Earlier last month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case brought by a man who was injured by an on-duty paramedic on his way to the scene of an accident. The case, Aldana v. Stillwagon, presented the issue of whether a case involving a regular traffic accident caused by an on-duty paramedic should be considered a “medical malpractice” case for the purpose of determining which procedural rules apply. Ultimately, the court determined that since the accident was “garden variety” and didn’t involve the paramedic’s professional duties, the case should not be considered a medical malpractice case.
The Facts of the Case
The defendant, Stillwagon, was an on-duty paramedic who was called to respond to a traffic accident. He was not in a marked ambulance but was instead driving a special pick-up truck that was outfitted with lights and sirens. However, at the time, neither was activated.
On his way to the accident scene, Stillwagon ran a red light and struck Aldana’s vehicle, causing him serious injuries. Aldana filed a personal injury lawsuit against Stillwagon but did so 17 months after the accident. In response to the complaint filed against him, Stillwagon asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the appropriate statute of limitations was one year under the state’s medical malpractice act.
Stillwagon argued that he was acting as a medical professional on his way to a medical emergency when the accident occurred. As a result, he claimed that this case was properly seen as a medical malpractice case, and thus the one-year statute of limitations should apply. On the other hand, Aldana argued that the accident had nothing to do with Stillwagon’s status as a medical professional, and it was just a traffic accident. In other words, the duty that Stillwagon allegedly violated was one that he owed to the public as a whole, rather than to a patient or someone to whom he was providing medical services.
The court ultimately decided the case in favor of the plaintiff, holding that the “garden variety” accident giving rise to the case didn’t involve any allegations that the defendant violated any professional duty. As a result, the plaintiff’s case will proceed toward trial or settlement.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Indiana accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for all that you have endured. However, as you can see from the discussion above, defendants will often try any means possible to evade responsibility for their actions. It is therefore critical to any case’s success that a dedicated and experienced car accident attorney get involved as soon as possible. Call 888-532-7766 to set up a free consultation with one of the skilled personal injury attorneys at the Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse. Calling is free and will not result in any cost to you unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Appellate Court Upholds $3.75 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict Stemming from Improperly Sanitized Medical Equipment, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, September 6, 2016
Product Liability Lawsuit Dismissed Based on “Optional Equipment Doctrine”, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2016