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theexocist
Hi everyone. New here and hoping for help.

Late at night this weekend I was involved in an accident with an ambulance and need advice. I don't want to get too specific as its an ongoing matter with insurers.

I was approaching a four way crossroads controlled by traffic lights. I was turning right. To my right (the road I'm turning down) is another car which is stationary. My traffic lights are green and have been for a while so I began to proceed across the junction. Even though I have right of way I still looked to see if the junction was clear, which it was as far as I could see but the crossing is blighted by buildings so visibility is poor.

As I'm turning right an ambulance comes from my left at very high speed through a red light. He clearly had not seen me. As a result i have to swerve immediadly out the way of the fast moving ambulance and hit the other car resulting in a low speed collision. I believe the ambulance had his blue strobes flashing but not the siren on.

I fully believe the ambulance is at fault 100% here and want to claim off his insurance and have them pay the damage to the other car. I had a green light and right of way. Even though I still looked it is impossible to see if the junction is clear until you are actually crossing it. In my opinion it was a choice of a low speed accident with the car or a very high speed and serious accident with the ambulance. Conditions were wet and my speed and driving were fine IMO. There was not time to just brake. If I tried that I would have had a serious accident with the ambulance.

I have spoken to all the insurers and its filtering through the system.

However I'm worried that they will somehow try to blame me as I was the one who actually hit this car.

I would be grateful for your thoughts and advice. Am I in the right?
AFCNEAL
Maybe!!

A sketch or Google pic with the movements might help. You are initially liable for the damage to the pther car as you crashed into it! The driver of that car may/will claim from your insurance to cover himself. You must notify your insurers immediately.

However the good news is that the other driver is also your witness!
theexocist
Thanks AFCNEAL.

I would download the google pic shortly. The guy in the car was a very reasonable lad and everyone accepts he was a completely innocent party in this. At the time he acknowledged the ambulances responsibilty but I obviously can understand he just wants his car fixed and will claim off the easiest target.

I'm sure for insurance purposes it would have been better I the impact was with the ambulance. But as I say someone would have been seriously injured so I did what I could to avoid this.

This is still in the very early stages and we are yet to hear from the ambulance driver but I have put the claim in against his insurers. I have notified my insurance co and also spoken to the car drivers insurance.


Is it true that I had right of way and that it was the ambulance driver who was responsible for giving way?
jobo
yes it his responsibility not to hit things or cause others to hit things

there is the possible point of contention, that you accident was caused by you being startled by an approaching ambulance and not by avoiding a collision with it

was there any police involvement
theexocist
Hi Jobo.

thanks for your help. yes I thought so. I'm in the IAM and know a little about roadcraft and the highway code.

I requested the police attended because I wanted them to take statements. To be honest though they wasn't much use. They breathalised everyone (all zero) and checked insurance details but said as it was not a criminal matter and that because no one was injured it was solely an insurance matter.

Apart from the occupants of the vechicles there was no witnesses. I'm now wondering as it was a built up area if there was any CCTV.

Also does anyone know if ambulances carry blackboxes to verify his speed and position?
jobo
my understanding is that every one claims of the one who hit them (or they blame )and then the insurance company sort it out as it suits them
theexocist
QUOTE (jobo @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 17:15) *
my understanding is that every one claims of the one who hit them (or they blame )and then the insurance company sort it out as it suits them


Ok, but in this case who they blame and who hit them may be different people. I hit the car buts its my understanding I and the car driver blame the ambulance.

The thing is the ambulance went through a red at high speed. If a normal car had done that there would be nothing to contest, it would be the fault of the driver that ran the red. Due to the ambulances speed, the junction and lighting it would've been barely more visible than a normal car.

Anyway all three insurers know my version of events and I believe them to be very accurate. All I can say is that I will be extremly annoyed if I have to pay out because in my opinion the ambulance was reckless and I averted what would have been a major crash.
Grant_W
Red lights are "giveways" for emergency vehicles, you may have a claim against them, providing you have evidence the presemce of the ambulance cause your collision.
theexocist
Thanks again for all your responses.

Grant W: I'm fairly certain all parties will agree that the presence of the ambulance caused the incident, even the ambulance driver. Put it this way, if it hadn't been there driving as it was nothing would have happened!

