Ann Maher Nov. 13, 2014, 9:54am

A licensed EMT is not civilly liable for auto accident injuries sustained by a third party while in the course of responding to a medical emergency, Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge has ruled.

Mudge granted summary judgment to defendants US Steel Corp. and its emergency medical technician Keith A. Smith holding that they are protected by the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.

Plaintiff Charles Martin sued last December, claiming he was driving a 2007 Pontiac Montana east on Illinois Route 203 in Granite City and was traveling through a green light when Smith, who was driving south on 20th Street, drove through a red light. Smith struck Martin’s vehicle, resulting in Martin’s right foot injuries, as well as mental pain and anguish, according to the lawsuit.

At the time of the accident, Smith was participating in a security training operation, Martin claimed.

According to Mudge’s order entered Oct. 28, there was “no dispute that Smith was operating a first response vehicle with lights and sirens activated in the normal course of conducting his duties as an EMT when the accident with plaintiff occurred.”

Mudge also wrote that Smith was responding to a “man down alarm” at US Steel.

“The fact that the ‘man down alarm’ later turned out to be a false alarm also does not rescue plaintiff from summary judgment,” Mudge wrote. “The Act applies to both emergency and non-emergency EMT duties and Smith was indisputably unaware that it was a false alarm at the time of the collision.”

He wrote that according to the statute the defendants cannot be held liable as a result of an act or omission in providing emergency medical services unless it was willful and wanton.

Mudge also wrote that it didn’t matter that the vehicle Smith was driving – a Ford F-350 crew cab truck equipped with lights, sirens and medical equipment - was not an actual ambulance.

“The fact that the vehicle in question was not an ambulance or was not ordinarily used for patient transport does not appear to aid the plaintiff in his defense of summary judgment inasmuch as the Act refers to a variety of emergency vehicles, including first response vehicles, and provides immunity for certified individuals,” he wrote.

In his complaint, Martin had sought a judgment of more than $100,000, plus damages and costs.

Ronald S. Motil of Beatty, Motil and Jones in Glen Carbon represents Martin.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-2065.

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