Those pesky construction zones that you travel through every day can seem like a giant nuisance and time-waster. Yet, you should also see them as extremely perilous passageways, because statistics indicate that they are perhaps the most dangerous stretch of road that you will travel on any given day.
No one likes to slow down due to a few cones being placed along a highway or city street. It’s aggravating to lose valuable time when not much seems to be going on in the construction zone. It’s aggravating to merge lanes constantly as frequent construction zones pop up along your commute.
However, speeding through these areas can not only bring on expensive speeding tickets, it can be a be a catalyst for accidents of all types. As a result, even if you are a cautious and excellent driver, you could still be involved in a nasty vehicle accident in a construction zone.
Contact a skilled car accident lawyer immediately after any accident in a construction zone. S/he will be able to determine how to argue your case, even if you think that the accident was your fault.
It’s not only other vehicles on the road that cause accidents in construction zones. Heavy machinery in use in these zones has been known to veer out of their work areas and collide with vehicles, among other possible mishaps. Construction workers do not always carefully prepare these zones, either, resulting in confusion that can lead to vehicle accidents.
Construction zones create a perfect recipe for disaster in these ways:
- Drivers are distracted by the numerous signs and sights of workers and machinery, often glancing to admire the bridge being built.
- Lanes are fluid and not well marked, thus drivers do not always know where to go, and they have to change lanes often.
- Sometimes complete traffic stoppages are required in some zones as dump trucks or steamrollers enter the road. This can catch many drivers by surprise.
- Lane merges are messy operations, and accidents frequently result when hurried drivers try to merge at the last instant at inadvisable speeds.
- Uneven road surfaces can cause a motorist to lose control of the vehicle if speed is elevated. This is a particular concern at night, when these uneven surfaces are not visible.
- Loose pavement can cause vehicles to skid and lose control of the road surface.
- Sharp detours can also surprise drivers that take them at too great a speed, resulting in total loss of control of the vehicle.
- Confusing signage can seem to lead you right into oncoming traffic. Hesitancy to obey these unclear signs can easily produce an accident.
The proof of the danger of these many factors can be found in these numbers:
- Pavement-edge drop-off accidents kill more than 150 people each year and injure another 11,000.
- More than two Americans a day die in construction zone accidents. Another 100+ are injured in these accidents every day.
- A whopping 85% of the people killed in work zone accidents are motorists!
- Some states report that accident rates increase as much as 70% in work zones.
If you are involved in a work zone accident, you should know that liability can be spread among various parties, not just you. The employer of the work zone crews can be held liable, as can the contractor, landowner or other people who might be responsible for the site. If OSHA safety standards are not followed at the site, the crew and its bosses could be found liable in your case.
That’s another reason why it is advisable to contact a car accident attorney in your work zone case. S/he will know the law thoroughly and be able to discern where fault should be assigned. That could not only save you from paying an expensive settlement, it could result in you being paid for your medical expenses if you suffered injuries, as well as lost wages, permanent injury, punitive damages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Fault might lie at the feet of the construction crew and its employer due to improper safety notices, unsafe road conditions and any negligent acts or omissions on the part of the workers.
True, many construction zone accident are caused by distracted drivers going too fast, but many others are precipitated by the actions (or inaction) of the construction workers. Let a good car accident lawyer help you to sort through the details and build a case for compensation.