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Understanding Florida’s Move-Over Law

Most states require drivers to move their vehicles off the road or highway when coming to a stop, if possible. In 2013, Florida residents may recall the instance where a man pulled his vehicle over on the Saw grass Expressway in an attempt to save a cat in the middle of the highway. Another driver lost control of her vehicle, slammed into the pickup truck, and was killed instantly.

I hate when my car breaks down

This story was an example of why stopping on a highway is not only dangerous, but it could be fatal for you or other drivers. According to Florida Statute, it is prohibited to stop, stand or park in specific places, including highways and freeways. The only time you can legally stop, stand or park is when the vehicle is disabled or if you are stopping to render aid to an injured individual.

Understanding the Move-Over Law

In 2002, Florida passed the Move-Over Law to reduce risk of accident, especially with officers and emergency responders who have to get out of their cars on the side of the road. The law requires any vehicle that is passing another stopped on the road, especially with flashing hazard lights, to change lanes and move away from that vehicle. In the event there is no way to move over, the vehicle must reduce their speed to pass safely.

What if You Must Stop?

If you must stop on the side of the road, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of injury or another driver striking your vehicle.

1.   Put on your hazard lights immediately to signal other drivers you are on the side of the road. Turn your headlights to bright as well to notify drivers on the other side of the road.

2.   Move your vehicle to the right shoulder and get as far off the road as possible.

3.   Never pull over on a curve where vehicles don’t have visibility around the corner.

4.   If you have a flat tire, but there is not a safe place to stop, continue to drive until you find one. It is better to ruin a rim than risk your life.

5.   If stuck on the side of the road, call 9-1-1. While most drivers assume this isn’t an emergency, being stranded on the side of a busy highway requires immediate assistance.

6.   If your vehicle is disabled in the middle of the highway, do not get out. You will be safer in the vehicle (with flashing lights) than attempting to cross a busy highway. Vehicles are more likely to see your car than you in the middle of the road.

7.   If you are stranded at night, turn on all lights, including interior lights, so that your vehicle is as visible to other cars and emergency personnel as possible.

8.   Never attempt to change a tire on the busy side of a highway; instead, call for a tow truck and move the vehicle to safety.

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Is it Too Late to Sue for Car Accident Injuries?

Perhaps your car accident was a while ago, or maybe your injuries did not manifest until weeks later, and you just haven’t gotten around to meeting with an attorney. Regardless of the reasons, waiting too long to file a lawsuit could reduce the chances and likelihood of receiving a proper settlement. But, just because time has passed doesn’t mean you don’t have a case; there are plenty of instances where a person can win a lawsuit weeks after the accident occurred.
Is it Too Late to Sue for Car Accident Injuries
If you were injured a while ago and are thinking of filing a claim, there are a few things you should know about delayed lawsuits.

State Statutes of Limitations

Every state has its own statute of limitations. This determines how long you have to bring a claim against a responsible party for personal injury. This also protects others from being sued decades later. In Florida, the Florida Statute Sec. 95.11 states that you have four years to file your claim.

The clock for your time to file starts the moment you were injured. So, in this case, the moment the car accident occurred. If your car accident was three weeks ago, you are within the statute of limitations.

Date of Discovery

You may have had an accident in 2014, but the injuries were not discovered until months later. This could be because the symptoms you experienced were not tied to the accident initially, but later discovered they were. For example,traumatic brain injuries and soft tissue damage do not always show immediate symptoms, and could even take weeks to manifest. By then, most accident victims assume the symptoms have nothing to do with their car accident.

Sometimes the law will allow the statute of limitations to count from the date of discovery. So, if your injuries were not discovered until four weeks past the accident, the four-year mark may start at that time.

Type of Lawsuit

The nature of the lawsuit you’ll be bringing can also be a factor, especially when you’re filing weeks, months or years after the accident occurred. If you are filing a lawsuit that covers property damage or minor personal injury, you will need to file within the four-year statute of limitations period.

On the other hand, in cases that involve a death, such as a family member who was severely injured and disabled and died years later from their accident caused injuries, the courts may allow you to file a suit past the four-year limitation.

Also, if you are filing a lawsuit against the car manufacturer for product liability, the four-year mark may start from the date the defect in the vehicle was discovered instead of the date of the accident.

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