I think my next steps will be to verify the ambulance was actually on a legitimate call out and also to see if I can access any blackbox or CCTV evidence.
Sparxy
QUOTE (theexocist @ Tue, 23 Mar 2010 - 16:30) *
<br />Hi everyone. New here and hoping for help.<br /><br />Late at night this weekend I was involved in an accident with an ambulance and need advice. I don't want to get too specific as its an ongoing matter with insurers.<br /><br />I was approaching a four way crossroads controlled by traffic lights. I was turning right. To my right (the road I'm turning down) is another car which is stationary. My traffic lights are green and have been for a while so I began to proceed across the junction. Even though I have right of way I still looked to see if the junction was clear, which it was as far as I could see but the crossing is blighted by buildings so visibility is poor.<br /><br />As I'm turning right an ambulance comes from my left at very high speed through a red light. He clearly had not seen me. As a result i have to swerve immediadly out the way of the fast moving ambulance and hit the other car resulting in a low speed collision. I believe the ambulance had his blue strobes flashing but not the siren on. <br /><br />I fully believe the ambulance is at fault 100% here and want to claim off his insurance and have them pay the damage to the other car. I had a green light and right of way. Even though I still looked it is impossible to see if the junction is clear until you are actually crossing it. In my opinion it was a choice of a low speed accident with the car or a very high speed and serious accident with the ambulance. Conditions were wet and my speed and driving were fine IMO. There was not time to just brake. If I tried that I would have had a serious accident with the ambulance.<br /><br />I have spoken to all the insurers and its filtering through the system. <br /><br />However I'm worried that they will somehow try to blame me as I was the one who actually hit this car.<br /><br /><i>I would be grateful for your thoughts and advice. Am I in the right?</i><br />


Although emergency drivers can claim exemptions while on blue lights, I believe it is the responsibility of the driver to do so safely. They have no defence if they have an accident while claiming exemptions anymore than joe public would. I don't think any of the ambulances have black boxes that record the drivers actions like police cars do, although theres nothing stopping you asking!

Did you get the callsign of the ambulance (Usually on a sticker on the back doors), or the registration number? Was it an NHS, or a private vehicle? Did they stop?
theexocist
Hi sparxy.

Yeah I did get the call sign and registration number of the NHS ambulance. The call sign relates to the ambulance rather than driver I assume as the driver wrote it down rather than me seeing it on the back of the ambulance. I have put a claim against his insurers. I think they are now sending out a claim form to him to see what he says about it all. Does that sound right?

Everyone did stop to exchange details. I have to say I have nothing personally against anyone involved. The chap in the car was friendly and helpful and the guy in the ambulance was mainly more concerned about potential injuries. That said I thought his driving was dangerous and irresponsible and the incident they was attending couldn't have been that urgent as they didn't notify base that they were no longer going to be attending until 10 minutes after we all stopped!

I can see the potential of this being a long painful process if the ambulance driver doesn't accept fault because I won’t be backing down. I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the ambulance driver. Because he was essentially driving a business vehicle does that mean he has less to lose if a claim is made against him as he won’t lose personal no claims etc?





AFCNEAL
The other driver is surely your witness so it'll be hard for the ambulance driver (insurer) to defend liability givem as said, above they still have to obey the road rules in terms of care?
Sparxy
QUOTE (theexocist @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 16:39) *
Hi sparxy.

Yeah I did get the call sign and registration number of the NHS ambulance. The call sign relates to the ambulance rather than driver I assume as the driver wrote it down rather than me seeing it on the back of the ambulance. I have put a claim against his insurers. I think they are now sending out a claim form to him to see what he says about it all. Does that sound right?

Everyone did stop to exchange details. I have to say I have nothing personally against anyone involved. The chap in the car was friendly and helpful and the guy in the ambulance was mainly more concerned about potential injuries. That said I thought his driving was dangerous and irresponsible and the incident they was attending couldn't have been that urgent as they didn't notify base that they were no longer going to be attending until 10 minutes after we all stopped!

I can see the potential of this being a long painful process if the ambulance driver doesn't accept fault because I won’t be backing down. I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the ambulance driver. Because he was essentially driving a business vehicle does that mean he has less to lose if a claim is made against him as he won’t lose personal no claims etc?


He is in the same position as any driver with regards to the law. Just because they can claim exemptions does not mean they gain extra protection against prosecution if they had an accident. It will be dealt with by the ambulance services insurance and legal eagles, rather than the crew directly.

The control room can see where all the ambulances are, speed, etc, and this is all recorded if needed for evidence. If they were stopped for a long period of time the control room probably tasked another ambulance, or the driver spoke to them before he got out of his vehicle.

The callsign is linked to the vehicle, the persons within the vehicle are identified and recorded at shift start i would assume. (So it's one of two of them driving).

QUOTE (AFCNEAL @ Wed, 24 Mar 2010 - 17:52) *
The other driver is surely your witness so it'll be hard for the ambulance driver (insurer) to defend liability givem as said, above they still have to obey the road rules in terms of care?


