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Man Injured in Collision with Patrol Car in Panama City

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on January 22, 2016

A Panama City Police officer is being cited for "following too closely" by the Florida Highway Patrol after a wreck on the afternoon of Monday, January 4th. It happened about 4:15 p.m. near the intersection of 18th street and Danford Avenue in Panama City.

Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol say a patrol car driven by officer Robin Smith was attempting to merge onto Highway 98 from the center turn lane. At the same time, a car driven by Zhi Qiang Want of Panama City Beach was attempting to enter the center turn lane in front of Smith’s patrol car. According to the report, Smith didn’t see Qiang’s car and hit it from behind. Injuries were described as "minor" in the wreck, though the accident closed part of Highway 98 for more than three hours while the investigation was taking place.

Collisions involving emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances may occur more often than you think, since generally these are the vehicles who are coming to help, not to cause more damage and injury. The truth is that the drivers of these vehicles all have the potential to cause accidents, just like any other automobile operator. And just like all other automobile accidents, emergency vehicle accidents happen for a wide variety of reasons including reckless driving, speeding, distracted driver, poor training and adverse weather conditions.

Just because drivers of emergency vehicles have the right to take liberties with traffic laws, they still have a duty to avoid driving in an unreasonably dangerous manner that may cause additional and unnecessary injuries to other motorists. When an emergency driver fails to do so, they may be found negligent and held responsible for any injuries or damages that resulted. Some examples of possible negligence can include:

  • Not properly using a siren and lights to notify drivers of possibly unusual traffic maneuvering.
  • Speeding through intersections without first looking to make sure the way is clear.
  • Following other vehicles too closely.
  • Taking turns at too high of a speed.
  • Trying to fit through spaces that are too narrow.

If you or someone you know was injured in a collision due to a negligent police car, fire truck, or ambulance driver, you deserve to be properly compensated just like after any other type of accident. These cases, however, often involve government entities and, therefore, can add additional complications that are not typically an issue in a regular auto accident case. The Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. have been representing victims of emergency vehicle accidents for more than 35 years and have the experience and strategy to help you navigate the complexities of receiving compensation in an accident such as this. Call him today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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