Lori Gregory’s son James Ballentine was in a rollover accident two years ago near the border of the Davidson and Robertson county lines. He was involved in a two-vehicle crash, and he hung upside down suspended by his seatbelt within sight of Robertson County. Ambulances in Robertson County stood ready to leave as soon as they got the go-ahead. Instead, Nashville Metro dispatched an ambulance from Davidson County, and it took over ten minutes for it to arrive.
Gregory filed a lawsuit against Metro, claiming that it should have sent aid from Robertson County because those ambulances could have arrived in close to three minutes, possibly saving her son’s life.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals disagreed, saying that Metro Nashville had “no duty to summon aid outside of its jurisdiction.” Gregory told The Tennesseean that she felt “disgusted.”
“How can you justify saying that a human life, a U.S. citizen, a taxpaying citizen, should not get the care that they need?” she said.
Gregory’s lawyer said that this ruling could be a landmark case for Tennessee. No other court cases have challenged the role of emergency responders helping people outside of their own jurisdiction. There are allowances for fire departments to respond to calls outside of their jurisdictions, but not ambulances. Ambulances who respond to requests for aid outside of city or county lines could face legal repercussions.
This is a very sad outcome to a tragic accident. We hope that medical response teams can find a solution that puts victims’ lives as the first priority. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, we invite you to speak with us by calling (615) 866-3938. There is no charge or obligation, and we can give you an honest assessment of your options.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4