PARAMEDIC & EMT MALPRACTICE ISSUES
Paramedic negligence can be a significant source of injury in the state of Colorado. Emergency medical technicians, or emergency medical service providers, are often the first people that come to help in an emergency. You trust them to do a competent job. When a paramedic acts negligently when they perform their services, you may suffer additional injuries as a result. Our experienced Colorado medical malpractice attorneys explain what you need to know about paramedic negligence.
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Paramedic Negligence Lawsuits
Paramedic negligence lawsuits are civil lawsuits that demand compensation on the basis of inadequate care from a paramedic. A paramedic, or EMT, has a legal duty to provide competent services to the people that they treat. When their care falls below reasonable standards, they may owe a victim financial compensation. If you’ve been hurt because of a paramedic, you may deserve monetary compensation.
Do Paramedics Have a Duty of Care?
Yes, paramedics have a duty of care. A paramedic has a duty of care to provide reasonable treatment based on the standards of a typical, ordinary paramedic with the requisite training and experience. The paramedic must go about their work in a qualified and competent manner based on accepted local standards of practice for a paramedic. They have a duty of care to each person that they serve based on their training and experience as an emergency services provider. A paramedic can be held legally accountable if their actions fall below their duty of care.
What Is Negligence in EMS?
Negligence in EMS is a failure to provide care up to the standards of a reasonable and ordinary EMS provider. Negligence doesn’t always mean failing to make an accurate diagnosis or recognize a symptom. Instead, it’s a failure to provide a competent level of care based on the skill and effort that’s reasonable for EMS.
When EMS negligence results in harm, the EMS company may have legal liability. Negligence in EMS occurs when a worker doesn’t go about their duties as an emergency services provider with an acceptable level of performance based on what’s normal and reasonable for competent EMS workers.
Colorado Paramedic Negligence Laws
Colorado paramedic negligence laws mirror traditional medical malpractice laws in the state. Proving paramedic negligence requires proving that the emergency medical services provider breached their duty of care. The requirements for winning a paramedic negligence case are the following:
- Showing that the paramedic had a duty of care to provide competent services. In the case of an EMT, this element is automatic because all EMTs have a duty of care in their work.
- Breach of the duty of care. The paramedic didn’t do their job up to acceptable standards of a trained professional.
- Cause of harm. The failure in professional standards caused harm.
- Damages. The victim has damages like physical injuries, medical bills, or property damage.
Colorado Paramedic Negligence Cases – Spence v. Aspen Skiing Co.
One Colorado case that talked about paramedic negligence was the case of Spence v. Aspen Skiing Co.  The 1993 case was heard in the U.S. District Court for Colorado. The case centered on a woman who needed emergency services while out skiing. The woman began to feel dizzy. She showed symptoms of having a hypoglycemic episode.
As part of the emergency medical treatment, paramedics administered an IV. The woman’s arm began to swell. She suffered injuries from the IV, including the eventual loss of her arm. The woman brought suit against the paramedics.
In their defense, the paramedics criticized the woman for failing to take care of her medical condition. They alleged that she shared negligence for not following the doctor’s orders to maintain a strict diet because of her hypoglycemia. The jury agreed, and the court entered a judgment in favor of the defendant.
The higher court reversed the judgment. They said that in the case of emergency medical services, it’s not fair to consider the negligence that may have brought on the need for medical attention in the first place. The court said that many, if not most, people need emergency care because of their own negligence in some way. A person has the right to competent care, even if they did something to bring about the emergency situation. Even though a victim’s own negligence can be relevant as far as an EMS malpractice action is concerned, the negligence must relate to the care itself and not to the events that cause the victim to need emergency medical attention.
Colorado Emergency Medical Technician Laws / Colorado Emergency Medical Services
Colorado emergency medical technician laws come from both state and local sources. Medical malpractice laws that apply in the State of Colorado come from statewide statutes and also from common law that is applicable statewide. There are also local laws that may apply to EMS services. Emergency services are often contracted for at the local government level. When you’re determining what laws apply to the case, it’s essential to check all sources for relevant law.
Compensation for Paramedic Negligence
When you are bringing a claim for compensation for paramedic negligence, there are a few different issues that may be important. One issue that can make a paramedic negligence case somewhat complex is that there may be multiple parties involved in the lawsuit. For example, the paramedic responsible for the negligence themselves is an individual person. They work for a private company. However, the company likely has a contract with a government entity.
When paramedic negligence occurs, you need to be aware of all of these different parties. Who you name in your claim might be critically important to winning fair compensation. There are also issues of government immunity and limited liability that you should be aware of as you evaluate and build your claim. These issues are not necessarily things that stand in your way to a fair recovery. However, you need to prepare your lawsuit in the right way to get the justice that you deserve. You have the right to the assistance of an attorney for paramedic negligence.
Contact Our Colorado Attorneys for Medical Malpractice
Have you been hurt by a paramedic in Colorado? Did a paramedic fail to do their job in your case? You must act quickly to win the financial compensation that you deserve. Contact our Colorado medical malpractice attorneys for your free and confidential consultation today.
 Spence v. Aspen Skiing Co., 820 F. Supp. 542 (D. Colo. 1993) Retrieved 5 November 2019 from https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/820/542/1759262/