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Thread: Recovery - Helping others - when and when not?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Hand them the strap with the shackle attached and say, "Attach this to whatever you don't mind being broken." Then check to make sure they didn't hook it up to the steering or something and that it isn't hooked up in a way that will damage your strap.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Bend, OR
    What? No attorney, pre-inspection, signed liability release with 2 witnesses and post inspection by a qualified mechanic​? You simply helped someone that needed assistance?

    Good on ya, achampagne. That's the way it's supposed to be done!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Ellensburg, WA
    I am guessing 99.9% of the recoveries done are a simple tug. No need to worry about injuries, significant vehicle damage, or seriously taxing recovery gear as a result of the pull.

    In these instances, hook them up and give them a pull. You are likely out of there in less than a few minutes with no loss to you, and a heapload of gratitude to you.

    In the 0.01% of the time, serious risk and consequence, and perhaps more knowledge or equipment than you have is required. This is an area where friends and familly would get a pull, and even then, only after a critical eye is cast over the entire situation, and escape strategies and risk analysis is done. It may be a case of anchor the vehicle, and drive them out for better help (i.e. 5 ton tow truck).

    For public highways, additional legalities must be considered, depending on the state law. If multiple vehicles are involved, or injury or sobriety is an issue, then giving them a tow could essentially be assisting in fleeing an accident site.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    My preference is to help. I try and get feel for the person and the situation. If you have a brand new Porsche or Mercedes sorry, I'm not gonna risk it. Difficulty of extraction plays a part to. I'm more likely to do a simple tug than anything that involves bad angles, multiple lines etc. Even then it depends. Are you a fellow Jeeper or camper? How far out in the boonies? Wife and kids pleading for help? Blocking the trail?

    I carry a big hook so I can usually find a place to attach but its so much nicer to see real attachment points on a vehicle.

    Oh, and if you're the guy that passed me doing 50 on icy roads while I'm creeping along at 25 and I see you in the ditch? Not helping.
    Last edited by craig333; 03-21-2013 at 12:19 AM.
    2004 Dodge 2500 CTD 4WD FWC
    1960 Jeep CJ5
    Member CA4WDC, BRC, UFWDA, Tread Lightly
    "The welfare of the people has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience"
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  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpalump View Post
    When I come up on a stranded rig I willingly wait patiently until they ask for assistance. That way it was their idea. I also let them connect the tow strap. I'll inspect the connection but its all on them. They got stuck, they asked for help, they connected to my rig they told me to pull. That way it's all on them in a nice and pleasant way. What every you do do not ask for payment. The law says you need a license and insurance for that.
    This is probably the best advice if you are not comfortable with your skills in feeling people out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Detslider View Post
    That's a pretty good strategy.

    We had about 5" of snow fall a few weeks ago which is alot for one day in this area. I came accross three cars, a Silverado, Dodge Ram, and Honda Civic, all newer models, all 2wd and all stuck in a ditch after sliding off the road trying to climb a slight hill. None of the three had recovery points.
    Silverado wanted me to pull him out, since he slid perpedicular to the road it would have been easy but me pulling from the tie down point on his truck would have surely removed his front bumper. I passed.
    The Civic I was actually able to push out and get turned arround.
    Big Dodge had both passenger side wheels in the ditch and driver side on the road. He had a tow hitch on the back where I could hook up a shackel. I tried pulling it back out the ditch but could see his rear wheel getting real extreme caster. I stopped, unhooked and left it to him to get himself out. I gave it some effort but in the end he was dumb enough to take a 2wd truck on street tires out in a bad storm I suppose he'd be dumb enough to blame me for messing up his truck too.
    This is also critical, know what your capable of. Know the risks and never be afraid to inform the stuckee of potential risks. I have power lines a 1/4 mile from my house and routinely have people come up and ask for a rescue. I've rescued everything from teenagers to moms delivering pizza. The only people I have left was a drunk guy who appeared to be with a prostitute who drove off in a ditch on the side road. After a minute of him stumbling around, I told him I was going back to my house to get a special hook for his car. I called the police as soon as my truck was in drive. I refused to potentially be responsible for him getting free and killing someone on the road. The other were some kids on a 4 wheeler who I had already rescued and warned once before that I would not go onto a lake bed again.
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  6. #16
    Great advice guys. Stumpalump definitely nailed it in my eyes, and the only thing I would suggest in addition is to record this interaction. Most of us carry cameras of some sort, and I have to think that an image of the prosecution hooking up your strap to his antenna, then another of him pointing in the direction you pull would convince any judge who's to blame. Not to mention a video.
    I enjoy helping people, so this is certainly good for me to think about. My natural instinct is to just get in there and hook up for them if I think I know better, but once again ExPo has me thinking from all angles!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Pasadena, CA

