Dr. Tobin Lim was riding his motorcycle to work when an Austin-Travis County ambulance swerved across multiple lanes of traffic.
A Texas doctor injured by an ambulance is struggling to obtain compensation after an Austin ambulance ran over his motorcycle.
According to KXAN, Dr. Tobin Lim was riding a motorcycle to work when he was struck by an Austin-Travis County EMS ambulance. Lim says the ambulance moved across multiple lanes of traffic, merging into his bike after leaving the opposite side of the road.
“We were side by side, literally side by side and she ended up making a left-handed turn from the far-right lane, which makes no sense to me,” Lim said. “I remember vehemently screaming through my helmet, “No! No! Stop!’, honking and nothing.”
Lim, writes KXAN, was rushed to the emergency department. His femur was so badly damaged that it took nails, a rod and multiple screws to put it back together.
A police report written after Lim’s accident suggested the ambulance driver was at fault. After missing a turn, the driver tried to recover by quickly positioning the vehicle to loop back around. But the driver didn’t see Lim.
And from the tenor of the report—recounted, in part, by KXAN—there’s no way Lim could’ve expected the ambulance to suddenly veer into his lane. While the Austin-Travis County EMS vehicle was carrying a patient, it hadn’t engaged its sirens or emergency lights.
A representative for the company said that, after hitting Lim, Austin-Travis EMS provided on-scene care.
“After the collision the medics on the units rendered aid to the individual that was on the motorcycle, as per our policies and procedures. Other EMS resources were dispatched to the scene,” said ATCEMS Commander Eric Gordon. “When those other resources arrived, they took over patient care. So, the medic units that were involved in the collision at that point were taken out of service and were no longer providing any care.”
Gordon also told KXAN that an after-accident review suggested his drivers were at fault.
“We found that this accident was preventable,” Gordon said. “We learned that we could focus on some re-education for our employee.”
The medic responsible for the crash, says KXAN, was cited for an unsafe lane change and was asked to pay the resultant $219 ticket.
While Gordon and ATECMS seem to have admitted liability, Dr. Lim’s found it difficult to recover any of his medical expenses. He’s now readying a lawsuit, which accuses Austin of illegally leveraging Texas anti-tort laws to avoid a significant pay-out.
“They would not compensate me for anything. Property, hospital, livelihood—nothing. In so much, that I’ve had to give them a written list of everything,” Lim told KXAN. “My own stethoscope was damaged. I still have no received reimbursement for even that [and] that’s my livelihood.”
KXAN notes that, in the past three years, Austin has settled no fewer than 28 cases involving its EMS services. The average settlement is less than $6,000 per claim.
Lim, who’s now preparing for another surgery, says he hopes the city will realize what it’s doing wrong and take corrective measures.
“I have good faith in the city that the city will make this right,” he said.