A Dangerous Job
Firetrucks operate in emergency situations, making the profession inherently dangerous. When heavy traffic is coupled with the need to reach a distressed person or family quickly, the possibility of danger increases significantly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each year over 30,000 fire truck accidents occur, resulting in thousands of injuries.
While firetrucks tend to operate at low speeds, there are a number of factors that contribute to the high number of firetruck accidents annually. Firetrucks themselves are heavy and enormous. When emergencies do occur, they must travel at high speeds to save lives. Not only must the vehicles rush to get to their destinations, they must also contend with traffic that so often clogs roadways and intersections.
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Causes of Fire Truck Accidents
A number of factors can lead to firetruck accidents. Firetruck accidents most often involve the truck and a passenger motor vehicle. Causes of these accidents often include:
- Speeding: Firetrucks are allowed to travel at higher speeds than those posted, but this can contribute to accidents.
- Right of way: Firetrucks have the right of way when heading to a fire or other emergency. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to recognize this or move in time when a fire truck is rushing to get to its destination.
- Equipment failure: Firetrucks are complex machines that will sometimes experience equipment failure due to defective parts or poor maintenance.
- Adverse weather conditions: Firefighters must work in all weather conditions, which can unfortunately lead to accidents.
- Poor road conditions: Missing road signs, lack of visibility, pot holes, and more can cause accidents on local roadways.
- When firetrucks are maneuvering through traffic to save the lives of those in distress, the potential for accidents is tremendous. Car drivers all too often fail to move aside and provide the firetruck with the right of way. Firefighters are afforded few protections within and around the truck.
If you are a firefighter injured in an accident while driving or traveling in a fire engine, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This can include compensation for medical expenses, a potion of your lost wages, prescription drug costs, and more. When another driver’s negligence caused your accident, you may be able to seek recovery outside of the workers’ compensation system, which can include awards for pain and suffering and long term disability. Contact a licensed workers’ compensation attorney at Montlick & Associates as soon as possible after the accident to discuss your legal rights.