Liability for Collisions Involving Emergency Vehicles in Ontario

driver collides with an emergency vehicleIf there is a fire, medical emergency or a crash, we often see police cars, ambulances and other emergency personnel racing to the scene. Drivers must bring their cars to an immediate stop when an emergency vehicle is approaching from either direction with its lights flashing. Drivers must also slow down and move into another lane for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road.   

But what happens when an emergency vehicle is involved in a collision? Whenever high speeds are involved, there is an increased risk for collisions to happen, especially in instances where a driver may have been engaging in negligent behavior. In these situations, determining liability may become a bit complicated.

Greg Monforton & Partners is well-versed in handling complex car accident cases and is prepared to help guide you through the claims process. Let us advise you of your rights and potential legal options during a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation. We charge no upfront fees to take or work on a case.

Call 24/7 for a Free Case Review: (866) 320-4770

When Emergency Vehicles Are Approaching

If you see an emergency vehicle approaching in either direction with its lights flashing, you are legally obligated to bring your car to a stop as near to the right-hand side or edge of the road as possible. There are different rules to follow depending on the kind of road you are traveling on.

Drivers on a two-lane road or highway with multiple lanes of traffic must slow down, signal and move to the right as safely as you can. Your car must be parallel to the road and clear of any intersections as well as highway on and off-ramps.

Do not stop your car on the shoulder of the road as emergency vehicles may need to use it. Other drivers may also be distracted and hit your car.

At Intersections

At an intersection, all drivers must yield to emergency vehicles. If you are approaching an intersection and hear sirens, stop before the intersection and look in every direction to locate the vehicle. Never block the intersection.

If you hear sirens but do not see the emergency vehicle, you must slow down and check your mirrors to see if it is approaching from behind you. If so, do not turn left. Go through the intersection and then pull to the right edge of the road and come to a safe stop.

Ontario’s Move Over Law

In Ontario, Section 159(2) and (3) of the Highway Traffic Act helps safeguard stopped emergency vehicles. Drivers passing an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with its lights flashing must do the following:

  • Slow down to a safe speed
  • Proceed with extra caution
  • Move over into another lane

If the road has more than one lane, you are required to move over and leave a lane of space between you and the stopped emergency vehicle. If you are on a one-lane road or cannot safely change lanes in time, you must drive at a reduced speed until you pass the emergency vehicle.

Penalties for Drivers Who Disobey This Law

If a driver fails to slow down or move over for an emergency vehicle, he or she can be fined, have demerit points added to his or her driving record or even face jail time.

First-time offenders can be fined anywhere between $400 to $2,000, have three demerit points added to their driving record and get their driver’s license potentially suspended for up to two years.

A driver who violates the law again within a five-year period can be fined anywhere between $1,000 to $4,000, have three demerit points added to their driving record and get their driver’s license potentially suspended for up to two years. They also face up to six months of possible jail time.

Safely Reacting to Emergency Vehicles

Emergency flashing lights and sirens should be taken seriously. In order to safe and avoid a collision with an emergency vehicle, be sure to:

  • Be alert at all times – Avoid driving while distracted (eating, drinking, texting, etc.) and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Remain calm and cautious – Always proceed with caution when an emergency vehicle is approaching or you are passing an emergency vehicle. Give them the space to do their job.
  • Use your signals – Alert other drivers of your intent to pull over. When an emergency vehicle has gone by, check to make sure you have a clear path and signal before merging into traffic.
  • Refrain from sudden movements – Do not make a sudden lane change or brake excessively. Check surrounding traffic, look for blind spots and use your mirrors before changing direction or speed.

Legal Options Available for Injured Victims

A Windsor-based car accident lawyer at our firm is ready to help you hold any negligent driver liable for the injuries and damages you sustained in a crash.  

Ontario has a no-fault car insurance system, which means that you will deal with your own insurance company, regardless of fault. However, it does not mean that no one is at fault for what happened.

Should you meet the serious injury threshold, you may be eligible to go outside of the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.

In most car accident cases, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action. This in accordance with Section 4 of the Limitations Act. Not filing within the two-year basic limitation period will likely result in a court dismissal and an inability to seek compensation.  

Call Our Firm Anytime, 24/7

If you have been injured in a collision, discuss your claim with one of our lawyers today. We have successfully recovered millions on behalf of our clients, including $1.11 million on behalf of a victim who was hit at an intersection by a passing vehicle that failed to yield the right of way.

There is no risk in calling us to set up a free initial consultation and no obligation to have us represent you after this meeting. If you have a valid case, it costs nothing up front to use our legal services.

Get started by calling (866) 320-4770.