Ambulances are supposed to help, not hurt. However, like any other vehicle on the road, they can become dangerous moving objects. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving an ambulance, contact a Houston personal injury attorney at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today. Call (281) 283-8500 to find out how they can help you.
If a third party’s negligence caused your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the individual circumstances of your case, you may be able to receive compensation for your past and future:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical limitations
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
Ambulance Accidents are Not Uncommon
There are nearly 50,000 ambulances on the road at any given time in the United States. Due to the emergency and high-stakes conditions under which ambulances operate, they are exposed to greater risks than most vehicles on the road. In fact, the occupational fatality rate from ambulance crashes is four times the U.S. average when compared to other occupations. Intersections in busy urban areas are particularly dangerous locations for ambulance accidents, especially when these vehicles are trying to maneuver through red lights.
According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was an average of 4,500 car crashes involving ambulances each year from 1992-2011. Of these accidents, 34 percent resulted in injuries. On average, there are 2,600 injuries and 33 fatalities every year because of ambulance crashes. The vast majority of ambulance accidents occur during the course of an emergency response and 43 percent of crashes occur at intersections.
Common Factors Involved in Ambulance Accidents
Ambulance drivers must be careful when operating vehicles that carry precious cargo. Other drivers on the road should constantly be on the lookout for emergency vehicles. When people drive in a reckless or negligent manner, accidents can occur.
Common factors that result in ambulance accidents include:
- Fatigue among EMS personnel
- Excessive speed
- Poor road conditions – especially ice and snow
- Impaired drivers
- Failure to yield right of way
- Misuse of sirens or lights on emergency vehicles
- Distracted driving
- Failure to obey traffic signs or signals
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Driver inexperience
Common Injuries in Ambulance Accidents
Accidents involving ambulances can have devastating consequences for EMS personnel, patients being transported, and other drivers or pedestrians on the road. Among the fatal accidents involving an ambulance from 1992-2011, 63 percent were occupants of another passenger vehicle, 21 percent were ambulance passengers, 12 percent were non-occupants, and 4 percent were ambulance drivers.
Of course, seat belts have been found to play a significant role in the severity of occupant injuries and fatalities in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those involving ambulances. A further analysis of NHTSA’s data revealed that 84 percent of EMS providers located in the patient compartment at the time of an accident were not wearing safety restraints. For ambulance patients involved in accidents, only 33 percent were secured with shoulder and lap restraints, and 44 percent of patients were ejected from the cot in serious crashes.
Accidents involving ambulances can lead to serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severed limbs
- Broken bones
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord damage or paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Disfiguring lacerations
- Muscle injuries
How a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience representing people who have suffered catastrophic injuries in a wide range of motor vehicle accidents. Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum possible compensation in your case so that you can cover the costs of recovery and put your accident behind you. We understand how devastating an accident can be, which is why we will be by your side throughout the entire process–from investigation to trial. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys has the resources and knowledge necessary to build the strongest possible arguments in support of your claim.
To find out how our team of skilled Houston personal injury lawyers can help, call us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free case consultation.