Emergency Crews Are Not Exempt From Traffic Safety

We’ve all been on the road when emergency response vehicles are in action.  Police, EMS and fire vehicles are well equipped with the proper identifiers, and are often larger in size than the average vehicle on the road. Lights, sirens and automated traffic signals typically provide ample time for individuals to identify the source and direction of the emergency vehicle, thus allowing motorists to safely yield.  However, there are times when emergency responders must yield to motorists to gain safe passing distance – regardless of the crisis situation they are dealing with.

Responders are Governed by a Unique Set of Laws

While fire and EMS responders may not have to abide by posted speed limits, light signals and other general traffic rules, they are mandated to adhere to a  “duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property on the highway.” Unfortunately, across the state of Ohio, innocent motorists have crossed paths with responders resulting in dangerous or deadly consequences. Pursuing legal and financial reimbursement is not disrespectful of the services performed by these individuals, but rather necessary to compensate and provide care and the means to adequately handle the ramifications of an accident.
Emergency responders have special rules and regulations they must follow on the road during a run:
  • While stopping at posted signs or light signals is not required, responders must yield to uphold the safety of all on the road
  • Emergency responders must stop for school buses actively loading or unloading children
  • If appropriate, emergency vehicles can cross the yellow double line, and travel the wrong way down a one way street – so long as the safety of others on the road is minded

In the case of an accident involving a motorist and an emergency vehicle, it is possible for a township or city to be held liable if the emergency response driver was found to be driving negligently. If the driver was found to be operating the fire, police or EMS vehicle recklessly, the victim can pursue a legal claim for compensation from the employing party.  In certain scenarios, the driver may also be held responsible if they are found to have been operating the vehicle in such a manner that there was proof of willful or wanton misconduct.

As your Ohio personal injury lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

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Emergency Vehicle Accidents and Safety - A Free Pass From Traffic Laws?
Every day, residents of every community are thankful for their police, fire and EMS departments. These men and women put their lives at risk for us every day. There are times however, that these men and women recklessly drive to an emergency situation and place others in harms way. It is important to understand emergency responders have a duty to keep other motorists safe even when responding to an emergency. If you or someone you know was injured as a result of recklessness or negligence on the part of the responder, you need to contact me or another highly experience accident attorney.
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