Who is Liable for Damages Due to a Failure to "Move Over" in Tennessee?

car pulled over to side of roadDid your car get hit by another vehicle because a driver failed to move over while you were pulled to the side of the road and waiting for help? If so, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses against the insurance of the driver who struck your vehicle.

Many people may still be unaware of the most recent amendments to Tennessee’s “Move Over” law. The changes are noteworthy, because they no longer apply just for when you see a police officer or emergency vehicle on the side of the road.

Our attorneys at Greg Coleman Law explain what you need to know about Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-132, and how you may benefit from hiring a Knoxville car accident attorney if you are injured because of another’s negligence in this situation.

What is Tennessee’s “Move Over” Law?

Tennessee was the 30th state to implement a law of this kind. Initially, it was only designed to help prevent injuries and deaths of emergency responders, police officers and construction crew members that were assisting others or working on the side of a roadway. Since it first became law in 2006, the law has been modified to include other vehicles who may be at risk when pulled over.

In 2011, the law was amended to include utility vehicles, such as a tow truck. The most recent amendment occurred and went into effect on July 1, 2017, as reported by WKRN.com, to include any common vehicle that had put on their hazard lights and pulled over.

In short, drivers in Tennessee are required, whether traveling on a small residential roadway or a multi-lane highway, to move over into the next lane  - or slow down if moving over is unsafe - when there is an emergency vehicle, police officer, utility truck or any vehicle on the side of the road with lights flashing.

Responsibility of Those Pulling Over:

When you need to pull over because of an emergency, make every effort to do so safely. This includes:

  • Using your hazard lights to alert others on the road that something is wrong
  • Checking for traffic to avoid causing an accident as you pull over
  • Pulling as far to the side of the road as space allows
  • Leaving your hazard lights on, even after you come to a full stop
  • Remaining in your car until help arrives or, if you must get out of the car, checking carefully for approaching traffic and only getting out if it is safe to do so
  • Staying alert for traffic and other dangers until help arrives

Responsibility of Drivers in Traffic

If you are a driver and there are vehicles on the side of the road, your duty of care is to:

  • Move over into the next lane of traffic after signaling to alert other traffic, and only if it is safe to do so
  • If unable to move over, slow down. This is not only to give you time to react if a person suddenly steps out of their car, but also to make it safer for those stopped on the side of a road.

Penalties for Drivers Who Violate This Law

Drivers who violate this law may be liable for any injuries or damages they cause, but they may also face getting a ticket, which comes with a hefty $500 fine and possibly up to 30 days of jail time.

Legal Options for Injured Victims

If you suffer property damage or injuries due to the negligence of a driver who violated this law, then you may be eligible to pursue a claim against the at-fault party for:

  • Associated medical costs
  • Lost income if you could not work while recovering
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Property losses

After any accident, we strongly recommend that you call 9-1-1 for help immediately. If the driver that hit you flees, try and get the make, model and license plate to help locate and identify him or her later. Then, if you are physically able to do so, without putting yourself in danger, take photos of the accident scene, including pictures of road debris and damage to your vehicle.

Injured While Your Car Was Pulled Over? We Are Here to Help

If you have suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, we strongly recommend that you contact an attorney for legal help as soon as possible. Move over accidents may be more challenging to prove, especially if the at-fault driver does not remain at the scene. 

At Greg Coleman Law, we are prepared to help you and your family through this difficult time. We offer a free initial consultation so you can find out, with no risk or obligation to you, whether you may be eligible to pursue compensation through a legal process. If you hire our law firm, there are no upfront costs and no attorney fees while we work on your case. We do not get paid unless you do.

Learn more. Call (865) 247-0080 to schedule your free consultation today.