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New Law Allows Good Samaritans to Act when a Child is Left Alone in a Vehicle

In the wake of numerous high profile cases involving minor children being left alone in vehicles including the case of Cooper Harris, the 22 month old child in Georgia who died after his father left him in a sweltering hot vehicle for more than 7 hours, the state of Tennessee passed a law allowing good samaritans to act to save a child without liability.

The law allows a good samaritan to smash the vehicle’s window without any liability is you have “a good faith belief” that your actions would help a minor who will suffer harm if not immediately removed from the vehicle.

I’m very encouraged by this law and hope that more states will quickly follow and pass similar laws in other states in order to raise awareness of the problem as well as removing any concern a good samaritan he or she may have that they may be held liable for trying to help a dying child or even worse, being arrested and facing criminal prosecution for attempting to break into a vehicle.

Caring for minor children is an issue we can all get behind. These kids are unable to fend for themselves and trust that adults will care for them. Unfortunately, some adults in this country lack the necessary intelligence to care for children under their care or worse they may have mental illness and even criminal intent. In these instances these kids need good samaritans to step in and do something the child’s parent or guardian are unable or unwilling to do. It’s good news to know that they can not do so without worrying about being held legally liable in Tennessee.

Author: James D. Payer, Injury Attorney

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