The sight of an ambulance, fire engine or police car speeding down the road with blaring sirens is often a sign of an emergency. These vehicles speed to scene of tragedies where they save lives or help people in distress. It ought to be a relief to see these vehicles knowing that they are helping fellow citizens.
However, what happens when the emergency vehicle is involved in an emergency of its own? What should you do when a fire truck or an ambulance hits your vehicle in an accident?
What to do when you’re injured in an accident by an emergency vehicle
Accidents involving emergency vehicles are handled differently from accidents involving other types of vehicles. However, liability will still need to be established in order to obtain compensation. Therefore, the steps you take following the accident are crucial.
If you’ve been in an auto accident with an emergency car, be sure to:
Contact emergency services
It doesn’t matter what type of emergency vehicle was involved in the accident; you should still contact emergency services. Emergency services will ensure an ambulance and police are dispatched to the scene of the accident. This will ensure that any injured people are rushed to the hospital for treatment. It will also ensure that law enforcement officers file an accident report which will be crucial evidence when filing for compensation.
If your injuries allow you to, take photos of the scene of the accident as well as your injuries. You should also take videos of the scene. These recordings will be vital for determining liability. If there were witnesses to the accident, take down their contact information.
Seek medical attention
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible even when you don’t believe your injuries are severe enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Some injuries are not immediately obvious. Having a medical examination as soon as possible after the accident will help to identify the extent of damage to your body. Your medical report will be a major piece of evidence in your claim.
Contact a personal injury attorney
It is also important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. This is especially vital in car accidents involving emergency vehicles as the deadline to file a claim is shorter. There are also various other special rules that apply to cases involving emergency vehicles. An attorney will help you determine whether you have a case and help you navigate the claims process.
Who is at fault?
Fault is determined in California by negligence. This generally means that the person at fault was breaking the law and this resulted in an accident. Emergency vehicles are exempted from various traffic laws in certain situations, e.g., when responding to an emergency. When they are not responding to an emergency, they are held to the same obligations as any other driver on the road.
Emergency vehicles can be held liable for an accident whether they were responding to an emergency or not. Talk to a personal injury attorney to determine the merits of your case.