Is it possible to sue a volunteer ambulance unit for not doing their job right?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it possible to sue a volunteer ambulance unit for not doing their job right?

I was in a volunteer ambulance after a car accident and the women EMT put a pediatric neck brace on my neck after I complained of neck pain, instead of an adult brace. Also, she did not take my blood pressure or oxygen levels correctly. Additionally, they put me and my passenger in the same ambulance. Instead of making our injuries priority, the EMT went on and on about her having a feeding tube and just random stories about her family. They arrived at 10:17 am and did not get us to the hospital which was only 15-20 minutes away, until 11:08 am.

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Malpractice Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable ambulance/EMT would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

In order to prove negligence, you will have to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove that the incidents you mentioned about the EMT or at least one of those incidents caused you to be injured beyond the injury you sustained in the auto accident.  The EMT's babbling did not exacerbate your injury.  If the incorrect blood pressure, incorrect oxygen, incorrect neck brace, or delay in arriving at the hospital exacerbated your injury, then you would have a claim, but if you weren't injured due to any of these items, then you don't have a claim.

Duty of due care, breach of duty, actual cause, proximate cause and damages need to be proven to establish a case for negligence.  Duty of due care and breach were mentioned above.  Actual cause means but for the actions of the EMT would you have been injured?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening events which would relieve the ambulance of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  If you were injured by the actions of the EMT/ambulance, your damages would include the medical bills (for injuries caused by the EMT), pain and suffering and wage loss if applicable.  Again, these damages are separate from the auto accident injuries.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuriea and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carrier for the ambulance.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from that insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the ambulance.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the ambulance prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption