No one wakes up expecting to be in a car accident, much less an accident involving a fire truck. On New Jersey roads, like those in Camden, these frightening circumstances seem rare but are all too common. Understanding the rules of the road can help you avoid a collision and what your options may be if you do get into an accident with a fire truck.
Yielding for Emergency Vehicles
New Jersey law dictates that all drivers must yield the right of way to emergency vehicles sounding a siren or flashing red or blue lights. Here are some general tips to remember when sharing the road with firetrucks and emergency vehicles:
Slow down and pull over.
Whether a fire truck, ambulance or other emergency vehicle is approaching you from behind or the opposite direction, pull over onto the side of the road and come to a complete stop. If you are on a multi-lane road or highway, pull over as far right as you can.
Watch for other emergency vehicles.
Before you pull back onto the roadway, look for other emergency vehicles that may be following the first. Even after the fire truck passes, make sure to stay at least 500 feet behind it.
Yield to emergency vehicles at intersections.
Fire trucks responding to an emergency always have the right of way. Do not enter an intersection if an emergency vehicle is approaching from any direction but do not stop if you are already in the middle of an intersection.
If you are passing by the scene of an accident, give emergency vehicles and first responders plenty of space and follow any traffic directions or orders from those at the scene. Never run over a fire hose unless directed to do so.
Liability in an Accident with a Fire Truck
Liability in an accident with a fire truck depends on the circumstances of the accident. Emergency vehicles have the right of way when responding to an emergency. A collision that occurs because the driver failed to yield the right of way would likely be the majority fault of the driver.
New Jersey law, however, does not give blanket immunity to fire truck drivers or municipalities. NJ Statute specifically does “not relieve the driver of any authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall it protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.”
In other words, if the driver of the emergency vehicle was acting negligently and you were injured in an accident, it may be possible to file a claim against the fire department or driver. Examples of negligence may include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to secure equipment
- Drowsy driving
If you believe you may have a claim after an accident with a fire truck, it’s in your best interest to discuss your case with a New Jersey car accident lawyer. At the law firm of Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we offer free consultations and can advise you of your options.
Compensation for an Accident with a Fire Truck in New Jersey
New Jersey is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will be your primary insurer for injuries arising from any vehicle accident, regardless of fault. If your injuries are severe, PIP coverage may not be enough to cover all of your losses – from medical bills to lost income to mental anguish. In this case, if the other driver or entity bears some liability for the accident, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault party to recover financial compensation.
Because fire departments are run by municipalities, your claim may be filed against a public entity. In New Jersey, there are very short windows – just 90 days – for filing a Notice of Claim against the State of New Jersey or a municipality. For that reason, it’s imperative to talk to an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Get Help after a Car Accident from Brandon J. Broderick
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a fire truck, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law and speak with a skilled New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our firm has an in-depth knowledge of personal injury law resulting in years of experience and proven results. We pride ourselves in being able to provide clients with the passionate representation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.