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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / The Duty And Obligation To Have Defibrillators On A Business’ Property

The Duty And Obligation To Have Defibrillators On A Business’ Property


Let’s say that someone has a heart attack or a cardiac arrest. Is that just a consequence of genetics? Disease? Age? Perhaps an overly strenuous activity that someone was taking part in?

It could be any or all of the above. But when these kinds of things happen on a business’ property, the question isn’t so much “how or why did this happen,” as much as “what did the business do about it when it was happening?”

The Use of Defibrillators

Nowadays, life saving defibrillators are becoming necessities for businesses that have people on their property-especially businesses that have a large number of people, or a population that may be more prone to a cardiac event.

This is a relatively new responsibility for businesses, but it has arisen with the availability of easy to use and relatively low cost defibrillators. For just about $1,000-$4,000, depending on the model and features, every business can have at least one defibrillator at the ready.

How and Why do Defibrillators Work?

Defibrillators are a life saving device. Not only do they shock the heart’s electrical current, to get an irregular or non beating heart to beat normally again, but they also help the brain get oxygen again quicker. The quicker the brain gets oxygen, the less chance there is of long term brain damage after a cardiac event.

And there is almost no excuse not to have defibrillators at the ready. They are easy to use; many even “speak” instructions out, so that any layperson can use them if needed. The defibrillator is designed so that it will not harm either the user, or the victim receiving the defibrillators’ jolts. The device even “ready” somebody’s heartbeats or lack thereof, to confirm that they are in need of a jolt from the defibrillator.

Who Should Have One?

Don’t think defibrillators are for businesses that cater to “older people,” cardiac arrests are not only present in older populations; younger people can and are victims of cardiac arrest as well.

What businesses should have defibrillators? Although no laws explicitly require businesses to have them, almost any business open to the public should.

Maintenance and Training

Feel better because you’re at a business or facility where there are defibrillators everywhere? That’s common nowadays. But that doesn’t mean that businesses maintain those machines; many either allow defibrillators to go unchecked and unserviced, or else, the businesses don’t train staff on how to use them if necessary.

The real question in defibrillator liability cases, is whether, with immediate attention from a defibrillator (and staff trained to use it and able to access it), the victim’s medical outcome could have improved or been better. That answer will usually be yes.

Did you have a cardiac event somewhere that didn’t have defibrillators there to help? Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today.




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