Emergency vehicles still have to be driven carefully

Many states have laws that give special privileges to drivers of emergency vehicles, such as being able to go faster than the speed limit or run stop signs and red lights.

ambulance But this doesn’t mean that emergency personnel are completely off the hook if they cause an accident. That’s because, even when responding to an urgent call, emergency drivers still have to exercise a reasonable amount of care. If they don’t, their employer may be liable.

In one recent case, Robin Jones was heading through a green light at an intersection when a county fire rescue truck turned left against the red light, smashing into Jones’s car and causing her serious injuries.

In court, the county argued that Robin should have stopped when the fire truck approached.

But Robin argued that even emergency drivers have an obligation when running red lights to stop momentarily and confirm that the coast is clear. In this case, the emergency driver admitted that another car had blocked his view of Robin’s lane, but he had turned anyway. And while the driver had his emergency lights on, his vehicle was a Ford F-250 with lights on the sides of the vehicle, which are less visible than the light bar on top of a typical police car.

A jury weighed the facts and decided that the emergency driver was 60% at fault for the accident, which meant Robin could be compensated for 60% of her damages.