As you may be aware, if you’re injured in a Road Traffic Accident (RTA), you could claim compensation for any injuries if the accident was caused by somebody else’s negligence. Did you know, though, that the same is true for accidents with emergency services vehicles? If you’re injured in a collision with a fire engine, police car, or ambulance and the other driver was to blame, you could seek compensation. It’s even possible to start a claim if the emergency services vehicle had its lights flashing and sirens on.
Our personal injury team for RTA’s can help if you do decide to make a claim and will start with an advisor reviewing your case with you. They’ll offer free advice on your options and, if there is a reasonable chance of winning your case, could connect you with one of our personal injury solicitors. If your case is accepted, your solicitor will work for you on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you’ve been hit by a police car, ambulance, fire engine, or lifeboat crew and want to begin an accident claim right away, simply call us on 0800 6524 881. Otherwise, please continue reading to learn more about the claims process.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For An Accident With An Emergency Vehicle?
- Evidence To Support An Accident Claim
- Common Injuries In RTA’s
- How Much Compensation For Being Hit By An Emergency Services Vehicle Could I Claim?
- Accident Claim Time Limits
- How Solicitors Can Help With Emergency Vehicle Accident Claims
While it’s true that the emergency services play a vital role in society, it’s also true that they aren’t above the law. When responding to an emergency call, vehicles are allowed certain privileges. They can pass red lights and drive above the speed limit. However, they must still think about the safety of other road users and pedestrians. To be eligible to make a claim for an accident with an emergency vehicle, you’ll need to show that:
- An accident occurred because the other driver was negligent in some way; and
- As a direct result of the accident, you sustained an injury.
As with any other type of RTA, you will need evidence to show who was responsible for the accident, how it happened, and the severity of your injuries.
In short, no they’re not. Drivers of emergency services vehicles must follow the same rules of the road as you do. If they are involved in an accident, they could still be found liable even if driving in an emergency situation. The same also applies to coastguards and lifeboat crews.
When emergency vehicles are being driven without sirens or flashing lights, the driver must stop at red lights and drive within the speed limits. In emergencies, they can essentially break those rules but only in a way that doesn’t put other road users in danger.
If a driver of an emergency services vehicle causes an accident through dangerous, reckless, or careless driving, any injured parties could claim compensation for their injuries.
If you notice an emergency services vehicle with its lights flashing, you should try to move out of its way if you can do so safely. This might involve pulling over to the side of the road or changing lanes.
If you don’t take evasive action, and a collision occurs, it may be argued that you were partially responsible for the accident. In this scenario, you could still claim but your compensation might be reduced accordingly. This is known as contributory negligence. If any person deliberately obstructs the emergency services, they could be prosecuted under The Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006.
If you’d like to check whether you’re eligible to seek damages, please call an advisor.
There are several pieces of evidence that you could supply that can help if you do decide to seek damages. Some evidence will be available at the time of the accident, others can be requested later on. While this process might seem time-consuming, it could certainly improve your chances of being awarded the maximum compensation. The evidence you could use includes:
- Dash cam footage. Many police cars, ambulances, and fire engines use dash cams these days. They will usually provide more information than any camera you might have in your car. If your accident is captured on an emergency vehicle’s camera, you can request a copy of the footage.
- Witness details. If it is unclear who was liable for your accident, witnesses could be contacted by your solicitor for a statement.
- Other driver’s details. As you would in any other type of road collision, take as many details as possible from the driver of the other vehicle. Ask to get their badge number, name, contact number, insurance details, and vehicle registration number.
- Photos. It’s always a good idea to get your phone out when safe to do so and take pictures of the accident scene. Try to take any photos before anything has been moved.
- Medical records. It’s important to get any injuries treated properly. After treatment at A&E, your GP surgery, or a minor injuries unit for whiplash and back pain, you could ask for a copy of your medical records. These could be used as evidence to prove the severity of your injuries.
When you’ve got as much evidence as you can obtain, go ahead call our team on 0800 6524 881. We’ll review everything with you and explain your options for free.
As each accident is completely different, there’s no definitive list of injuries that could result from a road traffic accident. However, here are some common injuries that might be claimed for:
Importantly, low-value whiplash claims (less than £5,000) can now be claimed for through a new government portal. It would not be cost-effective for us to help with these claims. However, putting a value on your claim can be quite tricky. Therefore, we’d suggest you speak to one of our advisors and they’ll point you in the right direction.
If you claim compensation for being hit by a police car, ambulance, fire engine, or any other vehicle, the settlement amount will generally be based on:
- General damages. This covers the pain and suffering you’ve endured. Also, you can claim for loss of amenity too. Loss of amenity’s explained here.
- Special damages. Here you’ll claim for any costs linked to the accident and your injuries. For example, you might want to claim back any care or medical costs. Additionally, you could claim back any income you’ve lost as well.
A medical assessment may be required for your compensation claim. Our solicitors can usually arrange these with a local independent medical expert.
Generally, an accident claim involving an emergency services vehicle must be made within 3-years of the accident, or from when your injury was diagnosed. One exception to this rule is where a child is injured. In that scenario, you can use the litigation friend process where a suitable person, for example a parent/guardian, can claim at any point before the child turns 18-years old. Alternatively, if no claim has been made, once the child reaches 18 and they’re able to do so, they’ll then have 3-years to claim themselves.
Our advice is to start your claim swiftly. One reason for that is that, if liability is admitted, your solicitor could ask for private medical care to be paid for. Another is that you’ll give your solicitor plenty of time to gather evidence to support your case.
To make a successful compensation claim, you’ll need to clearly demonstrate a) how your accident occurred, b) who caused it and c) the extent of your injuries. If you can’t convince the defendant’s insurer that their client was responsible, you might not be compensated, or you’ll be paid too little.
Personal injury solicitors, in our opinion, improve the chances of winning your case. If one of our solicitors agrees to work on your case, they will:
- Go through everything with you so they fully understand how you’ve suffered.
- Collect evidence.
- Arrange for medical reports.
- Communicate with the defendant on your behalf.
- Provide regular updates.
- Answer any queries, arguments, or objections, and provide additional evidence where necessary.
- Attempt to secure the largest amount of compensation possible.
Before accepting any settlement offer, they’ll review it with you. If it doesn’t seem a fair amount, your solicitor could go back and negotiate for more on your behalf.
If you are now thinking of starting a compensation claim for an accident with an emergency vehicle, please call us on 0800 6524 881 to begin. A No Win No Fee solicitor could begin working for you right away.