According to a KTNV Las Vegas news report, just before 11pm on June 1st, Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) State Troopers responded to a pedestrian call on the US95/Russell Road overpass in Las Vegas.
A Tense Situation
According to the emergency call, there was a female pedestrian under possible mental distress who was on the outside of the fence on the overpass. The responding FHP trooper who arrived first at the scene immediately started building a rapport with the women, according to reports. Once backup troopers and officers arrived at the scene, the responding FHP climbed the fence to the overpass and remained in constant communication with the woman.
Upon Henderson Fire Department’s arrival, the FHP trooper moved further down the fence in order to keep the pedestrian from moving further along over the US95. In order to secure her safety, the FHP trooper placed one part of a handcuff set on her wrist and the other part on the fence. Afterward, the Henderson Fire Department used its ladder truck to physically retrieve the woman. She was immediately transferred to an area hospital for medical evaluation. According to authorities, no charges were filed regarding the incident.
Rescues Gone Wrong
Thankfully, the Las Vegas rescue went well. Sometimes, however, when a first responder comes to the rescue, the situation can become much worse. When that happens, the injured victim may wonder if he or she can sue the first responder for injuries suffered. In many states, however, first responders have protection from liability under sovereign immunity. In other jurisdictions where first responders can be sued by injured victims, the right to do so is typically limited. Simply put, suing a first responder for injuries resulting from a rescue that went wrong is complicated.
Understanding Sovereign Immunity
The legal doctrine that states the government and its employees cannot be sued without its permission is known as “sovereign immunity.” Unless a state has passed legislation waiving sovereign immunity and permitting private citizens to sue a state-employee (like a first responder), you likely have no legal right to sue a first responder who has caused you harm in a rescue gone awry. There are several states across the nation that have not waived sovereign immunity, however, even if a state has done so, it does not automatically mean that an injured person can file suit against a first responder.
Many states across the nation, like Nevada, do allow lawsuits to go forward against first responders, but they have significantly limited the situations in which this can happen. The underlying policy reasoning for this is so that first responders are incentivized to provide aid to the public without fear of being sued by a victim who is injured.
Let Us Help You
The law regarding first responders and sovereign immunity is complicated. For this reason, if you or someone you know has been injured while being rescued by a government employee contact the Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at Matt Pfau Law Group. We understand the law and will fight for the best result for your case.