Are Maryland Emergency Responders Immune from Liability While Responding to Maryland Car Accidents?

When someone is seriously injured in a Maryland car accident, it is imperative that they receive immediate medical treatment. In some cases, waiting to provide an accident victim medical assistance until they arrive at the hospital may increase the risk of further injury or death. Maryland emergency responders (EMTs) are often in a position to provide interim medical treatment at the scene. However, sometimes EMTs are negligent, make the wrong decision, or act recklessly in providing care to accident victims and end up exacerbating a victim’s injuries.

When an EMT’s negligence results in an accident victim’s further injury, the accident victim may be able to pursue a Maryland personal injury claim against the EMT. However, lawmakers want to encourage qualified providers who find themselves in a position to assist the victims of serious accidents. Thus, under Maryland law, certain EMTs, firefighters, and other rescue workers may be immune from liability.

Maryland Code section 5-603 discusses when emergency medical providers are entitled to immunity. Specifically, the law states that a qualified medical provider is not liable for any act or omission related to assistance or medical care they provided if:

  • The act or omission did not involve gross negligence;
  • The assistance was provided without fee or other compensation; and
  • The assistance was provided at the scene, in transit, or while in communication with emergency personnel.

In some cases, someone who is not qualified to provide medical assistance finds themselves in a position to assist an accident victim. Again, lawmakers want to encourage even an unqualified person to provide whatever care they can, as long as the assistance being provided is reasonable. Thus, when assistance is provided by someone who is not a qualified medical provider, the person assisting may be immune from liability if they can establish:

  • The assistance was provided in a reasonably prudent manner;
  • The assistance was provided without fee or other compensation; and
  • The person ceases assistance once a qualified medical provider arrives.

Notably, if the person providing assistance receives compensation for their assistance, they will not be entitled to immunity regardless of whether they were a qualified medical provider. In a recent state appellate decision, a court determined that a private ambulance company was not entitled to immunity although the bill the company sent to the plaintiff went unpaid. The court explained that the focus was not on whether the payment was actually received, but the underlying nature of the charges. In that case, the ambulance company billed for “advanced life support,” which the court considered to be “remuneration” for the assistance provided.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or someone you care about has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, the dedicated personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can help. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent car accident victims across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and have been doing so for over two decades. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on your injuries, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

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