Emergency Service Organizations: Avoiding Claims of Negligence

Emergency service organizations are critical components of our culture. Their immediate response and medical expertise are key factors in caring for patients nationwide. However, the nature of their work is prone to risks. While they work to manage dire circumstances with immediacy, the realities and risks that they face are undeniable. One of the most common exposures is negligence, which comes in many forms. However, preventing and preparing for these situations are some of the best defenses to reduce Fire Department General Liability. Let us take a closer look at some common negligence exposures and how to prevent these types of claims.

Scope of Practice

Because states differ in how they define the scope of practice for a given profession (e.g., EMTs), questions about scope of practice frequently arise in mutual aid situations in which licensed healthcare professionals are providing care in another state from the one in which they are licensed, says the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). Further, if a paramedic or a firefighter inadvertently provides advice to the patient which leads to more complications, they may be held liable for any damages. For this reason, it is best to stick to written procedures to minimize liability.

Breach of Confidentiality

Emergency service organizations can be held liable for failing to take the proper precautions to defend the patient’s confidentiality. This can occur if a patient’s records are left unattended or within view of another patient. Emergency service organizations must be properly trained on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to avoid these types of negligence claims.

Failure to Plan

As emergency service organizations’ role is to prepare for the worst, failing to equip each vehicle with the proper tools and equipment could lead to a negligence suit. Ensure that all employees are taking regular inventory of the ambulances, fire engines, etc. and replenishing all supplies as needed.

At Provident Fire Plus, we understand the risks that emergency service organizations face on a regular basis. Our unique underwriting goes beyond what is typically included in these policies, extending coverage to pollution, liquor liability, medical payments, and more. For more information about our comprehensive policies and how we can work for your clients, contact us today at (855) 201-8880.