People suffering from critical medical issues are often transported to the hospital by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) via an ambulance. EMTs are expected to employ reasonable care when transporting patients, and if they do not, it can result in injuries. In some cases, though, a person injured by the negligence of an EMT will be precluded from recovering damages due to New York’s laws regarding government-function immunity, as discussed in a recent New York opinion. If you were injured by an EMT, you might be able to pursue claims for damages, and it is smart to contact a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the plaintiff was being transported to the hospital by EMTs employed by the defendant city. During the trip, he unbuckled his restraints and jumped out of the ambulance. He subsequently suffered injuries. He proceeded to file claims against the defendant, alleging the negligence of the EMTs caused him harm. In response, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from liability pursuant to the doctrine of governmental function immunity. After reviewing the motion, the court adopted the defendant’s reasoning and ruled in its favor, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff appealed.
EMT Liability for Injuries Sustained During Transportation to the Hospital
The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling on appeal. In doing so, it explained that pursuant to the doctrine of governmental function immunity, government actions that are discretionary in nature cannot form the basis of liability. Ministerial actions, on the other hand, may be grounds for imposing liability, but only if they violate a duty owed specifically to the plaintiff that is separate from any duty owed to the public generally. Continue reading