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. 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
Health Law Week

Lee County, Fla. EMS will soon have its own substation in North Fort Myers. Chiefs for the North Fort Myers Fire District and Lee County EMS said it was time for a change because of overcrowding. 

EMS professionals are all taught to look for a MedicAlert bracelet or a necklace. This simple step has become much more complex in the information age, and we may not realize for what and where to look.
The drill involving over 200 people put multiple first responder agencies to the test.
The training was based on lessons learned from the Columbine shooting and taught school employees safety and security measures.
One third of the state's record-high 376 overdose deaths that occurred last year were caused by prescribed painkillers.
The training will be focused on prescribing buprenorphine, the drug used to assist patients in quitting their opiate addiction and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
One of the paramedics was treated after getting hit with shards of glass after the bullet went through the windshield, but the ambulance is not believed to have been intentionally targeted.
The drones are used to improve scene management by assessing areas that are difficult or dangerous for personnel to reach.
Dozens of firefighters and police officers join the annual week-long Brotherhood Ride to honor 20 first responders who have died in the line of duty in Florida.
The event will be held on August 20, with all proceeds going to Narberth Ambulance, an agency that provides emergency services to 145,000 residents.
Speakers presented on topics such as disaster relief, emerging pathogens, the opioid crisis and cyber security.
The state's Department of Health has established an agreement for UNC and NCBP to collaborate on providing public health data to NEMSIS to better prepare EMS for national emergencies.
State troopers rendered aid before turning them over to responding EMS units and New Castle County Paramedics.
Three people were fatally shot and at least 21 others were wounded in separate attacks from Saturday morning to early Sunday.