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Ambulance Accident Injuries

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Ambulances Are Not Fully Immune

If an ambulance causes an accident, the first issue becomes whether the claim is barred by statutory immunity.

Health and Safety Code Section 17999.100 provides, “In order to encourage local agencies and other organizations to train people in emergency medical services, no local agency, entity of state or local government, private business or nonprofit organization included on the statewide registry that voluntarily and without expectation and receipt of compensation donates services, goods, labor, equipment, resources, or dispensaries or other facilities, in compliance with Section 8588.2 of the Government Code, or other public or private organization which sponsors, authorizes, supports, finances, or supervises the training of people, or certifies those people, excluding physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and licensed vocational nurses, as defined, in emergency medical services, shall be liable for any civil damages alleged to result from those training programs.”

Cal. Health and Saf. Code § 1799.100. In Ducket v. Pistoressi Ambulance Services, 19 Cal.App.4th 1525, the court held that the immunity provision applied even if the trainee was not actually training at the time that the accident occurred.

It is also to be noted that claims against care-less ambulance drivers are a claim of “professional negligence”, subject to a one-year statute of limitations. Canister v. Emergency Ambulance Services, 160 Cal.App.4th 388 (2008). Because it is a case of professional negligence, expert witness testimony is required as to whether the standard of care was breached.

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