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How dangerous are stopped or disabled vehicles?

Man changing a flat tire on the highway

It’s not unusual to see a car stopped on the road. The vehicle may be disabled. Its flashers might be on. Someone may be looking under the hood or fixing a flat tire.

Whatever the reason for it being stopped on the road, the vehicle often causes a disruption – a traffic slowdown or even a car accident.

Accidents involving stopped or disabled vehicles, unfortunately, can be deadly. According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety article (IIHS), hundreds of people are killed and thousands are injured each year in accidents involving cars that are stopped. The vehicles may not have stood out enough to alert drivers who are approaching them, sometimes at highway speeds. According to the IIHS article, half of the deaths in stopped or disabled vehicle crashes involve pedestrians who are hit by a car while leaving, working on a returning to a stopped vehicle.

What do you do if your vehicle is disabled?

Cars sometimes break down in inconvenient places. If you do have a car emergency, you should try to get the car off the roadway, if possible, to protect yourself and other motorists. According to Massachusetts law: “No person shall park a vehicle in any highway except in the right-hand lane or shoulder of the highway for the purpose of changing a tire or making emergency repairs unless such vehicle is so damaged or disabled that it cannot be moved under its own power.”

Who is responsible in a stopped vehicle car accident?

If a driver fails to move a disabled vehicle from the road (that can be moved) and an accident occurs, the driver of the stopped vehicle may be responsible for causing the crash. The driver of the stationary car may have to pay for the damage to the other vehicle and for any injuries sustained as a result of the crash.

The driver of the stopped vehicle, however, might claim they could not get the car off the road.  They might say they turned on their flashers and were clearly visible to approaching traffic. In such cases, the approaching driver might have been distracted or speeding, which are factors that could prove negligence. Sometimes, the driver of the stopped car is severely hurt or fatally injured through no fault of their own in an accident caused by another negligent driver.

If you’re injured in an accident with a stopped or disabled vehicle, the insurance claim can get complicated quickly. Each driver might accuse the other of acting in a careless or dangerous manner.

How a lawyer can help after a stopped vehicle accident

Accidents are often devastating. You may face skyrocketing medical bills. You may be losing income because you can’t work. Our attorneys understand what you’re going through and will help you fight for the compensation you need if you are injured or a loved one dies in an accident.

Contact an experienced Massachusetts attorney at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone. We will listen to you and help you explore all your legal options. We encourage you to contact us if you were in a stopped-vehicle accident, whether you were in a disabled car or you were driving a car that collided with a stationary vehicle. We can help find out what happened and determine who was responsible.

Your consultation is free. You pay nothing unless we win your case. Let us fight for you. Tell them you mean business.

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If you were injured or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident in Boston, Worcester, Springfield or Holyoke, a personal injury lawyer can fight to help you obtain compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone, serving Massachusetts, our personal injury attorneys have an impressive record of trial verdicts and settlements.

Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone