If there is an accident, a medical emergency or a fire, you will likely see ambulances, fire trucks and police cars rushing to get to the scene. In many situations, these vehicles have to speed in order to get to the location as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes increases the likelihood that you, or another bystander, are injured in an emergency vehicle accident.
The Facts about Emergency Vehicle Accidents
While many people are relieved to see these emergency response vehicles nearby, what some don’t think about is what happens if ambulances, police cars or fire trucks are involved in an accident. While these incidents are rare, they can happen. As a matter of fact, ambulances cause accidents with 2,600 injuries every year and police car accidents result in 300 fatalities each year because of high speed. What you have to consider is what is going to happen if you are involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle? Who is going to be held responsible?
Figuring Out Liability
As any Virginia attorney will tell you, the answer to the question of “who is liable” is a difficult one. Emergency vehicles are usually owned by the government ,or they are used on behalf of a government agency. This means that filing claims against the driver are more difficult than in other personal injury claims. In some cases, these vehicles will have immunity from any type of lawsuit. However, this isn’t always the case. The extent of immunity depends on the case’s facts and the driver’s behavior.
The Laws in Virginia
Emergency vehicle drivers are permitted to run red lights, speed and engage in other types of driving behavior that’s usually prohibited to get to an accident scene in a timely manner. However, even though this is true, they are still expected to exercise caution and drive around any other vehicles on the road. Drivers of emergency vehicles have a duty to drive safely and avoid reckless actions that may cause harm to pedestrians or other drivers. If an emergency vehicle driver fails to use sirens and lights, drives through narrow areas or speeds through intersections with no regard to others on the road, they may be considered negligent, which gives the injured driver a right to file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind, if you are on the road and an emergency vehicle is heading your way (with lights and sirens on) you have the responsibility to pull over and slow down. If you don’t do this and an accident occurs, you may be held responsible for the emergency vehicle accident. Always remain alert and pull over as quickly as you can to allow the emergency vehicle or first responders to get by.
If you are ever involved in an emergency vehicle accident, you should hire an accident attorney in Virginia for help. They can review your case and let you know what rights you have. Learn more about these accidents and the options you may have by contacting the attorneys at Hilton & Somer, LLC by calling 703-560-0700. They can help you understand the situation you are in and how to best deal with it.