    Default A liability "waiver"...

    isn't worth any more than the paper it's written on. I'm routinely surprised at how many individuals and business that think they are.

    A contact signed under duress isn't valid anywhere I'm aware of and you simply can't sign away liability.

    Ask an attorney if having a waiver of liability in place would stop them from suing an individual or a company for negligence.
    John E.

    Yes...It could happen any time
    tornado, earthquake,
    It could happen
    or sunshine, love, salvation
    It could you know, that's why we wake
    and look out
    No guarantees in this life but some bonuses
    like morning, like noon, like evening...

    like right now

    William Stafford 1914-1993

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Bozeman, MT
    By way of background, I grew up in rural GA and routinely pulled people out of ditches on the dirt roads when it rained. And now that I live in UT, I typically stop if someone slides off in the snow. That's who I am and that's how I was raised. Attending law school has not changed my opinion, but there are some legal issues that are worth considering, depending on the situation.

    Though you're not legally obligated to undertake a rescue of strangers (unless you put them in the danger in which they find themselves), In UT, and likely other states, potential liability does exist if you undertake a rescue and do so unreasonably or negligently. Section 323 of the Second Restatement of Torts, adopted by as law in Utah in DCR, Inc. v. Peak Alarm, Co., 663 P.2d 433, 436 (Utah 1983), states that "One who undertakes, gratuitously or for [payment], to render services to another which he should recognize as necessary for the protection of the other's person or things, is subject to liability to the other for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care to perform the undertaking, 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."

    Stated more plainly, "[O]nce a person chooses to rescue another, he is held to a duty of due care." Hirpa v. IHC Hospitals, Inc., 948 P.2d 785, 789 (Utah 1997). All it means is that if you undertake a rescue, you must do so reasonably and non-negligently (based on the circumstances). And once you undertake a rescue, you can't leave the rescuee worse off than when you started. You're certainly not obligated to stop and can (usually) legally drive on by, even if someone is in a bad way.

    I guess the moral, as many others have already stated, is to use your common sense, gauge the situation and the rescuee, and do what you can to help if it won't increase the danger of the situation. I, for one, will continue to help folks out if I can do so safely. Thought I'd just put the law out there, so people could consider it as they make their own decisions. Thanks

    ***This post does not constitute legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. Further, this post does not create an attorney client relationship, or the expectation of one. If you have any concerns about potential liability, please contact an attorney who can discuss the issues and give you legal advice.***
    Last edited by pcjeeper; 03-22-2013 at 06:12 PM.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Minnesota, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    isn't worth any more than the paper it's written on. I'm routinely surprised at how many individuals and business that think they are.

    A contact signed under duress isn't valid anywhere I'm aware of and you simply can't sign away liability.

    Ask an attorney if having a waiver of liability in place would stop them from suing an individual or a company for negligence.
    Steve Carlson
    1995 Isuzu Trooper LS - well equipped
    2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser, overlander in training

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Bishop, CA
    I have helped out people in the past but times have changed. Each situation is different and the remoteness and extent/type of the recovery makes a big difference.

    Size up the situation and the people first and see if you want to get involved.

    When helping out strangers if the stuck vehicle gets damaged or somebody gets hurt they will probably blame you.

    If you damage your vehicle I doubt they would reimburse you for repairs like a clutch, transmission etc.
    I wouldn't put my vehicle in jeopardy (for a stranger or some idiot) in the process.

    What if the situation gets worse? Then they could blame you as well.

    Sometimes going and calling for help is the best thing you can do.
    Desert Dan

    2008 Quigley Beast with Agile RIP
    2006 Toyota 4-Runner SR 5/OME Suspension GY MTR's
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