Understanding Emergency Vehicle Accidents: Dangers and Liability Explained
While emergency vehicles (i.e. police cars, fire trucks and ambulances) are often thought of as first responders coming to help people when accidents occur, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes these emergency vehicles can be to blame for accidents leading to personal injuries. A recent example of this is a lawsuit that was filed against an Albuquerque police officer who ran a red light and sadly killed an 85 year old woman. This is one example out of many that have occurred since January 2019; 506 crashes to be more exact. Out of the 506 crashes that occurred, 262 were preventable. Emergency vehicle accidents can be devastating and deadly in New Mexico.
If you or a loved one were involved in an Albuquerque auto accidents, ask the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for help with your case. Our experienced lawyers handle emergency vehicle accidents throughout New Mexico, especially Albuquerque. Learn more about these unique types of accidents and how we can help you today.
Overview of Emergency Vehicle Accidents
Emergency vehicles are supposed to be there to help people, not harm people. While there are certain laws in place for drivers (i.e. yielding to the right of way when we see an emergency vehicle with their lights on), there are certain instances in which emergency vehicles fail to notify drivers they need to pull over, which can cause an accident as a result. This is because drivers are not required by law to yield to an emergency vehicle if their lights are not on.
While you may immediately feel that an accident was your fault if you it involves an emergency vehicle, this is simply not always the case. Unfortunately, drivers of emergency vehicles can drive recklessly which can cause personal injuries or even death. There are times when emergency vehicles can be the sole cause of an accident, with no fault to the other driver.
Liability in Emergency Vehicle Accident Accidents
There are certain laws in place that emergency vehicles must follow. According to NM Stat. 66-7-6 (B), subsection (a) provides that “[u]pon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle displaying flashing emergency lights or when the driver is giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield to the right of way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed except when otherwise directed by a police officer.”
This is a very important statute to follow. Not only can it result in a ticket for you or in a delay in getting help to someone, it could also result in a serious collision causing you personal injuries or worse.
The law must be followed precisely by police or emergency vehicles to avoid a collision and to get the protections (i.e., able to violate traffic laws) of the statute. For instance, if an emergency vehicle driver drives at excessive speed, runs a red light or a stop sign, they must have BOTH a flashing light and a siren on. Failure to do either of those things can put the driver of the emergency vehicle at fault. Additionally, an emergency vehicle running a red light or stop sign must still slow down to safely go through the red light or stop sign. In order to require other drivers to yield to the right of way, they must have either their siren on or a flashing light. Failure to either of these things can also put the emergency vehicle owner at fault.
If an emergency vehicle does not have these precautions on, it can result in liability for the police officer and for the municipality.
Get Help from Our Law Firm
If you or your loved one was involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle in Albuquerque New Mexico, you should call our law farm. The attorneys at Caruso Law can help you and your loved ones to determine if there was fault on the part of the emergency vehicle; whether that be partial fault or was entirely their fault. Learn how we can help you by dialing (505) 883-5000.
We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico. Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.