Woman Awarded $4.6 million settlement against Volunteer Fire Fighter

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by WT, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. WT

    WT Millennium Member

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    A Gloucester County, N.J. woman who was severely injured and now requires ongoing care because of a 2018 accident involving a volunteer firefighter who was racing to a fire had a $4.6 million settlement in her case approved.

    Superior Court Judge Samuel Ragonese Jr. approved the settlement, including the plaintiff attorneys’ petition for an enhanced fee in the case, Baker v. Campbell.

    Plaintiff Melinda Baker, then 56, was involved in an accident in late afternoon on Jan. 26, 2018, in Wenonah, according to her lawyer and a police report. She was driving through town and came to a stop light. The light turned green, and she began proceeding through the intersection of Route 45 and Parkville Station Road.

    Defendant Richard Campbell Jr., a volunteer firefighter with the Wenonah Volunteer Fire Co., was racing to a fire in his personal car, that was equipped with flashing blue lights, for which he did not have a permit but which he was actively using at the time. Campbell failed to stop at a red light at the same intersection and crashed into the front of Baker’s car while she was halfway through the intersection, the report said.

    ________________________________
    Guys, slow down. Crawl thru intersections. Look both ways. Make sure it is safe before proceeding.
     
  2. Tvov

    Tvov

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    Yep, I tell the new guys: That blue light is just a "courtesy" light, and gives you absolutely no authority to break traffic laws.

    In Connecticut, in order to break traffic laws, you have to have emergency lights and a siren (visual and audible signals). BUT, but, but, but.... you have to proceed with "due regard", meaning you are responsible to pay attention to safety, such as slowing or stopping at red lights and stop signs.

    Before I go through a red light with a monstrous red fire engine with lights flashing and the Federal siren blaring, I slow down to almost a crawl, and go through the intersection with care.

    They don't give the age of the firefighter... just from experience, he is probably on the younger side. Usually, but not always, the older guys drive slower with more care.

    I might post that article to my fire department's private page.
     
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  3. Dave514

    Dave514

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    I mention in a recent thread about volunteer fire departments that I expect a similar thing to happen in my community. These young bucks mean well but they are FLYING beyond reason even long after the scene is loaded with emergency personnel.
     
  4. pittpa

    pittpa What did I come in here for?

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    I always look both ways as I'm about to enter an intersection with a green light. One of my family members may be on the cross street.
     
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  5. Firecop203

    Firecop203

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    Realistically, does she think she’ll get that money. The FF was a volunteer. He probably wasn’t getting paid for his volunteer work. They may garnish his check from his real job and take everything he owns, but that will not come close to the settlement.

    I was on my states FF health and safety committee and the subject was introduced to allow personal vehicles to be equipped with lights and sirens.

    We requested a legal opinion from the state atty general and his answer was a solid NO.

    Too many liability issues. Driver training, policies, procedures, insurance, laws allowing use and condition of the vehicles to be used were just a few of the concerns.
     
  6. WT

    WT Millennium Member

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    Checking into this case further, it appears the payout comes from the FF's auto insurance and the fire department's insurance carriers.

    So, yes she will get paid.
     
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  7. Glockman4

    Glockman4

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    Back when I was a volly, at like 20 years old, I was voted in as fire police “lieutenant.” In PA that meant I was a line officer and could run red lights and a siren in my personal truck. When you do that, you are considered an emergency vehicle for purposes of the law, and are allowed to speed, pass, and proceed through red lights with due regard. So I put in a couple cheap red dash lights and a basic noise box.

    I can’t count how many times I’d be going to a call, siren blaring, already doing 15-20 over, and some blue light whacker would come flying up behind me and ride my bumper (often times from other departments who had been called for mutual aid, so that tells you how fast they were going to catch up to me responding in my own township), and would just generally drive like *******s.

    One time, one of my own guys passed me in this manner on a double yellow line, 2 lane road. One of our captains was a township police officer, and he had a nice word with him over that reckless maneuver.

    A lot of these guys had full Whelen liberty lightbars on their car and stickers all over so everyone would know who they were (who cares, right?). It was way too wannabe for me, and one of the reasons I got out of it. Grown men acting like children getting let out for recess. That’s the thing with volunteers, they can’t be picky on qualifications so we had some real winners...
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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  8. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    We talked about getting lights on POV. Group decision was " no thanks". Even when driving lights, siren. Any red light,mstolen,myself sign you slow way diwn, make eye contact before going.

    I was told ",you are ASKING to be allowed to go against traffic sign/signal. If you hit someone you will be found at fault."
    I was the guy who seldom used siren. I set it to horn activation. Use as needed. Was known for rapid but smooth transits.