Getting into an accident with any kind of vehicle can be stressful, but finding yourself in a collision involving an emergency vehicle, such as a fire truck, can be even more stressful and confusing. Most drivers know that they are supposed to slow down and move out of the way when an emergency vehicle is approaching. However, in some cases, drivers may not hear or see the fire truck coming, which can lead to an accident. Other times, even when drivers do attempt to move out of the way, a collision can still occur.
When you collide with a fire truck, it can be frustrating and confusing when it comes to determining fault and getting the compensation you may need to cover any damages such as medical expenses for injuries. In these situations, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you did not move out of the way and caused the collision, you could be held liable. However, if the fire truck hit you even after you attempted to get out of the way, you may be eligible for compensation. But, filing a claim against emergency vehicle operators can be challenging.
Indiana Emergency Vehicle Traffic Laws
Car accidents involving emergency vehicles are not uncommon. When emergency vehicle operators are in a hurry to save lives, they need other drivers to move out of their way. Unfortunately, not all drivers properly obey these “move over” laws, and in some cases, drivers may not hear the fire truck coming or might not have anywhere they can move to if there is heavy traffic.
When it comes to emergency vehicles, Indiana has a strict set of laws that other drivers must obey; otherwise, they may be held liable if an accident occurs. According to Indiana Code 9-21-8-35, if an emergency vehicle is displaying flashing lights and/or an audible siren, drivers must:
- Yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle.
- Immediately move the vehicle as close to the right side of the road or highway as possible.
- Stop and remain in position until the emergency vehicle has passed.
A driver who purposely violates the above can be charged and held liable if an accident occurs as a result of their negligence. The charges will be more severe if the accident results in bodily injury, catastrophic injury, or death to anyone operating or occupying the emergency vehicle.
Determining Fault in Fire Truck Accidents
Generally, fire trucks that operate with flashing lights and/or a siren always have the right-of-way. It is the duty of other drivers around them to stay alert and move out of the way as best as they can. There are some situations where it is understandable that a vehicle may not be able to move out of the way, such as when there is traffic and other cars block their path. However, if there is room to move over to the side of the road safely and you fail to do so, you can be held liable and faulted for causing an accident if one occurs.
What if the Fire Truck Hits Me?
If you did everything possible to safely move out of the path of the fire truck and they still collided with you, you may be entitled to recover compensation for damages. If you can show proof that you did your duty and moved out of the way but still got struck by the fire truck, the emergency vehicle operator can potentially be held liable for causing the accident, not you.
However, proving this can be difficult and will require the help of an experienced attorney. You will first have to file a special tort claim since fire departments are a branch of the local government. These special claims involve heavy paperwork and strict deadlines. You will also need to gather evidence such as video surveillance, photographs, eyewitness statements, and even accident reconstruction diagrams to show that you were not at fault.
Even if you have proof that you were not at fault, your claim still might not get approved as fire departments also are protected in certain situations and may not be held liable if they hit someone while on the way to the scene of a fire.
Our Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a fire truck, it is in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney. These types of cases can be challenging and require more work than your standard car accident case. Whether you think you were at fault or not, an experienced attorney can help guide you through the legal process to ensure the best possible outcome.
At Crossen Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience helping victims of car accidents, including those involving emergency vehicles. If you are injured in an accident involving a fire truck, contact us on our website or call us today at (317) 401-8626 for a free consultation!