If I Help Someone In Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Can I Be Sued Later?

A woman is performing CPR on a man who is unconscious

Can You Be Sued For Using An Automated External Defibrillator?

If you were to witness a bystander collapse in a public place and decided to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), would you feel comfortable with the situation? Would you be concerned that you'll be sued later on if something goes wrong? Are there legal considerations to take into account when using an AED? This article will explore the following question: “Can I be sued for using an AED on someone in sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)?"


Can I Be Sued For Using An AED On Someone In Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Many people are unaware that in 2001, Ontario and several other provinces enacted the Good Samaritan Act. This act provides protection for individuals who help others in emergency situations.

The act states that any emergency responder who voluntarily provides first aid to an injured person is not liable for damages, unless gross negligence caused the damages.

So, if you're willing to step up and help a stranger in need… you're protected!


So, Anyone Can Use An AED In Canada?

The use of automated external defibrillators in Canada is becoming more and more common, and that's a good thing. One of the biggest ways they're being used is by people who aren't medical professionals at all. Anyone can use an AED to help save a life, especially when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest. You do not need any previous certifications or training.


Is Liability A Concern With AED Ownership?

The question of liability has to be the most likely deterrents for anyone considering buying an AED. After all, lawsuit-wary Canadians collectively spend millions yearly on liability insurance alone. As unreasonable as it sounds, there are many people who will avoid purchasing an AED because they believe owning one opens them up to potential legal action should they use it and something goes wrong.

However, You don't need to worry about lawsuits when using an AED, here’s why:

1. Many provinces have legislation protecting you from legal liability if you're doing your best to save a life;

2. Even if something does go wrong, or if the patient doesn't survive, you're covered by this protection for using the device.


Find out more about your liability protection with AED use through the The Chase McEachern Act, 2007.

The bottom line: you are not liable to be sued legally if you decide to use an AED on someone in SCA, but please understand that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions on aiding a victim of cardiac arrest, or if you are questioning whether there is any liability involved in using an AED or providing CPR, please contact your insurer or risk management officer for further information.


Buy An AED With AED Advantage And Save A Life

AED Advantage makes buying a lifesaving automated external defibrillator simple. With their vast selection, it's easy to find the one that best fits with your needs, budget and space requirements. AED Advantage offers the best defibrillators for your money, so you can get on with your life knowing that you've taken all the right steps to ensure you're protected in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.

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