Residents of Lexington often see emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire engines, and ambulances on the roads. When there is a fire, medical emergency, car crash, or the police are chasing a suspect, emergency vehicles are no strangers to speeding, making unsafe lane changes, running red lights, and committing other traffic violations. Unfortunately, accidents involving police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances are not uncommon in Lexington or other parts of Kentucky. But what happens when your crash involves an emergency vehicle that was violating traffic laws?
Emergency Vehicle Accident in Lexington, Kentucky
An accident involving an emergency vehicle recently occurred in Lexington. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, a driver of an SUV sustained critical injuries after a collision with a fire engine on Harrodsburg Road. The accident occurred when the engine was making a left turn onto Beaumont Centre Parkway. The fire truck hit the SUV, which was traveling outbound. The SUV driver was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, while none of the three firefighters aboard the fire truck were injured. The fire engine had been responding to a call of a gas leak when the crash occurred. According to the police, the fire truck’s lights were flashing and the siren was sounding, while witnesses confirmed that the emergency vehicle had the right-of-way.
Who is Liable in Collisions Involving Emergency Vehicles?
When an emergency vehicle such as a fire engine, police car, or ambulance is involved in an auto accident, establishing fault can be quite complicated. However, under Kentucky law, emergency vehicles have the right-of-way when their lights and sirens are activated. In light of this, more often than not, the other motorist will be held liable for colliding with an emergency vehicle. However, what if the emergency vehicle’s siren was not activated or the lights were out at the time of the accident? In this situation, the emergency vehicle would have to comply with traffic laws like any other vehicle on the road. However, the victim would still have to prove that the driver of the emergency vehicle was negligent in order to recover damages. The court will have to determine whether the emergency driver was negligent in failing to activate the siren or flash their lights. Then, the court would determine who had the right-of-way when the collision happened. Even though emergency vehicles are permitted to speed, make unsafe lane changes, run red lights, and engage in other illegal driving behaviors when rushing to an accident scene, they are still required to be careful to avoid causing harm to motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and other parties.
What if the Crash Aggravates the Victim’s Injuries?
The question of liability becomes even more confusing if the accident aggravates the existing injury of someone who had just been in another crash and is being transported in an ambulance. Who would be responsible for those “second injuries”? Under Kentucky law, several parties can be held accountable for the victim’s injuries. If the second crash was foreseeable as a result of the first accident, the driver who caused the first collision might be responsible for all the injuries. The second negligent driver can also be responsible for all the injuries because Kentucky law follows the concept that “you take your victim as you find him.” For example, if someone is injured in a motorcycle accident and then gets re-injured again while being transported to a hospital, the second at-fault motorist can be liable for both. Consult with a Lexington car accident lawyer if you were in a collision involving an emergency vehicle. Let our knowledgeable attorneys at Roberts Law Office determine liability in your case. Call at (859) 231-0202.