We all know that the people in the United States can be sue-happy; in other words, anyone can sue for almost anything. During an emergency, it is no different. There will be on the spot decisions to be made and they will not always be favorable to the involving parties. Lawsuits will always pop up out of nowhere which is why it is important to have Legal Counsel in Emergency Management.
As with anything else, you must always, always cover your butt. Not covering it properly (by legal standards) can present issues of liability due to negligence. During emergency management, negligence “…usually arises from the failure to perform (or unreasonably bad performance of) specific governmental duties…they may include failure to adhere to a plan, executive level decision making (poor choices, poor planning, bad emergency response), or an Incident Commander’s lack of wisdom… or failure to comply with a legal duty, such as OSHA law…” (Nicholson & Esquire, pg. 393).
To help prevent lawsuits, an attorney should be present during emergency management. Nicholson and Esquire talk about litigation mitigation; in other words, helping prevent lawsuits. Litigation mitigation has three sets of main goals: “reduced exposure to legal claims; improved life safety; and enhanced property protection” (Nicholson & Esquire, pg. 392). One method of litigation mitigation is come up to help make sure everyone is in line with compliance is the EMAP (Emergency Management Accreditation Program). This program is a standard-based voluntary assessment and peer review accreditation process for Emergency Preparedness. Accreditation happens when an emergency management program “demonstrates, through program assessment, documentation and on-site assessment by an independent peer review team, that the program meets national standards…” (EMAP, 2010).
EMAP is not the only way response teams can protect themselves from lawsuits; there are other such examples. One such example is demonstrated during evacuations. Although evacuation does save several lives, not everyone is going to want to do it. This...