Who is Liable in Emergency Vehicle Accidents?
The sirens and flashing lights of emergency vehicles are supposed to alert other drivers. Emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks, need people and vehicles to stay out of their way as they rush off to tend to crisis situations. By law, drivers who encounter ambulances, police cruisers, or fire trucks that are responding to emergencies must safely allow these vehicles to pass.
Sometimes, car wrecks can happen with emergency personnel. If a negligent emergency driver caused an accident, they may be held liable.
What Should I Do if I See an Emergency Vehicle?
Drivers should follow special road procedures when an emergency vehicle appears. A motorist should decrease their speed and pull over, and use all proper signals of their intentions. It is common practice that drivers should pull to the right, especially when the emergency vehicle is approaching from ahead. This clears the center of the road for the emergency vehicle to pass.
If a driver completely stops on the side of the road for an emergency vehicle, they should use caution when entering back into traffic. Approach slowly and leave plenty of space between vehicles.
When are Emergency Vehicle Operators Liable?
When responding to a call, an emergency vehicle operator is allowed to break the traditional rules of the road if they do so safely. They can go over the speed limit, drive through red lights, and use the shoulder of the road without breaking the law. However, the emergency driver cannot drive recklessly or fail to engage the emergency lights and sirens to notify other drivers. While some states shield emergency drivers from liability, there are cases in which emergency drivers were held liable for accidents.
What Should I Do After an Emergency Vehicle Accident?
More than 100 people are killed in emergency vehicle accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The majority of fatalities are drivers of other vehicles.
After an accident with an emergency vehicle, a victim should contact a lawyer. Although emergency vehicle operators are exempt from certain traffic laws, they can still be liable for accidents if they acted recklessly. A lawyer will evaluate the case and determine if the victim is eligible for compensation.
Washington, D.C. Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Protect Victims Injured by Negligent Emergency Vehicle Drivers
Sometimes, accidents with emergency vehicles happen. If you were hurt in an emergency vehicle collision, contact one of our accomplished Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We help car accident victims get compensation for their injuries and vehicular damage. Complete our online form or call us at 202-331-1963 for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.