Ambulance personnel, including emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are obligated to uphold a standard of care when transporting patients to the hospital. When treatment falls below the standard of care and goes on to cause permanent injury to the patient, ambulance personnel may be held liable.
I thought ambulance personnel could not be sued because they are responding to an emergency. Is that true?
No, that is not true. Ambulance personnel can be found liable if they deviate from the standard of care (make a mistake) that causes injury. There is a Good Samaritan law that generally protects lay people who stop to help at the scene of an accident, but professionals who work on ambulances and ambulance companies can be held liable.
What is a “deviation from the standard of care”?
This is a failure to do what a reasonably prudent EMT or paramedic would do under the circumstances. If this failure causes injury, there may be a case. Some examples include:
- Failure to respond to 911 call,
- Not getting the patient to the hospital fast enough,
- Not having the right equipment or drugs in the ambulance,
- Putting a breathing tube in wrong,
- Giving incorrect information about the patient to the hospital staff.
The ambulance took 20 minutes to get here. Is that negligence?
It could be. Many factors need to be evaluated, including the location of the emergency, routing of 911 calls and which service is responsible to respond to 911 calls. To investigate this type of claim, we obtain timed recordings of 911 calls; evaluate 911 service areas, first responder assignments, and travel routes.
The ambulance crashed with a car while I was in it causing even worse injury. Can I file a claim for this accident?
Yes. You can be compensated for the injuries caused by the collision. Depending on who was at fault for the accident, you could recover from either the ambulance company or the driver of the other vehicle.
How long do I have to file an ambulance malpractice lawsuit?
In Connecticut the general rule is that you have 2 years from the date of injury to bring an ambulance malpractice claim against a private company. However, if the State, a Town or City is also involved, there are notice requirements which are much shorter (sometimes a matter of months). So you should contact the medical malpractice attorneys at the McEnery Law Group immediately if you believe you have an ambulance liability case.