Who is liable if the emergency response team failed to come on time after calling them using a voice over internet protocol phone? 3 Answers as of December 27, 2013

If I called 911 from my telephone service that is internet based and the emergency response team went to my neighbor's house because the call is showing it originated from there instead of my place and a family member dies, but there's a good chance that he would still be alive if they didn't wasted time knocking on my neighbors door trying to figure out who called in the first place?

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Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
I am sorry for your lost, but I do not think you have a case. First of all, how you know and could you prove that the family member would have lived had the 911 team come to the correct address first? Secondly, they are not liable for being late; if they were, then people could argue all the time as to how many minutes they should have taken to arrive and all cities would shut down their service because of the liability. Thirdly, how were they to know to come to your address first and not the neighbors if the call showed their address?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/27/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
In most jurisdictions, you cannot sue EMS for ordinary negligence. You might be able to sue the internet phone service if it sent bad info. If you can prove that the EMS people were grossly negligent (which is a very tough standard), you might be able to go after them. However, in both cases, you have the burden of proving that he would have lived if the team got there promptly.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/27/2013
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
I am sorry hear about your family member, but I must thank you for a very interesting question. I would first look at the telephone service that was supposed to have provided accurate information on your behalf. However, there may be a clause in their agreement (when you click on "I agree") that might get them off the hook. Possibly, the ambulance service, if they made you a promise that they would be coming to the correct location. Of course, they will probably point to the service provider to get themselves off the hook. In any event, you will have to show more than "a good chance" that he would still be alive, you have to prove that he would have lived.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/27/2013
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