Negligent Ambulance Company Settles Wrongful Death Case

Posted by NickM On August - 11 - 2011 0 Comment

A wrongful death case filed by the Mastrangelo Law Offices in Contra Costa County Superior Court against a local private ambulance company recently settled for $812,000.  The plaintiffs in the case were the adult son and daughter of a 56 year old woman who was killed when the driver of an ambulance that was transporting her from a nursing home to a routine medical appointment crashed into a tree on a residential street in Palo Alto, CA.  The decedent had been residing in a nursing home while recovering from back surgery.

The driver of the ambulance was a 19 year old EMT who had been certified for less than 6 months.  He was driving with a portable GPS unit on his lap when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a tree.  Discovery in the case revealed that the decedent was not properly strapped to the gurney during transport and was ejected off of the gurney during the impact.  She struck her head and suffered a fatal head injury.

Plaintiffs’ wrongful death claims were primarily for non-economic damages such as loss of care, comfort and society as the decedent was disabled and did not provide financial support to plaintiffs. Defendants claimed that they qualified as health care providers and that plaintiffs’ claims for non-economic damages were limited to $250,000 pursuant to MICRA which is a statute that caps damages in negligence claims brought against health care providers.  The Mastrangelo Law Offices  included a cause of action for Elder Abuse in their complaint and the court denied defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment of the Elder Abuse claim.  Defendant’s filed a  Writ with the Court of Appeals which was denied.  The Trial Court issued an advisory ruling that the court would likely apply the MICRA damage cap to the case if the jury did not find that the defendants’ conduct met the elements of the Elder Abuse statute. The case was settled at mediation three weeks before trial.

Nicholas Mastrangelo, Edward Mastrangelo and the entire staff at the Mastrangelo Law Offices is proud to have been able to represent and assist this wonderful and close family through a very difficult time and process.  The Mastrangelo Law Offices has represented people and families in the Bay Area in personal injury and wrongful death cases for more than 27 years and can be reached at (925) 258-0500 or at www.mastrangelolawoffices.com.