In a bad stroke of luck, there are many drivers every day who are going down the freeway one minute and then have to pull to the shoulder because of a blown tire or another emergency. The thing is accidents involving disabled vehicles are rising in frequency, and California Highway Patrol and local sheriff departments, are beginning to realize that the person with the disabled vehicle is not always at fault. At Crockett Law Group, our car accident lawyers have seen some instances where the disabled vehicle may have been innocent.
There are two ways that these accidents can happen. First, a person experiences some type of mechanical failure or Tire failure on the road and can’t get off the roadway. Drivers should always do their best to get off the road and out of traffic in the event of mechanical failure, but it’s not always possible. The second way these crashes happen is that the driver who experienced mechanical failure got off the road, but a driver hit them while the vehicle was on the shoulder.
California is a Fault Driven State
California is an at-fault state, which means that in the event of a genuine accident involving a disabled vehicle, someone will still take responsibility for the crash. There might be trouble between the drivers wearing each one who feels the other is responsible, but an investigation will reveal who was most responsible, or most at fault for the Collision.
For example, if a driver had a disabled vehicle that was on the exit ramp of a freeway and did not leave enough room for other vehicles to pass by, they’re likely at fault for any accident. It may be unreasonable to expect other drivers to see the vehicle given the turn or angle of the exit, and these drivers were likely to reduce speed anyways. However, the fault is never a simple matter and it’s important that you work with key experts to determine fault in your claim.
What to Do When You Have a Disabled Vehicle
Vehicles become disabled for any number of reasons. And often, the drivers aren’t prepared to handle emergency repairs or even a quick fix on the side of the road. Those who are perfectly capable of changing their oil or changing a tire typically don’t have the tools or resources available to refill a radiator or tape hoses.
When you have a disabled vehicle, do everything within your power that is safe to get your vehicle off the road. If you cannot get the vehicle off the road, then contact 911 and alert them of your position and that your vehicle won’t move, and it’s in a risky area.
If you can get your disabled vehicle off the road, then contact Freeway Service Patrol or roadside assistance if you’re a member. Some drivers are members of Roadside Assistance programs such as AAA, but other drivers have options too. The freeway service Patrol is a joint program between the California Department of Transportation and CHP. They offer roadside assistance such as changing a tire, providing a gallon of gas if the vehicle runs empty, offering a jump start, and refilling radiators. They can’t offer a tow.
Disabled Vehicle Concerns
There have been reports of people with “disabled” vehicles scamming good Samaritans that pull over to help. But, on the whole, you can help without pulling over. If you see someone struggling with a disabled vehicle on the road, you can contact CHP and let them know the car’s location. CHP can offer assistance with getting the disabled road to the shoulder safely or contacting FSP.
One of the bigger concerns with disabled vehicles is the possibility of a crash after the disabled vehicle is safely off the road. Distracted drivers, people experiencing road rage, and others are likely to hit vehicles on the side of the road, not realizing that the car is there.
Work with a Car Accident Lawyer in Orange County
Regardless of how the accident involving a disabled vehicle happened, you’ll need an Orange County auto accident attorney to help sort out your claim. California is a fault-based state, and insurance companies and your attorney will carefully look at what elements were at play in this crash. It’s possible that this was a genuine accident where a vehicle became disabled on the road and was struck afterward.
However, someone is always at fault, and someone is going to have to take responsibility for this accident. To hold the at-fault driver accountable, contact Crockett Law Group. We work closely with the victims of car accidents in Orange County and would like to help you with your claim too.