An 88-year-old car passenger lost her life when the vehicle in which she was riding was hit by a Virginia Beach EMS SUV on the morning of March 1, 2016. The fatal crash occurred at the intersection of Lynnhaven Parkway and North Mall Drive.
News reports identified the deceased victim as Doris Virginia Baxter. Her driver survived the wreck with minor injuries, and the paramedic behind the wheel of vehicle the emergency medical services SUV was not hurt. The emergency vehicle was being returned to a city garage and not responding to a call.
Police determined that the car was turning left through the intersection. The SUV came straight through the light and struck the car on its passenger side. No announcement was made regarding which driver had right of way, but the EMS volunteer has been taken off the road and placed on administrative duty. Investigators have asked anyone who witnessed the collision to call (757) 385-5000 to share their information.
Crashes with ambulances, fire engines, police cruisers and other emergency vehicles are not rare. In fact, a pickup truck driver cut off an ambulance in Newport News, VA, only a few hours before the wreck in Virginia Beach. Attorney Richard Shapiro with our firm has represented both law enforcement officers and paramedics. In one case, we represented a paramedic who suffered personal injuries in Hampton, VA, when a car's driver ran a red light and smashed into an ambulance, which overturned the ambulance and injured our client.
The likelihood of the Virginia Beach paramedic being at fault for the collision on Lynnhaven Parkway seems much greater. Even though emergency medical personnel in Virginia Beach are nearly all volunteers, the EMS itself operates under city authority. There are many legal hurdles for a personal injury victim in Virginia when it comes to defenses raised by insurance attorneys representing governmental agents. Challenges regarding which insurance policies apply often arise, and questions over whether sovereign immunity applies are always asked. It is wise to seek the advice of an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney when involved in any type of accident involving the possible fault of government workers or agents.