P was driving when the Suzuki in front of him swerved off the roadway and rolled. P stopped to render assistance.
A trooper later arrived on the scene and asked P to place flare on the roadway to warn approaching vehicles.
After the victim was taken to the hospital, P walked back to his car. On his way back, he was struck by a car.
P sued D for making a defective car and causing his injury.
Trial court granted summary judgment for D.
COA reversed, reinstated action.
WA Supreme Court affirmed.
Must a P show proximate causation under the rescue doctrine?
A P must still show proximate causation even when bringing an action under the rescue doctrine.
The rescue doctrine allows an injured rescuer to sue the party which caused the danger requiring the rescue in the first place. Danger invites rescue.
The doctrine serves two purposes:
It informs tortfeasors that it is foreseeable that a rescuer will come to the aid of the person imperiled by the tortfeasor's actions, and therefore, the tortfeasor owes the rescuer a duty similar to the duty he owes the person he imperils.
Negates the presumption that the rescuer assumed the risk of injury when he knowingly undertook the dangerous rescue, so long as he does not act rashly or recklessly.
In order to gain rescuer status, P must demonstrate…
D was negligent to the person rescued and such negligence caused the peril or appearance of peril to the person rescued
The peril or appearance of peril was imminent
A reasonably prudent person would have concluded such peril or appearance of peril existed
The rescuer acted with reasonable care in effectuating the rescue.
P was a rescuer but must still show proximate causation.
In this case, the issue of forseeability of the intervening cause is sufficiently close that it should be decided by the jury, not the court.
If the Suzuki is found to be defective, the jury could find it foreseeable that the Suzuki would roll and that an approaching car would cause injury to either those in the car or to a rescuer.
The alleged fault of Suzuki is not so remote from these injures that its liability should be cut off as a matter of law.