Traffic accidents always seem random and capricious, but special circumstances can make such tragedies even more painful for the families and friends of victims. One such auto accident occurred in Agoura Hills involving a private vehicle and a truck driven by firefighters working for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The driver and his wife (who had been married for just six months) were traveling to the rehearsal for his brother’s wedding, in which he was supposed to serve as best man. According to witnesses, the driver was making a left turn off Mulholland Drive when his car was hit on the driver’s side by a camp crew truck responding to a local fire. The truck had is lights and sirens working, but members of the victim’s family said that the truck was following too close to the deceased’s vehicle and was also traveling too fast. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, and his wife, who suffered serious injury, was transported by helicopter to a nearby hospital.
Under California law, a firefighter can be liable for damages for the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, even a fire truck. Whether the driver of the fire truck was negligent in this case and whether the county fire department will be held liable for damages will not be determined for several months, at the earliest. The fire department refused to comment, citing the ongoing investigation of the accident.
Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a fire truck or other vehicle belonging to a governmental agency may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in such cases. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the case, provide advice on whether the agency is subject to suit and offer an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages.
Source: ABC7 News, “Man Killed in Crash with Fire Truck on Way to Brother’s Wedding Rehearsal Dinner,” Leanne Suter, August 1, 2015