Heart Attack in Maryland Restaurant

Heart attacks are some of the most dangerous medical emergencies because of how unexpectedly they can happen and how little time paramedics and passers-by have to save the person’s life. Providing medical treatment as soon as possible is crucial. For this reason, Maryland state legislators have worked toward requiring certain types of businesses and organizations to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on-site.

Beginning in 2024, many restaurants in Maryland will be subject to AED requirements. Restaurant owners and operators who fail to meet those requirements could hold civil liability for harm sustained by a customer or employee who experiences heart trouble on their property. If you or a loved one suffered a heart attack in a Maryland restaurant where there was not an AED available, an experienced heart attack attorney could help you take legal action.

Can You Sue a Restaurant for Not Having an AED?

In 2023, Governor Wes Moore signed the “Joe Sheya Act,” named after a Maryland resident who passed away after experiencing cardiac arrest in a restaurant that did not have an AED on site. Under this Act, restaurants that earn a gross income of $1,000,000 or more per year are required to:

  • Purchase an automated external defibrillator;
  • Keep it in a prominent and accessible area;
  • And make sure it is regularly tested and maintained in good working order.

Restaurants making over $400,000 but less than $1,000,000 in gross yearly income are eligible for a state income tax credit for the first $500 of an AED purchase. Any restaurant owner or operator that purchases an AED—whether required by law or not—must also comply with AED training provided by a state-approved organization.

The Joe Sheya Act will go into effect on January 1, 2024. Any restaurant in Maryland that does not have an AED on site after that date may face disciplinary action and civil liability for harm someone sustains in a heart attack that the proper use of an AED could have prevented.

“Good Samaritan” Laws for AED Users

When the Joe Shreya Act takes effect, there will likely not be any deviation from the state’s “Good Samaritan” laws protecting people who act in good faith to help someone suffering a sudden health crisis. Specifically, Maryland Code, Education § 13-517 prohibits anyone from suing someone else specifically over their actions—or failure to act—in using an AED on someone suffering cardiac arrest, provided that the “Good Samaritan:”

  • Had legitimate reason to believe a medical emergency was occurring
  • Provided aid reasonably quickly under the circumstances
  • Did not demand compensation for their services

People who are present for a heart attack also have a legal duty to allow certified emergency responders or medical professionals to perform their duties. If someone does not meet the requirements for being a “Good Samaritan,” their actions could be subject to civil liability in the event they contribute to or worsen someone’s health condition. An attorney could further explain the legal duties and rights of a Maryland resident who tries to help someone suffering a heart attack in restaurant.

Discuss Legal Options After a Heart Attack in a Restaurant With a Maryland Attorney

When someone experiences a heart attack in a Maryland restaurant, there are complex laws dictating potential routes to compensation. While you cannot file suit against someone who tried to use an AED, it will soon be possible to file suit against a restaurant for failing to have a functioning AED on site. Even before this new law goes into effect, a restaurant still may have a duty of care to take reasonable precautions so that customers are safe from preventable harm.

If you want to take legal action against a restaurant or any other business, speaking with an attorney should be your top priority. Call today to learn more about AED laws and how they could affect your potential case.