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Case Law Update: Rescue Doctrine

Tennehill v. Costello, No. 1-09-0868 (5-10-10) affirmed a case in which the plaintiff sued her neighbor for shoulder injuries sustained while helping neighbor walk to her car after Defendant had a medical emergency and insisted that Plaintiff drive her to the hospital rather than call ambulance. Rescue doctrine, which may be asserted by a rescuer to recover damages from a defendant who places herself in danger, is inapplicable as this Defendant did not place herself in a dangerous situation where she knew others might or could attempt to rescue her, but instead asked or insisted that Plaintiff drive her to hospital. Plaintiff failed to establish any duty of Defendant, and injury to Plaintiff was not foreseeable, thus summary judgment for Defendant properly granted. This Illinois case will impact personal injury law.