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Is the city government responsible for the damage a fire truck causes in an accident?

Question:  My father sustained severe injuries when a fire truck crashed into the car he was driving.  The fire truck was responding to a call when it flipped over onto the car my father was in.  Who is responsible for this type of accident and can I sue the city responsible?

Answer:  Many cities across the country have experienced an increase in the number of fire truck accidents in recent years.  Increasing traffic, better soundproofing in cars and the traditional right of way laws for emergency vehicles all play a role in the number of fire truck accidents.  Because of the size of the emergency vehicles and the speeds at which they are traveling, a fire truck crash can cause serious damage to other vehicles they strike, severely injuring or killing the occupants.

Fire truck accidents can occur because emergency vehicle operators fail to drive with due regard to safety as mandated by traffic laws.  Many of these accidents occur while the trucks are operating at high speeds, on their way to an emergency call.  Department policy states that drivers of fire trucks are allowed to use their own discretion.  However, they are also required to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding with caution.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a fire truck accident, you may be entitled to recover the funds associated with your injuries or property damage.  These types of accidents may be handled differently depending whether the fire company in question was a city department, a volunteer unit, unionized or not.  An attorney who has experience representing victims of fire truck accidents will be able to help you decide the best legal recourse.

Answered by Linda Adams

Additional Resources:

  • U.S. Department of Transportation - http://www.dot.gov/safety.html
  • Truck Accident Attorneys

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