The Fireman’s Rule in Georgia provides that a public safety officer may not recover for the negligence that caused the situation to which he responded. It is based on a public policy of the State of Georgia that a public safety employee cannot recover for injuries caused by the very negligence that initially required his presence in an official capacity and subjected the public safety employee to harm. That public policy precludes recovery against an individual whose negligence created a need for the presence of the public safety employee at the scene in his professional capacity. The first policy reasons behind this rule is the assumption of risk doctrine.
[I]t is the nature of the job undertaken for the employee to be subjected to risks of injury created by people he or she is called upon to serve. By accepting that job the employee assumes a general or primary risk of injury. . . . The justification for imposing this general or primary risk is that the employee is paid to encounter it and trained to cope with it.
Second, the courts have held that it would be too burdensome to charge all who negligently cause a need for emergency services with the injuries suffered by the first responders trained to come and deal with the effects of those inevitable, although negligently created, occurrences. Citizens should be encouraged and not in any way discouraged from relying on those public employees who have been specially trained and paid to deal with these hazards.
In Kapherr v. MFG Chemical Inc., Case # A06A0184, decided December 29, 2005, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that this “Fireman’s Rule” applies to emergency medical technicians.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).