Court: Ark. Medevac Pilot Immune from Liability for Injuries

Court: Ark. Medevac Pilot Immune from Liability for Injuries

News Feb 26, 2013

The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's judgment confirming a determination of the state workers' compensation commission that a medical helicopter pilot is immune from liability in an action brought by the pilot's coworkers for injuries arising from an accident allegedly caused by the pilot's negligence.

On Feb. 21, 2005, a medical helicopter accident occurred in Benton County, Ark., involving a helicopter owned and operated by Air Evac EMS Inc. Three Air Evac employees, flight nurse Dee Ann Miller, EMT Clayton Bratt, and commercial pilot Dennis Enders, were on board the helicopter at the time of the crash, which resulted in injuries to Miller and Bratt.

Miller and Bratt sued Enders alleging negligent operation of the helicopter. A trial court dismissed the action after concluding Enders was immune from suit under an applicable state statute extending an employer's tort liability to a co-employee.

The trial court transferred the case to the state workers' compensation commission and following administrative proceedings, an administrative law judge (ALJ) held that Enders was performing his employer's duty to provide a safe workplace for Miller and Bratt and was therefore entitled to immunity. The decision was affirmed on appeal, and Miller and Bratt sought judicial review.

The supreme court noted that it had consistently interpreted the statute at issue to afford immunity to co-employees that were acting as an arm of the employer. Such immunity did not limit recovery, but instead cloaked certain co-employees in limited fact scenarios with immunity as an employer when they were fulfilling their employer's duties to provide a safe workplace.

The supreme court concluded that this interpretation was consistent with the general purpose behind the state workers' compensation statute, which was to change the common law by shifting the burden of all work-related injuries from individual employers and employees to the consuming public with the concept of fault being virtually immaterial. Accordingly, the lower court's opinion was affirmed.

Source: Health Law Week, 02/22/2013

Copyright © 2013 by Strafford Publications, Inc. http://www.straffordpub.com/ All rights reserved. Storage, reproduction or transmission by any means is prohibited except pursuant to a valid license agreement.

Copyright 2013 Strafford Publications, Inc.All Rights Reserved

Continue Reading
Source
Health Law Week
Leaders want to provide first responders with guidelines to follow when handling calls relating to human trafficking.
The study will assess Florida's Division of Emergency Management's response to Hurricane Irma and determine the lessons learned.
The state funding will provide 120,000 doses for first responders, including Pittsburgh park rangers.
The budget cut allowed the department to cross-staff, using firefighters to staff ambulances due to medical calls outnumbering fire calls.
Starting next year, the insurer will reimburse treatment that doesn’t require the emergency department.
One of the two Northern California wildfires have been fully contained due to cooler temperatures and light rain.
Kenneth Scheppke challenged longstanding traditions in patient care that have not withstood current scrutiny.

EMTs and other first responders who treated the wounded on scene of the Vegas shooting could be at risk for post-traumatic stress.

All EMS, fire, and law enforcement agencies in the county will participate in the drill along with 100 volunteers portraying victims of the shooting.
As the state begins facing the effects of the opioid crisis, medical professionals, law enforcement and prosecutors join the national discussion on possible solutions to the epidemic.
Only one of three in the country, the "rapid extrication team" assists in rescuing injured firefighters while local crews battle the forest fires.
The paramedic-staffed chase car would respond to ALS calls in a timelier manner and help alleviate several local fire departments' calls.
Las Vegas and Orlando massacres set a solemn tone for the normally festive event.
In a project to raise grant funding that began a year ago, the Richmond Ambulance Authority and VCU Health teamed up to provide 35 of Richmond’s Public Schools with Bleeding Control (BCON) equipment. 
Mercy Health's new two-story, 29,000 square foot center features a Level 1 trauma center, an expanded surgical area, and more comfortable patient and visitor access.