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Drunk Falls onto Tracks at Haymarket: Good Samaritans to the Rescue!

On June 7th, a drunk man fell onto the tracks at the Haymarket station on the Green Line, according to the Boston Globe. The man stumbled out of the train and then fell underneath, at which point the doors to the train closed, the Globe reports.

At that point, one woman banged on the train door so that it would stop and 6 or so other passengers worked together to get the man off the tracks, writes the Globe. The man was not hurt in the incident where the fall and Good Samaritans were caught on a surveillance camera, according to WBZ-TV.

Here's the video:

As you can see, the group of passengers saved the man's life, but they certainly didn't have to. Nobody has a duty to rescue another person unless they have a special relationship to that person. These include if a person creates the peril through their negligence (say, a car accident), if the person started to rescue then they have to finish, and if there is a relationship like employer-employee or school-student.

Here, you can see that there is no special relationship between the passengers and the drunk man. If one were to exist, it would be between MBTA and the passengers.

Now, in some states if the rescuers had failed, the drunk man could have a negligence claim against those who tried to rescue him. However, there is a Massachusetts law protecting those who would rescue a person in need. These laws are, not surprisingly, called "Good Samaritan" laws and limit liability to those who, during their rescue, are actually trying to harm the person instead of help.

If you see someone in trouble, like a drunk man on the tracks, you should feel free to help them. Unless you don't have the guts to stick to being a Good Samaritan, in which case, keep walking, we don't want any half-hearted rescues around here anyway.

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