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Disability Law Offices of Tony Adderley

No Defibrillators Required

  • By: Tony Adderley
  • Published: July 16, 2014
If You Cannot Work

Don’t have a heart attack at Target. Even the best personal injury attorney might not be able to help you. The California Supreme Court decided in June that large retail stores aren’t required or obligated by law to have defibrillators available for customers or employees who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. The ruling brought to an end one family’s wrongful death claim against the Target department store chain. Nevertheless, if you’re injured or suffer harm at any commercial location in southern California, it’s still best to consult at once with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.

The court’s June ruling rises from a 2008 incident in Pico Rivera when Mary Ann Verdugo, 49, suffered a heart attack while shopping at Target. The store did not have a defibrillator, and by the time paramedics arrived, it was too late. The court said the California State Legislature is “in the best position” to determine if retailers should be required to have defibrillators available. The court found nothing in current California law that would make Target legally responsible for Ms. Verdugo’s death.

The only state that currently requires large retailers to keep defibrillators available is Oregon. Defibrillators are a powerful lifesaving device if employed immediately after a cardiac arrest. The American Heart Association believes that the immediate use of a defibrillator can appreciably increase cardiac arrest survival rates. Laws requiring some public facilities to keep defibrillators available have been adopted in all 50 states since 1997, but unless and until California’s lawmakers act, no retailers in our state will be legally compelled to have defibrillators on hand.

A good personal injury lawyer can always defend your rights if you are injured in a commercial location by slipping or tripping and falling, if you’re injured by falling or flying merchandise, or if you’re exposed to toxic chemicals. In California, anyone who is injured by another person’s negligence has the legal right to file a personal injury claim and recover damages. The law is always changing, so if you’re injured in any way on commercial property in southern California, now or in the future, get the sound legal advice you need. Consult at once with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.

About the Author Tony Adderley has been working as a professional advocate for
individuals entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) and worker’s
compensation benefits for more than 20 years.