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Some police/fire depts start billing accident victims

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by BuzzieCat, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. BuzzieCat

    BuzzieCat Member

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39014018/ns/us_news-the_new_york_times/

    "About a year ago Cary Feldman was surprised to find himself sprawled on the pavement in an intersection in Chicago Heights, Ill., having been knocked off his motor scooter by the car behind him.

    "Five months later he got another surprise: a bill from the fire department for responding to the scene of the accident."

    I thought this was kind of interesting. What frustrates me is that in this case, the person who caused the accident was not charged. If they're going to charge for that, they should charge the person who caused it!
     
  2. KaylynnCouture

    KaylynnCouture New Member

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    Last month, there was an accident where my daughter fell off the swing set and was unconcious. My husband called 911 immediately, and paramedics responded. Thankfully, she is ok now and everything is fine, however..

    The following month, we opened our city utility bill and there was a $15 charge for a 911 call and a $150 charge for "EMT First Response". So, just for calling 911 and them sending out the paramedics, we had to pay $165. I was in shock.
     
  3. PMLsmom

    PMLsmom Active Member

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    This is just ridiculous...Isn't this what we pay taxes for???
     
  4. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    Billing to call 911 and for emergency response service? I can only imagine how many people won't call 911 when witnessing a crime due to these charges. I bet the gang bangers and druglords are gonna love this! Whose brilliant idea was it to charge for emergency response services? doy!
     
  5. angelmom

    angelmom The love stays...forever in our hearts

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    Well here's the thing; at what point can a person be charged with a crime for NOT calling 911? And could their defense be that they didn't have the money to pay for the extra bill?

    I think these cities are opening themselves to lawsuits OR criminals getting away with who knows what b/c of these extra charges.

    I wouldn't mind if it were for a nuisance call - either pranks or where someone just needs a ride and can't be bothered to pay a taxi - or for gross negligence where the person was determined after the fact to have done something they should have known was going to cause an accident or fire - say, burning trash with gasoline in a no-burn zone and it catches the neighbor's house on fire!

    But for genuine accidents like little kids who are hurt, they are just asking for trouble, IMHO.
     
  6. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    Another thought, imagine calling 911 after witnessing an attempted child abuction, a child abduction or because your child is missing. And then to bill the victims family? Ay yi yi!

    I agree with angelmom, I see cities opening themselves to a whole bunch of lawsuits as a result of this, AND increased crime!
     
  7. Herding Cats

    Herding Cats New Member

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    They've been doing it in my megalopolis forever. That was one reason I didn't call (or let anyone call) 911 late July when I got trampled by a horse in a trailer. Despite having been stepped on by a horse on my head, I was aware enough that I'd be billed...and also realized it was much faster to have someone from the barn take me to the hospital of my choice (which was farther than the one first responders would've taken me to, but much better). It worked out all right...I'm fine now, but absolutely was NOT fine at the time.

    To my knowledge, there have been no successful lawsuits here. But I could be wrong...

    And I agree - no one should be considering cost if they see something they need help with...a medical emergency, an accident, a bad guy coming through the front door...

    Best-
    Herding Cats
     
  8. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    um, how 'bout they just fine the people who misuse emergency services

    people who call for non-emergency reasons & people who do dangerous things & have to be rescued repeatedly & people who pull hoaxes like the balloon boy's family

    fine those people $50 grand or so - it will serve as a deterrant & also offset the cost for the rest
     
  9. Angels_Not_Forgotten

    Angels_Not_Forgotten Anxiously Awaiting a WINNING NFL Season!

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    after having a seizure my ex boyfriend called 911. Although we had a car, he did not have a license, we lived 2 blocks from the hospital. When the paramedics arrived, I was answering questions fine, had a headache, so they took me to the hospital, saying the fall probably caused a concussion. $355.00 for two blocks Just the ambulance. No meds, not a band aide? It would have been cheaper to pay a ticket and have him drive. it's insane! not to mention with no insurance lol well I had a payment plan for 2 hours observation. It's just frustrating. I know I need to pay for the ambulance, i'm not opposed. I needed a service, they provided it. I had no meds, and two blocks away, and there went a car payment. I couldn't imagine having something happen not even because of me or anything I did and then getting a bill. I would be so angry!
     
  10. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    Well, supposedly, but I guess with cities and counties facing huge budget slashes emergency services are getting cut as well. This is probably easier for governments than trying to raise the tax rates and listening to people scream about it. This is one example of why I gladly pay my taxes at all levels. I get much in return - clean water, flushing toilet, garbage pick up, roads on which to drive, police and fire, etc.
     
  11. RLynne

    RLynne Verified Expert

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    BBM

    I typed out a long, personal response, then thought better of it--here's the short version.

