Wrongful Death Claims Involving Automated External Defibrillators
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can dramatically increase a person’s chance of survival when used within the first 5 minutes of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), but studies show they are often not used, working, or available when it matters most.
At Athea Trial Lawyers, we help families and counsel seek justice for tragedies that could and should have been prevented with AEDs – including wrongful death arising from failures to use, provide, or properly maintain AEDs.
While these cases raise complex issues of liability and many questions about the responsibilities of premises owners, our award-winning team has what it takes to litigate these matters successfully.
Reasons to Choose Athea Trial Lawyers
- We’ve won billions in compensation and record-setting results across the U.S.
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- Three of our attorneys (Charla Aldous, Zoe Littlepage, and Randi McGinn) are members of the Inner Circle of Advocates, a prestigious group of the nation’s top plaintiffs’ trial lawyers.
- We leverage resources, technology, and creative storytelling to build winning cases.
Athea Trial Lawyers works with victims and counsel on prominent cases nationwide. Contact us online or call (800) 664-0161 to discuss your AED lawsuit.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest & AEDs
AED litigation typically stems from cases of sudden cardiac arrest, a medical emergency in which the heart abruptly loses its ability to pump blood. According to the CDC, more than 350,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year – and less than 8% of them survive.
While survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are low, it’s been well established that SCA can be reversed with timely CPR and use of a defibrillator to shock the heart and restore normal rhythm.
In fact, rapid use of an automated external defibrillator is so effective at saving lives that the federal government, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia have laws to promote access to and use of AEDs by the public.
State & Federal Laws Often Require Publicly Accessible Defibrillators
Today, a patchwork of state and federal laws have strongly support AED availability and use by requiring the devices to be present in certain facilities and providing legal protections to non-medical personnel who use them in good faith. For example:
- The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act requires AEDs in federal buildings, airports, and airplanes.
- State laws may require AEDs in certain businesses, hotels, gyms or athletic clubs, government-owned facilities, casinos, schools, and gold courses.
- Federal laws and nearly every state have “Good Samaritan Laws” which protect untrained lay rescuers who use AEDs from civil liability.
- AEDs laws often include guidelines and requirements for maintaining AEDs.
AED Litigation: Defibrillators, Liability & Wrongful Death
AED lawsuits are immensely fact-specific claims subject to laws that vary by jurisdiction. In general, there are some common scenarios involved in litigating these cases:
- Premises owners had no AED on their property in violation of statutory law or the duty of care owed to guest, particularly in situations where
- An AED was present, but employees on site were prevented from using them by managers or not informed about their location, how to use them, or Good Samaritan Laws.
- AEDs failed to function as intended due to product defects or improper / negligent maintenance.
In cases where there are no clear violations of statutes, there may be opportunities to argue liability based on common law duties, negligence, and premises liability.
Premises owners have legal obligations to protect against foreseeable risks of harm, and the number of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year may make it a foreseeable risk. Additionally, risks may be more pronounced in certain settings, such as places where people participate in athletic activities or large and isolated premises that emergency medical responders cannot immediately or easily access.
Our attorneys have extensive experience litigating serious injury, defective product, and premises cases against major corporations and insurance carriers. Most recently, we litigated a claim against a fitness chain on behalf of a former NFL athlete who died after going into cardiac arrest on the basketball court. It was alleged that had employees been available to help and use the AED right away, the victim would have survived
Call for a FREE Consultation: (800) 664-0161
Athea Trial Lawyers represents clients in serious injury cases and works to support counsel on complex claims nationwide. Tap into our deep resources and experience and position your case for success.
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Athea Trial Lawyers is a firm comprised of six of the most accomplished female trial attorneys in the nation. We don’t believe in glass ceilings and we don’t just lean in – we take the lead and WIN.
Friedman | Rubin, PLLP, Bremerton, WA
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