As initial responders to car accidents and other types of incidents, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) provide life-saving services that are otherwise unavailable. Every day, these personnel make life-saving decisions as they deal with catastrophic injuries and transfer people who are in need of emergency medical treatment.
We assume that EMTs are subjected to the same standards as other medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, and that this is correct. This is frequently the case. In practice, however, state laws regulating EMTs and paramedics differ from one another, and there are a range of variables that must be considered when determining if you can successfully sue an EMT or paramedic in the event of an injury.
The Impact of Certain Factors
State legislation, as well as the responder’s company, will determine whether or not you can sue for damages against an EMT (public or private entity) for ems negligence. Protective measures are in place in some states, for example, for emergency medical technicians who work for government organizations. To determine your legal alternatives, it is critical to be familiar with the laws of your particular jurisdiction.
After determining whether the EMT or paramedic who caused your injury works for a commercial company or for a public agency in a state that is prepared to waive immunity, the next step is to determine if they were negligent. Similar to other medical malpractice lawsuits, you must demonstrate that the individual who treated you violated his or her duty of care in order to win your case.
Responsibility For Care
An activity or treatment is performed when there is a reasonable expectation of harm to the patient, and the medical practitioner has a legal obligation to offer that standard of care when doing so. In order to establish negligence on the part of an EMT or paramedic, you must demonstrate that he or she failed to exercise reasonable care in addressing your emergency, resulting in your injuries. If you can demonstrate that the responder violated a duty of reasonable care, you will almost certainly be able to recover damages — but proving a violation of the duty of reasonable care can be difficult.
Establishing the Level of Negligence
When it comes to the performance of their duty as emergency first responders, paramedics and emergency medical technicians can be negligent in a variety of ways. These are some examples:
- Failure to respond to an emergency situation as promptly as possible
- Failure to bring all of the necessary equipment
- Failure to keep accurate records
- Medical equipment is being used incorrectly.
- Administration of drugs in an inappropriate or wrong manner
- Failure to retain appropriate certificates
- Inadequate manning of medical emergency response vehicles
- On the way to the hospital, the driver made a rash decision.
For example, suppose an ambulance is dispatched to the scene of an emergency and it takes an excessive amount of time to arrive. As a result of the mishap, the patient may die or suffer permanent damage. The doctors who treated the patient, as well as other medical professionals, may testify that the patient would have lived, or would not have suffered as substantial long-term consequences if he or she had been at the hospital earlier. Patients and their families who can demonstrate that the ambulance team might have arrived faster than it did may be eligible for compensation for negligence in this situation.
Similarly, if a patient is hurt while under the care of a paramedic or EMT who has not maintained the necessary qualifications, the patient may have a strong case for suing for damages as a result of the paramedic or EMT’s negligence.
Consulting an Attorney
If you believe your injuries were caused by the carelessness of an EMT or paramedic, don’t waste your time attempting to determine whether you can file a lawsuit for compensation on your own. It is possible to determine the strength of your case with the assistance of an experienced attorney. Many personal injury lawyers will gladly give you a free consultation in order to evaluate your case.