    Last winter, I had a bad accident. At the time, I was working, but not making a lot of money and had no health insurance. Because I was worried about financial repercussions, I didn't seek immediate medical care. Over a day later, I finally went to urgent care. I ended up owing what is likely a comparable amount of money that I would have owed had I sought immediate treatment (a large bill, to me, that I'm still struggling to pay off), but with the additional repercussion of a very ugly scar that I will carry the rest of my life (don't ever wait for over 24 hours to get stitches for a cut so deep you can see tendons/bones/blood vessels--just don't, no matter what). I also lost money by having to call in sick to work--no paid time off for having to take some sick days, and luckily I had a sympathetic employer who (a) didn't fire me for having to take time off; and (b) was really good about accommodating medical restrictions when I went back to work (small employers are FMLA exempt).

    My take on the story? There is no mention of charging crime victims, or charging people who call 911 to report anything. Only people who get injured get charged. If you are lucky enough to have health insurance through employment, or have enough money to buy it privately, it might kind of suck to shell out an additional $300.00 or so, but if you are one of us unlucky enough to have no insurance--it's just a drop in the bucket--the really scary bucket of big medical bills. In MOO, it's a symptom of a larger problem.

    /end rant!
     
  12. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering what happens if I witness an accident and call 911 on behalf of an unconscious victim. Does the victim get charged, or do I?
     
  13. Soulmagent

    Soulmagent Well-Known Member

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    I would think since they use goverment funding(taxes) for this, and a surcharge on everyone who has a phone bill ,they wouldnt be able to do this.

    My thoughts.
    If we have to pay for this service which is supposed to be a public service then we should have a choice in which EMT companies are dispatched and they should not be staffed by volunteers. Why not just privatize the whole thing next?.(I disagree with that suggestion) But wonder if it is coming.
     
  14. Gozgals

    Gozgals New Member

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    When I was in an accident and it was not my fault, I too received a high bill from both the fire dept. and the ambulance service. I was shocked to say the least.

    I think this is insane. What bothers me more is the charge for calling 911. This will prevent people from reporting crimes.

    This smells of lawsuits being filed.

    Goz
     
  15. Truthful Lies

    Truthful Lies "Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's c

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    What about people who are suicidal?? Not to mention accidents, etc. I agree with everything everyone has said...and I feel guilty for saying that I was never charged (in FL) for suicidal calls by my family members (had no one within reachable distance) to respond to me. =( I'm fine now. I never would call for myself...I wonder if my family members were charged...I'll ask.
     
  16. justthinkin

    justthinkin New Member

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    I can speak to the issue of calling 911 when you have a suicidal person on your hands. I did it, and was charged $450 for EMS to take him 10 blocks to the hospital. Then on top of that, my insurance company wouldn't pay for the ambulance service or for some extra charge from EMS for equipment they used that the insurance company decided wasn't standard procedure.

    I had no idea, I would be charged or I would've attempted to drive him myself if he was cooperative. I had no way of knowing whether or not he would cooperate with me, so that's why I called 911 in the first place.

    If city and county governments let these charges stand then one day some one is going to attempt to drive a suicidal person to the hospital, only to have the subject grab the driver's wheel and steer the car into oncoming traffic.

    This country isn't going to the dogs. It's already there. You'd think we had Joran Van der Sloot and Casey Anthony running things because we are all getting skewered everywhere we look.
     
  17. buffetoflies

    buffetoflies Active Member

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    Hm, if some are paying $500 for a few blocks drive to the hospital, I wonder much a bill for the 30 mile drive it would be for me to get to an ER would be?

    As for the billing 'just starting' I think there's always been a bill around here.
     
  18. Truthful Lies

    Truthful Lies "Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's c

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    My Ex-husband shattered his pelvis. Ambulance bill: 2 grand - he was out in the middle of no where. We never could pay it all. The insurance company (BCBS FL) said "They aren't in our network" (Meaning the ambulance company)....He was about 100 miles from home (still in FL). I asked them how we were supposed to chose a different ambulance company in the midst of an emergency!??!
     
  19. Tuffy

    Tuffy Not really that tough...

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    The article is not talking about billing for ambulance services. That has always been around. They are talking about charging individuals for police or fire department emergency response. In the story in the article the guy was billed for the fire truck that showed up at the scene, then left.
     
  20. Belinda

    Belinda Doer of Things

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    Good point Tuffy. I have always received bills for ambulance services, but I've never had to use the police or fire department so I don't know if Maryland charges for that. I don't think so though. I think police and fire department are basic services that should be covered by the taxes we already pay for them. IIRC, the article stated the taxes just paid for the services to exist, not to actually use them, which I thought was ludicrous. I don't have a problem with paying for the ambulance, but the police and fire department are a whole different matter. In the article, the man did not call the fire department, they were dispatched. I feel a charge in that case is completely inappropriate. And totally crazy that someone could be charged for calling the police.

    ETA: I don't mind paying my taxes, but to be double billed for these services would tick me off. I don't mind when my taxes are raised, unless I continually see my taxes being squandered on stupid things and then the important budgets are squeezed to make up for it. That, I have a problem with.
     

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