We all know that stopping on the shoulder of a road, especially if you are on a busy highway, is dangerous but that sometimes it is necessary. For example, if you are having car trouble and are not able to safely make it to an exit or if you have been involved in an accident that has left you stranded you may have no choice but to park your vehicle on the shoulder of the road. While motorists in Florida are allowed to stop on the shoulder when it is necessary to do so, these stopped vehicles are often struck by passing vehicles. But who is liable when an accident occurs on the shoulder of the road? Read on to find out.
Here in Florida, every driver has a legal duty to operate his/her vehicle in a way that a reasonably prudent person would under comparable circumstances. Therefore, when it is established that someone else sustained harm due to a driver’s negligent breach of this reasonable duty of care the injured party can hold the driver accountable for his/her injuries. This means that liability can be established in connection with shoulder of the road accidents against either the driver who was stopped on the shoulder or against the driver who struck the stopped vehicle depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
For example, if Driver A could have stopped his vehicle entirely on the shoulder but instead left his rear bumper protruding out into the road and was consequently struck by passing Driver B then it is likely that Driver A would be held liable for any resulting injuries. However, if Driver B also acted negligently in some way, and this negligence was also a proximate cause of the resulting injuries, then both drivers may be found partially liable for the accident as Florida is a pure comparative fault state.
Tips For Preventing Shoulder of the Road Accidents
If you are forced to stop your vehicle on the shoulder of the road, be sure to follow the safety tips from the American Automobile Association listed below:
- Pull over as far to the right-hand side of the shoulder as possible,
- Flip your hazard lights on as you pull off of the road and keep them on while stopped on the shoulder,
- When getting out of your car climb over the passenger seat, if possible, and exit your vehicle on the right-hand side,
- Keep your vehicle in good working order in order to minimize the chances of breaking down on the side of the road,
- Always keep flares and warning triangles on hand and if you are forced to stop your vehicle on the shoulder (place the first flare or triangle 10 feet behind your vehicle, the next 30 to 60 feet behind the vehicle, and the third 120 to 360 behind the vehicle), and
- Stay in your vehicle with your passengers while awaiting assistance if it is safe to do so.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Unfortunately, shoulder of the road car accidents are common occurrences in Florida. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident and are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim against the responsible party in order to recover compensation for your losses, Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, is here to help. Our experienced auto, truck, and motorcycle accident lawyers work tirelessly to ensure that our injured clients collect the compensation to which they are entitled. To discuss your legal options and find out what our firm can do for you contact our Ocala office today toll free at 352-558-8480.