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Ambulance Crashes Transporting Injured After Car Accident

In Pridham v. Cash & Carry Building Center, Inc. (1976) 116 N.H. 292 359 A.2d 193, Herbert Pridham was injured in an accident that occurred on Cash & Carry's premises and died when the ambulance transporting him to a hospital crashed. The New Hampshire Supreme Court determined that the jury should have been instructed that Cash & Carry was liable for Pridham's death.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court explained the principle:

"If a tortfeasor's negligence causes harm to another which requires the victim to receive medical, surgical or hospital services and additional bodily harm results from a normal effort of persons rendering such services, whether done in a proper or negligent manner, the original tortfeasor's negligence is a legal cause of the injuries received because of the injured party's involuntary submission to such services." (116 N.H. at p. 296 359 A.2d at p. 197).

The New Hampshire Supreme Court continued: "Medical services necessitated by the negligence of a tortfeasor are in most cases administered in a hospital.

The conveyance of plaintiff Pridham by ambulance to a hospital was a necessary step in securing medical services required by the accident at Cash & Carry the original tortfeasor.

Therefore, the rule holding the original tortfeasor liable for additional harm from medical care rendered because of the original injury should be extended to, and include, injuries sustained while being transported to a hospital where medical services can be obtained." (116 N.H. at p. 292 359 A.2d at p. 198).

The allegation that the helicopter was negligently maintained does not establish a superseding cause. " 'The fact that an intervening act of a third person is done in a negligent manner does not make it a superseding cause if . . . the act is a normal response to a situation created by the defendant's conduct and the manner in which the intervening act is done is not extraordinarily negligent.' " ( Martinez v. Vintage Petroleum, Inc. (1998) 68 Cal. App. 4th 695, 701 80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 449).

The allegations that the helicopter malfunctioned and that the manufacturer is strictly liable for the helicopter's malfunction do not establish the manufacturer as a superseding actor. (See Brewer v. Teano (1995) 40 Cal. App. 4th 1024, 1031, fn. 3 47 Cal. Rptr. 2d 348).

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