Construction zones are busy areas full of heavy equipment and materials. A construction zone accident can cause considerable property damage, as well as potential injuries or even death.
If you are injured in a construction zone accident, it’s important to know who has liability and whether you are entitled to any financial compensation — or whether you might be asked to pay. Continue reading to learn more about liability in construction zone accidents.
What Is a Construction Zone Accident?
Construction zone accidents occur within an area zoned for construction work, such as building or road work. These can be construction work zone accidents in which the construction zone, equipment, or other property is damaged. They can also be accidents in which a construction maintenance worker or a bystander is hurt or killed due to a hazard.
Some examples of construction zone accidents include:
- Workers falling from a great height
- Construction material being dropped from a great height
- Scaffolding collapses
- Demolition accidents
- Explosions or fires due to chemical or gas leaks
- Accidents involving cranes or forklifts
- Car accidents involving highway construction zones
Road construction sites become more common as construction season ramps up in the spring. When a construction zone accident occurs, it may be confusing to figure out who is liable for the damages, especially when highway workers and bystanders — or by-drivers — are involved. There are a few different liability scenarios in these cases.
Liability for Accidents on Highway Construction Zones
An accident on a road construction zone is often an issue of a driver crashing their car into the site or becoming injured by the construction equipment or materials. Liability most often comes down to either the construction company or the driver. It is determined by the situation surrounding the accident and the party considered most at fault.
Scenarios That Make the Construction Company Liable
If the construction company does not take adequate care to identify or section off the construction zone, drivers could unknowingly drive into a construction site. This could cause damage to the vehicle, injury to the driver, and, in the worst-case scenarios, fatal crashes. Below are a few instances where a construction company would be held liable for a highway construction zone accident.
Inadequate Warning Signs
Construction sites are required to post warning signs not only surrounding the construction zone itself but also typically ahead of the construction zone area. In addition, if the construction zone calls for a lane to be closed, there should be signs informing drivers that they will need to switch lanes. Whatever the scenario, an appropriate safety message is necessary to alert drivers to construction activity.
When the construction company fails to post adequate construction signage, drivers may not be aware that they need to slow down in time. As drivers tend to drive at higher speeds on the highway, they must have adequate time to slow down and avoid accidents on the road.
Dangerous Lane Patterns
Lane placement is essential on the highway. Drivers must be able to safely reach their exits without colliding with one another. If a construction zone routes traffic around the lane on which construction is being done, it’s essential to ensure the rerouting is safe. If it is unclear what lane drivers should take, this will lead to more collisions. These work zone collisions could happen with other drivers or with the road construction workers themselves.
Taking up space on the road is often necessary for the construction crew. However, there must be clear and distinctive space between the drivers and the construction zone to avoid a work zone crash. Any detours drivers may need to take should be clearly marked.
What About Bad Weather Conditions?
Neither the driver nor the construction company can control the weather, and there’s no doubt that poor weather conditions can significantly impact accidents. However, by law, both construction companies and drivers are still responsible for taking safety precautions in adverse weather.
Hire an Attorney for Your Construction Zone Crash
If you were recently involved in a construction zone crash, Dunn Sheehan can help. With years of experience, we can help you to get the compensation you deserve.
Contact our firm today to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation.