The trial court’s ruling is reversed and the case is remanded. One can be held liable in negligence for failing to render reasonable aid and assistance to one that is injured.

    Discussion.

    There is no general duty to help a person who is injured. However, under some circumstances, moral and humanitarian considerations may require one to help someone who is injured, even if he did not cause the injury or the injured person caused their own injury. Under these circumstances, that person could be liable in negligence if, through his failure to aid the injured person, the person’s injuries become aggravated. In the current matter, Plaintiff was injured by a vehicle that was under Defendant’s control. This is a sufficient relationship to hold Defendant to a duty to render aid and assistance to Plaintiff so that she does not suffer further injury. Therefore, Defendant is liable for any additional injuries that Plaintiff suffered due to Defendant’s failure to render aid and assistance.


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