Even Emergency Vehicles Have Accidents

Emergency vehicles are usually in a hurry to get somewhere. Imagine being that person on the stretcher in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital, or the homeowner who called the fire department to put out the flames, or the just robbed employee waiting for police. When you need that kind of help, each minute you wait can feel like an eternity. It’s one of the reasons you should be sure to regularly use your mirrors and not have your music turned up too high when you are behind the wheel. Drivers need to be able to see and hear emergency vehicles coming. We’ve all been surprised to see an ambulance or police vehicle right behind us – or even coming right at us. We’ve all wondered “how are they ever going to make it through this traffic?” Emergency responders rely on motorists to be paying attention and make them a lane. Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers use sirens and lights to let you know they’re close by, but that does not guarantee an accident-free zone. High speeds, traffic, and motorists’ confusion about what to do can put the safety of first responders, drivers, passengers of other vehicles, passengers of emergency vehicles, and pedestrians at risk. Emergency personnel are allowed to ignore traffic signals, drive the wrong way, pass cars unlawfully, and drive in other potentially dangerous ways that can contribute to the likelihood of a collision. Drivers of emergency vehicles can take traffic law liberties; however, they still have a commitment to public safety. They are expected to have good judgment. The question of who is at fault in a wreck involving an emergency vehicle is not cut and dried. If an emergency driver maneuvers through traffic in an unreasonably dangerous manner, it’s possible they can be found negligent and therefore responsible for any injuries associated with the crash. A few examples of such behavior include:

  • Speeding through intersections without paying attention to surrounding vehicles
  • Taking turns at high speeds
  • Not using sirens and lights properly
  • Following too closely
  • Driving through spaces that are too narrow.
According to a 2014 report, a little over 30 percent of collisions in Kentucky involving emergency vehicles were caused by inattention. Almost 15 percent were caused by misjudgment of clearance. More than 10 percent were caused by failure to yield the right of way. Collisions involving emergency vehicles occur a little more often than you might think and often cause serious injury. For example, a 2014 national study found that about 35 percent of ambulance accidents cause injuries or death. Most of those injured or killed are occupants of another vehicle, at around 63 percent. Around 20 percent are people being transported by the ambulance, 12 percent are pedestrians, and 4 percent are the ambulance drivers. If negligence is to blame for your injury, you deserve compensation. It’s always best to seek experienced legal counsel with any accident case, but instances with emergency vehicles are even more specialized as they can involve government entities. Additional complications may be lurking that are not found in standard auto accidents cases. Claims against the government have different deadlines, for example, so time is even more of a factor. If you or someone you know has been in a car wreck, or if you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the KY emergency vehicle accident attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm. We have years of experience helping people, and we can help you. Our knowledgeable legal team will work closely with you every step of the way and will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Based in Pikeville, KY, we proudly serve communities throughout the Bluegrass State. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form.

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