Emergency Vehicles Still Have To Be Driven Carefully

Many states have laws that give special privileges to drivers of emergency vehicles, such as being able to go faster than the speed limit or run stop signs and red lights. But this doesn’t mean that emergency personnel are completely off the hook if they cause an accident. That’s because, even when responding to an urgent call, emergency drivers still have to exercise a reasonable amount of care. If they don’t, their employer may be liable. In one recent case, Robin Jones was heading through a green light at an intersection when a county fire rescue truck turned left against the red light, smashing into Jones’s car and causing her serious injuries. In court, the county argued that Robin should have stopped when the fire truck approached. But Robin argued that even emergency drivers have an obligation when running red lights to stop momentarily and confirm that the coast is clear. In this case, the emergency driver admitted that another car had blocked his view of Robin’s lane, but he had turned anyway. And while the driver had his emergency lights on, his vehicle was a Ford F-250 with lights on the sides of the vehicle, which are less visible than the light bar on top of a typical police car. A jury weighed the facts and decided that the emergency driver was 60% at fault for the accident, which meant Robin could be compensated for 60% of her damages.


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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