ATLANTA (AP) - The lawyer for a woman who was injured when an SUV crashed into the lobby of a major Atlanta hospital’s emergency room said Tuesday that the hospital should have had better protections in place.
The Mercedes SUV driven by a 75-year-old woman hit another vehicle in front of the entrance to the emergency room and then accelerated into the building on June 30, according to police. One woman was killed and four other people were injured, police said.
A police report says the primary factor in the crash was that the driver lost control. The driver was found to be responsible for the wreck, but no charges were filed, according to the report, which also notes the driver wasn’t injured and blood tests came back negative for drugs or alcohol.
Kailyn Bailey, 29, had accompanied a friend to the hospital and was waiting outside the emergency room and ran inside when she saw an SUV heading toward her, she told reporters Tuesday. The SUV crashed through the building’s entrance and hit her right side, she said. She suffered fractures to her pelvis and tailbone, her attorney Jane Lamberti said.
“A hospital has a duty to maintain a secure area for everyone who approaches the hospital,” Lamberti said, adding that it’s “reasonably foreseeable” that around an emergency room there could be a driver who is confused or ill or who has a medical emergency that causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
Lamberti said she and Bailey are talking to experts to determine whether a lawsuit against the hospital and driver is warranted.
Bollards, or protective posts, between the pedestrian space in front of the building and the area where vehicle traffic passes through would have provided protection, she said. In fact, such posts do exist around a new expansion at the hospital, but not near the emergency room entrance, she said.
“We would like to continue to express our deepest sympathies to the patients, families, and staff who were impacted by this accident and its aftermath,” Piedmont Healthcare spokesman John Manasso said in an emailed statement, adding that it is the hospital’s policy not to comment on “pending claims or investigations.”
Lamberti said they want to know what caused the driver to lose control and why no citations or charges were issued against her.
Asked about the lack of charges, Officer Steve Avery, an Atlanta police spokesman, said the only information he had was what was in the reports, which don’t give an explanation.
Bailey spent a week in the hospital and three weeks in rehab following the crash, Lamberti said. She now walks on crutches, can’t put weight on her right leg and experiences excruciating, burning pain, she said.
“This has just really impacted me and has changed my life and my family’s life,” Bailey said.
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