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Court Reverses Dismissal of Car Accident Lawsuit Filed Against On-Duty Paramedic

One state’s appellate court recently released an opinion that reversed a lower court’s ruling to enforce the state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations against a plaintiff who was injured in a crash allegedly caused by a paramedic who was on duty at the time of the collision. The district court’s ruling that the plaintiff’s claim against the paramedic was subject to the shortened statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims was rejected by the court of appeals, which found that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was not a medical malpractice claim and should be subject to the standard statute of limitations for general negligence cases. After the recent appellate ruling, the plaintiff’s claim will return to the district court to proceed toward a trial or settlement agreement.

AmbulanceThe Plaintiff Was Injured While the Defendant Responded to an Emergency Call

The plaintiff in the case of Aldana v. Stillwagon is a man who was injured in an auto accident when his vehicle was struck by the defendant’s truck after he allegedly ran a red light en route to supervise a medical emergency. The defendant, who works as a paramedic supervisor, was working at the time of the crash and driving a specially designed pickup truck that included emergency flashers and a siren, although neither was in operation at the time of the accident.

The Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Is Dismissed by the Trial Court

The plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the defendant, based on the injuries that he sustained in the crash, alleging that the defendant operated the vehicle negligently and caused the collision and the plaintiff’s subsequent injuries. The plaintiff’s claim was filed over one year after the accident occurred, and the defendant asked the court to dismiss the claim, based on the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which contains a statute of limitations that only allows plaintiffs one year to file a professional negligence claim against a medical professional. Finding that the defendant was a medical professional who was accused of negligence while performing his job duties, the trial court granted the defendant’s request and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

The Plaintiff’s Appeal Emphasizes the Case Did Not Involve Professional Negligence

The plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his claim to the state court of appeal, arguing that his claim was an auto accident claim, which accused the defendant of only general negligence and should be subject to the longer statute of limitations that applies to car accident cases. The plaintiff argued that although the defendant was an on-duty paramedic at the time of the crash, the accident was not the result of professional negligence or medical malpractice. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s employment should not change a “garden variety” auto accident case into a medical malpractice case. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff, ruling that the statute of limitations only applied to medical negligence cases alleging a defendant was negligent in performing the medical duties for which he was professionally licensed. Since the plaintiff’s claim was that the defendant was negligently operating a vehicle and did not involve the provision of professional medical services, the court ruled that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice should not have been applied.

How to Hire a Qualified Georgia Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a distracted driver, the experienced Georgia car accident attorneys at Miller Legal Services can help you get fairly compensated for your injuries, without giving up any more of your future rights than necessary. Our respected attorneys know how insurance companies try to avoid liability for their clients’ mistakes, and we can help turn your claim into actual compensation for your loss. At Miller Legal Services, we represent clients in most personal injury and wrongful death cases, including auto accidents. Call us today at 770-284-3727 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Photographic Evidence of Uneven Sidewalk Taken 30 Days after Injury Deemed Insufficient to Raise Question of Liability, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2016.

The Importance of Instrument Sterilization During Medical Procedures, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 6, 2016.