Court of Appeals overturns lower court rulings involving ambulance wreck
James Schmeling, an EMT, was badly hurt when his co-worker drove an ambulance into the path of a Waste Management truck that had the right of way. Schmeling sued Waste Management and its driver, claiming that the driver was exceeding the speed limit and contributed to the collision. The lower court held that since Schmeling's "exclusive remedy" against his employer and co-worker was worker's compensation, Waste Management could not assign "fault" to these third-parties to reduce any verdict against it. The Court of Appeals overturned this decision, holding that regardless of whether Schmeling had a "remedy" against the co-worker and employer, their fault would still reduce his potential recovery.The Court also overturned the lower court's decision to take judicial notice of the 35 mile per hour speed limit applicable to the Waste Management truck. The appellate court held that although the last signed speed limit was 35 miles per hour, since a new standard had been adopted that would increase the speed limit to 45 miles per hour as soon as new signs were erected, it was error for the Court to decide, as a matter of law, what the governing speed limit was at the time of the collision.