Hurt in a Fire Truck Accident?
Macon Fire Truck Accident Attorneys Fight for the Wrongfully Injured
Emergency vehicles might be the last vehicles you think would be involved in an accident, but it happens. According to a study conducted and released by Virginia Tech (VT), fire truck crashes occur “at a rate of approximately 30,000 crashes per year” and “an average of 100,000 firefighters are injured in the line of duty” every year. They happen for a number of reasons and are usually attributed to other drivers’ negligence (i.e.: distracted and/or aggressive driving). Fire truck accidents are often worse because an increasing number of firefighters are not wearing seatbelts. The study from VT reports, using data from the United States Fire Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “that firefighters neglect to buckle their seatbelts… putting themselves at high risk for injuries in the event of a crash, especially rollovers”. Getting compensation for a fire truck accident can be difficult for firefighters as well as other motorists, as a government entity may be liable.
If you have been involved and subsequently injured in a fire truck crash, the experienced fire truck accident attorneys at McArthur Law Firm can fight vigorously for your rights. We can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for any damages — including both physical and mental pain and suffering. We have been successfully representing wrongfully injured victims, securing millions of dollars in settlements over the years for fellow Georgians. As a result, we know what it takes to win cases. If you have been injured while in the line of duty or by a negligent government employee, then you deserve rightful compensation.
What Are Common Causes of Fire Truck Accidents?
Fire trucks, along with semis and other large commercial trucks, are some of the largest motor vehicles on the road. Their size alone also makes fire trucks one of the most potentially dangerous vehicles on the road. Further, it is the responsibility of all drivers to pay attention to their surroundings in order to be aware of any potential emergency responders trying to make their way to a call. Note that if you impede the progress of a fire truck responding to an emergency (by running a red light, for example), then you are likely to face severe consequences. Additionally, firefighters are responsible for maintaining, securing and repairing their trucks to ensure they are not the cause of the accident.
The following are four of the most commonly reported causes of fire truck accidents:
- Failure to pull over. One of the first things we are taught when we learn to drive is what to do in the event an emergency vehicle needs to get through: You pull over to the side of the road to make room for it. While this can be a difficult feat to manage in heavy rush hour traffic, accommodations must be made — it is the law. For whatever reason, however, drivers often do not make this accommodation, and therefore impede the progress of emergency responders and possibly cause a wreck. If you are hurt in a fire truck accident caused by another negligent motorist, then you may be able to file a claim with his or her insurer.
- Slowing down to view an accident. When people slow down to gape at an accident, they are risking other cars hitting them and causing more of an issue. The best thing to do is move to the farthest lane from the accident and continue at a safe road speed. If you are involved in an accident with an emergency response vehicle due to another driver slowing down at the accident scene, then, if injured, you may have grounds for a claim.
- Driver Fatigue. This can be on the behalf of either the driving firefighter or another driver on the road — driver fatigue is one of the most commonly reported causes of motor vehicle accidents across the board. It is imperative for every person who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle to ensure that they are capable of driving safely before going out on the road.
- Vehicle or part malfunction/ Loose equipment. Fire trucks can break down the same as any vehicle. It is the responsibility of the firefighters and the station to ensure that all routine maintenance and repairs are conducted on the trucks being used. Additionally, it is the firefighters’ responsibility to ensure that all equipment is securely in place on the truck — some fire truck accidents occur due to ladders, hoses and other heavy equipment coming loose from the truck and hitting another car on the road.
What is “Sovereign Immunity”?
Also known as “government immunity”, this protects government officials from being wrongfully sued. Government officials include mail carriers, politicians and all emergency responders (police, fire etc.). When a government vehicle and/or official is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is the document that you, your attorney and all opposing parties will reference when pursuing your claim against a government official. According to the U.S. House of Representatives, “Under the FTCA, the federal government acts as a self-insurer, and recognizes liability for the negligent or wrongful acts or omissions of its employees acting within their duty”.
You can file a claim under the FTCA against the government if the following prerequisites are met:
- You can prove that you were injured — or your property was damaged — by an emergency official.
- The emergency official was “acting within the scope of his [or her] official duties” when the accident occurred.
- The government employee was acting recklessly, negligently or otherwise demonstrating wrongful behavior.
- The actions of the government employee were the direct “proximate” cause of the injury.
Even with the FTCA in place, however, it will be extremely difficult to pursue a personal injury claim against the government. It is a powerful entity that will require you to jump through a lot of hoops and obstacles before the end of the case. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you seek the legal counsel of experience fire truck accident attorneys.
Injured in a Fire Truck Accident and Unsure How to Proceed? Call Us Today
While we have all seen the familiar site of fire trucks at the scene of an accident, it might be hard to imagine that they may be involved in one. All drivers have a symbiotic relationship while on the road: passenger car drivers trust that firefighters have gone through extensive safety training to ensure road safety while firefighters, especially the driver, trust that other drivers go through the proper motions to ensure they are being safe on the road — including paying attention to their surroundings in the event of an emergency.
If you were the driver of the fire truck or another motor vehicle driver and were injured in a fire truck accident, then you have legal rights and options. One of the experienced fire truck accident attorneys from McArthur Law Firm can help you build a strong personal injury case and help ensure that you receive rightful compensation. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.