Liability for Collisions With Vehicles Parked on the Shoulder

vehicle in an emergency situation parked on shoulderEmergencies can happen when behind the wheel that may make a driver need to pull over onto the shoulder. Emergency responders and maintenance personnel are also often seen along the side of the road rendering aid to a stopped or stranded vehicle. However, this is one of the most dangerous areas for anyone to be parked in. Many people are injured or killed in crashes each year by passing motorists.

To help mitigate these risks, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation requires that all drivers follow the “Move Over Law”, created to protect law enforcement officers, emergency responders, tow truck operators and highway maintenance workers traveling along the state’s roadways.

Our attorneys at Sigman Janssen further explain the significance of this law and what your potential legal options are if you are injured in a collision by a negligent driver while parked on the side of the road. An initial consultation is completely free and confidential with no obligation to hire our firm.

Understanding Wisconsin’s “Move Over Law”

Wisconsin’s “Move Over Law” helps safeguard stopped emergency vehicles, which is particularly important over the winter months. Emergency workers often work in heavy snow and ice as these conditions can lead to an increased risk of collisions and stalled vehicles on either side of the road.

If a vehicle is on the side of the road with its emergency lights flashing, a driver must move out of the lane closest to the vehicle. Drivers on a four-lane roadway are required to provide a safety zone for a stopped squad car, ambulance, fire truck, utility vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle.

Two-lane roadways often increase the risk of a crash because there is less space for a vehicle to move over due to oncoming traffic. If a driver cannot safely change lanes, he or she must slow down to a safe speed for traffic conditions, driving at a reduced speed until passing the emergency vehicle. This allows drivers to better maintain control of their vehicles if they need to quickly slow down or stop for someone who is stepping in and out of a vehicle parked on the shoulder.

Penalties for Drivers Who Fail to Follow This Law

If a driver receives a ticket for violating this law, it will result in a $249 fine and three demerit points on his or her driving record.

If the violation results in a crash, it will result in a suspended driver’s license and if a person is injured or killed, the at-fault driver could be imprisoned for up to seven years.

If You Are in an Emergency Situation

Should you need to pull over due to an emergency, be sure to do so safely. Here are some tips to lower the risk of an accident:

  • Use your hazard lights to warn other drivers that something is wrong with your vehicle 
  • Check for traffic on the roadway to avoid causing a collision while pulling over
  • Pull over as far to the side of the road as possible without blocking a lane of traffic
  • Keep your hazard lights on even after you have parked on the shoulder
  • Stay in your vehicle until help arrives, or if you must exit the vehicle, check carefully for oncoming traffic to make a safe exit
  • Remain alert for traffic or other potential hazards on the roadway until help arrives

Potential Legal Options for Injured Victims

An car accident attorney in Oshkosh from our firm is prepared to help hold a negligent driver liable for any injuries and damages he or she caused you to suffer in a crash.

You may be eligible to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for medical-related expenses, property damage, lost income from an inability to work, and/or pain and suffering damages.

If a settlement cannot be reached, we are also prepared to head to court, if it is absolutely necessary.

The statute of limitations to take legal action for most car accident cases is generally three years from the date of the crash. Waiting too long to file will likely result in a court dismissal.

Our Firm is Available to Help 24/7

If you have been involved in a collision, discuss your situation with a member of our legal team today. We are ready to protect your rights and best interests every step of the way. We have obtained millions of dollars for our clients and look forward to seeking maximum compensation on your behalf.

There is no risk in calling us to set up a free case review, no obligation to retain our services, and no upfront fees while working on a case. Contact our offices anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sigman Janssen. Decades of Experience. (877) 888-5201