Portable defibrillators have been proven to save the lives of many individuals in Georgia and across the nation who have experienced cardiac arrest. They are supposed to be easy enough for most people to use; however, states disagree with each other as to how these devices should be treated under the law. Laws regarding automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, vary between states. Crossing state lines changes the rules regarding these devices, including location, obligation and liability protection. Some individuals are concerned that not having an AED on the property may make them vulnerable to premises liability.
Professionals maintain that the disparity in laws governing the devices is an area of concern, particularly as far as their further distribution is concerned. The devices have the capacity to save lives if they are engaged within minutes of a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, concerns about liability and risk remain strong. For example, even though every state has laws that protect well-meaning bystanders, or good Samaritans, who attempt to use them in crisis situations, the devices may bear labels stating that they should only be used by medical professionals.
Unfortunately, every state addresses the good Samaritan issue differently, and some limit protection if certain requirements are not followed, such as training, AED registration or medical supervision. By placing such limitations on AEDs, neither companies nor individuals understand what, if any, liability protection they may have should they choose to use or purchase them. Since 2011, several experts and lawmakers have been working together in order to protect those who attempt to save a life by using an AED; however, the proposal has not moved as quickly as they would have preferred.
Those injured on someone else’s property may be entitled to compensation, especially if the parties responsible for maintaining the property have been negligent. For instance, a business may have failed to supply an AED, or if they have, they might not have provided the proper training for its use. A premises liability attorney might be able to help those seeking damages for lost wages or pain and suffering as far as the use of AEDs is concerned.
Source: ABC News, “AED laws cause confusion while patchwork of regulations discourages use of AEDs”, Lee Bowman, August 22, 2013