There was a significant reduction in the number of auto accidents minor or no injury situations due to lockdowns imposed in different parts of the country. But auto accidents are still the leading causes of death in the US for people under 55.
The aftermath of these accidents has the person at fault held responsible for damages. In cases of death, they may be criminally liable in certain circumstances. But the question is who is responsible if the accident involves emergency vehicles, like ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks. Even though emergency vehicles can disregard traffic rules during emergencies, they still have to follow the law regarding auto accidents. So, an emergency vehicle driver can be held accountable for damage or injuries caused by accidents.
Accidents Involving Emergency Vehicles
When an emergency vehicle responds to an emergency, it uses its lights and siren to signal other vehicles to give the right-of-way. However, the lights and siren are only effective to vehicles traveling in the same direction as the emergency vehicle, vehicles weaving through traffic, and pedestrians. It might not be as effective for other road users. With this, it may result in accidents that cause damages and injuries to the people involved.
The number of auto accidents involving emergency vehicles is at a similar rate as regular motor vehicle accidents. The main difference between these two is that the former involves vehicles on their way to respond to an emergency.
These emergencies include potential criminal situations where a police car has to weave in and out of traffic or run stop signs and red lights. They may even drive along an opposing lane if their lane is moving slow and keeps them from responding to the emergency as soon as possible. These driving behaviors are reckless in an ordinary situation, which can result in accidents.
It is also important to consider that the drivers of these emergency vehicles have to deal with several factors that can contribute to getting involved in an accident. For instance, large emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks and ambulances, are unwieldy, contributing to a bigger risk of getting involved in an accident if the driver is not used to driving the vehicle.
Personal factors also come into play as the driver will have to deal with the stress of getting to the scene on time. They may also have to multi-task, similar to a police officer needing to respond to the radio while on his way to a potential crime scene. All these factors can contribute to a bigger risk of getting involved in an auto accident.
When dealing with auto accidents, it’s always a good idea to immediately get in touch with a car accident attorney if possible. These legal professionals can help accident victims file claims for injuries or damage to their vehicles. Similarly, they should also connect with a legal professional when they get into an accident with an emergency vehicle.
Things a Person Should Do
Before a person gets in touch with a legal professional, when he is involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle, he should remember that the same rules of the road apply in these types of accidents.
So, the first thing to do is to stop the vehicle and not to assume that everyone is fine. It’s also important to pull the car over to avoid blocking the flow of traffic if it is possible. Calling the authorities is the next thing to do to report the accident. Even if one of the vehicles involved is a police vehicle, it’s still important to get in touch with the authorities if the occupants of the vehicle are incapacitated.
If the accident doesn’t seem serious, it’s still important to get a checkup since internal bleeding may happen. Internal bleeding can result from blunt abdominal trauma, which normally happens in an auto accident. It can also cause contusions and injuries to the spleen, intestines, and liver. The symptoms might not come out immediately and are not readily seen without an examination. Exchanging personal contacts is also advisable at this point.
Get in Touch with the Insurance Company
Getting in touch with the insurance company is also important in case of injuries or damages. This is essential if a person wants to take legal action due to the accident. Notifying the insurance company provides a person with grounds if they decide to claim benefits or press charges.
Even as emergency vehicles can disregard some traffic rules when they are on their way to an emergency, they are still liable if they cause an auto accident.