When a 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. 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 they caused.
Common examples of potential negligence from emergency vehicle drivers include:
- Failing to use lights and siren to warn drivers of potentially unusual traffic maneuvering
- 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
Who Can Be Held Liable for Damages?
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.
Some emergency vehicles, however, are owned and operated by private companies. Many ambulances, for instance, are owned by companies and can be held responsible through a typical lawsuit. For this reason, it is important to retain legal counsel from an experienced lawyer who has handled claims against various entities. Only an experienced law firm with resources can investigate your claim and determine who can be held responsible for your injuries.
Supporting Crash Victims Since 1976
It’s not uncommon for victims of car accidents to go into debt right away. Injuries like paralysis, for instance, can rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills as a result of needed emergency care, and they don’t even take future costs into consideration. Additionally, victims may have to pay for car repairs and are missing out on wages from missing work.
The Law Office of James M. Stanley is here to ensure that our clients to fall into despair during a challenging time. You’ve already had to suffer enough from the pain of your injuries – we can handle your paperwork and injury claim so you can focus on healing at home or in the hospital. Negligent drivers deserve to be held responsible, including drivers of emergency vehicles.
The Law Office of James M. Stanley offers free consultations when you call (817) 591-4222 or contact us online.We have more than 40 years of experience that we can put to work for victims of car accidents.