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What Happens if an Ambulance Crashes Into My Car?

Being in a car accident can be a scary and confusing situation. You’re first, and foremost, focused on making sure you and your loved ones are safe. But quickly, you might begin to think of the practical concerns with recovering from an auto accident: medical bills, insurance company costs, replacing damaged property, and missed work.  

This confusion might be amplified when your crash involves emergency responders, emergency vehicles, or emergency drivers. While traffic laws are in place to protect emergency vehicle drivers, some situations can be considered for lawsuits.

Here you’ll learn more about how to protect yourself and your entitlements after an ambulance crashes into your car.

How Often Do Crashes Involving Emergency Vehicles Occur?

emergency transports

Approximately 6,500 ambulance-related accidents occur annually, placing ambulance drivers and other emergency vehicles at a higher risk of being involved in a vehicle accident compared to other first responders. A national study estimates that approximately 93% of accidents were due to ambulance or fire truck operator error and nearly 60% of accidents occurred during active emergency transports. 

Can Emergency Drivers Be Sued after an Accident Involving Emergency Vehicles?

There are many Indiana laws in place that provide immunity to government and emergency drivers when performing their duty. The Indiana Tort Claims Act (Indiana Code Section 34-14-3) specifically outlines situations in which the government may or may not be found at fault for employee actions. 

ambulance accident

Many situations are protected and do not allow victims to pursue legal action, but injured parties can file a lawsuit when involved in a car accident with police cars, fire trucks, or another emergency vehicle.

Certain time requirements and limitations must be acknowledged after the crash happened:

  • Injury cases against municipal entities must be filed within 270 days of the accident.
  • Lawsuits involving state entities must be filed within 180 days of the incident.
  • Compensation for injuries is capped at $700,000 but can not include punitive damages.

In Indiana, most car accident cases utilize comparative fault to evaluate the level of responsibility the victim may be at fault for in the crash. If a jury determines that you are at fault for less than 50% of the accident, then you are still entitled to recover damages.

Determining Fault in a Crash With an Ambulance

As mentioned above, legal protections outside those for non-emergency vehicles are in place to protect emergency responders due to the nature of their jobs. However, ambulances and EMS act according to their own guidelines.

Some actions could be considered negligent when determining if an ambulance driver was at fault in an accident:

  • Failing to use additional caution in highly populated areas.
  • Driving at high speeds when making turns or changing lanes or without using proper emergency lights and sirens.
  • Failing to stop at stop signs for pedestrians in designated crosswalks or nonmotorist areas.
  • Driving while intoxicated, under the influence, distracted, or overtired.

Evidence of one or more of these factors would be needed to prove the driver’s negligence to see the emergency responder held liable for the ambulance accident and help a victim when recovering compensation.

Move-Over Laws and Ambulance Crashes

move over laws

Indiana move-over laws protect ambulance personnel and other motorists.

When flashing lights, red lights, and sirens are noted, community drivers have a civil liability to:

  • Slow your vehicle down to at least 10 mph below the speed limit
  • Safely move your vehicle over to put approximately one lane’s distance between themselves and the emergency vehicle.

These laws save lives. If you fail to comply and are involved in a car crash, you could be fined and potentially lose your license.

Speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer in such cases and keeping careful documentation of any emergency vehicle accidents can help you ensure that you are protected under this state law.

What Should Drivers Do After Being Hit by an Emergency Vehicle?

6500 ambulance accidents

In any car accident involving other vehicles, your first step should be to seek immediate medical attention. Without a proper evaluation, missed or unseen injuries can become more serious and even life-threatening.

After your immediate safety is secured, you should file a police report. This step is important to begin keeping formal records of the events to support your potential case. Additionally, maintain copies of all your medical, insurance, work-related, or other documents that outline costs or lost wages associated with the accident to see the driver held accountable.

Seek an experienced personal injury lawyer to review your emergency vehicle case. As mentioned above, there are laws in place to protect emergency responders and emergency vehicles involved in unfortunate car accidents. However, personal injury claims may be made under certain circumstances.

What Damages Could Be Covered After Crashes Involving Emergency Vehicles

Though appreciative of the important service ambulance and emergency personnel provide to our communities, ambulance accidents result in injuries and losses that can take a toll on your life.  

If your emergency vehicle case is eligible for filing a lawsuit against a government entity and/or the emergency personnel is determined to be at fault, then you can receive up to $700,000 in compensation for injury costs after an ambulance hits you.

This may include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Rehabilitative therapy 
  • Mental health services 
  • Personal property damage to other vehicles
  • Lost income and more

An experienced professional can help you consider the costs you may recoup for crashes involving ambulances and other emergency vehicles. 

Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer on Your Side After Ambulance Accidents

If an ambulance, fire truck, or other emergency vehicle crashes into your car, it can be a complicated and shocking situation. Being injured adds layers of physical and emotional distress that can take time to recover. However, sovereign immunity legislature can make it difficult to know when a victim is entitled to file a legal suit and if the government or ambulance driver can be considered at-fault. 

That’s why it is vital to partner with personal injury experts at Crossen Law Firm. As an experienced team of car accident attorneys, we will gather evidence to show that the accident caused by the other vehicle led to your injuries. Don’t be intimidated by government agencies when you were driving safely and were struck by an emergency vehicle. We take pride in helping you navigate the process, and minimize the stress that accompanies legal action so you can focus on getting back to your life.

Get all of the compensation that is legally allowed. Leave your worries in the rearview mirror and let us handle the emergency driver accidents.

Schedule a free consultation today to see if your ambulance crash case qualifies for a lawsuit and learn more about our professional expertise or call us at 317-401-8626.