car accident occurs, the first call that goes out is often to emergency personnel such
as police officers, emergency medical technicians, and the fire department.
Due to the inherently urgent nature of such incidents that require emergency
services, emergency vehicles possess lights and sirens which enable them
to ignore traffic signals, speed, drive the wrong way, pass cars in a
manner that would otherwise be unlawful, and other hazardous traffic behaviors.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
deaths caused by crashes are 4.8 times higher for emergency responders
than the national average. There are an estimated 6,500 accidents involving
ambulances a year and 35 percent of ambulance accidents had an injury
or death to at least one person involved in the collision. Pursuits by
law enforcement vehicles account for 300 fatalities each year. Firetruck
accidents are the second leading cause of on-the-job fatalities for firefighters.
The majority of these accidents occur during emergency use.
Just because emergency vehicle drivers have the right to take their own
liberties with traffic laws, that doesn’t mean they do not have
a duty to avoid driving in an unreasonably dangerous manner which may
result in accidents, injuries, and deaths to other motorists. When drivers
of emergency vehicles fail to uphold their duty of care toward other motorists
on the road, they may be found negligent and held liable for any harm
Common examples of potential negligence from emergency vehicle drivers include:
- Failing to use lights and siren to warn drivers of potentially unusual
- Speeding through intersections without initially checking to see if the
road is clear
- Taking turns at extremely high speeds
- Attempting to fit through spaces that are too narrow
If you have suffered an injury in a crash caused by a negligent ambulance,
police car, or firetruck driver, you may be eligible to recover financial
compensation similar to any other type of accident. However, since these
cases typically involve government entities, they are often associated
with more complexities (i.e. different deadlines and requirements) compared
to an average auto accident claim. For this reason, it is important to
retain legal counsel from an experienced lawyer who has handled claims
against the government.
For more information, request a
free consultation with our Fort Worth personal injury lawyer at the
Law Office of James M. Stanley today.