Who Is Liable For Accidents On The Shoulder?

Contact the St. Louis car crash attorneys at the Bruning Law Firm today.

When you are driving down a busy interstate or highway it is not an uncommon sight to see a car pull over onto the shoulder. A crying child, a warning light, a flat tire, engine trouble, bad weather, or any other of the numerous distractions and emergencies that can occur when behind the wheel may make a driver need to divert off of the road and onto the shoulder. However, when a vehicle is parked on the shoulder it puts the driver and passengers in the car as well as every passing vehicle at risk for collision. After a shoulder collision the problem then becomes determining who is liable for the accident.

How Dangerous is the Shoulder of the Road?

The shoulder of the road can be a dangerous place which is why it should only be used in an emergency when there are no other alternatives. Statistics show that pulling off of the road, even if only in cases of emergency, can be a dangerous decision since more than 1.500 people are killed or injured each year on the shoulder.1 Since pulling onto the shoulder of the road is inherently dangerous it can be difficult to determine liability.

Determining Liability in a Shoulder of the Road Accident

In order to determine who is at fault or liable for an accident on the side of the road requires significant investigation. Lawsuits will be based on the ability to determine if a pulled over vehicle was impeding the flow of traffic or if the passing vehicle remained in its lane or crossed onto the shoulder.2 The determinations of these two factors can be the deciding factor as to which vehicles driver may be at fault. For instance, a driver who pulls onto the shoulder, but who continues to block the lane, does not use hazard lights, or had alternatives such as a parking lot or exit may be found liable for the accident. On the other side, a passing vehicle’s driver who is distracted, alcohol or drug impaired, does not stay in his or her lane, or is carelessly not aware of the road conditions may be liable.3

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured during an accident on the shoulder it is important to discuss the circumstances of your collision with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you to determine what claims should be filed and protect your rights and interests. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.


If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.

Call or contact our office online today to schedule a free consultation.


For more information, use these resources:


  1. http://www.safermotorways.co.uk/statistics/
  2. https://www.insurancehotline.com/at-fault-rules/
  3. http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/car-accident-basics.html