Medical Institutions’ and their Employees’ Obligation to give Emergency Medical Treatment for victims of Motor Vehicle Accident
Motor vehicle accident is the largest single cause of death and common cause of hospital admission and life-long disability. According to UN Reports, every year more than 1.3 million people die due to car accident. Among these, 65 percent of deaths involve pedestrians, from which 35 percent are children. Moreover, every year 20-50 million people suffer injury, and often are disabled due to motor vehicle accidents.
In this respect, Ethiopia is categorized among countries that experience a high number of motor vehicle accidents.The number of deaths and injuries due to motor vehicle accident is also consistently escalating. For instance, a study conducted on Addis Ababa City showed that the number of burials due to car accident is increasing.There was a 4% increase in the number of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents in the City over the past Seven years.This escalation is further evidenced in recent reports. In the year 2003 E.C, FDRE’s Transport Minister reported 2,500 deaths due to car accident, whilst in the year 2005 E.C 3,117 people died due to the same cause. This shows an increase in fatalities within a period of two years that is more than 500. It is for this reason that, countries including Ethiopia come up with a law that intend to ensure a timely and organized response to the effects of car accident so that the negative impacts of such accidents can minimize.These efforts particularly focus on the right to get emergency medical treatment for victims of motor vehicle accidents.
This article explicates medical institutions’ and their employees’ obligation to give emergency medical treatment for victims of motor vehicle accidents. In due course, the article goes through requirements and procedures medical practitioners should follow at times of emergency, and explicate the law that applies to the same. Accordingly, Section I provides a general overview on what constitutes emergency medical condition and treatment. Section II explicates medical procedures that medical institutions and their employees should follow in offering emergency medical treatment. Furthermore, in all sections the experience of other countries will be discussed to shed some light on the law and practice in Ethiopia. In such a way, an attempt is made to highlight the loopholes that are prevalent in the Ethiopian legal system.
You can find the full version of this article from Journal of Ethiopian Law, vol. 27, No. 1 (ISSN: 0022-0914, 2015), pp. 33-61.
 Tekebash Araya et al (2010), ‘Road Traffic Accidents in Addis Ababa (2001-2008): Evidence from Burial Surveillance’, Abstracts of Research Findings Presented on the 20th Annual Conference of Ethiopian Public Health Association (Master Printing Press PLC, Addis Ababa), p. 27.
 The UN General Assembly (30 September 2011) A/66/389, Sixty-sixth session Agenda item 12 Global Road Safety Crisis: Improving Global Road Safety, p. 3.
 The Second African Road Safety Conference Report (Nov. 09-11, 2011), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, p. 2.
 The UN General Assembly, supra note 2.
 Tebebe Beshah and Shawndra Hill, ‘Mining Road Traffic Accident Data to Improve Safety: Role of Road-related Factors on Accident Severity in Ethiopia’, p.2.<http://www.google.com.et/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fai-d.org%2Fpdfs%2FBeshah.pdf&ei=x3pAUKmFJYXEswbft4GoDA&usg=AFQjCNG-ADeVFdgdo86dRISzvmMyWE2KhA>, visited on 30 August 2012.
 Vehicle Insurance Against Third Party Risks Proclamation No. 799/2013, Federal Negarit Gazeta 19th Year No. 53 ADDIS ABABA 23rd July, 2013 ( hereinafter Vehicle Insurance Against Third Party Risks Proclamation), preamble, para. 1.;
 Tibebessilase Abera (2012), ‘Compulsory Motor Vehicle Third Party Liability Insurance in Ethiopia: A Comparative Analysis’ (LL.B Thesis, Mekelle University, unpublished) p.1.
 Tekebash Araya et al, supra note 1.
 ሪፖርተር ጋዜጣ (መጋቢት 22)፣ ባለፈው አመት ከሶስት ሺህ በላይ ሰዎች በትራፊክ አደጋ ሞቱ፣ ገጽ 15፡፡
 M. Kristensen et al, Participatory Design in Emergency Medical Service: Designing for Future Practice, p.161. Vehicle Insurance Against Third Party Risks Proclamation, Article 27. In fact, the best approach to alleviate the consequences of motor vehicles is to adopt the preventive approach. Nevertheless, car accidents are inevitable. As a result of this, the Ethiopian government took several measures in order to tackle road safety in a comprehensive manner, such as adopting a law that obliges medical institutions to extend emergency medical treatment for victims of motor vehicle accident. Other measures include adopting a new law on drivers’ training and regulation, and issuing motor vehicles technical inspection standards. See, A. Thomas (2002), ‘The Role of the Motor Insurance Industry in Preventing and Compensating Road Casualties’, p. 1, < https://www.google.com.et/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&ved=0CFQQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heartsafeam.com%2Ffiles%2FCalifornia_Good_Samaritan_Act.pdf&ei=savsUvycMOGV7Aao0oF4&usg=AFQjCNFRBVcdPW3VmDgcx8uUwQj2l-5Fqg&bvm=bv.60444564,d.bGQ>, visited on 2 January 2014; see also Third Party Insurance to Help Lower Ethiopia’s High Road-traffic Accident Toll (Nov. 8, 2011), <http://addisababaonline.com/third-party-insurance-to-help-lower-ethiopias-high-road-traffic-accident-toll/>, visited on 22 August 2015.