See above. They are in the same position as any other driver who ran a red light and had an accident really....
redloner
CCTV covering the junction?
theexocist
QUOTE (redloner @ Thu, 25 Mar 2010 - 12:32) *
CCTV covering the junction?



Yeah I did enquire about this but it would appear not.

There has now been some progress. I phoned my insurers yesterday and it would appear that both I and the car driver are claiming off the ambulance and no one off me. hopefully justice will prevail! two against one has got to be pretty solid hasn't it?
desktop_demon
The ambulance has no absolute right to ignore a red traffic light or other road directions. It seems to be more the case that no one will prosecute an ambulance driver acting in good faith while attending an emergency. However accidents are accidents and the same rule apply to all.

The situation currently seems to be a purely civil matter. There is no "legal procedure" in action yet. The OP could claim directly against the ambulance authority's insurance. Other than to warn them of the matter there is no need to involve the OP insurers. Of course what normally happens is the parties all notify their own insurers and let them work out who owes what to who between them. That is not always the best route but it is often the most convenient.

If the situation is resolved to the OP satisfaction then that is that. If the OP is unfairly burdened with loss of no claims or similar penalty (eg excess payment) then that can be claimed in full from the party that caused the accident. But to do that will usually involve a small claim in the county court. It is at that point that "legal procedures" take effect. Anything before that is mostly "hot air" that can be accepted or not as the OP feels motivated.

Did the ambulance have an internal video camera? Many emergency vehicles now have cameras recording the drivers view of events. That would be useful if the situation was contested in court.
led zep
It appears on the face of it that the ambulance driver was at fault,however I would avocate letting the insurnace companies resolve the issue.Accidents occur on a daily or even hourly basis and to hear advice of trying to get hold of internal CCTV black boxes external CCTV at this early stage does not give anyone any chance to amicably resolve the matter.The reason you pay your insurance as well as being a legal requirement is to protect your interests.Unless you are third party your insurance company will not want to pay for your or any other parties damages.

If you have legal protection so much the better this will assist in clawing back any losses you have to recover.So at this stage when there are are no criminal or civil proceedings being considered you write to the Ambulane Trust and Local Authority with your reasons for requesting this additional information over and above requesting the insurance details which you or your insurnace company appear to have.They reply no they are not going to disslose anything to you at this stage where do you go from here?.

Let the matter be dealt with by your insurance and note any additional costs if you need to make additional claims there as has been said a process to follow.The Ambulane trusts will no doubt pay up.



theexocist
You guys on here are amazing! Thanks again for all the advice.

QUOTE (desktop_demon @ Fri, 26 Mar 2010 - 10:56) *
The ambulance has no absolute right to ignore a red traffic light or other road directions. It seems to be more the case that no one will prosecute an ambulance driver acting in good faith while attending an emergency. However accidents are accidents and the same rule apply to all.


Agreed, it is a bit of a moral dilemma but I simply want my car fixed and to not lose my NCB. That’s all though. The last thing I want is for this to affect his job in anyway. Although I think his driving was careless I really want to keep it a simple civil matter for insurers.

QUOTE
The OP could claim directly against the ambulance authority's insurance. Other than to warn them of the matter there is no need to involve the OP insurers. Of course what normally happens is the parties all notify their own insurers and let them work out who owes what to who between them. That is not always the best route but it is often the most convenient.


I have made a claim against the ambulance, as has the car driver I believe. No one is claiming off my insurance but I had to notify my insurers to make sure no one does. The car driver’s insurers called me to get my version of events.

QUOTE
If the situation is resolved to the OP satisfaction then that is that. If the OP is unfairly burdened with loss of no claims or similar penalty (eg excess payment) then that can be claimed in full from the party that caused the accident. But to do that will usually involve a small claim in the county court. It is at that point that "legal procedures" take effect. Anything before that is mostly "hot air" that can be accepted or not as the OP feels motivated.


So if it doesn't go my way then I can fight it out in the small claims court.

QUOTE
Did the ambulance have an internal video camera? Many emergency vehicles now have cameras recording the driver’s view of events. That would be useful if the situation was contested in court.

No, unfortunately not.

QUOTE
Let the matter be dealt with by your insurance and note any additional costs if you need to make additional claims there as has been said a process to follow.


Will do. It was suggested by the police to lodge a complaint against the ambulance. Think i'll leave it though at the moment. What do you think?

Like I say I have put a claim in against the ambulances insurance company. I phoned them today and they say he hasn't got back to them. What happens if he doesn't accept liability? How will it eventually be resolved?

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