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Villarreal & Begum Last Updated Date: June 3rd, 2021

Can Failing to Act Put You in Legal Trouble?

medical treatment

We are taught at an early age that helping people in need is the right thing to do. While it might be the right thing to do, are you required to help? Can you just sit back and watch someone get hurt, and do nothing? Can you refuse to help someone just because you don’t feel like helping? When it comes to the responsibility of causing a personal injury, most people think of someone taking an action that would actively harm someone. For example, Someone slipping on a wet floor because a wet floor sign was not present.  But can you if you didn’t cause the harm, you don’t have to help, right?  Well, not exactly. You might have a legal duty to help an injured person in the eyes of the law.

Duty of Care

People have a duty of care to others in certain situations. Violating that duty can amount to negligence, which leads to a liability for injuries. But in general, there is no blanket legal duty of care placed on one citizen to help another. For example, if you see someone who has been in a fender bender that doesn’t involve you, you have no legal obligation to pull over and help that person. If, however, you did rear end, someone, in your car, placing them in danger, you have a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to help that person.  Most states even have laws that require drivers to take certain actions after a car crash, such as notifying law enforcement or getting medical assistance for anyone who has been injured.


“Special Relationships” Can Mean a Duty to Help.

If you have some kind of special relationship with a person, you might be obligated to help them if they are in danger, even if you did not cause that situation. spouses, employer-employee, school-student, and parent-child are all examples of special relationships. For instance, a wife walks outside and sees her husband has fallen while doing some yard work. The wife has a legal duty to provide assistance to her husband. Because of the spousal relationship, she cannot simply walk past him and leave him there.

Another example is the duty of a parent to care for their child. Let’s say a child fell off their bike, and it resulted in a serious injury. The parent is required to take whatever action reasonably necessary to help the child.  The parent should arrange for the child to see a doctor or take them to a hospital if necessary.


Have you or a loved one been in a serious car crash and suffered injuries? If so, you should contact an experienced Personal Injury attorney. Villarreal and Begum is a local San Antonio firm that will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. We serve clients all across Texas with offices in San Antonio, McAllen, and Laredo. We are available day and night to take your calls. Call or contact us via our website. The Law Guns will fight for you.