Have you been the victim of a collision or crash that occurred at the side or shoulder of a road? These accidents are extremely common and, sadly, are often fatal. Motorists in disabled vehicles and pedestrians on the shoulder of the road are often defenseless targets for careless drivers. These unsuspecting victims, unable to avoid an impact they cannot foresee, are often the most likely to be severely injured. The inverse is also sometimes a problem: vehicles negligently stationed in a dangerous position on the side of the road may cause unsuspecting drivers to collide with them.
If you have been the victim of a roadside traffic accident in Maryland and have suffered serious injuries, call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.
This article will cover:
- The Risks Inherent in Roadside Accidents
- Common Serious Injury Accident Scenarios in These Cases?
- Sample Settlements and Verdicts in Shoulder of the Road Crash Cases.
On interstates, local highways, and other roads, a troubling number of motorists are killed and injured each year in accidents that occur on the side or shoulder of the road. About 19% of all vehicle crashes occur off the roadway, either near the median or on the shoulder. About 12% of all highway fatalities involve shoulder of the road crashes, with a significant number (over 600 per year) of those involving defenseless pedestrians. This high rate of fatality is indicative of the serious nature of accidents and crashes that occur on the shoulder or side of the road.Common Types of Roadside Vehicle Crashes
These are examples of three types of accidents that often occur on the shoulder of the road:
- A car sitting on the shoulder of the road in the dark fails to utilize hazard lights, causing an unsuspecting driver exiting the highway to collide with the stationary car.
- A car is appropriately stationed on the shoulder of the road, visible to all motorists due to the use of hazard lights, when a negligently driven vehicle barrels into the stationary vehicle.
- A pedestrian walking on the shoulder of the road is struck and killed by a negligent motorist.
- A car exits using the shoulder of the road, but due to faulty maintenance and construction of that part of the road, there is a dangerous drop off that causes the car to lose control and collide with the concrete median.
Jenny has been driving at night for what seems like hours on the highway heading back from Washington, D.C. to Anne Arundel County. On Route 29 near Route 100, she desperately wants to pull over and close her eyes for a few seconds. Instead of responsibly exiting at a rest spot to take her momentary nap, she decides that since the road is not very heavily traveled that she would be safe pulling over on the shoulder of the road. She turns her engine off upon pulling over and puts her seat back into a reclined position. Before she knows it, she is asleep. She has turned on neither her head lights nor her hazard lights.
Jackson is driving up the same highway that night. Unlike Jenny, he is well-rested and fully focused as he drives. Going the speed limit in the right lane, he looks to his left and right to check for cars and other potential obstructions. Out of nowhere, he feels the force of impact against the front right side of his vehicle. Boom! His car spins back around and slams into the concrete divider. Jackson has just hit the back of Jenny’s car, which blindly jutted out from the shoulder. Jackson had no chance to avoid the collision.
Jackson is severely injured and treated for a shoulder dislocation and severe whiplash to his neck. It was Jenny’s negligence in stationing her vehicle in such a manner as to make it impossible for other drivers to see it on the road’s shoulder. Since she was negligent, Jenny should be made to compensate Jackson for his injuries.Sample Verdicts and Settlements in Shoulder of the Road Vehicle Accidents
- Maryland: $1,386,000 Verdict. Classic disabled vehicle case. The victim was driving a delivery truck on I-95 South. The truck experienced problems and pulled onto the shoulder of the road. Defendant was driving a tractor trailer truck equipped with Michelin Tires. Defendant experienced a blowout and drove off the roadway, striking plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff's wrongful death case alleged that the tire manufactured by Defendant Michelin was defective, causing the tire to blowout, and that Defendant was negligent in improperly reacting to the blowout, causing his vehicle to leave the roadway.
- Maryland: $900,000 Settlement. Plaintiff did the smart thing and pulled over to the shoulder of the road on I-495 due to ice on the roadway. Defendant subsequently lost control of her vehicle and rear-ended plaintiff's stopped vehicle. Plaintiff alleged that defendant was negligent in driving too fast for road conditions and in following too close behind the vehicle in front of her. Defendant contended that she lost control of her vehicle due to slippery conditions and that the accident was unavoidable. But that is a tough sell to a jury because you should drive at a speed appropriate for the conditions. The case settled before trial.
- Virginia: $1,200,000 Verdict. A 25-year-old female was killed when her vehicle struck a school bus head-on. She had lost control of her vehicle after slipping onto the shoulder of a road owned and operated by Virginia. According to accident reports, the shoulder of the road was six to eight inches below the surface of the roadway. The plaintiff claimed that the accident was not his wife's fault, that the six to eight inch difference constituted a defect, and that the defendant state of Virginia had notice of the defect but negligently failed to remedy the situation. (The plaintiff introduced evidence which indicated that two accidents had occurred in the same area).
The attorneys at Miller & Zois are dedicated professionals with years of experience at handling all types of severe auto accident cases. Our focus is getting you as much money as we possibly can for your claim. If you have been involved in motor vehicle accident and suffered serious injuries or a loved one was killed, do not delay in contacting us at 800-553-8082 or get a free case evaluation online.