When Rescue Teams Take Too Long To Pull You From Auto Wreckage: What Happens Next

9 May 2018
 Categories: Law, Blog


You hear about it all the time; rescuers failed to get to a crash victim on time, or they failed to get a victim to a hospital before it was too late. What if that were to happen to you? What can you do if rescuers are too late to prevent major injuries from preventing you from walking again? If you find yourself in this position, try to stay alert as long as you are able. Try to remember the times and events as you go along. It will help with what comes next.

The Extent of Your Preventable Conditions

"Preventable conditions" are conditions you wouldn't be in had the rescuers arrived within ten minutes or less. Instead, you are now bound to wheelchair for life, and you will need a ventilator to breathe going forward. If it took the rescuers thirty minutes or more, that is rather inexcusable. People have died in far less time than that and in far less critical car accidents. Most major metropolitan areas have several alternative means for getting close to car victims for rescue when the traditional routes are blocked. 

For example: 

  • Helicopters, or "air ambulances," are able to lower paramedics into tight spaces or fly them over congested, slow-moving traffic to perform a rescue.
  • Rescue boats can power to your position as you hang dangerously over the edge of a bridge, half on and half off. 
  • Rescue motorcycles can bring lots of medical supplies and fold-up back braces to an accident scene, allowing the rescuers to get around the thick traffic and/or an automotive pile-up on the highway.

Firefighters also have several vehicles that can help. If rescuers did not do everything they could remotely and possibly do to get to you faster, they did not do enough, and that is important to your case.

The Time It Took to Extract You Once the Rescuers Arrived

After people wait in agony for a rescue team, there is still the question of extraction. If the "jaws of life" are required, it may take another twenty minutes or so to saw away enough of the vehicle to pull you out. If it takes much longer than that because someone failed to put the jaws of life equipment on the rescue vehicle, that is typically viewed as criminal negligence. It is an offense by which you can sue, since it caused you extended pain and suffering while you waited for someone else to retrieve this equipment from the next closest location possible. 

The Time It Took to Get You to a Hospital

When the wreckage around you halts traffic, it is almost impossible for rescuers to go the same way that they arrived. Yet, you have to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Waiting around for the police to create an opening in traffic so that you can be taken to a hospital is also not acceptable. You should not be receiving an hour's worth of triage in the middle of a five-lane highway three hours after your collision. At most, you should be admitted to a hospital within the same hour of your accident.


When you are finally feeling awake enough to talk, hire an auto accidents lawyer. It is clear that something definitely did not go right with your rescue, and people need to be held accountable. The city should be held accountable for planning and building the roads that caused your accident and prevented your rescue. The other drivers in the accident should also be sued. Finally, you may be advised to sue your rescuers for a poorly executed rescue. It has been done before.

For more information about how to proceed, contact a lawyer at firms like St Martin & Bourque LLC.