With more than 400,000 auto accidents occurring annually in Florida, the likelihood of you being involved is about 1 in 50. Chances are, you know what to do if you’re involved in a Florida car accident, too. But what do you do when it’s an ambulance that is the vehicle involved?
Unfortunately, accidents involving emergency vehicles such as an ambulance do occur, and they can be quite dangerous. In large part, this is due to the fact that they’re usually going pretty fast to get where they need to go.
When an ambulance goes through an intersection where oncoming traffic hasn’t had enough time to react, the results can be deadly.
When Can a Florida Ambulance Be Held Liable?
Ambulance drivers must, to a reasonable extent, disregard the normal rules of the road. They may often drive faster than the speed limit and not stop at stop signs or stoplights. Still, that doesn’t mean they can travel on roads recklessly.
In Florida, it is legal for emergency vehicles such as ambulances to:
- Proceed through a stop sign or signal only after they have slowed down to assess the safety of the situation
- Disregard regulations that govern the movement, direction, or turning in directions as long as the driver does not endanger property or life
- Exceed the maximum speed limit but not risk property or life in doing so
Even with these traffic exceptions, it is possible for an ambulance driver to be held liable for an accident. The key is to prove they were either not operating the ambulance safely or that they were endangering property or life in the actions they took.
An experienced attorney can help you to navigate a lawsuit against an ambulance after an accident and show they should be held liable through:
- Cameras on board the ambulance
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Police reports
- Stoplight camera footage
- Photos that were taken at the scene and damage to property
If evidence reveals that an ambulance did not abide by the rules they are bound to, such as not slowing down before proceeding through a red light or unnecessarily speeding, then you may be able to sue the ambulance company or carrier for damages.
What If You Were a Passenger in the Wrecked Ambulance in FL?
When you’re using an ambulance service to get emergency medical care and you are in the back of the ambulance during an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
That’s because as a passenger you have rights and are not responsible for injuries sustained during transport in an ambulance.
If you are not harnessed or secured properly in the back of an ambulance, then any sudden acceleration or deceleration can cause injuries.
When the driver of the ambulance is found negligent in an accident by being inattentive as they drive or don’t engage their emergency sirens to warn oncoming traffic at intersections, then you can sue for damages that stem from any injuries you sustain.
Not only do auto accidents often result in injuries that can impact your quality of life, but they also can be complicated to ensure you get compensation.
When you add an ambulance into the mix, it can be an even more complex situation. Understanding when and how an ambulance can be held liable for an accident is the first step in ensuring your safety and coverage should one occur.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.