Injured Bicyclist hit again in Fatal Ambulance Trip
A cyclist was being transported by an ambulance after being hit by a car on Thursday, July 25. Just minutes into the ride to the hospital, the ambulance was struck by a vehicle injuring all five occupants of the ambulance including additional injuries to the cyclist.
The cyclist was transported to the hospital in another ambulance but died later at the hospital from his injuries.
The first accident happened at 9:15 p.m. at the intersection of N. Olive Avenue and E. Hawkins Avenue when the cyclist was hit crossing the street. EMS at the scene decided that his injuries were life-threatening, so they sent him to an area hospital. On the way there, a second accident happened at 9:30 p.m., at the intersection of N. Golden State Boulevard and W. Monte Vista Avenue.
The ambulance went through the intersection and was broadsided by a pick-up truck and rolled over on its side. Two EMS workers and two firefighters riding in the ambulance were injured and taken to a local hospital. Their injuries were from moderate to severe, but all are expected to make a full recovery. Police are still investigating both accidents.
EMS Collision Injuries and Cyclists
Cyclists are at great risk every day when riding among motor vehicles. A typical car outweighs a bicycle by almost 40 times, and when a bike and car collide, the cyclist is in danger of serious injury or death. When a severe injury takes place, the cyclist has to rely EMS personnel and a motor vehicle to get them to the hospital.
This puts them at risk again of yet another accident. Each year there are around 300 ambulance crashes involving patients who were being transported to the hospital. Out of those, around 35 are fatalities. Though this doesn’t sound like a large number, it does show the dangers of anyone injured on the streets by motor vehicles.
When a cyclist and a motor vehicle tangle, the cyclist is at greater danger of being injured and transported to the hospital. Once in the ambulance, the cyclist is at risk of yet another injury.
How is Fault Determined?
When a cyclist, or anyone, is injured by a motor vehicle and then in an ambulance by another motor vehicle, determining liability can be difficult. When each accident is looked at separately, the person who was negligent will be liable for all injuries and likewise, in the second accident. However, if a person is injured in both accidents, then determining which portion of the cyclist’s injuries belong to what accident will be difficult if not impossible to tell.
Also, there is the prospect that the ambulance driver could have been at fault, in which case, the ambulance company or government entity that owns the EMS vehicle would be at fault.
In all likelihood, in a case like this, all parties would sit down and try to settle to avoid a difficult trial. Each at-fault driver has an insurance company and most likely the policy is capped. If the city or county is liable, then there are laws that restrict lawsuits against the government, and these would have to be considered.
Since California is a comparative fault state, the court can determine which percentage of fault goes to what injuries, and then that insurance company or government would have to pay their share.
Do I need an Attorney?
If you were a cyclist and were injured in while riding in an ambulance, you should talk to an attorney as soon as you are able. The issues involved can get complicated, and knowledgeable and experienced attorneys are needed to sort things out.
The attorneys at Bay Area Bicycle Law have the knowledge and experience to help in any cases where liability is complicated. They are the only firm in northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law, and they have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and insurance law.
A consultation is free, and if you decide to have them represent you, there are no fees paid until you get paid by the insurance company. Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.