Can I Sue an EMT or Paramedic for Negligence?
EMTs and paramedics can be liable for negligence if it causes medical harm.
Under Georgia law you can file a claim for medical malpractice if injury or death is the result of medical care you received:
- From someone legally allowed to give medical care; or
- From an employee of a hospital, nursing home, clinic, or facility
This includes care from EMTs and paramedics. To determine whether the EMT or paramedic is liable for your injury, you need to answer the following questions:
Did the EMT or Paramedic’s Negligence Cause My Injury?
To have a valid case, you must have suffered an injury and the EMT or paramedic must have caused it. No injury means no case. No negligence on the part of the EMT or paramedic also means no case.
Did the EMT or Paramedic Breach the Standard of Care?
Your entire case hinges on this question. Paramedics are humans and, as such, make mistakes. A simple mistake might not constitute malpractice. However, if the EMT’s mistake was something that fell below the standard of care, he may be liable for your injuries.
What Is the Standard of Care?
The standard of care is what a professional in the same field and similar situation would have done.
For example, say you were in a rear-end collision. You tell the EMT you are suffering from neck and back pain. Instead of immobilizing you before moving you, the paramedic simply picked you up and put your arm over his shoulder to carry you to the ambulance. This movement worsened the spinal cord injury you suffered in the accident.
If another EMT or paramedic explains that the EMT should have followed a different protocol, he could be liable for the worsening of your injuries.
Could Another Party Be Liable?
You will likely be able to hold the company that employs the EMT or paramedic liable as well. This is due to vicarious liability laws which hold employers responsible for actions their employees take within the scope of their employment.
You can hold the employee liable regardless of whether it is a public (i.e., government) or private entity.
Note: The state is also not liable for any actions emergency medical services personnel take outside of their employment. Per O.C.G.A. § 50-21-23, “the state shall have no liability for losses resulting from conduct on the part of state officers or employees which was not within the scope of their official duties or employment.”
For example, if the EMT took the ambulance to go grab lunch and hit you while you were crossing the street, the state is not liable.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
Most of the time, you have two years to file a claim for medical malpractice. There are certain factors, such as the age of the injured victim that might pause the statute of limitations.
The time limit differs for cases against the government. When filing a claim against a municipality in Georgia, you have six months. You have a year for counties and state entities. There are also deadlines for getting medical records and other steps in the process.
If you decide to file your case on your own, you must know and meet all the deadlines. Otherwise, your case may never make it to court. If you trust your case to Jason R. Schultz, he will handle the entire claim and ensure you meet any deadlines.
Note: Remember that you must also obtain an affidavit from a medical expert before you can file a malpractice claim. Without this affidavit, you have no case, so we must do this first thing.
Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Atlanta Today
Proving medical malpractice is complicated and time-consuming. You do not have to do it alone. Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation: 404-474-0804.