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Can I sue EMS even though I was arrested and in shock

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#1
What is the name of your state? North Carolina.
I recently got into a car accident. I got a DWI for being high. The only thing the EMS did for me was check my blood sugar and my temp and pressure and things. Did not ask me if I was okay. Did not ask me if I wanted to go to the hospital. My car flipped 6 times. I was 140 feet off the road. I should be dead. I have serious whiplash, a possible concussion, I believe I blacked out during, and I now am having nerve pain that could be cubital tunnel syndrome that I could need surgery for. My question is, can I sue the EMS for malpractice even though I was in shock and did not know I was in all this pain. Just knew my knees hurt and my neck. They didn't even look at those. Just said, 'yeah, they probably do.'
 


CdwJava

Senior Member
#2
Did you ask the medics or the police to take you to the hospital?

Did you decline to go when they asked you?

What damages have you suffered as a result of their NOT treating you at the scene? Can you PROVE that had they exercised a reasonable standard of care at the scene that you would not be suffering from any malady you now suffer from? I suspect you will find that no doctor is going to say that you would have been fine if the medics at the scene had done something different.

Understand that if you present as being competent and otherwise aware of the ramifications of your decisions, they cannot force you to go with them.
 
#3
No I did not ask to go because I was confused and wanted to get home and was mostly still in shock. The medics did not ask me to go. The medics did not really ask me anything. I have a pain in my hand that I believe will need surgery because it's gone so long and I have to get into the doctor. I was told malpractice is anything that other doctors would do. When I went to the ER on my own they were surprised I was not even asked to go to the hospital. They can not force me to go with them but they did not even ASK me. I was in pain. I could have died. I had a concussion. I passed out. All things I didn't know about because the medics DID NOT offer to take me to the hospital.
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
#4
I strongly suspect that the medics will have another version of events likely showing that you declined treatment and seemed to comprehend the ramifications of your medical decisions. I have seen a great many patients at scenes of auto collisions decline medical treatment in spite of requests by EMS, and then later come back and claim that they were refused treatment or not treated appropriately. I suspect your claim will be weak, and possibly not even legally viable.

You will also likely have to show that any disability you have was caused by a delay in treatment, and this can be a very, very difficult thing to show. I suspect it is a long shot to argue that you "could have died", especially since you clearly did not. Lawsuits re about what DID happen, not what MIGHT have happened.

Feel free to shop your claim around to attorneys. If they agree to take the matter on contingency, maybe it's worth something. If no one will take it or if they want a lot of money up front, the case is probably a dog.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
#5
No I did not ask to go because I was confused and wanted to get home and was mostly still in shock. The medics did not ask me to go. The medics did not really ask me anything. I have a pain in my hand that I believe will need surgery because it's gone so long and I have to get into the doctor. I was told malpractice is anything that other doctors would do. When I went to the ER on my own they were surprised I was not even asked to go to the hospital. They can not force me to go with them but they did not even ASK me. I was in pain. I could have died. I had a concussion. I passed out. All things I didn't know about because the medics DID NOT offer to take me to the hospital.
And all of this happened because you drove high. Sue yourself for causing the accident in the first place. You are damned lucky you didn't kill others on the road that night. Perhaps some lifelong nerve damage will be a painful reminder not to behave in a way to risk others lives in the future.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#6
What is the name of your state? North Carolina.
I recently got into a car accident. I got a DWI for being high. The only thing the EMS did for me was check my blood sugar and my temp and pressure and things. Did not ask me if I was okay. Did not ask me if I wanted to go to the hospital. My car flipped 6 times. I was 140 feet off the road. I should be dead. I have serious whiplash, a possible concussion, I believe I blacked out during, and I now am having nerve pain that could be cubital tunnel syndrome that I could need surgery for. My question is, can I sue the EMS for malpractice even though I was in shock and did not know I was in all this pain. Just knew my knees hurt and my neck. They didn't even look at those. Just said, 'yeah, they probably do.'
An EMS technician must follow established protocol. You would need to show the EMS technician didn't.

Because you apparently were in no condition at the scene to assess the treatment you received, you would need to review the EMT's documentation of the accident. For this, you can seek assistance from a personal injury lawyer in your area.

Following is a link to a (2012) North Carolina Appeals Court holding on EMS immunity (which, unlike many other states, is not offered EMS technicians in N.C.). EMTs can be held personally liable in negligence claims.

Frayley v. Griffin: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/nc-court-of-appeals/1594518.html

I am not sure why anyone would want to be an EMT in North Carolina.
 
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