Car Hit While Parked in Emergency Lane...

by Amber
(Tampa, FL, USA)

I was driving home on thee interstate the other night when my car just would not accelerate anymore. So I pulled over to check under the hood to see what was going on. I returned back to my car to try to start it and it would not start. I had no money, so I could not tow it at the time.

After waiting there for 4 hours I finally found a ride to come pick me up (I was not in my city) and take me home until I could figure something out. It rained the next day so I couldn't go. Today my cousin offered to use her AAA to tow my car (2days after I left my car). We went to where I left my car but it wasn't there so I figured the road ranger towed it (he showed up when I broke down but didn't help with anything, just told us to stay out of the way of traffic).

I called FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) and found out that a BMW had hit my car at 6:15 that morning and they gave me the towing company's name and number and the police report number, nothing more. Today is a Sunday so I couldn't do anything.

Judging from all the debris on the road from my car its looking pretty bad. My whole windshield was on the grass, along with both headlights, pieces of tire and my hubcaps. I did take pictures because I was on the emergency stopping lane. There were big yellow lines where I was parked also. The person had to have been drunk or texting or just not paying attention to not see the car there.

My question is, who is at fault and where do I go from here? I never filed a claim before or been in this kind of situation. I don't know what to do. I'm also stuck without a car to get back and forth from the city where this happened. I have no ride to work or to bring my kids to daycare. I'm just overwhelmed at this point. Any suggestions would help. Thank you!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Car Hit While Parked in Emergency Lane...":

Amber (Tampa, FL, USA):

Contact the Florida State Police. There's a very good chance a state trooper responded to the collision. In that case the trooper would have created a "police report." In the police report the state trooper would have entered facts about the circumstances of the collision. It's also highly likely the owner/driver of the BMW would have remained at the scene until the state trooper appeared.

If the driver was intoxicated it's likely he or she would have been arrested. The arrest will be noted in the police report. In addition, the police report will contain the trooper's opinion of the cause of the collision, and which party is responsible. If you parked in the emergency lane and the law allows cars to remain there for the amount of time you left your car, you will likely not be liable, as liability will pass to the driver of the BMW.

Contact your own insurance company immediately. Under your policy you have a duty to report any accidents, whether you were the responsible party or not. Make sure you send the police report to your insurance company. They will investigate the case, especially if the owner/driver of the BMW files a property damage claim.

The police report will also contain the name of the BMW's owner/driver's insurance company. Contact the insurance company immediately to file your property damage claim. Demand a rental car during the determination of the cost of repair of your car.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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