If you were injured while waiting on the side of a Tennessee road or highway for help, you may be able to claim compensation from the driver whose vehicle hit yours. There has been a law in place in Tennessee for nearly two years now that requires drivers to keep out of the way, or “move over” if any vehicle is stopped on the side of the road with its hazard lights or other lights flashing. This law is designed to prevent the injuries and deaths that occur from time to time when people are hit when they are located on the side of the road.
The 2017 amendment to the state’s original “Move Over” law extends the obligation to give room to any vehicle with its lights flashing. Before the amendment, two previous versions of the law made it compulsory for vehicles passing an emergency services vehicle, such as the police or an ambulance, as well as anyone involved in road maintenance or construction, to “move over.”
The “Move Over” law is not unique to Tennessee. In fact, when the first version of the law was enacted back in 2006, it was the 30th state to do so. The reason for the extensions of the law was the many accidents involving police officers, construction and road maintenance crew and ordinary civilians who just happened to have had a reason for being on the edge of a public highway.
How does the Move Over law work?
The law applies equally to small city or county roads as it does to state highways and interstates. If a vehicle is seen on a shoulder or road edge and it is obviously stopped with its lights flashing, then all drivers passing must give the vehicle adequate room. On a multi lane highway, this basically means leaving a whole lane empty between the stopped vehicle and anyone around it and the passing vehicle. On smaller or narrower roads, this might not be safe or even possible. In this case, the passing vehicle is expected to slow down in case someone pops out into the road or opens a door into the roadway.
How the Move Over law impacts on personal injury claims
You have the right in Tennessee to file a personal injury claim against any driver whose negligence has caused you to be injured in a car accident. If you have stopped on the side of the road because of a breakdown or other important reason (run out of gas, sick, using the phone etc.) and have got your lights flashing to show you are stopped for a reason, then you should expect that every other driver should allow sufficient room between your vehicle and theirs. If they do “move over,’ then it shouldn’t be possible for you to be injured.
If you are hit by a passing driver, either while you are inside your own vehicle or just outside it, then that driver is at fault as the driver has ignored the “Move Over” law and endangered both you and him or herself. Those who are found in breach of the “Move Over” law could even face imprisonment if charged with ignoring the law. This doesn’t really help you if you are injured and are faced with medical bills, lost wages and the emotional turmoil that accompanies any traumatic injury. However, the fact that the driver had failed to move over would be evidence of negligence and this could be enough to substantiate a claim made against that driver.
Despite the fact that the current version of the “Move Over” law has been in force for nearly two years, it is not widely known or recognized by drivers in Tennessee, making it still quite dangerous for anyone who happens to have stopped on the side of the road.
If you have been injured by a negligent driver while stopped on the side of a Tennessee highway, you should contact experienced Nashville personal injury attorney, Keith Williams, who can provide advice and negotiate a claim on your behalf. Contact the Keith Williams Law Group at (615) 313-3999.