Ambulance accidents have become common throughout New York State. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nationally, on average, there are approximately 4,500 accidents involving ambulances and 33 deaths each year. The vast majority of these deaths are to the driver of the other vehicle. Ambulance accidents often involve:
- Drivers of vehicles;
- Passengers of vehicles; and,
- Patients that are transported.
While ambulance drivers are required to operate the vehicle in a safe manner, he or she is exempt from adhering to the ordinary rules and regulations of the road for the purpose of medical emergencies. However, even though there may be a medical emergency, an ambulance driver must still keep the other drivers safe from injury.
Ambulance accidents often occur as a result of the negligence of an ambulance driver, including:
- Driving at an excessive rate of speed;
- Failing to pay attention;
- Operating an ambulance under the influence;
- Failing to use proper signals;
- Failing to notify the public of an emergency by using lights and sirens;
- Failing to yield; and
- Inappropriately operating the ambulance.
Negligence is a person’s failure to exercise an adequate level of care and caution and, as a result of this failure, he or she causes death or serious injuries to another person. Here, an ambulance driver will be liable if his or her conduct deviated from that of a reasonably prudent ambulance driver under similar circumstances.
In addition, under New York State law, a family member of a decedent may recover damages under a wrongful death action if a loved one is killed as a result of an ambulance driver’s negligence. Damages may include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Funeral and burial costs; and
- Lost financial support and companionship, among others.
If you or someone you love one has been injured or killed as a result of an ambulance driver’s negligence, contact a Long Island personal injury and wrongful death lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact the Central Islip personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at McGuire, Peleáz & Bennett P.C. (631) 348-1702 or fill out our contact form.