Rescue Squad Not Immune From Wrongful Death Suit

A few miles from a hospital a man was shot. The city rescue squad arrived on the scene shortly after. The two emergency medical technicians (EMTs) staffing the ambulance performed CPR and requested helicopter evacuation of the patient to another hospital. Their request was denied.  They loaded the man into the ambulance and arrived at the nearby hospital thirty minutes after they arrived on the scene.


The estate of the man sued the rescue squad for negligently delaying his transportation to the nearby hospital, thereby causing his death. The rescue squad filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that it was statutorily immune from suit. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, and the estate of the man appealed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court.


However, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reversed the trial and appellate courts holding that by its plain language the statute providing immunity from suit for individual first responders did not provide immunity for the rescue squad as a collective entity.


See: Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad, 2012 WL 2890973 (N.J., July 17, 2012) (not designated for publication).