We have all experienced the flashing lights and blaring siren as an ambulance speeds past us. However, no one plans to be involved in a car accident with one. Unfortunately, Chicago ambulance accidents regularly occur, and when they do, an ambulance driver may be liable for any resulting injuries.
In a recent Illinois Supreme Court opinion, the plaintiff suffered bodily injuries when a private ambulance ran a red light at an intersection and crashed into the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff claimed that at the time of the accident, the driver was not operating the ambulance with his siren and lights engaged. Further, the plaintiff argued that the defendant was not proceeding in response to an emergency and that no passengers were in the process of providing emergency or non-emergency medical services at the time of the collision. The plaintiff sued the company that owned the ambulance, as well as the driver.
The defendant ambulance company and driver moved to dismiss the claims based on the immunity provision of the Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) Act. Because the driver was operating the ambulance and providing non-emergency medical services at the time of the accident, the defendants argued they were immune from all civil liability unless the driver’s actions constituted willful misconduct. The plaintiff responded by arguing that the immunity provision of the EMS Act does not apply unless the ambulance is engaged in providing medical services to a patient. The mere use of the vehicle to pick up a patient for non-emergency transport, the plaintiff asserted, was not covered under the statute.