Ambulance drivers perform an essential, life-saving service for people throughout the U.S. They are faced with the difficult task of navigating the roads at high speeds en route to those in need. However, they still have a legal and moral responsibility to keep others safe in the process.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 34 people were killed in collisions with ambulances in 2012—not to mention the number of injuries suffered. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to an ambulance accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today. Our skilled personal injury lawyers have spent more than 80 combined years fighting for the injured in New Jersey and New York, collecting more than $300 million in compensation along the way. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have the experience and commitment to see your claim through to the very end and hold the guilty party accountable for their negligence. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today.
Causes of Ambulance Accidents
Certain reckless driving activities can open up a driver to liability. Although ambulance drivers are given special permission to disregard stop signs and stoplights, they still must follow reasonable safety precautions to minimize the risk of harm. Causes of ambulance accidents may include:
- Driving under the influence
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to adjust for weather conditions
- Passing in a no-pass zone or when it is unsafe to do so
However, it is important to note that this is not a complete list of reckless driving activities. Any action taken while driving that presents a serious risk to other drivers on the road can open up the driver to liability for injuries caused.
Injuries in Ambulance Accidents
Ambulances tend to drive at a high speed, which greatly increases the risk of sustaining a serious injury. Injuries in an ambulance accident can include:
- Catastrophic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Face injuries
- Scrapes, bruises, and lacerations
- Psychological injuries
Motor vehicle collisions are among the most common causes of injuries in the U.S. In New Jersey alone, there were 284,062 car accidents in 2012, resulting in 589 deaths and many more injuries.
After a serious accident, it is important to seek medical attention, regardless of whether or not you think it is necessary. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or concussions, are not always apparent right away, making it extremely important to consult a doctor. Plus, if you plan to file a personal injury claim, it is much easier to prove the extent of your injuries when you went to see a doctor immediately after the accident. If you delay going to the doctor by weeks or even days, an opposing attorney can argue that you were not really injured (or not injured badly enough to necessitate medical attention).
Damages in a Personal Injury Case
If an ambulance driver’s reckless driving caused you to get in an accident, you could have grounds for a personal injury case. Filing a personal injury claim allows you to seek compensation for your injuries, as well as other losses.
Compensatory damages, which are designed to reimburse the plaintiff for losses caused by the accident, include compensation for financial, physical, and emotional losses. Compensatory damages in an ambulance accident case can include compensation for:
- Medical treatment: includes hospitalization costs, ongoing treatment expenses, rehabilitation costs, and any expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages: compensation for wages lost while out of work due to the injury, as well as decreased earning capacity in the future if the injury will continue to affect the victim
- Loss of enjoyment of life: covers loss of enjoyment of day-to-day activities, recreation, hobbies, and exercise
- Pain and suffering: the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident, including the pain of the physical injuries and ongoing emotional trauma
- Wrongful death: compensation for the family or estate of someone killed by a negligent driver
There is no limit on compensatory damages in the state of New Jersey. In other words, as long as you have proof for the monetary amount of damages suffered, you are entitled to recover the full amount in a personal injury case.
It is important to note that New Jersey operates under a type of “comparative negligence” system. Under comparative negligence, each driver is assigned a certain portion or percentage of fault in the accident. Under the New Jersey system, the injured person can win damages as long as his or her negligence in the accident was not greater than the other driver’s negligence. In other words, the injured person could be partially responsible for the accident and still win money in a lawsuit—so long as the injured person was not more than 50 percent at fault in the accident. The total amount of damages awarded will be adjusted based on each party’s level of fault.
For example, say John was stopped at a red light at 1 a.m. with one brake light out. An ambulance driver is barrelling toward the intersection at 20 mph over the speed limit, distracted by his phone conversation. The ambulance driver is unable to stop in time and hits John’s car, causing $100,000 worth of damage and injuries to John and his car. The court (or insurance adjuster, depending on the circumstances) finds that John is 10 percent at fault for not having two functioning brake lights and the ambulance driver is 90 percent at fault for speeding and distracted driving. John is now eligible to recover up to $90,000, a 10 percent decrease from the original $100,000 in damages.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are proud to represent the injured throughout New Jersey and New York. Since opening our doors in 1974, we have been committed to the highest standards of excellence in personal injury litigation. Our million-dollar and multi-million-dollar settlements have earned us inclusion in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, of which fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi was named to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firms list of 2013, and Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo have received the highest possible ratings as car accident attorneys by the AVVO Lawyer Ratings service.
With more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience, we are prepared to investigate your claim and fight to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in an ambulance accident, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.