Even if the emergency vehicle had its lights flashing and sirens on, it is still possible to pursue a legal remedy. As these vehicles are responding to emergency calls, they are allowed certain privileges such as breaking red lights and exceeding the speed limit if necessary. However, the drivers of these emergency vehicles still must be mindful of the safety of other road users and pedestrians. If you or a family member have been involved in an accident involving a Garda car, fire engine, or ambulance it is imperative that you talk to a solicitor if you wish to pursue a claim.
Involved in an Emergency Vehicle Accident?
Being involved in an emergency vehicle accident, regardless of how serious the road traffic accident was, can be a traumatic experience – especially if you have sustained any injuries. In cases where you are involved in an emergency vehicle accident that was not your fault, there may be a legal remedy. This legal remedy you can seek by way of an emergency vehicle accident claim.
Common Emergency Vehicle Accident Claims*
In order to get to their destinations as quickly as possible, emergency vehicles may be excluded from several standard road restrictions, such as exceeding the speed limit, but they must still travel at a speed that allows the driver to maintain control of the vehicle. Even though emergency services vehicles have highly skilled drivers, they must nevertheless take steps to avoid causing an accident while responding to an emergency.
Emergency vehicles are more likely to be at fault for a road traffic accident if the vehicle does not have sirens and lights switched on. Sirens and lights are necessary in the event of an emergency where the emergency vehicle will have to drive at a higher speed than normal. This is vital to ensuring other road users are aware of the fast-paced vehicle approaching them. Furthermore, if you are involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle when their emergency lights and sirens are not signalling, i.e. the vehicle is not responding to an emergency but is still traveling on the road, you may still be able to pursue a claim.
The most common emergency vehicle accident claims are:
What do I do if I’m involved in an emergency vehicle accident?
Seek medical attention
Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after an emergency vehicle accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries. Then check if any passengers or anybody else involved in the accident need medical attention. If you or anyone else involved has sustained a serious injury, ensure that you make an emergency call by contacting an ambulance to attend the scene.
For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.
Gather all relevant information at the scene
It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your emergency vehicle accident:
- Details of other driver(s)/ people involved: name, address, contact information, vehicle registration number, and vehicle insurance information. You can also offer your own information to the others involved in the accident.
- Name and contact details of any emergency service workers at the scene – paramedics/Gardai.
- Take a picture of the scene, from different angles; this will help your solicitor understand how the accident happened.
- If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident, such as CCTV cameras in a nearby shop, for example, you should try to obtain this footage.
- Dash Cam footage – if you have any.
- Record the time and date of the accident.
- Weather conditions at the time.
Report the incident to the Gardaí
Regardless of how minor or serious the accident was, it is important that you call the Gardai to report the accident immediately. If the accident involves a Garda member, it is still important that you report the accident to the Gardaí so that another member of the force comes out to the scene to investigate the accident.
For minor accidents, members of an Garda Síochána may tell you that they will not be attending the scene. It may be a case where you can settle the issue yourself. In this scenario, the appropriate information should be exchanged. In these cases, it is also important that you visit your nearest Garda station to request that they take details of the accident and to take your statement about the accident.
For more serious accidents, where an ambulance or the fire department have been called, the Gardai may arrive at the scene to assess, take statements from the people involved and any witnesses.
Contact your insurance company
If you are the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, it is important to inform your own insurance company, so they have a record.
Speak to a bus accident claims solicitor
If you are considering moving forward with an emergency vehicle accident claim for any personal injuries sustained, it is advisable that you speak with a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. An accident solicitor can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without any unnecessary delays.
It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or Garda reports, where possible as you will need them when making a medical claim.