The short answer to this question is yes. While EMS providers do have protections under Good Samaritan laws, in the event of a vehicle accident, EMS providers can be subject to liability in the form of claims involving negligent operation of a vehicle. Most states’ Good Samaritan statutes do not apply under these circumstances.
In every state there are laws on the books permitting emergency vehicles to exceed posted speed limits and/or violate the normal right of ways. However, in many cases there are exceptions that require ambulances to obey certain traffic rules. Examples may include requiring EMS vehicles to stop at traffic lights and ensure the intersection is clear before proceeding, or adhering to limitations on how much the speed limit can be exceeded by .These kinds of laws are usually specific to the state, and can vary significantly.
A fundamental principle of all laws governing the operation of emergency vehicles when they are responding to an emergency is that the EMS provider operating the vehicle exercise any legal privileges or protections they may be entitled to with due regard to the safety of others. Excessive speeding and reckless operation typically violate this principle on its face, and can result in liability.
In Nevada, EMS providers do enjoy strong legal protections under the state’s Good Samaritan statute (NRS 41.500). However, they are not protected from liability if there are damages resulting from “gross negligence.” For this reason, Nevada EMS workers should be as careful as possible in how they operate emergency vehicles when responding to emergency situations. Speeding, erratic driving, failing to pay attention, and texting and driving are all actions that could potentially fall under the category of gross negligence. While EMS providers are obligated to arrive at scenes as quickly as possible, haste should be tempered with safe and deliberate driving practices.
GGRM is proud of our record representing law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and EMS providers. For us it is much more than a job- it is a calling. Give us a call at 702-388-4476 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys or visit our webpage to learn more.