Rosengren Law Office, LLC

Worker injuries: Fatigue often causes emergency vehicle crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 6,500 ambulances are involved in crashes nationwide each year, including Minnesota. When accidents involve emergency vehicles that travel at high speeds, worker injuries are often severe. This typically applies to emergency vehicles that have to rush to crisis scenes.

Analysis of the crash details gathered by the NHTSA involving fire trucks, police cars or ambulances shows that a significant percentage of these accidents result in severe injuries and death. Safety authorities use the data to learn how many of the victims are drivers of emergency vehicles. Another part of the study is to determine the cause of the crashes.

Reportedly, some of the information already gathered shows that fatigue among emergency workers often cause drowsiness, which in turn leads to vehicle accidents. Safety authorities say fatigued EMS workers are significantly vulnerable and are also more likely to make errors -- both medical and in activities such as driving. Behavior safety research will continue with the goal of establishing guidelines to protect emergency providers and patients, with particular attention to fatigue.

Emergency responders in Minnesota who suffered worker injuries might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. An experienced attorney can ease the claims process that could be challenging for someone who is trying to recover sufficiently to return to work. Benefits typically cover medical expenses along with wage replacement for extended periods of workplace absence. In cases in which worker injuries were fatal, the surviving family members can claim death benefits to assist with end-of-life costs and wage losses.

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