Car accidents happen every day, and they can involve the literal headache from the crash to the headache from dealing with the insurance companies that never seem to cooperate. An added headache that is not often discussed is when the other vehicle in the accident is a police officer or other emergency vehicle. Louisiana Revised Statute 32:24 controls the standards of care that emergency workers follow in relation to other drivers when they are responding to a situation.
Police officers and emergency responders serve and protect our communities, and for that we are thankful. However, just because an officer is on duty does not immunize him/her from tort liability when their fault contributed to an auto accident. Louisiana Revised Statute 32:24 provides that although civilian drivers must always remain alert, if the driver of an emergency vehicle drives without due regard for the safety of all persons or with reckless disregard for the safety of others, then they are treated just like everybody else.
While the law seems straightforward, there are many factors in play. For example, just because an officer’s lights or sirens were on does not automatically relieve him/her from fault. In Jones v. American Alternative Ins. Corp., the Louisiana First Circuit held that mere use of a signal or signals is not enough to show compliance with statutory requirements when proceeding through a red light, and that there must be a showing that the signals were sufficient to warn motorists of the approach of an emergency vehicle.
Should you have any questions or you would like to discuss this issue in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation.