The emergency services are a very important service to all people in the United Kingdom, and they are therefore allowed certain privileges which help them to do their job as effectively as possible. However, with these privileges comes a duty of care to members of the public and these privileges do not mean that they are completely above the laws of the country and the rules of the road. If they are involved in a collision with another motorist or pedestrian for example, then they may also be liable to have a claim made against them for compensation.
How collisions happen
When emergency vehicles are required urgently, they are allowed certain privileges on the road. They may only use these privileges with extreme caution, and the vehicle driver must ensure that all procedures are followed and every possible precaution is taken. If proper care and attention is not taken, then collisions can and will happen.
For example, if a police driver fails to switch on the sirens and lights on their vehicle, they vastly reduce the abilities of other road users to react to their presence. If a collision with an emergency vehicle happens in these circumstances, then the victim may be able to make a claim for compensation. Likewise, emergency vehicle drivers must proceed with extreme caution if they intend to pass a red light. This is because other road users and pedestrians may be responding to a clear green light signal and may not be fully aware of the presence of the emergency vehicle. Even though emergency vehicles must have their lights on and their sirens flashing if they intend to pass through a red light, it is still possible for road users to be unaware of the exact location of the vehicle. This is why emergency vehicle drivers must ensure that the road is clear before they proceed.
The failure of emergency drivers to drive with due care and attention is one of the reasons why people are involved in collisions with emergency services vehicles. Because of the speed that these vehicles tend to travel at when they are attending to emergency callouts, collisions involving these vehicles can result in serious injury and sometimes unfortunately even death.
What happens after a collision?
If you want to make a successful claim for compensation following a road accident or collision with an emergency services vehicle, you should get in contact with a legal professional or claims advisor as soon as you can. You only have a limited amount of time after an accident to lodge your claim, so it is important that you act sooner rather than later.
If you are well enough after the collision then it will help your case if you can do the following things:
- Try to gather contact details for those who may have witnessed what happened.
- Take photographs if at all possible of the incident, including damage to any vehicles or property and any visible injuries sustained. Also pictures of the actual road conditions and surroundings can be very useful.
- Make detailed notes about the circumstances of the accident, as you will need to recall these to help your case.
- You should also keep any financial or medical records and receipts relating to the collision and your subsequent care needs.
These will help you and your solicitor (should you choose to have one) prove what amount of compensation should be claimed for.