Does liability attach where a plaintiff was injured while helping an ill neighbor?

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Tannehill v. Costello, No. 1-09-0868, addressed this unusual issue. In it, the Appellate Court, First District of Illinois considered whether the defendant owed her neighbor a duty of care under the rescue doctrine.

The facts in Tannehill are simple. The defendant was at home, recovering from surgery, when she experienced pain that concerned her. She called her neighbor, Tannehill, who then came over to assist her. The defendant refused to allow Tannehill to call an ambulance and insisted that Tannehill drive her to the hospital. As Tannehill assisted the defendant in walking to her car, the shoulder that she was using to support the defendant was injured. Tannehill then brought this personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for her shoulder injury. At issue was the applicability of the rescue doctrine under Illinois law.

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