Construction / Work Zone Accidents
Automobile accidents that occur in a construction zone or highway work zone often cause substantial property damage, serious personal injury or wrongful death. There are unique issues and laws regarding how a construction zone is set up and how motorists are to drive through such a zone. For these reasons, the legal issues surrounding construction zone accidents can be complicated.
There are two primary groups of people who are vulnerable to construction zone accidents—motorists and individuals working in a construction zone. Construction workers and flaggers are at great risk for serious injury or wrongful death in a construction zone because they must work in close proximity to moving vehicles.
When an accident takes place in a work zone, liability falls on one of two parties - the motorist or the entity that set up the construction zone. Establishing liability determines who will be held responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from the accident.
When motorists drive through a construction zone, they must be particularly cautious. Construction zones typically have a reduced speed limit. When drivers neglect to follow this limit, they are less able to negotiate narrow lanes, lane shifts, sharp turns or unexpected obstacles in the roadway. Speed is a major factor in work zone accidents. Additionally, drivers may be liable for negligent driving behaviors such as:
- Improperly changing lanes
- Not watching the road
- Failing to respond to flagger instructions or temporary signs
- Unsafe speed
- Distractions from a radio, children or cell phone
- Failure to follow signs or instructions
- Aberrant behavior caused by work zone delay and frustration
In other situations, the driver may be exercising appropriate caution, but there are unavoidable hazards present in the work zone. Those hazards include:
- Improper or missing signage
- Construction vehicles improperly moving into or out of traffic
- Hazardous areas or work zones that are not properly barricaded
- Improper or incorrect direction of traffic or detours
When these factors result in an accident, the motorist may be entitled to compensation from the entity that was in charge of the work zone.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident in a highway work zone, it is important to remember that relevant evidence may be very temporary. Additionally, there are special limitations placed on how and when an individual can file a claim against a government agency. For these reasons, you should seek legal counsel as promptly as possible.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a work zone, call the trial lawyers of Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., now at 866-454-RHHK (7445) or click here to submit a FREE case review. Let our experience work for you. Our initial consultation is free of charge and we only get paid for our services if you receive monetary compensation.