While paramedics and EMTs serve a valuable function, they also can create a risk of serious car accidents when traveling at high rates of speed. Though emergency vehicles with lights and/or sirens activated can disregard some traffic safety laws, drivers of these vehicles must still exercise due care to avoid harming innocent bystanders. In this blog, we look more closely at car accident injury claims arising out of collisions with first responders.
Although most first responders consistently carry out their duties with proper caution and vigilance for the safety of others, those that fail to exercise due care can have a devastating impact. A study conducted by the Prehospital Emergency Care journal found that crashes caused by law enforcement officers engaged in high-speed pursuits claim the lives of an average of 323 people annually in the U.S. Tragically, these accidents claim innocent bystanders as victims nearly one-third of the time. Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, more people die in high-speed police chases each year than in floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning combined. Moreover, ambulances account for approximately 6,500 collisions per year according to the NHTSA. Approximately 35 percent of these crashes cause death or injury to at least one person.
Many crashes involving first responders involve high rates of speed, so injury victims tend to suffer severe injuries. These injuries can include paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, damage to internal organs, spinal cord injuries, and more. These types of disabling injuries often bring staggering financial challenges, resulting from lost income, disability, medical expenses, long-term supportive care, vehicle replacement/repair, and more.
Municipalities and other government entities can be liable for the negligent driving of their first responders, but this kind of case can be complicated. The severity of injury that often results from high impact crashes make the guidance and representation of an experienced New York car accident lawyer very important. An attorney can utilize his or her specialized knowledge and experience to navigate the special rules and exceptions to civil liability that apply to cases involving first responders operating emergency vehicles.
These rules include but are not limited to extremely short deadlines to pursue a claim along with formal notice requirements. Generally, an injury victim must commence a lawsuit against a negligent driver for car accident-related injuries within 3 years under New York’s statute of limitations, subject to narrow exceptions. However, an injured motorist must serve a Notice of Claim with specific information within 90 days of the accident to pursue a claim against a municipality or other government entity. Failure to provide such notice usually will bar the accident victim from seeking compensation from the city, county, or state.
Because of these extremely short deadlines and other special rules that apply when pursuing a car accident injury claim against a governmental entity in New York, injury victims should seek legal advice from an experienced New York personal injury lawyer.
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Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation for harm caused by negligent ambulance drivers. For your free consultation, contact our national injury law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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