Emergency Vehicles Can Cause Injuries
When you think of large commercial trucks, you most likely initially think of semis and tractor-trailers that haul cargo across the United States. However, there are many other types of commercial vehicles, including buses, delivery box trucks, garbage trucks, and more. One type of commercial vehicle that can often cause accidents and injuries is an emergency vehicle.
Fire trucks and ambulances are necessary to transport individuals to emergency situations to provide immediate assistance and to transport injured or ill people to the nearest hospital. In many situations, when emergency vehicles are summoned to the scene of an accident, the timeliness of the response can mean life or death. While it is important for emergency drivers to arrive on the scene as quickly as possible, they are also expected to care about the safety of others on the road. If you have suffered injuries in an accident involving a fire truck or ambulance, you should immediately call the Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 to learn about your legal rights.
Dangers of emergency vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported1 that from 2007 to 2011, more than 3,000 crashes occurred involving ambulances, nearly half of which resulted in injuries. Additionally, statistics published2 by the United States Fire Administration indicate that 14,200 collisions involving fire trucks happened in 2010 alone. As you can see, ambulance and fire truck accidents happen more regularly than you may think.
There are many causes of emergency vehicle accidents, many of which include:
– Crossing through intersections against traffic signals
– Excessive speeding for the traffic and road conditions
– Taking turns too quickly
– Dangerous passing of other vehicles
– Unqualified or poorly trained drivers
– Not taking adequate care in adverse weather conditions
– Failing to brake in time for the weight of the vehicle
– Improper maintenance of the vehicle
– Following other vehicles too closely
– Unsafe practices when reversing the vehicle
– Distracted drivers
– Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs
– Overly fatigued drivers
Though emergency drivers are expected to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner, they often engage in unsafe behaviors without even realizing they are doing so. “Siren syndrome” is a term commonly used to describe the adrenaline rush that an emergency worker experiences when responding to an emergency with the siren going. Drivers can become overzealous in their attempts to respond as quickly as possible and may put the safety of other motorists at risk in the process.
Proving negligence in an emergency truck case
Because emergency workers are allowed to speed and violate traffic signals under certain circumstances, these actions alone are not enough to prove that a driver was negligent in causing an accident. Instead, you must demonstrate that another reasonable emergency driver would not have acted the same way in that situation. This can be complicated and can often require expert opinions and testimony. In addition to driver error, negligence can arise in these cases if a manufacturer sold defective truck parts or if a maintenance company failed to properly inspect or repair the vehicle. Again, determining whether a malfunction caused the accident may require the assistance of and investigation by industry experts.
Legal claims against the government can be complicated
Emergency departments are often run by the local government. This means that if an employee of the emergency department caused your accident and injuries, you would have to file a claim against the government entity responsible for overseeing that employee. Legal claims against the government are complex and have different deadlines and procedures3 than legal claims filed against private parties. You should always have an attorney handling your case who understands how to properly bring a claim against the government.
Contact a truck accident attorney in Clearwater, Florida to discuss your situation today
At the Dolman Law Group, our team of truck accident lawyers know how to handle cases arising from emergency vehicle accidents. We will work to make sure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve, so you should not hesitate to call our Clearwater office at 727-451-6900 for a free case evaluation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756