Emergency services injury compensation claims

This easy-to-follow guide takes you through what you need to know about making a successful accident claim involving a police car, ambulance or fire engine.

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With one region in the UK reporting almost 6,000 accidents over a 3 year period - an average of 5 per day - and an estimated 400 police cars written off in the UK in 2014, it is evident that accidents involving police, fire brigade or ambulance service vehicles are widespread.

Ambulance
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Do drivers of emergency service vehicles have special rights on the road?

Drivers of emergency vehicles must abide by the same laws as all other road users and have no special rights regarding liability if they are involved in an accident.

It is their duty to show due care and responsibility while driving - even when speeding to help others.

For example, emergency services vehicles must stop at a red or red and amber traffic light if they are not responding to an emergency situation. In an emergency they may proceed against the lights providing that doing so would not endanger other road users, and their warning lights are flashing.

Speed limits must also be observed except when responding to an emergency. Even then, the driver must still proceed within a speed where he can retain control of the vehicle.

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When might an emergency vehicle driver be liable?

If the emergency vehicle is not making its presence known - by flashing lights and/or siren - other road users may not be aware of its approach and a collision may occur. In some cases the emergency authority may be found liable for the accident.

Even where an emergency vehicle is displaying warning lights and sounding a siren, if the driver is found to have been driving recklessly without regard for other road users he may be found liable if an accident occurs.

Emergency vehicles which cause accidents while not responding to a situation may also be found liable for any injuries sustained by other road users.

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What are the duties of motorists when an emergency vehicle is present?

Motorists have a duty to listen and look out for emergency vehicles and to remove themselves from the path of those vehicles - if it safe to do so. For example, pulling over at traffic lights to allow an emergency vehicle to travel through a red light, or moving to the inside lane to allow it to pass on a dual carriageway.

When a motorist does not observe the presence and allow passage of an emergency vehicle - causing the vehicles to collide - he may be found to have contributed to the accident. This may lead to a reduction in any compensation awarded to the motorist due to his contributory negligence.

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Can members of the emergency services claim for injuries in the event of an accident?

Emergency services' employees are acting in the course of their employment and are owed a duty of care by their employer, the vehicle's driver and other road users. Each accident is assessed to establish liability before claims for compensation can be awarded

Passengers of such vehicles may be able to claim for any injuries sustained; this includes members of the public who may be travelling in the emergency vehicle.

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Do I have a road accident involving the emergency services claim?

If you were injured in a road accident involving the emergency services in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can probably help you make a compensation claim.

See our Online Claim Eligibility Calculator for a better idea of where you stand.

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How much compensation can I claim for a road accident with the emergency services?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our road accident compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet our team

Our national network of solicitors handle all types of road accident claims, including fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our solicitors are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and expertise and their track record in winning cases.

Meet more of the Quittance team: click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Rakhi Chauhan Road Accident Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
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No win, no fee emergency services injury claims - the facts

Legal Aid is no longer available for injury claims.

Personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.

No Win, No Fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will not need to pay any legal fees.

If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to your solicitor.

Read more about how a No Win, No Fee agreement works

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert

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