Anyone who travels or commutes to work into and out of New York knows of the dozens of accidents that occur just about every week. Some of them involve emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles. In nearly every situation, drivers get out of the way – or they try to do so. However, incidents occur, or conditions are present that do not always allow this. If you have been in an accident with an emergency vehicle, it is critical that you take action.
Never assume that if you hit an emergency vehicle, or one hit you, that you are at fault or unable to file a claim. Very specific rules apply, and your rights need to be protected. We encourage you to contact Siler & Ingber, LLP, your personal injury lawyers in New York, to fully discuss those rights and rules.
Statistics: Do Emergency Vehicle Accidents Occur Often?
These types of accidents are not uncommon especially in a busy region like New York. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles sheds some light on this. According to their statistics, about 400 incidents involving an ambulance happen every year in the state. This includes accidents or crashes. This equates to creating about two injuries per day as a result of such instances.
Do Emergency Vehicles Always Have the Right of Way?
The short answer to this is NO! However, it is more complex than this. Emergency vehicle drivers need to get through crowded streets to assist in a true emergency at another location. This gives these drivers the ability to make decisions that do not always follow traditional traffic laws. However, they must still take steps to protect all involved in such situations, including other drivers on the road. That is, they are not legally allowed to create dangerous situations.
What’s more, drivers have ample training in quickly accessing situations to ensure when it is safe to break such laws. While in movies they can fly through red lights and even trample sidewalks, this is not realistic. Emergency vehicles are held accountable when they cause damage or create a scenario where risk is present to other drivers even when they are on a call. The New York State Department of Health provides key information about the proper operation of emergency vehicles.
Common Causes of Emergency Vehicle Driver Mistakes
It is possible for ordinary drivers to make mistakes, too. You may have the radio so loud you do not hear the siren behind you. Or, you may try to run a red light to get ahead of the vehicle and create an accident. There are times when you may hold responsibility in such a case. However, there are some examples of what emergency drivers can do inappropriately.
Misuse of Lights and Sirens
Was the emergency vehicle responding to a real call? Did they not have their lights and sirens on when they should have to warn you of their response? These are indications of the driver making a mistake.
Caution Through Intersections
The most dangerous location for most drivers of emergency vehicles is the intersection. As a result, drivers are not allowed to simply proceed through an intersection without taking steps to ensure it is reasonably safe to do so. A failure to use caution can cause an accident which may not be your fault!.
Often, emergency drivers struggle to get through crowded streets. This is very common in New York. However, if a vehicle cannot get through a tight space and tries to do so, the driver may cause damage to another person’s vehicle.
What Should You Do?
If you are involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle of any type, contact the police. Ensure a thorough police report is completed. Gather witness statements. Take pictures of all the vehicles and the roadway where the accident took place. And, then, call our offices. It is very difficult to prove you suffered damages as a result of the speeding emergency vehicles, especially when you are filing a claim against a state or local police force. For this reason, we highly encourage you to contact our offices immediately before you file a claim with an insurance company. Often, you have financial protection for the losses you sustained, even if you hit the emergency vehicle.
Schedule a Free Case Review for Your Emergency Vehicle Accident
Siler & Ingber, LLP provide comprehensive legal support to residents in New York. If you’ve suffered loss as a result of such an accident, contact us. If you’ve been sued or are facing significant damage claims as a result of striking an emergency vehicle, contact us.
We have over 20 years of experience and have won 98 percent of our cases, amounting to over $50 million in damages paid to our clients. We’re here to help you as well. Contact us now for a free case review at 877-718-6079 or use our online contact form, and we’ll give you a call.