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.
The Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that the defendants were not exempt from liability. Under the EMS Act, non-emergency services covered medical care, clinical observation, or medical monitoring administered to patients who are in a non-emergency condition. Because the driver’s actions in driving the ambulance and running the red light were not essential or related to providing non-emergency medical care, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
In Illinois, recovering compensation after an ambulance accident can be challenging due to laws such as the EMS Act. Because of the complexity of these cases, accident victims are advised to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can handle their claim and help them obtain the compensation they deserve. No one should be able to get away with causing an accident if they were not following the law, and a skilled attorney can make all the difference in helping accident victims secure full and fair compensation after a serious collision.
Have You Been Injured By an Ambulance in Chicago?
If you or someone you know has been severely injured or killed in an Illinois car accident involving an ambulance, you should contact Abels & Annes, P.C. After a major collision, it’s essential to proceed quickly to preserve your right to pursue compensation from the accident. Our attorneys have years of experience representing our clients and take pride in fighting for their interests. Contact our office for a free consultation at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally at (312) 924-7575.