What to Do When An Emergency Vehicle Hits You - A Guide
II. Special Traffic Laws for Emergency Vehicles in CA
1. California's "Move Over" Law
2. Vehicle Code 21806
III. What Happens to a Driver Violates Section 21806?
IV. Understanding the Scenario
V. What to do if the Emergency vehicle Collides with You
VI. Do I Have a Case?
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, encountering emergency vehicles on the road is not uncommon. These vehicles, equipped with flashing lights and blaring sirens, play a crucial role in responding to emergencies swiftly. However, there might be instances when you find yourself involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle. Knowing how to react in such a situation is vital for your safety and the safety of those around you. In this guide, we'll provide you with a step-by-step approach on what to do when an emergency vehicle hits you.
Let's first recall that the California Driver Handbook says that drivers must let police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances go by if they have their sirens and red lights on. Most drivers know how to move over and let these vehicles pass, but sometimes accidents happen. Here, we look at what the law says about these situations and what might happen if there's a collision.
When a police car, firetruck, or ambulance has its lights and sirens going, the driver must move over to the far right lane. They can use any other lane they want, but they must give the vehicle space when possible.
A driver who gets too close to these vehicles can cause problems. For example, they might:
- Distract the driver of the emergency vehicle
- Make the driver of the emergency vehicle worry about their safety
- Put themselves and others at risk
Here are some of the laws that govern emergency vehicles in the state of California:
The CA Vehicle Code (VC) requires drivers to change lanes when approaching a parked emergency vehicle with its lights flashing but no siren. If a driver must cross a solid double yellow line to make this move, they must drive very slowly so as not to endanger themselves or other vehicles. If there isn't enough space to move over, drivers must slow down and proceed with caution, just like they would if they were approaching a vehicle with its lights flashing. Note that if a lane is too narrow for a driver to move over without driving onto the shoulder, the driver can stay in their original lane.
California Vehicle Code 21806 pertains to the right-of-way for emergency vehicles that are responding to emergencies while using audible or visual signals. This section of the California Vehicle Code outlines the rules that drivers must follow when encountering emergency vehicles that are displaying their lights and/or sounding their sirens.
Here's a summary of the key points of California Vehicle Code 21806:
Failure to comply with these rules can result in penalties, fines, and potential legal consequences. The purpose of this section in the California Vehicle Code is to ensure that emergency responders can navigate through traffic safely and efficiently when responding to emergencies.
It's important to note that laws and regulations can change over time, so it's recommended to refer to the most recent version of the California Vehicle Code or consult with legal professionals if you need the most up-to-date information.
If a driver violates California Vehicle Code Section 21806, which pertains to failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens, they could face legal consequences and penalties. The specific consequences for violating this section can vary depending on the circumstances, local regulations, and the discretion of law enforcement and the court. However, here are some general outcomes that a driver might expect:
It's important to remember that legal consequences can vary based on the specifics of the situation and the jurisdiction in which the violation occurs. If a driver is uncertain about the potential consequences of a violation, they should consider consulting with a legal professional or seeking advice from their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When encountering an emergency vehicle on the road, it is crucial to not only acknowledge the urgency of the situation but also to discern the unique characteristics of various types of emergency vehicles. These vehicles include police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks, each serving a distinct purpose and signaling their presence in specific ways.
Distinguishing Between Emergency Vehicles
Practical Ways to Identify Emergency Vehicles
To aid drivers in promptly identifying emergency vehicles and taking appropriate actions, consider these practical tips:
By acquainting yourself with the distinct attributes of emergency vehicles, their siren colors, and sounds, you contribute to road safety and facilitate the efficient movement of these vital response units. Your awareness and responsiveness play an integral role in ensuring the safety of all road users.
If you are involved in a collision with an emergency vehicle (such as a police car, fire truck, or ambulance) while it is responding to an emergency, it's important to follow certain steps to ensure your safety and the well-being of others involved. Here's what you should do:
Remember that each situation can be unique, and the steps you take might vary based on the circumstances. The key is to prioritize safety and ensure that proper documentation and communication are maintained to facilitate any potential insurance claims or legal proceedings.
In certain scenarios, victims who have collided with an emergency vehicle may indeed have a case for seeking compensation. Here are some situations where you might have a stronger case:
It's important to note that emergency vehicle collisions can be complex cases. The legal principles involved can vary based on state laws, local regulations, and the specific circumstances of the incident. To determine if you have a case and to understand the strength of your potential claim, it's recommended that you consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling cases involving collisions with emergency vehicles. They can evaluate the details of your situation and provide guidance on how to proceed. Remember, consulting with an attorney early on can help you understand your rights and options.
For example in California, the outcome of a case involving a collision with an emergency vehicle hinges on several legal factors. As previously mentioned, The Emergency Vehicle Code, specifically California Vehicle Code Section 21806, dictates the right-of-way rules for drivers encountering emergency vehicles using lights and sirens. While emergency vehicles have exemptions from certain traffic laws during responses, negligence on their part can still be considered. California's comparative negligence system allocates responsibility among parties involved, potentially affecting compensation. The statute of limitations sets a time limit for filing claims, and governmental immunity could play a role, given that government agencies are generally protected but with exceptions. Effective evidence gathering, including police reports, witness statements, and medical records, is pivotal. In complex cases, expert testimony might be required to establish events and injuries. Consulting with a skilled California personal injury attorney is essential for navigating this intricate legal landscape, as they can provide personalized guidance based on the specifics of the incident and jurisdiction.
When emergency vehicles are involved in car accidents, they are often the ones who get sued in court. However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, a driver who is driving another vehicle can be at fault. If you or someone you love has been hurt by an emergency vehicle, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
Contact the top accident lawyers in Los Angeles in Mendez and Sanchez Law. Our attorneys and team members are here to help you through the difficult legal landscape as we pursue the compensation you deserve. Please contact us for your Personal Injury, Auto Accident, Workers' Compensation, Slip and Fall, or other legal needs today!
If you're in a collision with an emergency vehicle while it's responding to an emergency, prioritize safety. Check for injuries, move to a safe location if possible, exchange information, document the scene, notify authorities, cooperate with law enforcement, seek medical attention, contact your insurance company, and consider consulting a legal professional if needed.
Your case's strength depends on factors like violations of traffic laws, negligence, proper use of lights and sirens, proximate cause, injuries, and damages. If these elements suggest the emergency vehicle was at fault and led to your injuries or damages, you may have a case for seeking compensation.
California's "Move Over" Law requires drivers to change lanes for parked emergency vehicles with flashing lights. If this isn't possible, drivers should slow down and proceed cautiously. California Vehicle Code Section 21806 outlines right-of-way rules for emergency vehicles using lights and sirens. These include yielding, stopping at intersections, not obstructing paths, and exemptions for certain vehicles.
Stay attentive, learn siren sounds, recognize visual cues, follow traffic rules, and remain calm. Police cars use red, blue, and white lights, ambulances have bright colors and reflective markings with wailing sirens, and fire trucks employ red lights and yelping sirens.
Evaluate violations of traffic laws, negligence, proper use of lights and sirens, proximate cause, injuries, and damages. Consult with a personal injury attorney familiar with your jurisdiction's laws to determine the strength of your potential claim and understand your rights.