Erie Ambulance Accident Lawyer
An Erie, Pennsylvania ambulance accident can be convoluted. This is especially true when it comes to sorting out who has what insurance coverage and who the at-fault party is if you have been involved in an accident with a government vehicle. If the at-fault party is a government vehicle, the State doctrine of “governmental immunity” kicks in. There are different rules for accidents involving government vehicles. Ambulance services typically run out of local volunteer fire departments that would constitute a governmental agency.
Below is a list of ambulance services in and around Erie. This is an important list to know if you ever need ambulance services in an emergency or if you are involved in an accident with an ambulance, which was on their way to or from a call.
- Mill Village
- Fuller Hose
- Crescent Hose
- Lawrence Park
- Belle Valley
- Perry Hi-Way
- West Ridge
- West Lake
- Lake Shore
- Lake City
- Kuhl Hose
- Elgin Beaverdam
- Millcreek Twp
- Union City
To recover non-economic damages, pain and suffering, in the aftermath of a collision with a government vehicle, such as an ambulance, the injured party must prove at least one of the following things:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent dismemberment where medical/dental costs exceed $1,500.
The injured plaintiff must provide notice to the governmental agency responsible for the harm within six months of the date of the injury. If the injured plaintiff does not provide the notice, the injured plaintiff may not be able to bring a claim.
For example, if you were involved in an accident with a locally owned ambulance. It rear-ended you as you were stopped at a red light. In the aftermath of the crash, you were told that under Pennsylvania’s state governmental immunity law, the City of Erie would be limited to paying the vehicle owner’s deductible and providing a rental. This is thanks to the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, the law that protects governments from liability for problems they cause while providing public services.
Government entities cannot get off scot-free because they can be held responsible/liable under limited circumstances when they injure someone due to their negligence. However, the exceptions to the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act are difficult to prove and narrowly defined.
Government immunity laws
Personal injury lawyers are familiar with governmental immunity laws in their communities and also know that officials acting for the government, while acting within the scope of their duties, may be subject to claims for personal injuries.
Cases involving government entities are different. Knowing how they are different is very important when it comes to filing a lawsuit in Pennsylvania today when a government vehicle is involved in a collision with another vehicle.
Sovereign Immunity Act and the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act
The Sovereign Immunity Act applies to claims against Pennsylvania State agencies and has a ceiling of $250,000 in damages for any one plaintiff or $1,000,000 for all persons injured in the same accident. Six types of damages are permitted:
- Loss of past earnings
- Future loss of earnings/earning capacity
- Pain/suffering (under limited circumstances)
- Medical/dental costs
- Loss of consortium
- Property losses (with some exceptions)
Note: Within six months after an injury and/or property damage accident, the plaintiff must provide written notice of a lawsuit. It must include the plaintiff’s name, address, location, date, hour of the accident and the address of the doctor who provided any treatment at the time. If notice is not filed within the six-month period, any lawsuit is barred. There are limited exceptions.
The Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act does not allow lawsuits against local municipalities, but there are some exceptions, such as when they are negligent while:
- Operating a vehicle
- Control, care, custody of personal other’s personal property in the possession/control of a local agency
- Control, care, custody of real property in possession of a local agency
- Control, care, custody of street lighting, trees, traffic controls which create dangerous conditions
- The dangerous condition of service facilities for utilities
- The dangerous condition of streets
- The dangerous condition of sidewalks
- Control, care, custody of animals
- Any official committing willful misconduct cannot claim immunity
The Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act limits damages and restricts the types of damages that may be recovered. It also limits damages to a maximum of $500,000 by a single plaintiff or in the aggregate.
The Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act permits recovery for loss of support, and limits recovery for pain and suffering due to: death, or only in the case of permanent disfigurement, permanent loss of a bodily function, or permanent dismemberment where dental/medical costs exceed $1,500.
It is important to note that if there is insurance coverage for the plaintiff’s damages, any insurance recovery must be deducted from any awards against a local government.
Matt was awesome!!!
He handled everything so I didn’t have to worry and could just focus on my recovery and get back to work. He was always available and quick to return my phone calls and emails with the answers I needed. My case was handled quickly and with no added stress to me or my family. I would recommend Matt to anyone in need of assistance after a motor vehicle accident.