The Good Samaritan Signaling Another Driver Through Backed Up Traffic

How many times have you been faced with a situation where you're backed up in traffic and someone either to your left in the median break or to your right in a business driveway looks at you with puppy eyes and telegraphs to you that they'd like to be let in to the traffic so that they can move across to the opposite side of the roadway? I, myself, have let many people in to the backed-up traffic in this very situation. However, when faced with cases where our clients are injured in this very type of situation, we have to analyze whether the Good Samaritan driver who is signaling the driver into the traffic has some responsibility in causing an accident that occurs and injures that signaled driver. 

The Florida Supreme Court addressed this issue in 1987 in the case of Kerfoot v. Waychoff and the court stated that "an action undertaken for the benefit of another, even gratuitously, must be performed in accordance with an obligation to exercise reasonable care." The court further explained that if the Good Samaritan driver does not have a clear view of the situation behind them then they will not be held liable, however if they have the ability to observe the situation behind them clearly then they are held to a reasonable standard of care to the driver they have signaled in to the roadway. In the Kerfoot v. Waychoff case, the court found in favor of the Good Samaritan driver as it was determined that he did not have a clear view of the area behind him. Since that case however, the courts have ruled against the Good Samaritan driver where they had a clear view of the situation and failed to exercise reasonable care to the signaled driver. The court stated that the issue of fault on the part of the Good Samaritan driver should be allowed to go to the jury for a decision in this type of accident scenario.

Thus, as badly as you might feel not allowing someone into the backed up traffic, it probably isn't worth facing the potential risk of being found partially liable for an accident that could occur to the driver that you signaled into the traffic, who, thereafter is hit by a vehicle coming up from behind your car that did not see the driver entering the roadway. 

Good Samaritans beware!

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