An ambulance is supposed to help others, but what happens when the ambulance itself is in a wreck? For starters, the medical employees who are driving or riding in the ambulance are probably entitled to workers’ compensation payments if they are hurt. If the accident was the ambulance driver’s fault, the passenger’s legal recourse will probably be limited to workers’ compensation because the “exclusive remedy” doctrine will prevent him or her from suing the driver – a fellow employee – directly.
But what if the crash was someone else’s fault – like another driver who failed to yield to the ambulance’s emergency lights at an intersection? Potentially, the injured passenger could file a negligence claim against that driver. However, the workers’ compensation carrier would be entitled to subrogation for any monies that it had paid to the passenger for workers’ compensation benefits (like medical expenses or temporary disability).
Recently, a North Carolina court was called to rule on a case in which the workers’ compensation company – rather than the injured employee – had filed a negligence lawsuit against a driver who allegedly caused a collision with an ambulance.