Portable Defibrillators and Georgia

When it comes to saving lives, modern technology is extremely helpful. Portable defibrillators, called AEDs or “automated external defibrillators”, can shock a heart back into a normal rhythm and could possible save tens of thousands of lives if available in emergencies and willing bystanders can use them, according to a recent news article. Around the US, states have many different laws and regulations about this potentially lifesaving technology, and our Georgia premises liability lawyers know that in Georgia, our Good Samaritan laws protect concerned citizens who use these devices to help people in need.

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The lack of uniformity around the United States on this issue is worrisome and can cause significant confusion. States differ on whether a company providing them in various locations is protected from liability for their use or even if a company may be required to have them to save someone on their premises. The question of the requirement is being litigated in an interesting case against Target in California. That case is over a customer’s death in a store in Los Angeles which did not have an AED available. The family sued Target claiming a common law obligation in California to have AEDs available. Regardless of that case, a nurse from American Airlines who worked to promote AEDs in the 1990s, Linda Campbell, said, “In many companies, the insurers and risk-management guys still seem to think they’re better off not having AEDS than having them.” Since the 1990s these portable devices have become more sophisticated but also easier to use, and have become more available for use by the general public and not only people with special training.

Georgia passed a law requiring AEDs to be in all public high schools in 2008. A Good Samaritan law also protects anyone using an AED from civil liability, unless they use it with “willful or wanton misconduct.” This civil liability protection also does not apply to anyone who is a licensed professional and acts with “gross negligence.” The liability protection extends to anyone who in good faith tries to help someone without compensation by using the AED and the treated person does not object; the owner or operator of a premise that installs an AED; any medical personnel that helps or directs the installation of an AED in a non-medical facility; and anyone providing training on the use of the AED. It does not protect against product liability lawsuits for the manufacturers of AEDs or for failure to warn lawsuits, or lawsuits against maintenance and service providers for the AEDs.

Atlanta Premises Liability Attorneys

If you or a family member has been killed or injured due to the negligence of another, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss your case, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

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