Ambulance drivers have a challenging job. They are expected to respond as quickly as possible to emergent circumstances while also trying not to injure any other individuals during the emergency.
Despite all of their training and care, ambulance drivers can still cause accidents that injure others and damage property. When this happens, it can be difficult to recover just compensation without expert legal representation.
If you have suffered an injury from an accident involving an ambulance in Louisiana, you need a personal injury attorney firm like Kiefer & Kiefer that has decades of experience regarding injury claims arising from emergency vehicle operation.
Why It Is Hard to Sue an Ambulance Operator?
Generally, drivers are held to a standard of ordinary negligence in determining whether they are legally liable for injuries following an accident.
That is, the question for a jury or judge is whether the driver breached an ordinary standard of care. The Louisiana legislature has carved out an exception to these general principles for emergency vehicle drivers.
In these cases, an injured individual may have to prove that the ambulance driver breached a higher standard of care. Under Louisiana law, if certain conditions are met, operators of emergency vehicles may violate certain traffic laws.
For example, an ambulance driver may ignore a red traffic light or stop sign but only after stopping or slowing down to determine if crossing the intersection is safe. They may also exceed the maximum speed limit, disregard the direction of movement or turn the vehicle without regard to standard traffic practices.
However, these exceptional privileges are only allowed if the ambulance has its emergency lights flashing, sirens turned on, or both. These signal to other drivers and pedestrians that the ambulance is operating in its emergency capacity and that it has right of way.
Are Ambulance Operators Immune to Legal Action in Louisiana?
The Louisiana legislature allows ambulances to violate ordinary traffic laws in emergency situations.
In order to be protected by this statute, the EMS vehicle must have its lights or sirens on. If they do not, they will be held to ordinary negligence principles.
If they do, they may be able to speed, run red lights or stop signs, or make illegal turns. Even with the protections of this statute, if the EMS driver is behaving recklessly and causes a crash, they will still be liable for the injuries caused.
La. R.S. §32:24 states:
The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver or rider of an authorized vehicle from the duty to drive or ride with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver or rider from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.
In other words, an emergency vehicle operator may be able to violate certain traffic laws, but they must still maintain a high standard of care with respect to the safety of others.
If you want to succeed in your lawsuit against an ambulance operator, you must work with an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney to prove that they acted recklessly enough to jeopardize the safety of others.
Contact Kiefer & Kiefer’s Lawyers Today
Because an ambulance may be speeding, it is possible for an accident to cause very serious injuries. If you have been hit by an ambulance and suffered injuries, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who is familiar with the special laws that apply to ambulance drivers and emergency vehicles.
Kiefer & Kiefer is one of Louisiana’s most successful personal injury law firms, having recovered tens of millions of dollars for its clients. If you would like to discuss your case, please contact Kiefer& Kiefer today.