Does a first responder have to wait for an ambulance to provide first aid to a patient?

My cousin was just recently killed in a
car accident and upon his accident the
First Responders got there and when
they got there they would not
administer first aid because of his
condition and they said they had to
wait for the ambulance I was wondering
is this actually true or is there a
neglection of duties here?

Asked on June 19, 2017 under Personal Injury, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Whether it's negligence or neglect depends on the facts: i.e. what aid was needed? Why did they wait? If there was some reasonable grounds for waiting (and "reasonable" does not mean "correct"--even if in hindsight they should have provided aid, if--at the time--their reasons for not doing so were logical and rational, that is enough; the law looks at the situation according to what was known at the time), there would be no liability, since negligence is *unreasonable* carelessnness. So if they thought they needed equipment, supplies, medicine, etc. in the ambulence and that acting without it would be useless, or even counterproductive, that would be reasonable; or if the person(s) on the spot did not have the training or experience for this seeming injury but were waiting for someone who did, that may be reasonable, too.
Only if you can show that the delay was unreasonable, in light of what was known at the time, might the first responders have acted inappropriately and failed in their duty; in that case, there *might* be liability (though note: many states have laws providing substantial  protection from lawsuits to first responders so long as they do not intentionally act wrongly or are not blatantly reckless, such as by responding while drunk, to encourage there to be first responders).

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