COVID-19 Notice: Gersowitz Libo & Korek, PC is fully-operational during the COVID-19 global pandemic. We continue to handle cases and operate remotely, in accordance with mandated safety guidelines. We are available by phone, email or video conference to discuss your case.
Read More from Our Partners


over 900 million recovered for our clients

Helping New York and New Jersey Injury Victims for over 30 Years.


Judy Spencer Killed In Hartland Volunteer Fire Company Car Accident With Barker Fire Department Rescue Truck In Somerset

Volunteer Firefighter Judy Spencer Died In Somerset Car Accident Involving A Reversing Barker Fire Department Rescue Truck

Judy Spencer died while in Somerset fire truck accident.

NIAGARA COUNTY, NEW YORK (August 26, 2021) – A beloved volunteer firefighter for the Hartland Volunteer Fire Company identified as Judy Spencer  has tragically died after being hit by a reversing fire truck.

Niagara County fire officials are saying that the accident took place around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Firefighters were responding to a hay bale fire on Quaker Road in Somerset.

Judy Spencer was spotting for a Barker Fire Department rescue truck when it suddenly backed over her. First responders immediately worked to help the victim and an ambulance was called.

Sadly, Judy Spencer was beyond medical help and pronounced dead at the scene. She spent more than 20 years as a volunteer firefighter and was a beloved member of the Hartland Volunteer Fire Company.

Flags were flown at half mast following her death. A full investigation into the tragic accident remains ongoing at this time.

Liability In Somerset Fire Truck Accidents Involving Volunteers

Fire trucks and emergency vehicles pose a number of unique hazards to the public. For starters, they can speed and break other traffic laws on the way to any emergency. They are also extremely heavy with large blind spots. It has been estimated that over the last 10 years there have been around 31,000 accidents that involved fire trucks. There are a number of different factors that could potentially contribute to an accident including:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Failure to check blind spots
  • Inclement weather
  • Road conditions

Determining liability for any accident can be extremely complex. This is especially true with respect to volunteers that are injured or killed on the job. The line between “volunteer” and “employee” can often get blurry, especially when those volunteers are paid or receiving something of value. As a general principle, employees in New York are barred by statute from bringing civil claims against their employers – with limited exceptions (see e.g., New York State Labor Law § 240/241).

New York Statute (12 N.Y.C.R.R. § 143-3.12(c)(5)) defines a volunteer as “a person who works for the nonprofitmaking institution under no contract of hire, express or implied, and with no promise of compensation, other than reimbursement for expenses as part of the conditions of work.” There are a number of state and federal statutes that regulate liability for accidents that involve volunteer workers.

In 1997 congress passed the federal Volunteer Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1450. The law was designed to encourage volunteerism by eliminating or reducing volunteer’s risk of tort liability. In other words, volunteers working within the course and scope of their volunteer duties typically won’t be personally liable for accidents. This typically doesn’t cover accidents that involve motor vehicles. Moreover, the statute does not provide immunity for nonprofits or corporations that injure volunteers due to their negligent actions. Government agencies, non-profits and corporations will typically take a number of steps to limit their exposure to liability for accidents involving volunteers.

  • Training: Volunteers should not be asked to perform seriously dangerous tasks in most circumstances. They should also receive proper training to reduce the likelihood of accidents.
  • Liability Waivers: Many government agencies, non-profits and corporations will craft liability waivers and have volunteers sign these when they start. Depending on how well a liability waiver was created it may or may not be enforceable.

Even with a liability waiver government agencies, non-profits and corporations typically aren’t covered in the event of gross negligence. Drivers should always exercise a great deal of caution when backing up their vehicle. Back up accidents are nearly always preventable. New York law requires that no driver shall back up their vehicle unless it can be done safely.  When a driver hits a pedestrian while backing up they will typically be considered at fault for the accident.

The family of any volunteer that died in an accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses and loss of love. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after an accident. Any liability waivers should be thoroughly examined. A personal injury attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and get you the answers and information you need.

Investigating A Somerset Fire Truck Accident Involving  Volunteers

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Judy Spencer. She worked tirelessly on behalf of her community. This is a great loss for everyone. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to authorities as they continue their investigation. It is our sincere hope that measures will be considered to help prevent additional accidents like this. Nearly all back-up collisions are totally preventable when the right safety measures are taken.

Client Testimonials

A few years ago I was misdiagnosed and nearly ended up becoming a quadriplegic. Three spinal fusions followed. I asked my sister, a top D.C. lawyer, to find the name of the best personal injury lawyer in NYC, and I was referred to Jeff Korek of... Gersowitz Libo and Korek. It was a tough time for me, but Jeff and Irene were great and helped me through it every step of the way. They were compassionate, understanding and very accommodating, yet professional and always with their fingers on the pulse. They really care about the welfare of their clients, and not just money driven. When I was unable to travel, Jeff came to me, and I live an hour from the city. This firm is well known, well established, and has earned the respect and credibility among its peers. I highly recommend the firm of Gersowitz Libo and Korek without hesitation and, in fact, I already have. My thanks go out to the entire team for a better than expected outcome!!! They get a 5 out of 5 stars from me!!read more
Mary S.
I am giving this law firm 6 out of six thumbs up. Very professional very personal and compassionate staff. From the Attorneys to the staff they were all...
Anthony C.
Thank you to the team at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, and especially to our wonderful attorney Anthony Makarov. Mr. Makarov was our trial attorney who took our...
Amy L.
Ed Gersowitz and all his colleagues at the firm Gersowitz Libo & Korek, PC far exceeded all my expectations for a personal injury law firm. From the moment...
Robin F.
I was injured in 2011 and spent nearly 8 years with Ed Gersowitz and Jeff Korek. Their professionalism and care was beyond. The process was long and at times exhausting but Ed. Jeff and their team made me feel comfortable and in great hands. I... can't thank them enough and would highly recommend GLK to all. Thank you for all your help!read more
Jeremy N.
Thank you to the team at Gersowitz Libo & Korek and special thanks to attorney Daniel, Avi and Annette for all your help on my case. Dealing with the law...
Hazel M.
From beginning to end we were comfortable with the team at GLK. Thank you Mr. Gersowitz (Ed) for obtaining a settlement out of court.
Donna L. S.
Jeff and Michael are both very professional and helpful towards my case. I would like to thank the team and Irene, the assistant, for all their help despite the length of time that the case took. They took a lot of care and were patient with... answering any inquiries that I more
Cindy C.
They were incredibly professional and pleasant to work with. They made the personal injury process straightforward and easy to navigate. I appreciated their...
Lindsay L.
La mejor firma de abogados, muy profesionales, excelentes persona, todo el tiempo estuvieron pendientes de mi y mis necesidades, estoy muy agradecida con ellos.
Maricela O.
section start
Need Help with an Injury? We're Here to Help. Contact Us Today:
  • Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.