Accidents Involving Fire Trucks, Ambulances and Police Cars
We have all been in situations when we have been at an intersection and a fire truck, ambulance or police vehicle has been approaching at a high speed with its lights and sirens on. An emergency vehicle can engender panic as other vehicles try to get out of the way as soon as possible.
In most cases there are no issues but in a few instances an emergency vehicle can take too many risks, causing an accident with injuries or even fatalities.
Every year more than 100 people are killed in accidents involving fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, according to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2012, official figures show 34 people lost their lives in crashes involving ambulances, 14 in crashes involving fire trucks and 83 in wrecks involving police vehicles.
In a recent article, EMS World alluded to a “dearth of information about ambulance wrecks.” The article stated in 2010, there were more than 250 U.S. ambulance crashes that made the news. “Given there are close to 50,000 ambulances on the road on any given day, responding to hundreds of thousands of medical calls, it’s very likely there were even more collisions than those making headlines,” stated the article.
Close to half of the collisions that were identified occurred at intersections. “Despite the federal government’s hawk-like watch over most industries and professions, there is a dearth of information about ambulance wrecks. Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) require reporting,” stated the article.
This appears to suggest that accidents involving emergency vehicles such as ambulances are under reported. However, we know when accidents involving emergency vehicles cause deaths and injuries in Hampton Roads and elsewhere in Virginia. Just this month a patient in an ambulance was killed on Route 13 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia when an ambulance driver went through a red light and hit a bus. The ambulance driver faced charges, according to media reports.
When the drivers of emergency vehicles fail to drive to the standards we expect of them, a lawsuit may be brought against the drivers and their employers. Two years ago a $800,000 settlement was reached in the wrongful death case brought by the family of an elderly man who was killed while traveling in an ambulance that crashed in Charlottesville, VA. The ambulance driver had been texting before the fatal crash. All cases are different and unique and we cannot guarantee the same result in a different case. If you have been injured in a crash with an emergency vehicle or if you have lost a loved one, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 or see CooperHurley.com.