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Injured by a Defendant Driving in the Shoulder: What are my Rights in New York?

| Jun 25, 2020 | Car Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents

Unlawfully Driving on the Shoulder: What Happens When a Defendant Driving on the Shoulder Causes Personal Injuries?  New York City Personal Injury Lawyer Explains

Driving on the Shoulder Causes Personal Injuries

We have all seen it done in the Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island.  Motorists driving on the shoulder or slope of a roadway to get around traffic, cut a corner, or get to their upcoming exit.  Perhaps we have even seen law enforcement present when that happens and no do anything.  Or maybe we have seen law enforcement or a tow truck do just that.  But when a defendant driving on the shoulder causes personal injuries in New York, victims who are in other vehicles, motorcycles, bicyclists, or pedestrians may be entitled to compensation under New York law.

Here at Cohen and Cohen Law Group, P.C., our experienced New York City personal injury lawyers know how dangerous or deadly it can be for a defendant driving on the shoulder trying to save time or beat traffic.  Innocent people could be seriously injured or wrongfully killed when a defendant does this because many people expect shoulders to be a relative place of safety on a highway, especially if they vehicle broke down.  Other people may be lawfully on the shoulder walking or biking.  In addition, other vehicles may be pulled off into the shoulder lawfully as a disabled vehicle or with law enforcement.  Motorist who drive on the shoulder to avoid traffic and make things easier for themselves are not only selfish, but they are dangerous.

Who Could be Injured on the Shoulder?

Anyone who is lawfully in the shoulder could be run over or seriously injured by a defendant driving on the shoulder or a slope of a roadway.  Moreover, a defendant driving fast could also easily hop the curb and hit someone walking, running, sitting on a bench, or waiting for a light to change.  Or a defendant could side-swipe into a car or rear end a car and result in serious injuries including whiplash to occupants.

Individuals who could be injured on the shoulder during a collision include the following:

  • Pedestrians
  • Bicyclists
  • Motorcyclists
  • Law enforcement
  • Other first responders
  • Construction workers
  • Other motorists
  • Disabled vehicle drivers
  • Truckers
  • Maintenance staff
  • Cleaning crews, and
  • Other individuals.

Liability for Driving on Shoulders

Driving on shoulders is prohibited by New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1131.  This section outright prohibits any motorist from driving on the shoulder or slope of a roadway (outside the lines of a lane for travel), unless the individual is 1) a tow truck driver, 2) told to go there by law enforcement, 3) law enforcement, or 4) permitted under other sections of the vehicle and traffic law where stopping, standing, or parking is lawful.  This most common example of that is a disabled vehicle or during inclement storms that affect visibility.

A defendant who drives on the shoulder and causes a Queens car accident could be liable under the doctrine of negligence per se.  This doctrine allows a victim who was injured by a defendant’s violation of a statute to automatically hold the defendant liable where:

  1. the defendant plead, was found guilty, or otherwise found to have violated the statute (i.e., by a judge on a motion or by a judge/jury in a trial)
  2. the victim was a person protected by the statute
  3. the victim was harmed in a manner that the statute intended to prevent that harm, and
  4. compliance of the statute by defendant would not have been dangerous or otherwise unlawful.

Victims who are injured on the shoulder, on the curb when a car jumps the shoulder, or in a vehicle waiting in traffic, may all be able to use this statute and the doctrine of negligence per se to prove their case.

Ask our New York City Personal Injury Lawyers if You Have Been Injured by a Defendant Driving on the Shoulder of a Roadway

Victims who are seriously injured or wrongfully killed by a motorist driving on the shoulder in the five boroughs, Long Island, or anywhere else in New York may be entitled to compensation under New York Law.  Contact our New York City personal injury lawyers and Queens car accident lawyers Cohen and Cohen Law Group, P.C., to learn what your rights to compensation may be by scheduling a FREE consultation by dialing 800-247-8164 or using our convenient and easy-to-use contact us box available here.

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