Ambulance Accident Attorney in Lousiana
Ambulances and other emergency vehicles perform a vitally important job every day for thousands of Louisianans. Because ambulances are often driving people experiencing life-or-death emergencies, drivers will exceed the posted speed limit, disregard traffic signals, and weave through other vehicles to get their patients to the hospital in time.
Of course, many of these maneuvers are necessary to provide care to the person on the ambulance, and in fact Louisiana has a number of laws requiring other drivers to yield the right-of-way or even pull over to accommodate emergency vehicles. However, emergency vehicles still have a responsibility in those situations to drive within their capability—when they don’t, they can cause a serious car accident.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that when ambulance drivers use lights and sirens to communicate their presence, they are 16 times more likely to crash. In 2020 alone, 180 people died during crashes with emergency vehicles, the majority of which were passengers in the other vehicle or pedestrians. Because of the greater size of ambulances, fire engines, and other emergency vehicles, they put other drivers at greater risk of injury and death during a crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an ambulance, you could be entitled to financial compensation, especially if the ambulance driver was negligent in their duty of care when on the road. Reach out to the experienced injury lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free consultation and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.
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How an Ambulance Accident Can Harm Other Drivers
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have a variety of jobs while transporting patients to the hospital. They need to be able to stabilize patients, perform emergency care, and operate the ambulance safely and quickly to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
Even with all these responsibilities, EMTs should be most concerned with the safety of their passengers and other drivers on the road. When an ambulance driver doesn’t make safety their top priority, an accident can happen. Some examples of scenarios leading to an ambulance wreck can include
- A mechanical failure, such as brake failure, engine failure, or tire blowout
- A distracted or inattentive ambulance driver
- An improperly-secured patient or other object in the ambulance’s interior
- A driver who doesn’t take the proper precaution when driving through an intersection
- Another driver who’s texting and driving or otherwise distracted
- Another driver who’s possibly drunk, speeding, or otherwise driving aggressively and collides with an ambulance
- An overly-fatigued ambulance driver drifting into oncoming traffic
Even though paramedics are trained professionals, they are still human, and subject to overwork, distraction, and many other foibles that can lead to an ambulance wreck. However, because of their jobs, they should be held to a higher standard of safety.
Liability After a Louisiana Ambulance Accident
Generally, whoever caused the ambulance accident to happen will be held liable for the damages generated. More than one party can be found responsible as well, depending on the circumstances. Any of the following parties could be found responsible for the wreck and a portion of the damages:
- The ambulance driver
- The driver of another vehicle who failed to yield
- The company responsible for maintaining the ambulance, if a mechanical failure contributed to the wreck
- The person in charge of securing medical equipment in the back of the ambulance
- Government agencies responsible for road and traffic signal upkeep
- and others
Privately-owned Vs. Government-owned Ambulances: What You Need to Know
Most emergency vehicles and their drivers are immune from personal injury lawsuits if the accident occurred while they were responding to an accident. However, this protection only applies to government-operated ambulance services that were dispatched by 911. Even then, the driver’s immunity will depend on the particulars of your case, which is why you should consult with an ambulance injury lawyer.
However, some ambulance services are privately-owned, and subject to different rules. Private ambulances are never dispatched by 911, and are instead used to relieve state- and county-owned emergency vehicles when the patient is relatively stable or minimally injured.
Private ambulance drivers usually must get permission from a dispatch supervisor before using their lights or sirens, even in an emergency. Additionally, they should never violate traffic laws like speed limits, traffic signals, or lane divisions—so when these drivers drive like government-run ambulances, they can put everyone on the road at risk.
In fact, ambulance crash investigations have shown that private ambulance companies often fail to properly train their drivers, fail to supervise them, and also fail to enforce their own safety protocols designed to keep other members of the public safe.
If you’ve been injured during an accident with an ambulance or other emergency vehicle, you might be able to recover compensation for your damages from the driver or owner of the ambulance. Call the experienced ambulance lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your legal situation.
Emergency vehicle accidents can be complicated to settle and litigate. You need an advocate on your side who can hold the people at fault for your injuries accountable for their negligence. You need Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys.
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