Firefighter Sued After Striking/Killing Pedestrian On Way To Fire
A firefighter is facing a lawsuit alleging that he was driving dangerously on his way to a fire, according to a recent lawsuit. The suit was filed on behalf of a 76-year-old woman who was killed as the firefighter was responding to the blaze. The dispatcher had reported that a man was attempting to light a tree stump on fire. The woman was napping in the park, according to authorities.
As the firefighter put out the fire, a member of the public approached him and pointed out a blanket that had recently been run over. Under the blanket was a 76-year-old woman who had been asleep. The firefighter did not realize that the blanket had a woman underneath it.
The family alleges negligence on behalf of the firefighter and the city and is demanding a jury trial.
Analyzing the allegations
The municipality for which the firefighter works will defend the firefighter from the lawsuit. The city claims that the firefighter was acting in good faith and in the course of his work when the accident occurred. It appears likely that there was a pile of debris that had been left there that simply looked like a lot of garbage. The firefighter will say he didn’t know that a person was there and that is very likely true.
Questions will be raised as to why the woman was allowed to sleep in the park amid a pile of debris, but that is not a question that pins liability on the firefighter. Ultimately, it sounds like a case where she was under the care of a medical facility or simply a homeless person who was not linked to services. This creates a liability black hole where it’s not apparent that anyone other than the plaintiff is responsible for the accident. One does not expect to find sleeping people amid piles of debris in a park.
So, most people will recognize that this was a terrible accident, but they won’t necessarily think that this firefighter is to blame.
Duties of care for public officials
Police officers, firefighters, and others who work directly for the government have a limited duty of care when it comes to actually doing anything. Further, when it comes to negligence-based allegations, the plaintiffs must establish that the negligence was a violation of the law or an internal policy. If so, then the matter can be litigated. If not, you’re generally out of luck. In this case, the city is unlikely to have a policy related to people sleeping in the park. However, if they did, this suit would be much more winnable. As it stands, it’s simply sad. But you don’t expect anyone to foresee a sleeping person in the park in the midst of a pile of debris.
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