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Liability for a Crash Involving a Disabled Vehicle on the Roadside

working on car engine at dusk on roadsideIf you get a flat tire or something else happens that forces you to pull over, it is very important to get to a safe location away from the flow of traffic. You do not want to be in harm’s way and potentially get hit by a fast-moving car. Not only could your car suffer significant damage in such a crash, but you may suffer severe injuries as well.

However, there is another reason to move your car into a safe location. While passing drivers are required to pay attention to their surroundings to avoid a crash, drivers of disabled vehicles have an obligation to give passing drivers enough room to safely get by.

If you leave part of your car jutting out into the road in such a way it is difficult for passing cars to get by, you could potentially be held liable for damage to the passing car.

Below, learn more about liability in these types of crashes and how this could impact a claim for compensation.

Does Minnesota Law Address These Situations?

Minnesota’s Move Over Law may apply if emergency responder vehicles were at the scene. This law says passing cars are required to move one full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with their flashing lights activated. (If it is not possible to move over one lane, drivers must reduce their speed.)

Emergency vehicles include:

  • Ambulances
  • Fire trucks
  • Law enforcement vehicles
  • Construction vehicles
  • Tow trucks
  • Maintenance vehicles

This law applies on roads with at least two lanes.

If a driver does not comply with the law, he or she could be fined more than $100. If this happens, it may be easier to prove this driver was at fault for the crash.

What if There Were no Emergency Vehicles at the Scene?

Even if no emergency vehicles are present, it may be reasonable to expect passing drivers to move over one lane or at least slow down to reduce the risk of a crash with a disabled vehicle. For example, if there was light traffic and the disabled vehicle is clearly visible from a significant distance, it may be reasonable to expect passing drivers to take precautionary measures.

What About the Driver of the Disabled Vehicle?

You can be sure insurance companies will look for any reason to blame you for a crash, whether your vehicle was disabled or not. That is why it is important to do your best to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you may be found liable for a collision.

Do your best to pull off to the side of the road and out of harm’s way and put your hazard lights on. If possible, you may want to exit the vehicle and move a safe distance away from it. However, you do not want to exit the vehicle only to stand right next to it. You could get hit by a car or suffer severe injuries if your car gets hit.

Call for help right away, as a tow truck or police vehicle can put its lights on to help make your vehicle more visible to approaching drivers.

If you do not take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of getting hit by a passing car, you can be sure the insurance company will take note and try to use this against you.

However, it is important to note that even if you are found partially to blame, the passing driver may shoulder a significant portion of the blame, particularly if he or she was speeding or distracted.

Does Fault Even Matter After a Minnesota Car Crash?

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means you can seek compensation for your injuries and some other damages from your own insurance, regardless who is at fault.

However, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage does not pay for damage to your own vehicle. You may need to file a claim against the other driver’s liability coverage. In that scenario, fault does come into play.   

Also, if your PIP coverage runs out, you may need to file a claim against the other driver’s policy for additional coverage. In a third-party claim, you and your Bloomington-based car accident attorney would need to prove the third party was liable for your damages to have a chance to obtain compensation.

Struggling to Obtain Compensation? Give Us a Call

If you need help after a car crash, give us a call today to schedule a free initial consultation. We have helped many crash victims and we know the many issues you are dealing with.

There is no risk in contacting us because we do not charge any upfront fees. That means no fees to take your case and no fees while investigating and pursuing compensation. Our attorneys do not get paid unless you get paid.

Call today for answers to your questions. (612) TSR-TIME

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