Burden To Establish The “Gross Negligence” Of A Volunteer Ambulance Squad Is Almost Impossible To Prove

Medical Malpractice Mistakes

Under New York law, it is virtually impossible to win a negligence lawsuit against a volunteer ambulance squad. If you are harmed through the negligence of an emergency medical technician working for a volunteer ambulance squad, your rights are stripped away by New York’s Public Health Law.

Secton 3013 of New York’s Public Health Law, entitled “Immunity from Liability”, states that: your negligence claim against a volunteer ambulance squad will fail “unless it is established that such injuries were, or such death was, caused by gross negligence on the part of such certified first responder, emergency medical technician or advanced emergency medical technician….”

So you ask, what does “gross negligence” mean? The burden of proving gross negligence means that the emergency responders must act in reckless disregard for the safety of others or with intent to harm. Wow, that’s a lot to take in. What this means for you is that the emergency responders must virtually intend to kill you. While you may think this is an irrational burden of proof, it’s the law!

When a new client calls with a potential case against an ambulance squad, my first question is always, “Was this a volunteer ambulance company?” If the answer is “yes” and my internet search confirms the volunteer status of the ambulance company, our conversation ends with an exchange of pleasantries and good wishes. Seems harsh? Of course it is! By placing an impossible burden of proof for claims against volunteer ambulance companies, the New York State legislature has rendered such squads virtually immune from liability and that is never a good thing for injury victims.