October 16, 2020
Car accidents in general can be incredibly frightening. Accidents involving larger vehicles like fire trucks could be even worse. Thorough knowledge of road rules and defensive driving habits are essential to preventing such collisions.
Because they are emergency vehicles, fire trucks are also protected from lawsuits in case of accidents that happen en route to a fire. If you were injured in a car accident with a fire truck, contact an Indiana car accident attorney for help filing a claim.
How to Yield for a Fire Truck
It’s important to keep in mind that fire trucks don’t have to follow standard traffic laws during an emergency. Their biggest priority is getting to the scene of a fire. Emergency vehicles always have the right of way.
If you see flashing emergency lights in your rearview mirror, safely move over to the right side of the road. If you are on a multi-lane road, move out of the lane the fire truck is using. Do not stop in the middle of the road. Instead, slow down after you pull over and stay out of the way until the emergency vehicle has passed. Keep in mind there may be multiple vehicles coming.
Heavy traffic may make pulling over difficult. Stay in your lane and slow down until you are able to move out of the way. If traffic does not give you space to pull over, do your best to stay out of the way.
If you are at an intersection, it doesn’t matter which vehicle arrived first. The firetruck always has the right of way. Allow the emergency vehicle to safely clear the intersection before you try to pass through yourself, but do not stop in the middle of the intersection.
Of course, things change if the fire truck was not on its way to the scene of an emergency. If sirens and flashing lights are off, the fire truck must follow regular traffic laws and you don’t have to pull over and allow a fire truck to pass.
Liability and Fire Engine Accidents
Failing to yield the right of way to a fire truck is dangerous. Emergency vehicle drivers report that drivers who fail to yield are the most common causes of accidents.
If you didn’t yield and caused an accident, you would have the majority of fault because emergency vehicles always have the right of way. However, there may be a chance that the fire truck driver shared some fault for the accident.
Firefighters have long shifts and must respond to emergencies any time of day or night. If sleep deprivation or substance abuse led to poor driving decisions, the fire department may share fault for the accident. Unsecured equipment, like a falling ladder or hose, or faulty truck parts could also cause an accident.
If you are in a collision with a fire truck, contact a personal injury attorney. They can pull the police report from the accident and explain whether or not you have a claim.
Can I Recover Damages After a Fire Truck Accident?
Filing a claim against a fire department is complicated for two reasons. Firstly, you would need to file a tort claim since the fire department is part of the local government. Tort claims against city governments entail heavy paperwork and deadlines and are best handled by an attorney.
Secondly, fire departments are protected by sovereign immunity, meaning they cannot be sued for decisions during a fire emergency. If you were in an accident with a fire truck on its way to the scene of a fire, sovereign immunity may prevent you from filing a claim.
There are so many factors that go into determining fault, and it’s very difficult to navigate situations like this on your own. In the event of any collision, make sure you reach out to an Indiana car accident attorney right away.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Fire engines are large vehicles, and you could so easily sustain serious injuries after a crash. Your Indiana accident lawyer can help argue that you deserve compensation for your injuries. If you need legal assistance after a serious collision, Hensley Legal Group is here for you. Please call, text, or chat with us online and we would be happy to go over the details of your case