At the beginning of September, New Hampshire police responded to a motor vehicle collision involving an ambulance and an SUV. Before the crash, an SUV driver began making a left turn. As the driver of the SUV entered the intersection, a Care Plus Ambulance with siren and lights activated struck her vehicle.
While ambulances are a necessity for providing emergency medical care, in some cases, the negligence of an ambulance driver can result in devastating injuries. If you have suffered injuries from a motor vehicle accident involving an ambulance, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Ward Law to schedule your free initial consultation.
Collisions Involving Ambulances can Cause Serious Injuries
Due to the large size of ambulances and the speed drivers must use to transport patients quickly, collisions involving ambulances can be particularly dangerous. In the recent New Hampshire ambulance accident mentioned above, both vehicles sustained significant damage. A tow truck had to remove the cars from the scene due to extensive damage.
The passengers riding in the ambulance had to go to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Paramedics do not always wear seat belts when they are treating patients in the back of an ambulance. Unfortunately, recent data shows that four out of five emergency medical services (EMS) providers did not wear seatbelts in the ambulance at the time of a severe crash. Passengers who are not wearing seatbelts have a significantly higher risk of injury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, an average of 29 fatal ambulance crashes occur each year in the United States. Approximately 33 fatalities occur yearly as a result of ambulance crashes. Of the deaths, 25% are people who died while inside the ambulance at the time of the accident.
The remaining 75% of the fatalities happen to passengers or drivers in the other vehicle. An average of 1,500 nonfatal ambulance crashes happens each year in the United States. Many of the injuries, 46%, happened to passengers inside of the ambulance at the time of the collision.
Fatigue is a Major Cause of Ambulance Crashes
Several peer-reviewed research studies have demonstrated that approximately half of all EMS providers interviewed reported symptoms of severe fatigue. Data also showed that EMS providers who report to being fatigued or tired are substantially more likely to suffer injuries on the job, perform a behavior that compromises the safety, or suffer an injury on the job. Equipment defects can also cause ambulance related accidents.