Imminent peril, or imminent danger, is the legal concept of unacceptable conditions urgently needing corrective action. The principle allows people to act instinctively, without concern for recrimination. The actions are exempt from ordinary standards of reasonable care when the action meets a sudden and urgent need. For example, a person performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a patient in cardiac arrest need not fear if in so doing he or she breaks some of the patient's ribs. Because of the doctrine, the person will not be liable for the injuries, as the CPR was performed to meet an urgent need. Imminent peril is "certain danger, immediate, and impending; menacingly close at hand, and threatening." In many states in the USA, a mere necessity for quick action does not constitute an emergency within the doctrine of imminent peril, where the situation calling for the action is one which should reasonably have been anticipated and which the person whose action is called for should have been prepared to meet; the doctrine of imminent peril does not excuse one who has brought about the peril by her own negligence.
In California, legislation authorizes a person to use deadly force to defend against death or serious injury if they believe they are in imminent peril. Raymond L. Middleton, Warden v. Sally Marie McNeil is a California case that espouses this doctrine. The 2012 Florida Statutes lay measurable conditions to determine if the "fear of imminent peril" is reasonable under the law. Both the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Law Commission (ILC) have recognized the profound motivations of one's lawful fear of imminent peril and have adopted measures to define consequences, of self-defense against such peril, as reasonable.
Peril is synonymous with danger but lacks the suddenness of the "imminent" qualifier. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates safety standards for workplaces in the United States. Their charter obligation is to identify dangerous conditions in the workplace with a potential for sudden peril, and to require employers to actively mitigate the risks.
- Castle doctrine
- Good Samaritan law
- Emergency Doctrine
- Emergency Exception
- Exigent Circumstance
- Landlord's Right to Enter Dwelling
- Necessity in Canadian law
- Sudden Peril Doctrine
- Rescue Doctrine
- Imminent-Peril Doctrine Law & Legal Definition USLegal.com
- The Free Dictionary by Farlex
- Kuist v. Curran, 116 Cal. App. 2d 404
- Warren v. Sullivan, 188 Cal. App. 2d 150
- Cambridge Dictionary Online
- No. 03-1028. Decided May 3, 2004 FindLaw.com
- The 2012 Florida Statutes Sunshine Online
- New Approaches to the State of Necissity in Customary International Law: Insights From WTO Law and Foreign Investment Law
- Danger Law & Legal Definition USLeagal.com
- Call (800) 321-OSHA immediately to report imminent dangers United States Department of Labor, retrieved 11/17/2012
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