If a minor that isn’t your child would die if unhelped, and you were the only one that could help them, is there any law saying you have to?
You generally won't be legally punished if you don't rescue someone in need.
There are two exceptions to this.
- If you created a hazardous situation in which someone is injured.
- A parent has a duty to rescue their minor from a dangerous situation.
information from Duty to rescue.
Some states do have laws called "Good Samaritan law", which do increase your level of responsibility to others in need, but those vary state by state.
On the other hand, if you start a rescue you are responsible to see it through, and if your effort to rescue results in the situation becoming worse you could be held liable.
The law imposes no general duty to “care for” anyone
For example, unless you are a lifeguard, there is no duty to render aid to a drowning person.
There are a number of specific duties including:
- the duty of a parent or guardian to provide for and keep safe a child
- a similar duty for anyone standing in loco parentis - in the place of a parent. This can be a person or an organisation: a babysitter is an example of the former, a school is an example of the latter.
- a duty under negligence where you have a duty of care
- a duty to report child abuse (including neglect) that is imposed on some occupations
- a general duty to report crimes that may be imposed on all members of the public in some jurisdictions
- a duty to stop and render aid imposed on drivers
This list is not exhaustive.