For immediate release:
April 16, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - Legislation authored by State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) that would grant a person civil immunity for any damages they cause while rescuing a child is making its way to Governor Mike Pence for final approval.
Members of the Indiana House today concurred with changes made to House Bill 1161 originally made in the Senate. The bill applies to situations when a person must forcibly enter a locked motor vehicle to rescue a child in danger. Possible scenarios include a submerged vehicle, fire or a child suffering from heatstroke.
“This bill is about protecting children,” GiaQuinta said. “If a child is in imminent danger, a potential rescuer shouldn’t have to worry about being financially responsible for any resulting damages. The only thing they should worry about is getting the child to safety as quickly as possible.
“Wouldn’t you hope someone would do the same thing if it was your child, sister, brother or grandchild?” he added.
HB 1161 requires an individual to report the incident by calling 911 before or immediately after rescuing the child. The legislation specifies that the child must be unable to exit the vehicle independently.
Immunity from damages is not granted if the vehicular damages result from gross negligence or willful misconduct.