There’s a motor vehicle accident topic that few people like to talk about or even think about, and for good reason: accidents with emergency responders. It is only natural to think or assume that emergency responders always make it to the scenes of an accident safely and properly. It’s just the way it’s supposed to work, or so our mind tells us. However, that is not always the case, may it be emergency responders arriving at or leaving from an accident scene.
Take a recent accident in Phoenix, Arizona as an example. An ambulance was leaving an accident scene with a crash victim inside of it. As it approached a red light, it slowed down to make sure the intersection was clear before proceeding. Another vehicle, though, did not stop for the ambulance. The two collided in the intersection.
Three people involved in that second crash needed to be hospitalized, but thankfully everyone should be okay. The driver of the car that struck the ambulance will be cited, the police said.
Sometimes when these emergency responder accidents occur, the driver of another car is at fault; but sometimes, the driver of the ambulance or police vehicle is at fault. Just because someone is an emergency responder does not mean they are excused for acting or driving negligently.
Imagine a perfectly plausible scenario: a police officer is driving around town. Picture being in the driver’s seat of a police car. There are radios and walkie-talkies going off everywhere; computer screens are flashing; cell phones are on the cop’s hip; the officer needs to be scanning all around to look for infractions or violation; and on top of all of this, the officer is supposed to drive safely.
It’s a distracting seat to be in, and it’s one that officers need to manage every day. If they look away from the road or are distracted by something happening in their vehicle, their inattention can constitute negligence. If that officer then causes a crash, they — or their department — could be held liable for the pain and injuries suffered by the victims of the accident.
Source: azfamily.com, “Ambulance collides with car while transporting crash victim,” Feb. 17, 2014