One Person Dead After Ambulance and Dump Truck Collide

A recent accident in southwest Missouri illustrates just how easily anyone can be injured in a traffic accident - even in the back of an ambulance. A patient being transferred between hospitals was pronounced dead after the ambulance he was being transported in was struck by a dump truck traveling in the opposite direction on Missouri Highway 32.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident apparently happened when westbound vehicles began to slow as the ambulance approached them traveling east. As the dump truck approached the other westbound vehicles from behind, it fishtailed out of control and crashed into the ambulance - eventually coming to rest facing east.

Emergency Vehicles in Missouri

This truck accident is particularly tragic given there that are laws in Missouri designed to prevent this exact type of accident. Under Missouri law, when an emergency vehicle approaches with sirens or lights activated, every other vehicle on the road must yield the right-of-way and immediately pull off the road as far to the right as possible. Drivers must remain pulled over until the emergency vehicle has passed. This law protects not only the emergency vehicles, but also other drivers by helping them avoid emergency vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed.

Emergency vehicles not only include ambulances and police cars, but any vehicle operated by a conservation agent or state park ranger, in addition to any public tow truck or department of corrections vehicle responding to emergency situations.

Potential Liability for Failure to Pull Over

A driver that fails to pull over for an emergency vehicle is guilty of a misdemeanor under Missouri law. However, a driver may also be liable in civil court for any damages caused by their failure to yield the right-of-way - for example if the driver injures the occupants of another car by crashing into that car when the driver was supposed to be pulled over.

People injured by drivers who failed follow Missouri law may bring a negligence claim against the driver who struck them - but they also may attempt to bring an action under a Missouri legal theory known as "negligence per se."

Negligence per se is basically a presumption that anyone who has violated a safety law has automatically violated their duty to use due care. Under Missouri law, to show negligence per se, an injured party must show:

  • the driver in fact violated the law
  • the injured party is a member of the class of people that the law was intended to protect
  • the injury is the type that the law was designed to protect
  • the violation of the law caused the injury

Drivers who fail to follow traffic laws need to be held accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a careless driver, contact an experienced auto accident attorney in your area to be advised of your rights and options.