California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

450A. Good Samaritan—Nonemergency


[Name of defendant] claims that [he/she] is not responsible for [name of plaintiff]’s harm because [he/she] was voluntarily trying to protect [name of plaintiff] from harm in a nonemergency situation. If you decide that [name of defendant] was negligent, [he/she] is not responsible unless [name of plaintiff] proves both of the following:

1. [(a) That [name of defendant]’s failure to use reasonable care added to the risk of harm;]

[or]

[(b) That [name of defendant]’s conduct caused [name of plaintiff] to reasonably rely on [his/her] protection;]

AND

2. That the [additional risk/ [or] reliance] was a substantial factor in causing harm to [name of plaintiff].


Derived from former CACI No. 450 December 2010

Directions for Use

Use this instruction for situations other than at the scene of an emergency. Different standards apply in an emergency situation. (See Health. & Saf. Code, § 1799.102; CACI No. 450B, Good Samaritan—Scene of Emergency.) Give both instructions if the jury will be asked to decide whether an emergency existed as the preliminary issue. Because under Health and Safety Code section 1799.102 a defendant receives greater protection in an emergency situation, the advisory committee believes that the defendant bears the burden of proving an emergency. (See Evid. Code, § 500 [party has the burden of proof as to each fact the existence or nonexistence of which is essential to the claim for relief or defense asserted].)

Select either or both options for element 1 depending on the facts.

Sources and Authority

  • “Under well-established common law principles, a person has no duty to come to the aid of another. If, however, a person elects to come to someone’s aid, he or she has a duty to exercise due care. Thus, a ‘good Samaritan’ who attempts to help someone might be liable if he or she does not exercise due care and ends up causing harm.” (Van Horn v. Watson (2008) 45 Cal.4th 322, 324 [86 Cal.Rptr.3d 350, 197 P.3d 164], internal citations omitted.)
  • “A person who has not created a peril is not liable in tort merely for failure to take affirmative action to assist or protect another unless there is some relationship between them which gives rise to a duty to act. Also pertinent to our discussion is the role of the volunteer who, having no initial duty to do so, undertakes to come to the aid of another—the ‘good Samaritan.’ . . . He is under a duty to exercise due care in performance and is liable if (a) his failure to exercise such care increases the risk of such harm, or (b) the harm is suffered because of the other’s reliance upon the undertaking.” (Williams v. State of California (1983) 34 Cal.3d 18, 23 [192 Cal.Rptr. 233, 664 P.2d 137], internal citations omitted.)
  • “A police officer, paramedic or other public safety worker is as much entitled to the benefit of this general rule as anyone else.” (Camp v. State of California (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 967, 975 [109 Cal.Rptr.3d 676].)
  • Cases involving police officers who render assistance in non-law enforcement situations involve “no more than the application of the duty of care attaching to any volunteered assistance.” (Williams, supra, 34 Cal.3d at pp. 25–26.)
  • Statutory exceptions to Good Samaritan liability include immunities under certain circumstances for medical licensees (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 2395–2398), nurses (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 2727.5, 2861.5), dentists (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 1627.5), rescue teams (Health & Saf. Code, § 1317(f)), persons rendering emergency medical services (Health & Saf. Code, § 1799.102), paramedics (Health & Saf. Code, § 1799.104), and first-aid volunteers (Gov. Code, § 50086).

Secondary Sources

4 Witkin, California Procedure (4th ed. 1996) Pleadings, § 553

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 1060–1065

Flahavan et al., California Practice Guide: Personal Injury (The Rutter Group) ¶¶ 2:583.10–2:583.11, 2:876

1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 1, Negligence: Duty and Breach, § 1.11 (Matthew Bender)

4 California Trial Guide, Unit 90, Closing Argument, § 90.90 (Matthew Bender)

33 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 380, Negligence, § 380.32[5][c] (Matthew Bender)

16 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 165, Negligence, § 165.150 (Matthew Bender)