Austin Emergency Vehicle Accident Attorney
Car accidents involving emergency vehicles occur more frequently than you might think. Emergency vehicle drivers are just as prone to human error as other motorists. These vehicle drivers sometimes need to weave in and out of traffic, run red lights, and travel at high speeds, all of which can increase the likelihood of an accident.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by an emergency vehicle, it’s important to know what your legal options are for obtaining compensation. Suing the government is not an easy task. However, if the emergency vehicle driver was negligent in their duty to protect other drivers on the road, then you might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our Austin emergency vehicle accident lawyers at Loewy Law Firm at (512) 280-0800 today to learn more.
Types of Emergency Vehicles
There are many different types of emergency vehicles on the road. Some of the most common types you may encounter include:
- Police cars
- Police motorcycles
- Fire trucks
Types and Causes of Emergency Vehicle Accidents
Emergency vehicles, like passenger vehicles, can cause a variety of accidents as they attempt to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. Some common types of emergency vehicle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side impact (T-bone) crashes
- Intersection accidents
- Turning accidents
There are numerous causes of emergency vehicle accidents. Emergency vehicle drivers must be hyper-vigilant of their surroundings due to their increased speed and their need to frequently violate traffic laws. Unfortunately, some emergency vehicle drivers do not exercise the proper precautions.
Some common causes of emergency vehicle accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents across the country. Distracted driving happens when a driver takes their attention away from the road by texting, talking on the phone, talking to passengers, reaching for an item, using a GPS system while in motion, and more.
- Speeding – Emergency vehicle drivers are legally permitted to exceed the speed limit in order to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Of course, that doesn’t reduce the dangers of speeding, particularly in areas with heavy traffic. Speeding makes it more likely that the driver will lose control of the vehicle and can result in destructive accidents and catastrophic injuries.
- Aggressive driving – Emergency vehicle drivers sometimes have to drive in a manner that might otherwise be considered reckless since they’re on the way to attend a medical emergency. Although it is necessary for emergency vehicle drivers to engage in these types of driving behaviors, they can lead to accidents if the driver is not focused and alert.
- Drowsy driving – First responders work long hours in a profoundly stressful, high-pressure environment. This can cause drivers to become drowsy, leading to accidents.
- Hazardous conditions – Emergency vehicle drivers may neglect or be unable to adjust their speed when they encounter hazardous road conditions such as inclement weather. When a person is having a medical emergency, every second counts. Still, hazardous conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, and ice can cause dangerous accidents, and emergency drivers must be extra cautious when navigating through these conditions.
When Does the Emergency Vehicle Have the Right of Way?
Emergency vehicles essentially always have the right of way when their lights and sirens are on, indicating that they are headed to the scene of an emergency. Motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, and truck drivers are all required to pull over to the right side of the roadway and allow emergency vehicles to pass. If a motorist is in the middle of an intersection when an emergency vehicle is trying to pass, they should continue through the intersection and then pull over to the shoulder as soon as they are clear from the intersection and it is safe to pull over.
Who Is Liable if I’m Hurt?
Emergency vehicles are typically owned by a government entity, which could be the city or the state. Because emergency vehicles are owned by the government, filing a claim can be challenging. However, emergency vehicle drivers still have a duty of care to operate the vehicle with regard for the safety of other motorists and can be liable if they disregard that duty of care.
Although many government-owned emergency vehicles do have special immunity, and even though emergency vehicle drivers are allowed to operate their vehicles outside the bounds of the law, they must still act in good faith and could potentially be held liable if they were grossly negligent in their duty of care.
In order to determine liability and whether or not you may have grounds for a lawsuit, it is vital to consult with an attorney who has experience handling emergency vehicle accidents. Your attorney will have the knowledge and experience to help you determine what your legal options may be and craft a strong, smart legal strategy to obtain your desired outcome.
Compensation for Emergency Vehicle Accidents
If your attorney has determined that you may have grounds for a lawsuit due to negligence on the driver’s part, then you could be entitled to claim compensation from the at-fault party through a personal injury lawsuit. You may be eligible for compensation to cover your accident-related costs, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
To determine whether or not you have a case for compensation, contact one of our attorneys at Loewy Law Firm today. We can advise you about your legal options and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
How Loewy Law Firm Could Help
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by an emergency vehicle driver here in Austin, you could be entitled to compensation. While bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a government employee can be more challenging than the average personal injury suit, that doesn’t mean it’s not an option.
The personal injury lawyers at Loewy Law Firm can help you discover your legal options and obtain the compensation you need to recover. Contact the emergency vehicle accident lawyers at Loewy Law Firm today at (512) 280-0800 for a free consultation.