Fire truck accidents have increased nationwide and Florida is no exception to the trend. On October 19, 2015 the driver of a Cadillac MKZ was killed on US 301 in Hillsborough County when his vehicle drifted into the path of a fire engine and was struck head on. The fire truck was loaded with 10,000 gallons of water, making its weight as much as 10 times that of the SUV. In August of 2015, 12 people were injured in Miami in a crash between a fire engine and an EMS vehicle. Both were responding to emergencies with the EMS vehicle carrying a grandmother and two young boys. Neither vehicle yielded to the other as their paths crossed at an intersection. The impact flipped the EMS vehicle, injuring the occupants as well as the firefighters on the engine and the occupant of a third vehicle.
Fire trucks are at greater risk of accidents with injuries due to a number of reasons. They are very heavy and difficult to control and they often break speed limits responding to fires and other emergencies. They are more often speeding on crowded city streets rather than highways. Even with their warning lights, horns and sirens operating, they can suddenly appear in the path of other vehicles unexpectedly. Newer vehicles have excellent sound proofing to keep out traffic noise and sound systems which are played loudly, making it hard for the driver to hear an approaching fire truck. Add to that all of the distractions that may have the attention of the driver such as texting, talking, reading GPS maps, eating and more. While fire engine drivers may speed to reach an emergency where lives and property are in jeopardy, they are required to use reasonable caution. They are not permitted to run through a stop sign or red light without slowing and making sure they are seen and the path is clear. Assuming the driver of an approaching vehicle sees the fire engine and will yield the right of way is a common mistake and cause for many fire truck accidents.
Injuries may easily occur to the personnel riding on the fire truck also. They are often standing or seated without restraints. A sudden impact can cause the riders to be hurled from their positions. Also loose and unsecured equipment, such as ladders and hoses may lead to an accident, if they should come loose while the truck is in motion.
If You Were Injured in a Fire Truck Accident
Anyone who is injured in an accident with a fire engine needs to seek the counsel of an experienced truck accident attorney. The laws pertaining to city, county or state owned and operated emergency vehicles are far more complex that those for typical motor vehicles. The experienced truck accident attorney will be familiar with all of the rules and regulations regarding the safe operation of the fire truck. The attorney will delve into the speed of the vehicles, the training of the fire truck driver and whether the driver used reasonable safe driving tactics. He or she will investigate the traffic conditions and road conditions at the time of the accident even to the point of the level of the sun over the horizon. The attorney will locate any witnesses and take statements from them and also examine the police report. No one should ever try to battle the government in court alone at any level.
Dolman Law Group has been defending the rights of victims of accidents with all types of emergency vehicles including fire engines. Our team has the resources to accurately reconstruct the accident virtually and utilize expert witnesses. If you, or someone you care about, were injured in an accident with a fire engine, or any emergency vehicle, reach out to the attorneys at Dolman Law Group for a free evaluation of your case today. Do not try to fight the city, county or state alone. Call the Dolman Law Group at (727) 853-6275. You may be entitled to a cash award for medical bills, lost income as well as pain and suffering. You pay nothing until we win.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652