When you see or hear an emergency response vehicle, you are supposed to pull over to the side to give the vehicle room to pass. Sometimes this can be difficult if you are not sure where the emergency vehicle is coming from. Other times, traffic can make it impossible to pull over. Even when drivers are following the rules, they can end up in an accident with an emergency response vehicle.
An ambulance, fire truck, or other emergency response vehicle may be speeding to the scene of an accident, medical emergency, or burning building. However, the emergency vehicle driver is still required to operate the vehicle safely and in accordance with the law. When an emergency response vehicle driver breaches their duty of care, they are responsible for any accident they cause. Just because an emergency vehicle gets the right-of-way does not mean they are above the law.
Accidents with emergency response vehicles happen all the time. In many cases, the emergency vehicle driver caused the accident. For some drivers injured in an emergency response vehicle accident, they think there is no recourse for their injuries. However, by contacting an experienced accident attorney, they can receive compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Causes of Emergency Response Vehicle Accidents
There are many causes of emergency response vehicle accidents. They are generally attributed to the driver of the emergency response vehicle or another driver. Other drivers may not be aware that an emergency response vehicle is approaching. It may be difficult to hear a siren because they are listening to music, taking a phone call on their hands-free device, or the sound is obscured by road noise. As a result, they may be driving as normal, and suddenly find themselves in the path of a rushing ambulance.
Emergency vehicle drivers are required to follow certain rules. However, many ambulance companies and fire departments fail to properly train their drivers. They may be in a rush to get the driver behind the wheel, leaving the driver unsure what the rules are when they are driving with lights and sirens flashing. They may not know how to handle traffic, whether they should pass on the right or left of a stopped vehicle, or that they should come to a stop at an intersection.
Many accidents involving emergency response vehicles occur at intersections. The firetruck or ambulance may not come to a complete stop, and either blow through the intersection, or roll through without stopping. This can cause them to hit another vehicle or a pedestrian.
Emergency Response Vehicle Accident Injuries
For pedestrians hit by an emergency response vehicle, the accident often results in death. An unsuspecting pedestrian crossing the street has little protection from a speeding emergency response vehicle. If they do not hear or see the emergency vehicle approaching, they may step out to cross the street, right in the path of an oncoming ambulance or fire truck.
When other cars are involved in an emergency response vehicle, they may suffer similar injuries to other motor vehicle accidents. The general difference is that emergency response vehicles are generally larger and weigh more than other vehicles. This can make the crash more serious for the driver and any passengers. At high speed, an emergency vehicle crash can result in serious head injury, broken bones, neck or back injury, severed limbs, or even death. A serious crash can also leave the occupants of the other car trapped inside, exacerbating injuries.
Minor accidents with an emergency response vehicle can also lead to injuries for the driver and passengers. Even if the driver does not think they were injured, neck or back injuries can be difficult to detect immediately after an accident. It may take a couple of days before the driver realizes they suffered an injury. They may wake up days later with a headache, neck or back pain, or find it difficult to get out of bed. After an accident with an emergency response vehicle, anyone involved should consider going to the hospital for evaluation.
Emergency Response Vehicle Accident Lawsuits
Many people are unsure what to do after an accident with an emergency response vehicle. They may think they have no recourse because the emergency vehicle gets some sort of free pass. However, a negligent driver is responsible for the injuries they caused, even if they were behind the wheel of an ambulance. A civil lawsuit allows an injured driver to seek damages for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Emergency Response Vehicle Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.