Fire trucks are an absolute necessity. Without firefighters and their equipment, we would have a hard time fighting fires, keeping our homes and families safe. Despite this, sometimes fire trucks are themselves a danger. It is important to always yield to emergency vehicles on the road, but when they cause an accident through reckless or poor driving, there is no requirement to yield your legal rights.
Even though fire trucks are a necessity, there are plenty of opportunities for them to cause unneeded truck accidents and injuries and even death. Whether you were a driver or passenger in another car, a pedestrian, or one of the firefighters using the firetruck, you may have an opportunity to seek compensation for injuries you receive in a fire truck accident.
Causes of Accidents Involving Fire Trucks
Fire trucks are allowed to ignore many rules of the road when responding to emergencies, but that does not mean they are allowed full reign of the roads without any consequences. It is very important that fire trucks still drive safely, and avoid unnecessary risks to themselves and others.
Especially when a firetruck is not responding to an emergency, it has the same legal rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle on the road. This means that its gargantuan size and weight are a huge threat to other drivers. Ladder trucks can often weigh up to 92,000 pounds, and sit at up to 63 feet in length. Compared to a typical tractor-trailer at up to 80,000 pounds with a length of 65 feet, these trucks around the same size, but even heavier.
This means that the typical visibility and maneuverability issues of tractor-trailers are just as applicable to fire trucks. Firetruck drivers often have a poor line of sight from the driver’s seat, meaning that they often cannot see other cars and pedestrians directly behind the vehicle, just behind the cab to either side nor directly in front of the truck. Moreover, since fire trucks are often operating in tight streets, like those of cities and towns, the dangers of driving or walking near these trucks are even greater.
Firetrucks, unlike most large trucks, may even require a rear steering system. This puts an extra operator in a seat at the rear of the truck to steer the rear axle. While this may help with maneuverability, it also means strange, unexpected movements for other drivers and pedestrians around the truck. Even in a non-emergency situation, this might cause the truck to shift out of its lane, or otherwise take a turn in an unpredictable way, causing an accident.
Fire Truck Accident Liability
If you have been injured in a fire truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the firefighters, the fire department, and the local government. Any time someone is injured by someone else’s actions, there is a possibility that the court will award damages to the injured party. If you can prove that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence or bad action, the courts can hold them liable – even if they work for the government.
If you are a firefighter who was injured in an accident involving the operation of a fire truck, you might also have a case against your fire department and the negligent driver who injured you. Firefighters risk their lives keeping others safe, but there is no need to risk your life in routine truck operation. If your coworker’s negligent driving or operation of the vehicle’s apparatus caused you an injury, you do not need to accept that injury without seeking compensation.
Not even the government is above the law when it comes to causing injuries. However, some states do have rules to limit government liability for accidents and injury, so it is very important to talk to an attorney about what the process is like in your state. Furthermore, while some states allow you to sue the government for injuries, your compensation may be limited or “capped.”
Regardless, it is important to take your case to an experienced truck accident attorney if you or a loved one has been harmed. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you were injured in a fire truck accident.
If You Were in an Accident with a Fire Truck in Pennsylvania, Contact Our Attorneys
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident involving a fire truck, it is important to take your case to an attorney. The trucking accident lawyers of the Reiff Law Firm work across the nation to help people get their truck accident injuries compensated, and may be able to help you, too. Contact us online or call (215) 709-6940 today for a free consultation on your fire truck accident case.