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Braff Zacklin

Legal Eagles and Emergency Vehicles

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Friend here in Idaho got t-boned by a fire truck last night. She had filled up on gas, entered the roadway, and was proceeding through a green light when she was struck from the left by a fire truck running a red light. The truck had its lights on but no siren.

There were no apparent injuries, although my friend was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure because she was initially unable, or experienced pain when attempting, to turn her head. Her 4Runner is most likely totaled.

Friend states the fire truck driver explained to her that he was rushing a mother to the hospital to see her son. If taken at face value, this seems a noble gesture but not a qualifying emergency. Friend also states that the female passenger "disappeared" from the scene almost immediately.

Many cops arrived on the scene, and friend was issued a $50 citation for failure to yield right of way to emergency equipment. This also puts her on the hook for any damage to the fire truck and any injuries its occupants could claim. Worse, friend has a CDL with a previously unblemished record and drives for a living, so this incident could impact that.

I believe my friend is telling the truth and suspect she might be getting horsefucked.

Siren and lights are not required per Idaho law (49-625 and 49-623), although city/county policy might require both. Regardless, this does not appear to have been a qualifying emergency or conscionable operation of an emergency vehicle as prescribed by law (bolded and italicized added):

Spoiler
49-623.  AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY OR POLICE VEHICLES.
(1) The driver of an authorized emergency or police vehicle, when responding to an emergency call, or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions stated.
(2)  The driver of an authorized emergency or police vehicle may:
       (a)  Park or stand, irrespective of the parking or standing provisions of this title;
       (b)  Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
       (c)  Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property;
       (d)  Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.
(3)  The exemptions granted to an authorized emergency or police vehicle shall apply when necessary to warn and to make use of an audible signal having a decibel rating of at least one hundred (100) at a distance of ten (10) feet and/or is displaying a flashing light visible in a 360 degree arc at a distance of one thousand (1,000) feet under normal atmospheric conditions.
(4)  The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency or police vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall these provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.
(5)  The foregoing provisions shall apply to the driver of an authorized emergency or police vehicle of another state of the United States who enters this state in response to an emergency call, or when in the fresh pursuit of a suspected felon as provided in section 19-701, Idaho Code, or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm.

Sorry this is such a lengthy post, but my friend is really up shit creek here. The 4Runner notwithstanding, she is not wealthy, but a lawyer she spoke with earlier today was not interested because she doesn't have any immediate and apparent injuries.

I suggested she get a copy of the police report and the fire truck operator's explanation on record ASAP. I also suggested she share as much of this as possible with her insurer since they are the ones who will be the most financially liable.

Beyond that, however, does she have any recourse? Any recs y'all could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

BZ

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Dash cam.... doesn’t help her now,  but EVERYONE should have one. Could have helped her.

 

sorry for your friend. I’m guessing she is fucked, but IANAL.

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I don't know.  

I will say this.  If the cop that wrote the ticket did not witness the accident, it is of minimal evidentiary value if it goes to court.  In the realm of insurance settlements, it is worth something.  Anywhere else, not much.

Don't know about Idaho, but her auto insurance, if it's not no-fault, has a duty to defend her.

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8 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

What do you mean by "if it's not no-fault"?

She told me she has comprehensive/collision coverage.

Some states (not sure which ones) have "no fault" laws. If you are in an accident, you fix your shit and the other guy fixes his shit.  No matter who hit who. 

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5 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

What do you mean by "if it's not no-fault"?

She told me she has comprehensive/collision coverage.

Some states have this fucked up thing called no-fault insurance that doesn't operate like regular insurance with indemnity and duty to defend.

If the claim against her liability is anywhere near policy limits and she seems to have a defense, she might be able to get the insurance to pay for an attorney for her.

 

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4 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Thanks, Gil. I might even be more ignorant than my friend when it comes to this shit.

I'm not a lawyer.  Twice IS a lawyer, so listen to him and not me. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Gil Bang said:

I'm not a lawyer.  Twice IS a lawyer, so listen to him and not me. 

You were correct.

