A Hospital Patient Steals an Ambulance

Joe: 106.7 WIZN. That’s Pink Floyd and “Hey You.” Heard the J. Geils Band before that. Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday Rock and Ride Home. I’m joined now by Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. You can call them at 1-800-LAW1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. Paul, how you doing?

Paul: Hey, I’m doing well. How are you?

Joe: I’m doing good. Thanks for coming on the show. So I’ve got a question for you. So this guy, he’s a hospital patient, and he steals an ambulance and then gets pulled over. He’s actually in the hospital gown when he gets pulled over, which I think is just hilarious. But I was just curious, what is the hospital liability here? Let’s say he got into an accident and hurt somebody. Would they be liable?

Paul: Yeah, so let’s kinda go, first, what is definitely the rule is that if you let someone borrow your car, even though it may not be a great decision or they might have a bad day driving, you are on the hook. So if I said, “Joe, just take my car, I’ve got a good feeling about this,” and you had a bad moment and you caused some damage to somebody, you’re on the hook. But I’m on the hook equally. So you’ve gotta be real careful who you lend that to.

But here, what we’ve got is intervening factor. We’ve got this what I’ll call a theft, right? We’ve got grand theft auto. I don’t know why he was in the hospital. It might’ve been the, you know, seventh floor psychiatric ward or something. But either way, he goes ahead, gets in the car, and drives it, unauthorized use. But there’s a rule that we have in Vermont and New York that says that if you’ve given people access, meaning you didn’t give him express permission…”I didn’t say you can use my car, Joe, but you know the keys are there, it’s sort of open and obvious, you’ve got a need,” and then you get in an accident, I’m still on the hook.

So the question is, how easy was it to grab the ambulance? How much access did he have to it? General proposition, the hospital would not be held liable, unless you can show they were negligent in how they kept the keys. If the keys are just dangling in the car, dangling in the ambulance, then probably they would be on the hook.

Joe: Well, there’s your answer.

Paul: Yeah, very unique. Very unique. West Virginia, what’s going on down there? Yeah.

Joe: I don’t know. And you know what? I’m not gonna find out any time soon.

Paul: No, stay right here.

Joe: Hey, Paul, thanks for coming on the show. Really appreciate it.

Paul: You’re welcome. Talk soon.

Joe: Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Again, you can call them at 1-800-LAW1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. Mel Allen taking over from here. He’s got music from George Thorogood and Boston next.