Approximately 2,500 emergency responders are involved in crashes each year in Michigan, according to a study looking at crashes in our state from 2004 to 2008. Surprisingly, less than one-third of those crashes involved a vehicle that was responding to an emergency when the crash happened.
When you’re injured by a negligent civilian driver, you typically have a clear path to compensation: you file a claim against the at-fault driver and, if your claim is successful, you receive payment for the damages you’ve experienced.
But what happens when you’re injured by the driver of a police car or ambulance when they’re not responding to an emergency? It turns out your options aren’t all that different.
Legal Options When Injured by a Negligent Emergency Responder
Though in the past, Michigan law has granted immunity to drivers of emergency response vehicles that cause crashes when they are responding to an emergency (when they have their lights on and sirens flashing), that immunity doesn’t extend to situations in which the drivers of emergency response vehicles aren’t on an emergency call.
If the driver who caused you harm did so when they weren’t responding to an emergency, you have every right to file a claim for compensation. In these situations, your claim will proceed just as it would if it was filed against a civilian driver. In many cases, you’ll be taking legal action against a police department to get compensation, though the process will be similar to filing a claim against any other driver. However, it helps to have an experienced attorney to handle your claim to be sure you’re treated fairly and receive maximum compensation for your damages.
Why File a Claim Against a Negligent Police Officer or EMT?
It’s important to understand that filing a personal injury claim isn’t about alleging malice or even making assertions about the intent of an at-fault driver. You’re simply demanding the compensation you’re entitled to by law for the damages you’ve suffered.
You should never shoulder the costs of a negligent driver out of your own pocket, even if that negligent driver is someone whose profession you respect. Keep in mind, you won’t be personally “punishing” them either by filing a claim. If a police officer or ambulance driver made a mistake, their employer or their insurance provider will be responsible for providing you with the compensation you deserve.
Accountability Can Improve Road Safety for Everyone
This problem doesn’t just affect civilian motorists; fatality rates for emergency responders are anywhere from 2.4 to 4.8 times the national average among other occupations. In other words, it’s in all our best interests to make sure emergency vehicles drive as safe as possible, especially when they’re not on an emergency call, and that we always cede right-of-way to emergency vehicles when they do have their lights and sirens on.
At Fieger Law, we believe one of the best ways to improve road safety is by holding drivers accountable when their negligence causes other motorists harm. If you’ve been injured by the driver of a police car, firetruck, or ambulance, we’ll fight for your right to compensation.
Contact Fieger Law to Discuss Your Legal Options
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you should always explore your options for compensation. That’s true whether you’re injured by a civilian or an emergency responder.
At Fieger Law, we offer free consultations to help you better understand your options after an auto wreck. If you’d like to discuss your case and determine next steps toward getting the compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered, contact our Michigan car accident lawyers today to get started.