You may recall last spring an article on this blog about a fire truck that collided with another fire engine, causing the fire engine to careen into a restaurant in Monterey Park. The collision caused 15 people to be injured. A California Highway Patrol report was just released indicating that unsafe driving was the cause of the accident. Apparently, the two fire trucks were both responding to a fire reported in a home in Monterey Park. According to the report, which is described in today’s Los Angeles Times, both trucks were approaching the intersection of Emerson and Garfield Avenues, but the one truck “failed to ensure that the intersection was safe to enter against the red signal light,” thus causing the collision, after which one of the trucks careened into a person, then a street pole, and then a restaurant. Thus far, no charges have been filed against the fire truck that was at fault.
While typically more challenging, a person who is injured by an emergency vehicle can file a civil lawsuit against a government entity for damages stemming from such injuries where the collision was due to the fault of the government employee driving the emergency vehicle. Such damages can include medical expenses stemming from the injuries sustained in the accident, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There is, of course, great leeway generally given to government entities in control of emergency vehicles because they often have to disobey traffic laws in order to do their job in protecting the public, but there are times where the emergency vehicle is still driving in an unsafe manner and can be found liable for causing an accident.