updated 12/28/2007 1:19:38 PM ET 2007-12-28T18:19:38

The family of a man who was hit by a car and mistakenly declared dead has sued over the mistake, claiming it led to injuries from which he might not recover.

Larry Green was walking across a highway in 2005 when he was hit by a car. He was put into a body bag and sent to the morgue, and the medical examiner did not notice Green was still alive until roughly 2 1/2 hours after the accident.

Green, who now lives in a nursing home in North Carolina, was hospitalized for two months with a severe head injury, broken leg and other injuries. He began some limited speaking five months after the accident.

In the lawsuit filed this month, the family claims medical officials inadequately checked his vital signs after the accident. It also alleges the medical examiner disregarded signs that Green was alive.

The examiner, J.B. Perdue, said it was not his job to determine whether Green was dead or alive.

"The medical examiner is called after death," Perdue said. "Someone else pronounced his death, and the medical examiner is called to investigate the cause and manner of that death. He does not pronounce people dead."

William Hill, an attorney representing Franklin County, did not return calls seeking comment.

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