Drivers of emergency vehicles, like fire engines, ambulances and police cars, receive a lot of training to do their jobs well. They have to drive safely at high speeds and oftentimes under intense stress. However, these drivers can and do make mistakes.
Likewise, other drivers often are not paying a lookout for these vehicles and, in some cases, may even try to ignore them because they do not want to slow down or stop.
Because they are frequently at high speeds, collisions involving emergency vehicles often lead to severe or even fatal injuries. Moreover, ambulance and fire trucks are both large, heavy vehicles.
Public service workers, pedestrians and other motorists are all prone to getting hurt in these accidents, as recent news stories from around the Memphis area sadly illustrate.
There are some legal considerations for victims of these types of accidents
Motor vehicle accidents involving emergency vehicles can raise a number of legal issues.
Victims and their families need to keep these issues in mind since they impact the compensation they ultimately will receive.
If a rescue worker or law enforcement officer gets hurt in an accident, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This is generally a good thing, but it means they will usually not be able to sue their own employer.
Workers’ compensation does not pay for non-economic losses like pain and suffering and may not even cover all financial losses.
However, injured workers may still have what is called a third party claim if another driver caused the accident. They may sue the other driver and recover additional compensation.
On the other hand, if a member of the public gets hurt because an emergency driver was negligent, then they may sue to recover compensation for their losses.
It is important for them to remember though, that if they are suing a government or government agency, special rules and limits apply. If they do not follow these rules, victims may lose their right to pursue a claim.