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If someone is drowning and you refuse to help, are you responsible for his death?

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    I have had a bit of a scan of all this so sorry if I am repeating other posters but the legal chit chat on here seems to be centred on English law. Loads of countries put a duty of care on bystanders to assist a person in distress and if they fail to act (say; by not calling the emergency services) then they are liable. The penalties vary from a fine to imprisonment, and the deceased family (or an injured party) can sue for damages.

    In many jurisdictions, if a person does act the s/he is not liable for injury caused during the rescue. The point of this is to encourage people to assist those in distress instead of fearing legal action and, as a result, doing nothing.

    So the answer is that it depends upon the country you are in. Would I save someone? Depends on the risk to me.
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    (Original post by John Reece)
    Not too sure, I just know that they can be charged for it! Literally did this example in a law lesson last week
    i have not heard of this, and it doesn't really make any sense to me

    if you can find the relevant criminal offence (/case) i would be very interested to have a look
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    of course they are. in France there is a specific offense of failing to help a person in need.
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    It MIGHT be, but I wouldn't bet my house on it, something to do with failure to defuse a dangerous situation.

    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    i have not heard of this, and it doesn't really make any sense to me

    if you can find the relevant criminal offence (/case) i would be very interested to have a look
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    If helping them wouldn't harm me in that situation and I was safe to do so - then I do feel I contributed to their death as I could have prevented it.
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    (Original post by ❃ Stardust ❃)
    If helping them wouldn't harm me in that situation and I was safe to do so - then I do feel I contributed to their death as I could have prevented it.
    why do so many people on this thread equate not preventing a death with causing it?
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    If you just choose not to, then I think you'd be responsible. Not necessarily legally (I'm not sure), but morally.
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    that would come under the "assumption of responsibility" exception (see: R v Shepherd (1862); R v Gibbons and Proctor (1918)).
    A lot of these exceptions seem to be based on some sort of self-evident moral view and intuitive decency; it seems highly counter intuitive to not extend the duty of care/to rescue strangers in danger.
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    (Original post by Dima-Blackburn)
    A lot of these exceptions seem to be based on some sort of self-evident moral view and intuitive decency; it seems highly counter intuitive to not extend the duty of care/to rescue strangers in danger.
    the assumption of responsibility exception is typically the responsibility a parent has towards the wellbeing of their child(ren), to impose duties among strangers is not a logical extension of that
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    the assumption of responsibility exception is typically the responsibility a parent has towards the wellbeing of their child(ren), to impose duties among strangers is not a logical extension of that
    Sure it is; parental responsibility towards the well-being of their child(ren) follows from a number of ethical theories, and there's no reason why we can't extend the exceptions to include other logical extensions of those ethical theories.

    We could learn a thing or two from our neighbours across the Channel.
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    Nope. If you also can't swim, how by you and that person drowning together productive? Maybe the character didn't like the character drowning or couldn't swim? Maybe they didn't want to risk their live too to save a person they didn't push in the water?

    And how is someone falling into the water and drowning your fault? If you didn't push that person in the water that lead to their death,how can you take responsibility for their death?
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    Just smile and wave boys... Smile and wave.
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    (Original post by SmileyVibe)
    Nope. If you also can't swim, how by you and that person drowning together productive? Maybe the character didn't like the character drowning or couldn't swim? Maybe they didn't want to risk their live too to save a person they didn't push in the water?

    And how is someone falling into the water and drowning your fault? If you didn't push that person in the water that lead to their death,how can you take responsibility for their death?
    What about calling for assistance?
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    Peter Singer argues that we're in this scenario every day, except that the physical proximity of the dying person is further away (impoverished places without access to clean water, adequate healthcare, etc.). For example, according to the AMF's estimate, it costs approximately $3,500 on average to save a person's life against malaria (source), so every penny we spend elsewhere is a nudge moved away from the drowning person in the original scenario.

    I wondered for a long time about whether inaction really incurs moral culpability. I think I have to admit that it does. I don't have any good argument for why I, or any other person, shouldn't be donating a substantial quantity of their disposable income to charities or causes that people's lives truly depend on. The reason why I don't - as far as I can tell - is just selfishness.
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    Although you say the friend has the option to save them, this, in their world is unclear.

    The friend will have doubts as to whether he can actually rescue the friend, as he cannot possibly have weighed up everything and worked it all out.

    Because of this, I would argue the friend is not responsible, as in the situation as it's happening, the doubt that is present will skew the means for being responsible.




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    I don't think you're responsible for their death but I do think it's better to save them.

    I may change my mind. It's a difficult problem.
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    (Original post by balanced)
    You can't swim? Man, go out there and learn! It opens up so much
    I've got a few mental issues toward learning and that sort of thing. Lots of anxiety when it comes to other peoples opinions, I get really messed up and paranoid around lots of people (messes me up in exams quite a bit, too), and all that comes together when I try to swim with people watching.

    I'd take lessons too, but alas you're talking to the guy who gets his pocket money by eating one less meal a day xD, I can't learn to swim without a psychiatrist up my butt :_:
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    (Original post by Callicious)
    I've got a few mental issues toward learning and that sort of thing. Lots of anxiety when it comes to other peoples opinions, I get really messed up and paranoid around lots of people (messes me up in exams quite a bit, too), and all that comes together when I try to swim with people watching.

    I'd take lessons too, but alas you're talking to the guy who gets his pocket money by eating one less meal a day xD, I can't learn to swim without a psychiatrist up my butt :_:
    I swim to get away from the stress of life, but I go scuba diving and free diving, which is different I guess, I still recommend it
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    If you had a good reason to believe that this person was in danger of death without your help then yes, definitely.
    This.
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    Well if you look at the definition of responsible:
    1) having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one's job or role.
    2) being the primary cause of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it
    3) (of a job or position) involving important duties, independent decision-making, or control over others.

    the person watching is not obligated to do something as part of their job (though I think this can differ based on the country and its laws)
    they aren't the primary cause
    and it's not their job to

    so i don't think they're responsible by definition
    however, if their death could've 100% been prevented if that person helped them out, then yes I guess you could say they're partially responsible for the death at least morally. But it's never 100%, so even that's invalid :/
 
 
 
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