Phoenix Emergency Vehicle Accident Attorneys
Emergency vehicles can legally exceed speed limits, pass through red lights, stop signs, or drive the wrong way in lanes when providing services, but within limits. The Phoenix community relies on emergency personnel to save lives, but in some tragic cases, a vehicle speeding to an accident or fire causes a serious or fatal accident.
Even with a siren on and lights flashing, drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists can be seriously or fatally injured in an impact with a speeding emergency vehicle. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an emergency vehicle in Phoenix, it is imperative that you have your case evaluated by a qualified Phoenix car accident attorney, and as quickly as possible. You likely have the right to pursue compensation for all damages but have limited time in which to file a claim.
When an emergency vehicle is dispatched to an accident, fire, or for medical care, under the Arizona “Move Over” law, other drivers in the area are required to yield right of way, safely pull to the side of a street, highway, or road, and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. An emergency vehicle driver has the right to ignore a red light or stop sign. However, they are required to be alert to public safety and approach an intersection with caution, with lights and sirens, and only proceed when the intersection has safely cleared.
The types of serious accidents involving emergency vehicles include:
- Head-On Collisions
- Side Impact Crashes
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents
The injuries sustained in an accident with a fast-moving emergency vehicle may be serious, catastrophic, or fatal, including:
- Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Internal Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Cuts, Lacerations, Disfiguring Injuries
- Fatal Injuries
The NSC (National Safety Council) tracks a range of safety facts, including accidents with emergency vehicles. In the most recently reported year, police vehicle involved crashes led to 114 deaths, ambulance accidents led to 33 deaths, and fire vehicle accidents resulted in 23 deaths. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that the majority fatalities in ambulance accidents are a driver or passenger in another vehicle. The agency reports a staggering 4,500 ambulance injury accidents involving ambulances each year, with 34 percent causing injuries.
The Phoenix Police Department, Phoenix Fire Department, Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management, and other public health and safety agencies are equipped with several types of emergency vehicles, including:
- Police Vehicles: Diverse types of police vehicles are dispatched, based on the situation. These vehicles include patrol cars, pursuit cars, highway patrol vehicles, SUVs, canine vehicles, SWAT teams, explosive ordnance disposal units, and riot control units. Depending on the situation, any of these vehicles may be traveling at high speed to reach an accident, crime scene, or other area of concern to public safety.
- Ambulances: First responders, advanced life support ambulances, basic life support ambulances, multiple victim assistance ambulances, patient transport ambulances, neonatal ambulances, rapid organ recovery ambulances, mobile stroke units, and other specialty vehicles dispatched to provide medical services or transport.
- Fire Trucks: Fire engines, ladder trucks, rescue vehicles (ambulances), brush trucks, command vehicles, tanker trucks, brush trucks, and foam and hose trucks, airport rescue vehicles, ladder tenders, and some others. Each type of vehicle serves a specific purpose in firefighting or rescue operations.
Accidents with emergency vehicles are more complex to resolve. Under “qualified immunity,” city and state employees cannot be held liable for injuries unless their actions were “grossly negligent.” Gross negligence is acting with reckless disregard for the safety of others. In some cases, the driver of an emergency vehicle may have failed to exercise the level of caution needed for public safety when moving through a controlled intersection.
Governmental agencies require a claim to be filed within a brief time. If the claim is not filed within the time limits, an injured person will lose the right to pursue compensation. If an emergency vehicle driver failed to operate the vehicle with caution, and drove in a negligent and reckless manner, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for damages – but the legal process should be initiated quickly.
Several types of compensation can be pursued, including:
- Economic Damages: These are the financial losses associated with medical treatment, wage loss, rehabilitation, medications, and similar real-world costs.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages are more personal, and include pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and emotional anguish.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an emergency vehicle accident, you need to ensure your right to seek compensation is protected. Attorney Mark Breyer is a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death law, a designation earned by less than 2% of all Arizona lawyers, a true specialist in the field of personal injury law. Our firm has over three decades in practice, and we offer a free consultation. When we take on a case, counsel is provided on a contingency fee basis – no legal fees unless we are successful.
Call (602) 457-6222 to connect with us today.
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