Get into an Accident With a Firetruck? Here's What You Should Know


Every day, firefighters respond to countless calls to protect both life and property. Unfortunately, the rush to respond to the scene of a fire or other emergency can also put firefighters and other drivers at risk of being involved in a collision. According to a recent analysis from the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, there were approximately 31,600 crashes involving fire and rescue vehicles between 2000 and 2009.

If you were recently injured in an accident involving a fire truck or any other type of emergency vehicle, then you'll want to do everything possible to receive fair and just compensation for your injuries. The following goes in-depth about what you should know as you pursue your auto accident claim.

You're Not Automatically Held at Fault

Unless you happen to rear end a firetruck, you won't be considered automatically at fault. Instead, your liability for the accident, if any, will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident itself. There are plenty of variables for accident investigators to consider from both sides. For instance, factors that could significantly increase the fire service's responsibility for the accident include:

  • driver fatigue caused by working long hours, especially when working 24-hour shifts
  • reckless driving caused by firefighters taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel
  • driver inexperience or poor vehicle training
  • adverse weather conditions that drastically affect stopping distances and vehicle handling
  • equipment failure caused by poor maintenance

Keep in mind that you're required by law to yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles with active lights and sirens. If you fail to get out of the way prior to a crash, then you may be held at fault for the accident. If you've made every effort to yield before being struck or if you were struck by a fire truck that's not headed to a call, then there's a good chance the fire company will be held at fault.

You May End Up Pursuing Your Claim Against the Local Government

Pursuing an auto accident claim against another driver usually means dealing with the other driver's insurance provider. However, most municipalities choose to self-insure instead of relying on a municipal insurance provider, meaning that you and your attorney will end up dealing with your local government instead of an insurance company. As a result, you'll need to file your claim directly with the local government.

Dealing directly with a municipal government can pose a number of unique challenges. When filing your claim, it's important to keep the following information in mind:

  • You'll need to bring your claim forward before the statute of limitations run out. This time limit can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but most require you file a claim within 30 to 120 days after the accident.
  • In addition, you may also need to file a "Notice of Claim" to each government entity or employee involved in the accident, as well as the main government agency tasked with handling Notice of Claim forms.

Sovereign Immunity Could Be in Play

To reduce the prevalence of frivolous lawsuits, firefighters and other municipal workers are usually protected against certain liabilities under the state's sovereign immunity laws. These laws essentially prohibit certain types of legal action against government employees.

However, sovereign immunity doesn't mean that firefighters are immune to all types of injury claims. In cases where extreme negligence was involved, the government may have no other choice than to allow your claim to proceed. However, you may still be limited to receiving only compensatory damages if you prevail in court. Most sovereign immunity laws prohibit punitive damages from being awarded in cases involving municipal or state government agencies.

For an in-depth look at the process, visit resources like


20 December 2016

Getting Legal Help When You Need It Most

I have never been someone who likes the idea of suing another person, but after my family was plowed into by a drunk driver with no regard for the law, my tune changed. I realized that I needed to do what I could in order to make things right, so I started looking for a lawyer who could help me to fight for the settlement I deserved. It took a few months in court, but by the time I won my settlement, I felt a lot better about things. This blog is all about getting the legal help you need when you need it the most.