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Do Citizens Sue Fire Departments?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Do you really think that the political administration of a city, town or county will accept the blame? They will BLAME US, THE FIREFIGHTERS and tuck it to us faster than a horny teenager trying to get laid on Prom night.....
    Indeed - it'll be "the firefighters didn't save my house," not "the firefighters couldn't save my house because the municipality reduced their strength to the point that they are no longer effective..."
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #17
      Here's my take on this. If you have a fire or other emergency that person should look into if the department responded within the national standards time allowed and if they also met the national standards for manning and other areas. If they showed up in 3 minutes after the alarm came in but only had 2 firefighters on the rig this is unacceptable and since there is a national standard that says there should be at least 4 firefighters on an apparatus the fire department should be open to be sued because they are not complying with a national standard. JMO

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      • #18
        It's no different that the actions of a ff responding to a call. What if the ff (volly for the sake of argument) is drunk and get into a wreck. He tells the cops he was responding to a call. Guess who is enjoined in the lawsuit?
        You may get out under summary judgement ( for example) you have an SOG that any member who is drunk will not be allowed on the FG or apparatus. There for, the member was not capable of representing the dept and was on his.her own. You still have to pay the lawyer.
        Personally I think the behavior of the FD would have to be shockingly egregious in order to be sued but that's just me.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by FloridaFireEMT View Post
          So here is a scenerio, what if a 911 call was made for a wellbeing check and upon arrival you find a house with a car in the driveway and all of the doors/windows are locked and windows are covered. The bystanders stated that they know that a person lives here alone at this house. The bystanders state that no one is answering their phone when it is called. Bystanders stated that they have not heard from the resident for the past week. The only visual sign of a person inside the house is the car in the driveway. You decide to force entry through the front door, upon entry you find an empty house. You try to secure the door the best you can, that night one of the bystanders that was there earler that day that called you in the first place comes back and robs the house of its valuables. The person that lives there at that address comes back in a cab from a vacation trip via.an airplane. They find the house robbed and they find out that the fire department broke into the house a few days eariler and caused damage to their front door. They sue the FD for damaging their front door and as a result they were also robbed. Where do we draw the line?
          Dear god. Did you stay up late working on this?

          You, or a department can be sued for anything. ANYTHING.

          Chief Officers and Insurance were made for just this situation.

          Comment


          • #20
            I think its foolish to operate with the worry of being sued.

            Worry about having and following good standards and practices that are based on state and federal laws and industry standards.

            That is your best protection against losing a lawsuit.
            I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

            "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

            "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
              You, or a department can be sued for anything. ANYTHING.
              Indeed. I recall hearing of a woman who sued a family because the kids were playing basketball in their own back yard. Worse, she won...

              Never mind that she apparently made her living suing people (as the plaintiff, not as a lawyer) - you can be sued for taking too long to arrive on a scene at the same time you're being sued for using your siren "too much." (Rhetorical point - don't bother arguing it.)

              In other words,
              Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
              ANYTHING.
              Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

              Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by TRUCK61 View Post
                Here's my take on this. If you have a fire or other emergency that person should look into if the department responded within the national standards time allowed and if they also met the national standards for manning and other areas. If they showed up in 3 minutes after the alarm came in but only had 2 firefighters on the rig this is unacceptable and since there is a national standard that says there should be at least 4 firefighters on an apparatus the fire department should be open to be sued because they are not complying with a national standard. JMO

                Ha, I know of a department that ONLY has 2 FFs on every apparatus, including the tower truck every day. And the Cheif thinks anymore than 2 guys is a waste. They haven't been sued yet.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by FloridaFireEMT View Post
                  Ha, I know of a department that ONLY has 2 FFs on every apparatus, including the tower truck every day. And the Cheif thinks anymore than 2 guys is a waste. They haven't been sued yet.
                  Possible way I see for a city to be sued for staffing is that the tax payers have voted to increase their taxes for better service, the tax level goes up, but no new units/personnel/stations are created. Know a place where that scenario is unraveling.
                  ~Drew
                  Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
                  USAR TF Rescue Specialist

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    One of my instructors back in the early 80's summed up the legal aspects very eloquently; " I could sue this whole class for gross ugliness and I would win at least half of them."

                    I was deposed last summer for a civil suit. Failure to provide prompt medical care. We were on scene in less than 60 seconds. Not one but two ALS ambulances within 3 minutes. Some lawyer still thought it was worth a shot at $38 million.

                    Good documentation makes things so much easier.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
                      One of my instructors back in the early 80's summed up the legal aspects very eloquently; " I could sue this whole class for gross ugliness and I would win at least half of them."

                      I was deposed last summer for a civil suit. Failure to provide prompt medical care. We were on scene in less than 60 seconds. Not one but two ALS ambulances within 3 minutes. Some lawyer still thought it was worth a shot at $38 million.

                      Good documentation makes things so much easier.
                      Amen, Brother.

                      I have been deposed twice... once in a wrongful death inquest, the other in a fire investigation/lawsuit.

                      One doesn't need to write the equivalent of Doestovesky's "War and Peace" as a narrative, but it has to be more detailed than a simple one or two line paragraph
                      Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 04-02-2011, 07:05 AM.
                      ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                      Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        As they say Document, Document, Document. If it's not documented it never happened.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by 1nvestigations View Post
                          It's no different that the actions of a ff responding to a call. What if the ff (volly for the sake of argument) is drunk and get into a wreck. He tells the cops he was responding to a call. Guess who is enjoined in the lawsuit?
                          You may get out under summary judgement ( for example) you have an SOG that any member who is drunk will not be allowed on the FG or apparatus. There for, the member was not capable of representing the dept and was on his.her own. You still have to pay the lawyer.
                          Personally I think the behavior of the FD would have to be shockingly egregious in order to be sued but that's just me.
                          What about a newspaper photographer responding to a fire in Philly who cuts people off on Frankford Avenue in his rush to get to the fire and causes an accident? Can the Newspaper be sued?
                          "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
                            Do you really think that the political administration of a city, town or county will accept the blame? They will BLAME US, THE FIREFIGHTERS and tuck it to us faster than a horny teenager trying to get laid on Prom night.....
                            Thats due to the spinal removal that is necessary to get a chief's job, but man its nice to dream of a day when someone would point out where the real faults are.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Hey FWD , why don't you just ignore me and I'll ignore you. If something happened to you in the past, that was your opportunity to do something about it. You are like a child in kindergarden.
                              Someone could have embarrassed you 20 years ago and you act like it's yesterday. I'm not who you think I am, I don't know you I don't want to know you. But I will answer your question.
                              Yes. If the person contributes to an incident they can be sued and so can their employer. So if you as a code inspector try to change lanes and a vehicle in front of you stops for an animal in the road and you plow into them you and your municpality can be sued. If you are a tv repairman working for XYZ repair and the same thing happens then yes, you and your company can be sued.
                              So what did you do about it then? That was your opportunity. You seem intent on yammering on about the past. If you took action in the past, good for you. if not let it go, it's not healthy. You should acknowlegde what your screenname abrieviation can be interpreted as, Forward, as in moving past something, looking to the future. Not dwelling on the fact that someone did something to you 10-15 20 -25 or whatever years ago. peace

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                I had a bookeeper tried to sue me for sexual harrasment once. In Missouri you have to go through the equal rights commission before filing. She filed with them - within a week after me filing the police reports for theft.......

                                She did not follow through. (smart girl)

                                You can be sued for anything....

                                Comment

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