When a defendant is negligent they are responsible for not only damages to the person they injure, but any damages suffered by other people trying to help. For example, in the case of Wagner v. International Railway (232 N.Y. 176, 133 N.E. 437 (1921)) because International Railway was negligent someone fell out of one of their trains. A second person attempted to rescue the first person and was also injured. International Railway argued that the second person purposely put themselves in danger and so were responsible for their own injuries. However, the Court held that International Railway was also liable for injuries to the rescuer, since it was entirely foreseeable that someone would try to rescue someone in trouble, and it was within the scope of proximate cause.

  • There is a strong public policy reason for adopting as a rule of law that rescuers are always foreseeable and within the scope of proximate cause. As a society we want to encourage people to become rescuers.