Construction Zone Accidents
Construction zone accidents, which are also known as work zone accidents, are not an uncommon occurrence on our roads. Many of these accidents happen due to negligence on the part of drivers, construction companies, or construction crews. Accidents may occur due to collisions with other vehicles, road debris, and construction equipment. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 40,000 people suffered injuries and over 840 people died in work zone accidents in 2019 alone. When people have been injured in work zone accidents, they may be entitled to financial compensation if they can prove that someone else was negligent, reckless, or careless. At Labrum Law, we assist people who have been injured in all types of car accidents, including those that occur in construction zones. Consider calling our experienced car accident attorneys at (615) 338-9500 to schedule a free consultation.
What Are Construction Zone Accidents?
A construction zone accident is an accident that occurs at or near a construction zone, which is any part of the roadway or highway designated for construction or repairs and indicated by barricades, signs, traffic cones, or other objects to warn of hazards. Construction zone accidents may involve collisions at or near the work zone with other vehicles, construction equipment, warning signs, or construction workers.
Construction zone accidents involve many unique issues, especially when it comes to determining who is responsible for the accident. Each case is different, which is why an in-depth investigation is usually utilized for reviewing all the details and circumstances of the crash to identify liable parties.
Types of Hazards in Construction Zones
Work zones are full of hazards for both construction workers and the motorists who travel through the these zoned areas. Some of the most prominent hazards in construction zones include:
- Narrow lanes—Often, construction workers use barrels, cones, and other barriers that narrow the width of travel lanes. As a result, motorists have less room to maneuver, especially when traveling alongside large vehicles, including trucks and buses. Narrow lanes heighten the risk of sideswipe collisions and head-on accidents with oncoming traffic.
- Improper or missing lane markings—The risk of a car accident increases when pavement markings are inappropriate or missing at or near construction zones. This can result in confusion among motorists, causing preventable accidents.
- Moving construction equipment—Moving construction equipment, such as dump trucks, are often present at work zones and can collide with vehicles in adjacent lanes or block a driver's view.
- Construction workers—Construction workers at or near construction zones may get distracted while working, which may cause them to walk into the path of moving vehicles or leave construction equipment on the road, creating hazards for motorists traveling through the work zone.
- Road debris—Many construction zone accidents occur when motorists encounter road debris, which may include orange cones and construction barrels or even pebbles, sand, rocks, and miscellaneous construction waste.
If the hazard that caused a construction zone accident was the result of negligence on the part of the construction company or its workers, injured parties may be able to hold the company responsible for its negligent conduct. At Labrum Law, we represent car accident victims across Tennessee and help them fight for the compensation to which they are entitled.
When Is the Construction Company Responsible for a Work Zone Accident?
In construction zone accidents, injured victims can sue the construction company when they can prove that the company's negligence caused or contributed to the crash. Some of the most common ways a construction company may be responsible for causing a work zone accident include:
- Failure to design the work zone properly—Many work zone accidents occur because of an inadequate or unsafe design of the construction zone.
- Failure to post proper signage—Adequate warning signs can be helpful for preventing construction zone accidents. When there is improper warning signage, drivers may be unable to navigate through the zone safely.
- Failure to create appropriate detours—Construction companies must organize appropriate detours around any closed part of the highway or roadway in order to ensure everyone's safety and to allow traffic to continue moving.
- Failure to place construction equipment, barricades, cones, and other objects properly—Construction companies must ensure the proper placement of barricades, signs, and other objects at work zones in order to avoid causing road hazards or obstructing traffic.
These are some of the most common negligent actions that may make a construction company responsible for a work zone accident. According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, road crews must post warning signs, such as the “Road Work Ahead” sign, at work zones to warn motorists of “any activities or changes to normal traffic patterns.”
When Are Drivers Liable for Construction Zone Accidents?
Not all construction zone accidents occur because of negligence on the part of the construction company or its workers. Motorists may also be negligent when driving through a work zone. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence in work zone accidents include:
- Distracted driving, which causes the motorist to miss posted warning signs
- Disregarding warning signs or traffic cones
- Exceeding the speed limit, which makes a driver unable to stop in time to change lanes and avoid a collision in the construction zone
- Failure to maintain a safe distance, which can cause motorists to rear-end the vehicle in front of them when the vehicle stops or slows down at or near a construction zone to change lanes or perform other maneuvers
- Failure to merge or change lanes properly (e.g., not using turn signals before changing lanes)
Any of these negligent behaviors can result in preventable and devastating work zone accidents, causing severe injuries, property damage, or even death.
Construction Zone Accident Attorneys at Labrum Law
Construction zone accidents are difficult to navigate because liability for work zone accidents may not be immediately apparent, or may involve multiple parties. For this reason, accident victims often retain a skilled attorney to review their case, help determine liability, and fight for fair and full compensation. At Labrum Law, we handle all types of car accident cases throughout Tennessee, including those that involve collisions at or near construction zones. Consider calling (615) 338-9500 for a free consultation to discuss your unique case and learn what options for compensation may be available.