CACI 450B Good Samaritan—Scene of Emergency

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

450B Good Samaritan—Scene of Emergency

[Name of defendant] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] is not responsible for [name of plaintiff]’s harm because [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was trying to protect [name of plaintiff] from harm at the scene of an emergency.

To succeed on this defense, [name of defendant] must prove all of the following:

1.That [name of defendant] rendered medical or nonmedical care or assistance to [name of plaintiff] at the scene of an emergency;

2.That [name of defendant] was acting in good faith; and

3.That [name of defendant] was not acting for compensation.

If you decide that [name of defendant] has proved all of the above, but you decide that [name of defendant] was negligent, [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] is not responsible unless [name of plaintiff] proves that [name of defendant]’s conduct constituted gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

“Gross negligence” is the lack of any care or an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.

“Willful or wanton misconduct” means conduct by a person who may have no intent to cause harm, but who intentionally performs an act so unreasonable and dangerous that the person knows or should know it is highly probable that harm will result.

If you find that [name of defendant] was grossly negligent or acted willfully or wantonly, [name of plaintiff] must then also prove:

1.[(a) That [name of defendant]’s conduct added to the risk of harm;]


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


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; Revised December 2011, May 2020

Crowdsource Lawyers

Directions for Use

Use this instruction for situations at the scene of an emergency not involving medical, law enforcement, or emergency personnel. (See Health & Saf. Code, § 1799.102.) In a nonemergency situation, give CACI No. 450A, Good Samaritan—Nonemergency.

Under Health and Safety Code section 1799.102(b), the defendant must have acted at the scene of an emergency, in good faith, and not for compensation. These terms are not defined, and neither the statute nor case law indicates who has the burden of proof. However, the advisory committee believes that it is more likely that the defendant has the burden of proving those things necessary to invoke the protections of the statute. (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].)

If the jury finds that the statutory standards have been met, then presumably it must also find that the common-law standards for Good-Samaritan liability have also been met. (See Health & Saf. Code, § 1799.102(c) [“Nothing in this section shall be construed to change any existing legal duties or obligations”].) In the common-law part of the instruction, select either or both options for element 1 depending on the facts.

See also CACI No. 425, “Gross Negligence” Explained.

Sources and Authority

Immunity for Persons Rendering Care at Scene of Emergency. Health and Safety Code section 1799.102.

“ ‘Gross negligence’ long has been defined in California and other jurisdictions as either a ‘ “ ‘want of even scant care’ ” ’ or ‘ “ ‘an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.’ ” ’ ” (City of Santa Barbara v. Superior Court (2007) 41 Cal.4th 747, 754 [62 Cal.Rptr.3d 527, 161 P.3d 1095], internal citations omitted.)

“By contrast, ‘wanton’ or ‘reckless’ misconduct (or ‘ “willful and wanton negligence” ’) describes conduct by a person who may have no intent to cause harm, but who intentionally performs an act so unreasonable and dangerous that he or she knows or should know it is highly probable that harm will result.” (City of Santa Barbarasupra, 41 Cal.4th at p. 754, fn. 4, internal citations omitted.)

“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].)

“Under the good Samaritan doctrine, CHP may have a duty to members of the public to exercise due care when CHP voluntarily assumes a protective duty toward a certain member of the public and undertakes action on behalf of that member thereby inducing reliance, when an express promise to warn of a danger has induced reliance, or when the actions of CHP place a person in peril or increase the risk of harm. In other words, to create a special relationship and a duty of care, there must be evidence that CHP ‘ “made misrepresentations that induced a citizen’s detrimental reliance [citation], placed a citizen in harm’s way [citations], or lulled a citizen into a false sense of security and then withdrew essential safety precautions.” ’ Nonfeasance that leaves the citizen in exactly the same position that he or she already occupied cannot support a finding of duty of care. Affirmative conduct or misfeasance on the part of CHP that induces reliance or changes the risk of harm is required.” (Greyhound Lines, Inc. v. Department of the California Highway Patrol (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 1129, 1136 [152 Cal.Rptr.3d 492], internal citations omitted.)

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 (5th ed. 2008) Pleadings, § 594
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1205–1210
Haning et al., California Practice Guide: Personal Injury, Ch. 2(IV)-H, Emergency Medical Services Immunity, ¶¶ 2:3495–2:3516 (The Rutter Group)
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)