Medical Transportation Liability
Emergency Transportation Accidents
According to reports, about 3.6 million adults miss or delay medical care due to issues with transportation. Not being able to safely get to and from medical appointments is a critical barrier for many elderly and disabled individuals. To combat this, businesses and insurers began to offer non-emergency medical transportation services.
Now, residents with disabilities use non-emergency medical transportation to help them get to and from treatments, outings, and appointments. These businesses expanded in recent years, especially in communities with a high population of elderly residents. This is because they provide a much-needed service to senior communities and some insurances, like Medicaid, even cover the cost.
The companies that provide medical transportation services must safely transport their customers and use extra care. If they fail to do so, those who suffer injury can hold them liable after an accident. To understand how liability works, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced injury attorney. This area of law requires someone with a thorough understanding of the complexities and intricacies associated with medical transportation and personal liability. Read on to learn more from the car accident attorneys at Meldon Law.
What Is Medical Transportation?
Healthcare organizations and private companies offer ride services to elderly and disabled individuals to help them get to and from their doctor appointments and therapy sessions. Customers must schedule these services in advance of their appointments and outings.
Like a medical taxi, these services take patients between nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and doctor offices. Unlike ambulances, these services are for individuals who simply need assistance, not those suffering from an emergency.
The types of medical transportation services include:
- Ambulatory transportation
- Stretcher medical transportation
- Wheelchair transportation
- Flight escorts
- Courier services
Medical transportation companies must insure their vehicles sufficiently to cover customers if an accident occurs. They must also purchase workers’ compensation to protect employees if they suffer an injury on the job.
Private insurers and Medicaid often have their own medical transportation units. However, private companies also transport patients who may not have Medicaid coverage. These small private businesses often hire unqualified drivers or use reliable equipment.
Highly trained drivers with medical training sometimes transport customers to help ensure a safe arrival. However, the requirement for driving and transporting customers varies from state to state. Not all medical transportation drivers have medical training. In fact, many do not. This can increase the likelihood of suffering harm while using medical transportation.
Medical Transportation Accidents
Unfortunately, when transporting individuals with disabilities or extra needs, accidents can still occur. When this happens, these individuals can suffer serious injuries. Many of these vehicles do not have proper safety belts or harnesses to protect customers in wheelchairs or on stretchers from suffering an injury during an accident. Even when they do, drivers may fail to take the proper safety precautions to prevent injury.
How do these accidents occur?
In one case, the driver of the vehicle allowed too many patients to ride in the vehicle. He went over a speed bump at a high rate of speed, causing a disabled rider to get thrown in the air. She suffered serious spinal injuries.
In yet another case, a driver failed to secure the wheelchair in the van. When the van started moving, the wheelchair fell over onto a woman’s arm causing serious injuries, including damage to a preexisting shunt in that arm.
Wheelchair lifts, for example, provide aid to a handicapped or disabled person using a wheelchair. When getting in and out of vehicles, these lifts can cause serious harm if defective or improperly installed. They can also cause injury if the driver does not use them properly or lacks the experience to handle these lifts carefully.
Some of the most common events that cause injury to customers using medical transportation include:
- Failing to secure the patient properly
- Collision with another vehicle
- Loading accidents
- Unloading accidents
- Chair lift accidents
- Leaving patients unmonitored inside vehicles
- Exposure to extreme heat or cold
- Exposure to dangerous or unsafe conditions
- Inadequate restraints
Injuries in a Medical Transportation Accident
Like all accidents, medical transportation crashes can cause significant, life-threatening injuries. However, since the customers using these services often have preexisting medical conditions and disabilities, they may suffer even more serious injuries.
Some of the most common injuries suffered in medical transportation accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Limb fractures
- Broken nose
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Liability After a Medical Transportation Accident
Medical transportation providers must fulfill their commitment to deliver their customers safely. However, many companies cut corners that result in serious injury.
Some of the ways medical transportation companies act negligently include:
- Hiring unskilled drivers
- Poor maintenance of vehicles
- Improper or poorly maintained medical equipment
- Improperly installed lifts
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a non-emergency medical transportation accident, the transportation company and its driver may share liability for the crash. However, proving liability requires an experienced injury attorney from the start due to its complexities.
Your injury attorney will need to investigate the accident closely to determine if negligence played a role in your injuries. If the driver acted carelessly or failed to properly secure a wheelchair or medical device, you may need to file an injury lawsuit to collect the compensation you deserve. To do this, you will need a legal team to look at all the angles in complicated injury cases like medical transportation lawsuits.
Your personal injury attorney will need to gather important evidence to prove liability and build your case. This evidence is critical when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. It is also vital if your case proceeds to trial.
After a medical transportation accident, your personal injury attorney will:
- Order police reports
- Request medical records and billing
- Meet with medical experts and professionals
- Consult with experts in the fields of handicapped transportation
- Take recorded statements from eyewitnesses
While you recover from your injuries, your attorney will build your case and help you collect the money you need to pay for the damages you suffered. Contact Meldon law today to discuss your potential recovery options.