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In Defense of the Good Samaritan

Posted: 17 Apr 1999  

Hanoch Dagan

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law


Claims made by good samaritans for reimbursement of expenses, remuneration for time, effort, and expertise expended, and compensation for losses incurred as a consequence of their intervention have traditionally been treated at common law with reluctance and, where the protected interest is proprietary, even with hostility. Two normative premises have been suggested for this traditional, yet enduring, attitude: the concern with preserving personal liberty and the precept that altruism should be a reward unto itself. This Article challenges both premises and maintains that rather than being antagonistic to claims of good samaritans, these premises supply normative justification for allowing (in appropriate circumstances) these claims. Hence, both personal liberty and altruism ? interpreted either as respect for others, as commitment to the inculcation of concern for others, or as sympathetic concern for the genuine interests of others ? require reform of the prevailing doctrine.

Suggested Citation

Dagan, Hanoch, In Defense of the Good Samaritan. Michigan Law Review, Vol. 97, 1999. Available at SSRN:

Hanoch Dagan (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv 69978, IL
+972 3 640 7302 (Phone)

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