Wrongful Death Claims Involving Automated External Defibrillators in Washington State

The timely utilization of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can significantly enhance survival rates during the initial five minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Yet, it’s alarming to note that these life-saving devices are often not deployed, operational, or accessible when they’re most needed.

At Premier Law Group, we’re committed to assisting families and their legal representatives in seeking redress for avoidable tragedies, including those tied to the misuse, unavailability, or poor maintenance of AEDs – this includes wrongful death cases.

Despite the complex nature of these cases, which often involve convoluted liability issues and questions about the obligations of property owners, our top-rated team is fully equipped and ready to successfully handle these legal matters.

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest & AEDs

Litigation involving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) often originates from instances of sudden cardiac arrest, a critical medical situation where the heart suddenly stops pumping blood. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 350,000 individuals experience a cardiac arrest outside a hospital annually, with less than 8% managing to survive.

Though survival rates for cardiac arrests occurring outside hospitals are generally low, it’s widely recognized that timely administration of CPR and usage of a defibrillator to shock the heart back into its regular rhythm can effectively reverse SCA.

Indeed, the swift deployment of an automated external defibrillator is so successful in saving lives that federal law, along with legislation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, exists to encourage public access to and use of AEDs.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest & AEDs

Today, a combination of state and federal laws robustly endorses the availability and usage of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), mandating their presence in specific premises and offering legal safeguards to non-medical personnel who utilize them with good intentions. Here are some examples:

  • Under the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, AEDs are mandatory in federal buildings, airports, and airplanes.
  • Depending on the state, laws could necessitate having AEDs in certain businesses, hotels, fitness centers or sports clubs, government-owned facilities, casinos, educational institutions, and golf courses.
  • Nearly all states and the federal government have “Good Samaritan Laws” that offer civil liability protection to untrained individuals who use AEDs in emergency situations.
  • Laws governing AEDs often encompass guidelines and mandates for maintaining these life-saving devices.

AED Litigation: Defibrillators, Liability & Wrongful Death

Lawsuits involving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are extraordinarily specific to the facts at hand and are influenced by laws that can differ greatly across jurisdictions. Generally, there are a few recurring scenarios in these legal proceedings:

  • Property owners failed to have an AED on their premises, contrary to statutory law or the duty of care owed to visitors, especially in situations where such a device could have been crucial.
  • An AED was available, but on-site staff were either discouraged from using them by supervisors or weren’t informed about their location, their operation, or the protections offered by Good Samaritan Laws.
  • AEDs did not work as expected due to manufacturing defects or negligent maintenance.

In instances where there are no clear breaches of statutory regulations, there might be room to argue liability based on common law duties, negligence, and premises liability.

Property owners are legally obliged to safeguard against predictable risks of harm, and the annual number of cardiac arrests occurring outside hospitals could make it a foreseeable risk. Moreover, these risks could be heightened in specific environments, like venues where people engage in physical activities or large, isolated properties that can’t be quickly or easily reached by emergency medical services.


What is an AED lawsuit?

An AED lawsuit typically involves a case where a person suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was not used, was used improperly, or failed to function due to defects or improper maintenance. The lawsuit could be filed against property owners, employers, AED manufacturers, or any other party whose negligence may have contributed to the victim’s harm or death.

Who can be held liable in an AED lawsuit?

Liability in an AED lawsuit could fall on various parties depending on the circumstances. These may include premises owners who didn’t have an AED as required by law, employers who didn’t inform or train staff on using an AED, or manufacturers if the AED was defective.

What are Good Samaritan laws in relation to AED use?

Good Samaritan laws protect individuals who, in good faith, use an AED to help someone experiencing a cardiac arrest. These laws generally protect the rescuer from civil liability, meaning they can’t be sued for any harm unintentionally caused while attempting to save a life.

How can a lawyer help in an AED lawsuit?

A lawyer can help identify potential defendants, gather evidence, understand relevant state and federal laws, and build a strong case to prove negligence or product liability. They can also help negotiate settlements or represent you in court if necessary. Their expertise is vital in navigating the complexities of these types of lawsuits.