Emergency vehicles are in a position to help those suffering from medical emergencies. Ironically, though, ambulances and fire trucks are often the cause of injuries and deaths all over the country.
Ambulances cause nearly 4,500 accidents in the United States annually. Approximately 400 of these accidents occur in New York every year, with three-quarters of them occurring at intersections. These crashes account for 700 serious injuries and deaths in New York.
When an ambulance is driving to a destination, in the event of an emergency, what rules apply? What happens if you are hit by a fire truck, and who is at fault? Read on to determine liability in these types of situations and learn how to file a claim.
New York Law Regarding Emergency Vehicles
Under state law, emergency vehicle drivers are given qualified immunity from liability. However, the vehicle must be in emergency mode. This means that a police car cannot run red lights and exceed the speed limit while on a normal patrol. However, in an emergency situation, an ambulance or other emergency responder does not have to follow traffic laws. The driver can run red lights and stop signs and exceed the speed limit—as long as the actions do not endanger others.
Drivers of emergency vehicles must always operate vehicles with regard to the safety of others. In addition, horns, lights and sirens must be used to warn other motorists that there is an emergency and that they should pull over, if safe to do so. Purposely running into other vehicles or performing other actions that threaten safety is illegal.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries
If you were hit by an ambulance or police car, you need to seek legal help immediately. These vehicles are often owned by the city, which means that government laws apply. You will have only a short time to file a claim—typically 90 days. Once this deadline has passed, you will no longer have a valid claim.
You should also make sure a police claim is filed, and get a copy a soon as possible. This will greatly help your case.
Make sure to see a doctor for your injuries as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less serious your injuries will be deemed to be. This will affect your compensation, so don’t delay.
Work with Experienced Bronx Car Accident Lawyers
While emergency vehicles have a duty to help those suffering from a medical emergency, they also have a duty to get there safely without reckless disregard for others on the roadway. If you were injured after being hit by an emergency vehicle, seek legal help immediately. File a personal injury claim with Grant & Longworth, car accident attorneys in the Bronx. Contact our office at (800) 836-3519 24/7 to schedule a consultation.