She's gonna need to fight the ticket, which should probably be easy enough and provoke a defense outside of the insurance settlement process to get discovery of who was the emergency passenger and why and etc. etc.

Presumably, the FD is going to make some kind of claim against her insurance.  If left alone, her insurance may try to settle with the FD.  If urged, they may deny liability and force a suit.

A traffic ticket lawyer should be able to get the ticket dismissed using the usual procedural tricks, or, failing that, try it because the cop lacks personal knowledge.  Doable for whatever traffic ticket lawyers charge in the area, maybe a little more if it has to go to trial.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Braff Zacklin said:

 

Beyond that, however, does she have any recourse? Any recs y'all could provide would be greatly appreciated.

 

May want to check to see if any nearby businesses have security camera footage.

In Texas, emergency vehicles are trained/required to slow at an intersection and insure safety.   Most honk their loud horn if no siren in use   (link below)   Check detailed rules for Idaho that may go beyond the law stated in your post.

Not to derail the thread,  but did the 4Runner take the hit well  ?   Glad she is ok !  They are prone to rollover per safety ratings.  

 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.546.htm

Edited by torre

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22 minutes ago, torre said:

May want to check to see if any nearby businesses have security camera footage.

Earlier today, I suggested to her to check if one of the two gas stations at that intersection had CCTV footage. She called the one she filled up at and ... they have 16 cameras!

They generously allowed her to review footage--she said the truck did indeed have its lights on but didn't slow down at all. 

22 minutes ago, torre said:

In Texas, emergency vehicles are trained/required to slow at an intersection and insure safety.   Most honk their loud horn if no siren in use   (link below)   Check rules for Idaho.

Already done. Relevant code is spoilered in the OP.

22 minutes ago, torre said:

Not to derail the thread,  but did the 4Runner take the hit well  ?    They are prone to rollover per safety ratings.   I am considering buying one.    Thanks !

No derail at all. Here's a pic she sent--hers is a 2012 model, however, so bear that in mind.

image000000.jpgbl

Thanks again to all for your inputs.

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4Runner handled it well. Glad to hear since that’s what I drive.

Good luck to your friend. Camera footage and witnesses should help her.

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You need to find out if that fire department was responding to an emergency call. There is no transporting a family member running lights and sirens.  A fire engine isn’t an emergency Taxi.  
 

Are there witnesses stating that the fire engine did not have its siren sounding?  If so, there is no way she should be ticketed.  Even when running lights and sirens it is the responsibility of the person driving the emergency apparatus to ensure that vehicles yield to them. 

She needs to get a lawyer.  None of this makes any sense to me.  I am a Chief of a VFD and have been driving Fire Trucks for over 25 years.  

 

 

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Definitely find out all the official calls that fire truck was on at that time. Some even tweet their emergencies now

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8 hours ago, Leeroy Jenkins said:

I am a Chief of a VFD and have been driving Fire Trucks for over 25 years.  

 

 

( gets all the hot chicks)

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Posted (edited)

Having pondered this for a bit, I think getting the ticket dismissed is priority one, because it would seem to be the most obvious hit on the CDL.

It's also a "key" to avoiding fault in any insurance scenario.  The fault determination there is a little less public, but still liable to screw her up.

But, getting the ticket dismissed is going to happen on a longer time frame than disposing of the insurance claim, most likely.

Not sure how well known it is, but in the absence of auto insurance, the parties to a wreck would just sue each other and fault and liability would be established according to principles of negligence law.  In that court case, a ticket issued by a peace officer that witnessed the accident would be pretty good evidence of negligence, but probably not end the case.

With insurance, though, the two insurance companies and their adjusters try to determine fault however they can, and that includes using inadmissible or suspect evidence, like the ticket that the cop put together after talking to people.

If the FD's damage claim is small, it's going to be difficult to get the insurance to do anything other than their usual settlement process; if it is fairly large, the insurer may go along with a denial of the claim, that might provoke a suit.

So, she should marshal whatever evidence she can find and give it to the insurer in hopes they deny the FDs claim, as well as attack the ticket.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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9 hours ago, Updawg said:

4Runner handled it well. Glad to hear since that’s what I drive.

