Under the "danger creation doctrine," this holds true even though you did not cause the initial injury.
The Ninth Circuit just confirmed this principle in a case arising out of the tragic and apparently unnecessary death of a woman who was shot in the jaw by her deputy sheriff husband in rural San Diego.
According to facts accepted by the majority, deputies at the scene in the aftermath of the shooting prevented the ambulance from leaving right away to take the victim to a nearby air ambulance because the officers wanted to interview the victim. She ultimately died en route to the air ambulance from blood loss and injuries that were, according to the coroner, repairable.
In the Section 1983 case, Maxwell v. County of San Diego, the Court ruled that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity because of the danger creation exception. The general rule is that peace officers can't be held liable under Section 1983 for wrongful actions of another, but an exception exists when the officers place the victim in peril.
The danger creation exception applied in the case because the responding officers left the victim in worse shape than they found her.
The Court wrote: "The Sheriff's officers found Kristin facing a preexisting danger from her gunshot wound. There is evidence they affirmatively increased that danger by preventing her ambulance from leaving. This arguably left Kristin worse off than if the ambulance had been allowed to bring her to an air ambulance that had advanced medical capabilities and was ready to fly her to a trauma center."
In addition to the danger creation exception, the opinion also addressed issues of tribal sovereign immunity, supervisory liability, and the intersection between the Fourth Amendment and investigative witness detention.