Rights to Legal Compensation When Hit by a Speeding Emergency Response Vehicle


April 26, 2013

While there are special rules that permit first responders like police, paramedics and fire personnel to violate certain traffic safety laws when responding to an emergency call, they do not have carte blanche to disregard public safety.

First responders pose a significant risk of injury to other vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, transported patients and pedestrians when they proceed at high rates of speed and/or disregard traffic signs and signals. While those injured by a first responder are faced with some limitations in their right to pursue a legal claim, they are not barred from seeking financial compensation.

While Georgia law does give first responders the right to disregard traffic laws, this grant of authority does not come without limitations. While an emergency vehicle may disregard a stop sign or exceed the speed limit, the vehicle must engage its lights and siren. The driver of an emergency response vehicle, such as a police car, ambulance or fire truck also must exercise "due regard" for the safety of the public. Unfortunately, first responders sometimes fail to engage their lights and siren or to exercise care when rushing to the scene of an accident or medical emergency. When care is not exercised to prevent collisions by warning other motorists with the emergency vehicle's siren and lights, auto accidents that cause serious injury and even wrongful death all too often are the predictable result.

When public employees operating an emergency response vehicle cause accidents because they are not observing proper protocols and procedures when disregarding traffic safety laws, the public entity in charge of the operation of the emergency response entity may be liable for damages. While Georgia has waived government immunity in such situations, this waiver of immunity is limited to $750,000 in the case of motor vehicle accidents involving public employees. While the damages suffered in many serious motor vehicle accidents that result in life-altering injuries like spinal cord injuries, dismemberment, extensive burns, amputations and even death may be substantially more than this limit, this is the maximum recovery allowed for negligence by an emergency responder driving an emergency response vehicle.

If you are injured in a collision with the police, firemen or paramedics who violate a traffic safety law or otherwise drive unsafely, it is important that you engage an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney promptly because evidence establishing the deviation from appropriate protocols must be proven to recover damages.  Additionally, sometimes there are other insurance policies or negligent parties involved from whom damages can be recovered.

Why Contact Montlick & Associates About Your Case?

Montlick & Associates has been helping injured people get the compensation they deserve since 1984.  The firm was recently honored by the Georgia House of Representatives for its 30 years of service with the passing of House Resolution 394 recognizing Montlick & Associates for "the outstanding accomplishments of this distinguished firm," and “for providing efficient, effective and dedicated services to the citizens of Georgia.”   The firm was also named the Most Patriotic Business of 2011 by the Association of the United States Army in Atlanta for its efforts to support the troops, and its CEO David R. Montlick received a Patriotism Award in 2012 for the Southeast.  

Our Georgia auto accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to personal injury victims throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. No matter where you are located, the attorneys at Montlick & Associates are just a phone call away, and will even come to you. Call 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit online at www.montlick.com and use the firm’s Free 24-hour Live Online Chat or Free Case Evaluation Form.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.