Two EMTs performing CPR

Proving Negligence in AED Liability Cases

When someone suffers a heart attack in a public place, an automatic external defibrillator (AED) might be available. Prompt use of the AED can restore a normal heart rhythm and keep the person alive until emergency medical personnel can transport them to a hospital.

Sometimes, a faulty AED or improper device use can cause additional injuries. In other cases, the AED may not work at all, and the person suffers irreversible heart damage or death that the AED might have prevented.

When you or a loved one sustained injuries due to an AED or your loved one died because an AED was not available or did not work, contact an experienced AED liability attorney. Proving negligence in AED liability cases can be complicated but could result in you collecting financial compensation for your losses.

The Legal Framework Supporting AED Availability

Automatic external defibrillators are devices anyone can use when someone is having a heart attack. The device contains illustrations showing how to place sensors on the person’s chest and once turned on, it provides voice instructions. The device assesses a person’s heart rhythm and delivers a shock if the patient requires one to restore a normal heart rhythm.

State law requires many facilities to install AEDs, and many businesses have an AED as a precaution even when they are not required by law to have one. AEDs save lives, and keeping one nearby is a wise precaution.

The state has a Good Samaritan law that protects laypeople who try to help an injured from liability when their efforts cause harm. Another law, Louisiana Revised Statute § 37:1731, protects people with medical training who try to intervene in an emergency. They are also immune from liability unless they acted with intent to harm or were grossly negligent, which means they acted recklessly without regard for the injured person’s safety.

How Negligence Can Impact AED Effectiveness

Negligence means a failure to use reasonable care when a party should be cautious and protect others. When a business has an AED, it must ensure the device is in working order and that employees know where it is and how to use it.

Failing to maintain and test the device properly is negligent. When the law requires a device to be present and the site either does not have one or it is not in good working order, the property owner is negligent. Violations of the law are negligence per se, which means an injured person can prove negligence just by showing the law was broken.

The manufacturer of an AED must ensure it functions properly and could be liable to someone injured by a defective product even when they were not negligent. However, the injured person’s attorney must prove the product’s defect resulted from a flaw in its design, manufacture, or label.

Proving Good Samaritan Negligence Depends on the Circumstances

The law protects people who try to help, but the protection is not absolute. When the helper acts recklessly or when someone deliberately tries to do harm, an injured person could sue them for negligence. Holding a Good Samaritan liable can only happen in specific situations, so discussing a case with an experienced attorney is critical.

When the helper is a layperson, they must behave as a reasonable person without training would act in similar circumstances. They must attempt to use the AED as instructed and provide whatever assistance they can. When a layperson ignores the instructions, blocks more skilled people from helping, or acts unreasonably in some other way, they might be negligent and liable to the injured person.

There is also limited immunity for people with a medical background, which includes any of the following:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Medical personnel licensed in other states

They are not liable when they provide ineffective emergency care or create an additional injury, and they are not responsible for providing treatment or arranging care for someone experiencing a medical emergency. A licensed medical professional could be liable when they inflicted intentional harm or caused injury or death through reckless behavior.

Consult a Local Attorney When You Suffered Injuries From an AED

The presence of an AED can mean the difference between life and death for someone having a heart attack. However, an AED can cause harm in some circumstances. Sometimes, no AED is available even when the law requires one, or it is not working properly, or the person using it is negligent.

A lawyer at Scott Vicknair could answer your questions about proving negligence in AED liability cases. There is no fee unless you win your case, so there is no reason not to explore your options. Reach out today.