Articles Posted in Ambulance Accidents

All Maryland truck accidents have the potential to be life-threatening and cause serious bodily harm or death. While some drivers may have the good fortune of escaping a Maryland truck accident with just some scrapes, many others may find themselves significantly injured, in the hospital, or even fighting for their lives. Unfortunately, these accidents are more common than many people realize. Across the state, truck accidents claim the lives of far too many Maryland residents.

Tragically, these truck accidents can happen even when someone is in a vehicle that is supposed to bring them to safety: an ambulance. Just like other vehicles, ambulances share the road with trucks, and they often are driving very fast, trying to get an injured occupant to the hospital safely. Tragedy might strike, then, if an ambulance and a truck get into an accident. For example, just recently, a major crash between a dump truck and an ambulance left two people dead and others injured. According to a local news report that covered the accident, the crash occurred around 10:20 one Tuesday morning when an ambulance driving southbound was t-boned by a dump truck in the passenger side. The driver of the ambulance, a 28-year-old woman, and the driver of the truck, a 67-year-old man, were both taken to local hospitals with life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, both survived. Not so lucky were the two passengers of the ambulance: a 17-year-old boy and a 51-year-old male paramedic were both killed in the crash.

This accident highlights how tragic Maryland truck accidents can be, especially when they involve an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance. Maryland residents want to feel that when they call an ambulance because of an emergency, they can trust the ambulance will take them safely to help. While this is true for the vast majority of cases, Maryland residents must remember that ambulances travel on the same roads as every other vehicle and are still susceptible to car and truck accidents. After these accidents, those involved likely will want to know if and how they can recover against the negligent driver. Can they sue for monetary damages? How much can they get? How does their being in an ambulance complicate their recovery? With these questions, Maryland truck accident victims should read out to a personal injury attorney knowledgeable in this area of the law. While some may be tempted to file their lawsuit themselves, in an attempt to save costs, they may find themselves completely barred from recovery because they did not know how to file properly or because they had trouble understanding how exactly to bring a case of this nature to trial. Working with an experienced attorney, who is not paid unless you are, can help ensure maximum chances for success at recovery.

When a truck driver causes an accident after making a careless or reckless driving error—like running a red light or driving the wrong way on a one-way street—state law allows the injured parties to file a Maryland truck accident lawsuit to recover for damages incurred as a result. However, there may be certain cases where states want to limit liability for certain drivers or accidents. One common instance is limiting the liability of or providing immunity to those driving emergency medical vehicles such as ambulances who cause crashes. Granting this immunity allows those providing emergency medical care to escape liability if tragically they cause an accident while trying to help someone else.

In a recent opinion, a state supreme court considered whether an ambulance driver was immune from liability after he ran a red light, causing a serious car accident. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff in the case was injured on March 11, 2016, when a private ambulance driven by one of the defendants (and owned by the other defendant) ran a red light, colliding with the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants, seeking to recover damages for his injuries based on the negligence or, alternatively, the willful and wanton misconduct of the driver. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s negligence claim based on an immunity provision in a state statute. The statute provides civil immunity to anyone who is operating an ambulance in the performance of non-emergency medical services at the time of the accident, unless they were operating it with willful or wanton misconduct. Because negligence is much easier to prove than willful or wanton misconduct, having the negligence claim dismissed would significantly decrease the plaintiff’s chance at winning the suit.

In cases where more than one party is at fault, some plaintiffs may be barred from recovery altogether. The laws concerning the effect of the plaintiff’s negligence vary depending on the jurisdiction. The law that applies in Maryland truck accident cases is the doctrine of contributory negligence, which is a particularly harsh law for Maryland personal injury plaintiffs.

Contributory negligence comes from the common law, and has been the law in Maryland since 1847. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, if the plaintiff is found even partially at fault for the damages, the plaintiff is barred from recovery. Many have criticized the doctrine of contributory negligence, as it leads to harsh consequences and what many consider unfair results. Few states still follow the contributory negligence doctrine.

The General Assembly of Maryland has so far rejected the adoption of comparative negligence, which could replace the contributory negligence doctrine. Under the general comparative fault doctrine, or “pure comparative negligence,” the fault of both the plaintiff and the defendant are considered, but comparative fault only reduces the award by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. Under pure comparative negligence, a plaintiff can recover even if the plaintiff is found mostly at fault. Under some comparative fault doctrines, a plaintiff can recover as long as the plaintiff is found 50% or less at fault. This is generally referred to as “modified comparative negligence.”

Earlier this month in Wachapreague, Virginia, one man was killed as he was being transported to the hospital in an ambulance when the vehicle he was being transported in struck a bus. According to one local news source, the ambulance had its lights and sirens on when the accident occurred.

Evidently, the 38-year-old driver of the ambulance failed to obey a traffic signal and entered the intersection without checking if it was clear, striking a transit bus. After the collision, the ambulance lost control and rolled several times before coming to a rest.

The 60-year-old man being transported in the back of the ambulance died from the injuries he sustained in the accident. There were no passengers on the bus, and the bus driver was uninjured. The driver of the ambulance and two emergency responders who were also in the ambulance suffered minor injuries but are expected to make a full recovery.

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