In July of 2010, a Northern Ohio car accident claimed the life of a 24-year-old man and injured his 22-year-old girlfriend. The injured woman, along with family members of her deceased boyfriend filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a volunteer fireman and the fire district. The accident happened on State Route 19 while the fireman was on his way to the fire station. According to reports he had been speeding more than 95 miles per hour when he crashed into the back of the vehicle being driven by the 22-year-old female. That vehicle was also occupied by her boyfriend who was killed in the crash.
Earlier this month, the family of the deceased and the injured woman settled their lawsuit with the driver of the speeding vehicle and the fire district where he volunteered. The settlement amount exceeds $1.5 million, which will never bring back their loved one but may offer some solace in allowing the survivors to begin to heal. The volunteer fireman plead guilty in July to misdemeanor charges of attempted negligent vehicular homicide and negligent vehicular homicide.
The man's jury trial on felony charges resulted in a mistrial. Last month he was sentenced to several months in jail and his drivers' license was suspended for three years on the misdemeanor charges. Perhaps this lawsuit and subsequent settlement can act as an educational tool in teaching firemen racing to the station that they do have an obligation to operate their vehicles with due regard for the public's safety.
It is the same obligation police officer's and other emergency responders must abide by when they are en route to an emergency situation. Negligent drivers regardless of their intended destination can be held liable for damages that result from their actions. Personal injury laws allow families of victims injured or killed through no fault of their own recover economic damages for their injuries. Damages may include not only economic losses, such as medical bills and funeral expenses, but also pain and suffering.
Source: Firehouse, "Family Settles With Ohio Firefighter, FD in Fatal Crash," Jennifer Feehan, Oct. 17, 2012
Our Cincinnati personal injury law firm helps accident victims and their families recover damages from car accidents similar to the case discussed above. Please visit our Motor Vehicle Accidents page if you would like to learn more.