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Liability for Medical Malpractice When it Occurs During an Emergency

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2018 | Medical Malpractice |

When there is an emergency, first responders and medical professionals often arrive on the scene of the accident to provide medical attention. When injury occurs during emergency medical care, a different rules apply with regard to medical malpractice liability. The sheer nature of an emergency itself lowers the expectation that mistakes will be avoided. Understanding the law with regard to liability for medical malpractice when it occurs during an emergency is important if you or a loved one has suffered injury in this situation.

Liability for medical emergency malpractice

If someone is injured in an emergency medical situation, whether they can seek compensation for their injuries depends upon who acted negligently – a first responder, a doctor, a nurse, or another medical professional.

First responders are protected

In most states, first responders to medical emergencies – firefighters, ambulance personnel, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) — are protected from lawsuits in an effort to preserve emergency services. This protection is provided if the first responder provides first aid at the scene of an accident or emergency in good faith; protection is not provided if the first responder displays reckless or negligent behavior.

Emergency room doctors and nurses

Emergency room medical personnel – including doctors, nurses, and others working in the emergency room — are subject to standard medical malpractice laws. In these situations, the patient must prove negligence on the part of the medical professional that tended treatment, demonstrating that under the same circumstances, a competent doctor would not have made the error. Emergency rooms are chaotic environments where quick decisions must be made with little delay. Because of those circumstances, a medical error must be serious to meet the legal criteria of negligence.

Good Samaritan rule

In emergency situations, people often try to rescue someone in need. In doing so, there is an expectation that they will help in a responsible way that does not needlessly endanger the person they are trying to help. This is the Good Samaritan rule, which is established by law in all states. The Good Samaritan rule applies to medical personnel only when they are responding to an emergency when they are off-duty; otherwise they are subject to medical liability laws.

Time limits

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from the date the victim suffered harm. In some cases, the limit is two years from the date on which the victim discovered the injury or could have reasonably been expected to discover that they were harmed by medical malpractice.

Experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys are on your side

The experienced medical malpractice team at Lomurro Law aggressively advocates for those who have suffered injury due to medical malpractice. With more than 130 combined years representing New Jersey families, our skilled New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys are knowledgeable in complex medical malpractice law. Meet with a member of our team to discuss your case – arrange a complimentary consultation by contacting our office at 732-482-9285 or online.