The vast majority of car accidents occur between passenger vehicles. However, there are instances where collisions occur with emergency vehicles, including fire trucks. Fire trucks are enormous, heavy vehicles that, amid an emergency, travel at high rates of speed. Their sheer size makes navigating them through streets and among parked cars challenging. The reality is sometimes a fire truck collision happens, and the massive impact can cause severe injury and damage.
In 2020, there were close to 350 fire truck crashes in the state of Texas. Although there is no information about how many of those accidents involved parked cars, about 50 of those accidents resulted in injuries, including four fatalities. If you or a loved one were involved in a fire truck car crash, contact Hartley Law Firm to speak with our car accident attorney today.
Who Is Liable If a Fire Truck Hits My Car?
Texas has an at-fault liability system. This means the driver who caused the accident will be responsible for injuries and damages. However, if the at-fault driver was driving a fire truck, a claim becomes a bit more complex. While the fireman driving the truck is technically liable, the fire truck is typically owned by a government entity such as a municipality, city, or state. Additionally, the driver is a government employee who was likely acting within the scope of their employment. Generally, government agencies, as employers, are liable for an employee’s actions. If a fire truck hit your car, you may be able to file a claim for damages against the appropriate government agency. Filing a claim against a government entity can be complicated, so you should seek assistance from an experienced lawyer.
Filing A Fire Truck Car Accident Claim
Although it may seem straightforward, recovering damages for a fire truck collision can be more challenging than recovering damages for a typical car accident. There are generally two possibilities for recovery: filing a claim against the driver or filing a lawsuit against the government entity. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to bring one of those claims or both.
Filing a Claim Against the Fire Truck Driver
As in most states, Texas law protects government or public officials from liability for accidents that occur when they are on the job. Specifically, under the Texas Tort Claims Act, public officials are shielded from liability if they act in good faith and within the scope of their work or duties.
Because of those protections, it can be difficult to recover compensation for your injuries. If a fire truck hit your car, you will have to prove the fire truck driver was negligent and caused the collision. Examples of negligent behavior include:
- Driving while intoxicated,
- Failure to follow the rules of the road,
- Unrestrained equipment hitting another vehicle,
- Driving while drowsy, and
- Reckless driving.
You might face additional hurdles because drivers are required by law to yield to emergency vehicles, including fire trucks. Under Texas law, drivers are required to pull over when a fire truck is en route to an emergency and approaching their cars. If you fail to comply with the emergency vehicle laws and a fire truck hits you, you may be unable to recover damages.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state which bars plaintiffs from receiving compensation if they are more than 50% at fault for their accident. Your ability to seek damages will depend on the specific facts of your case. An experienced negligence attorney can examine the facts of your case and explain how much compensation you can pursue.
Filing a Claim Against the City or State
Another possible way to recover compensation is to file a claim with the government agency that employs the driver. Generally, to hold the agency liable, you will have to prove the firefighter acted within the scope of their job and caused your fire truck car crash. In addition, as a plaintiff, you will have to show the firefighter would be liable even in their capacity as a private citizen. In other words, if the firefighter would not be responsible for your injuries if they were driving a passenger car, then you will be barred from recovery.
There are different processes for filing a claim with a state or local agency, and they usually involve a much shorter time frame than the generally applicable statute of limitation. In most cases, you may have as few as six months to file a notice of a claim.
Do I Need An Attorney If I Was Involved in a Fire Truck Collision?
It is an excellent idea to retain a personal injury attorney if you are the victim of a fire truck accident. Plaintiffs with claims involving emergency vehicles and government agencies often have a more difficult time proving they are entitled to compensation. Government agencies sometimes tend to be uncooperative and unresponsive, further complicating your recovery. The experienced car accident attorneys at Hartley Law Firm can help you navigate the complexities of bringing a claim against a government entity.
Texas Injury Attorneys
If you were in an accident involving a fire truck, you are probably asking, a fire truck hit my car, now what? Hartley Law Firm can answer all of your questions and help you understand your legal options. Austin Hartley is an award-winning attorney who can help you hold the driver responsible for your injuries accountable. If you were in a fire truck car accident, schedule a free initial consultation with us to learn more about how we can help you.