Who is Responsible for an Accident Involving an Emergency Vehicle
Fatal crashes involving emergency vehicles have increased dramatically over the past several years according to statistics released by the National Safety Council. The vast majority of people killed in those accidents were either pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles, while the drivers and passengers in the emergency vehicles remained relatively protected.
The laws give drivers of police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks the right to take some actions that are not permitted for other vehicles. Moreover, the laws also provide immunity for government employees in certain circumstances, but that should not give emergency vehicle drivers the ability to engage in reckless behavior without facing the consequences. So, who can be held responsible for emergency vehicle accidents? A Tallahassee car accident lawyer reviews the legal issues and the practicalities involved in assessing liability for these accidents.
When Emergency Vehicles Disregard Traffic Laws
Under Florida Statute §316.072, the drivers of all vehicles on public roads are required to obey traffic laws with certain limited exceptions. “Authorized emergency vehicles” may deviate from the rules in specific situations. These include:
- Responding to an emergency call
- Responding to a fire alarm (but not when returning from a call)
- Pursuing a suspect
- Escorting a motorcade
The types of actions permitted include exceeding the speed limit, running a red light, or driving against traffic patterns. However, the authority to deviate from traffic rules is not unlimited. Drivers are required to slow down in certain situations, and their actions should not “endanger life or property.”
Obviously, the accident statistics show that many emergency vehicle drivers do endanger the life, health, and property of others, often resulting in serious injury or death. When that happens, a Tallahassee car accident lawyer may be able to help accident vehicles recover compensation.
Causes and Evidence Related to Emergency Vehicle Accidents
Like most vehicle accidents, collisions involving ambulances, police cars or fire trucks are often caused by a combination of factors. For instance, investigation by a Tallahassee car accident lawyer could reveal that an accident resulted from an ambulance driver’s lack of experience combined with another driver’s delay in pulling to the side to allow the ambulance to pass. The entity that hired and failed to provide proper training for the ambulance driver could be held partially responsible for the consequences of the accident. Because of Florida’s comparative negligence rules, the other driver’s actions would not prevent that driver from recovering some compensation, even if those actions are partially to blame for the accident.
To demonstrate liability, a personal injury lawyer might help collect evidence such as traffic camera footage, police reports, witness testimony, and detailed photos of the accident scene. It may also be possible to show that a driver violated policies or that the policies involved did not properly protect the public.
Talk to an Experienced Tallahassee Car Accident Lawyer if You Were Injured in an Emergency Vehicle Collision
When an accident attorney is able to show that an emergency vehicle operator should be held liable for a collision, anyone injured in the accident could be eligible to receive compensation to offset the effects. Damages could cover lost wages, medical bills, pain, suffering, and future needs. For a free consultation and case evaluation to learn what could be possible in your case, contact a knowledgeable Tallahassee car accident lawyer at Searcy Denney.