Me too. 

My favorite blurb I read about it before I bought it was "the design criteria of the 4runner is a 25 year life span in a third world country"

This thread also reminds me of GTA Vice City where you could steal a fire truck and go wreck shit
 

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7 minutes ago, blacklab said:

Me too. 

My favorite blurb I read about it before I bought it was "the design criteria of the 4runner is a 25 year life span in a third world country"

This thread also reminds me of GTA Vice City where you could steal a fire truck and go wreck shit
 

Ever get the fuel gauge fixed?

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fuel gauge works fine, odometer doesn't work. Have to take apart dash to find out which type I need and have been lazy and waiting for a cool day where I have some free time.

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I hit a cop car in my younger days, they gave me a ticket and said it was my fault, but was investigated by another police department and ruled the cops fault because he didn't have his siren or lights on while running the red light. They paid for my car because of that, but was told if the lights or siren were on, it would have been my fault. 

 

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Not exactly sure about Idaho law and their emergency vehicles, but I worked next door in Washington State for a large municipal FD for 22 years there, and lights and siren were required anytime in an emergency response. Running with Lights and sirens also did not allow us to go through red lights. You still needed to slow down and or stop before proceding through and making sure the intersection was cleared. Hate to bag on my brothers, but they were in the wrong. Taking a civilian passenger in a rig and running 4 bells is also not justifiable. Your friend should contact someone that deals in legal affairs of this matter....

better call saul trailer GIF 

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Glad to hear everyone was ok. My ex was involved in a terrible accident when she was 18 in which a speeding police officer t-boned the small vehicle she and three of her friends were riding in. Their car turned left just under the small crest of a hill and the cop came flying over it at over 55 in a 35 mph zone without any lights or siren. He was just in a hurry to get back to the station or something at the end of his shift. My ex was sitting in the passenger seat behind the driver and suffered a bunch of cuts and some fractures in her wrist along with a severe fracture of her femur that involved multiple surgeries and more than two months in the hospital. She was the only survivor. Two of the occupants of the vehicle were teenaged sisters.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

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My car got hit by a city bus once. No injuries and the city fell all over themselves compensating me.

Just needed a palate cleanser after the last story.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Lobwedgephil said:

I hit a cop car in my younger days, they gave me a ticket and said it was my fault, but was investigated by another police department and ruled the cops fault because he didn't have his siren or lights on while running the red light. They paid for my car because of that, but was told if the lights or siren were on, it would have been my fault. 

 

CSB one night in high school I was riding with my friend in his Cutlass Supreme after an ice storm.  We weren't speeding - a cop came up behind him with his lights on, and when we pulled off toward the shoulder to let him pass, we hit a patch of ice on the shoulder and ran right over a fire hydrant.  

Edited by Judge Roybeanbag

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I have a buddy who was riding with his mom in Dallas and was tboned by a Dallas policewoman at an intersection.

After the accident occurred the cop turned on her siren and lights. Several people then pulled over and gave his mom their phone number to be a witness letting her know that they saw the cop turn on her lights after the accident. They got a nice settlement from the city.

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15 hours ago, Braff Zacklin said:

hers is a 2012 model, however, so bear that in mind.

last generational change for the 4runner was the 2010 model year, introduced at the 2009 texas state fair (rip)

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I have a buddy who was riding with his mom in Dallas and was tboned by a Dallas policewoman at an intersection.
After the accident occurred the cop turned on her siren and lights. Several people then pulled over and gave his mom their phone number to be a witness letting her know that they saw the cop turn on her lights after the accident. They got a nice settlement from the city.
Yeah my ex and the families of the other young women in the car with her received a large settlement from the City of Norman.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, elfenix said:

last generational change for the 4runner was the 2010 model year, introduced at the 2009 texas state fair (rip)

Maybe they'll introduce the next model at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

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Be careful, firefighters are like cops and will plant evidence. Wouldn’t be surprised if they found a fire in the back of your friend’s car. 

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