“The rescue doctrine has received general recognition in New Jersey and ‘has long been a part of our State’s social fabric.'” Saltsman v. Corazo, 317 N.J. Super. 237, 248 (App. Div. 1998) (quoting Burns v. Mkt. Transition Facility, 281 N.J. Super. 304, 310 (App. Div. 1995)). The doctrine “originated as a response to the argument that one who rushed into danger to rescue another and was injured in the effort was contributorily negligent for his own injuries and therefore was barred from recovering for those injuries in tort.” Estate of Desir ex rel. Estiverne v. Vertus, 214 N.J. 303, 319 (2013) (citing Saltsman, 317 N.J. Super. at 247).
Most often, “[t]he doctrine permits the injured rescuer to maintain a cause of action against the one whose negligence placed the victim in imminent danger, because it is that negligence that has given rise to the intervention of the rescuer.” Id. at 320 (citing Eyrich ex rel. Eyrich v. Dam, 193 N.J. Super. 244, 256 (App. Div. 1984)). If the doctrine does not apply, courts “must engage in the traditional, comprehensive analysis of whether a duty is owed” to the plaintiff-rescuer by the defendant. Id. at 322 (citing Hopkins v. Fox & Lazo Realtors, 132 N.J. 426, 439 (1993)).
Samolyk v. Berthe (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2021)