Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Workplace accidents involving emergency vehicles are prevalent

Data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration led to concern over the high number of emergency vehicles that crash while responding to crises nationwide. In California and elsewhere, a significant amount of fatal workplace accidents involve ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles. The fact that these vehicles often need to travel at high speeds in response to emergencies increases the risks of crashes causing severe or fatal injuries.

Safety authorities are focused on gaining a better understanding of contributing factors to help in finding ways to protect emergency workers and their patients. The problem is significant, and data shows that an estimated 6,500 ambulances are involved in crashes nationwide each year. Reportedly, more than a third of those accidents result in injuries or fatalities.

To establish guidelines for patient and provider safety in ambulances, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration worked on a program to determine whether injuries or fatalities involved drivers or the care providers and patients in the back of the emergency vehicles. It must also be determined how many  family members riding with patients are injured or killed. Further information obtained from analysis of the data shows that a significant number of on-the-job injuries, driving behavior that compromises safety and medical errors occur when emergency workers are fatigued or just drowsy from a lack of sufficient sleep.

Injured victims of workplace accidents in any of the services related to public safety are entitled to financial assistance through the California workers' compensation insurance program. Eligibility typically includes benefits to cover medical expenses and wage-replacement packages. Many injured workers find the claims process intimidating and confusing, but legal counsel is available to assist with the filing of the claim and the pursuit of an award of all applicable workers' compensation benefits.

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