An auto accident in a work zone creates a unique legal conundrum that often requires the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Though work zones are usually identified with signs, barriers and/or traffic controls, an accident in a work zone is not always the fault of one of the vehicle drivers. Every case is different. That is especially true for work zone accidents. Liability differs based on the unique facts of each collision.
The Challenge of Determining Liability in Work Zone Auto Accidents
Auto accidents in work zones are fairly common simply because these areas are rife with construction workers performing maintenance/repairs that create narrow travel lanes. Determining liability for such accidents is easier said than done. Obviously, one of the drivers may have been negligent and is therefore responsible for the accident. It is important to investigate the work zone as well, because the construction company, the contractor, or even the government agency employing them could be responsible.
Driver Liability for Accidents in Work Zones
In many cases, drivers fail to slow down to the speed limit posted in work zones. Some drivers brazenly ignore work zone signs and signals. Such signs are meant to warn motorists of narrowing lanes, detours and other difficult road conditions. In other cases, driver distraction results in work zone accidents. Nowadays, drivers are commonly distracted by smartphones, GPS systems, MP3 players and other electronics. Such distractions have the potential to prove deadly when traveling through cramped work zones. Even the failure to safely merge into a new work zone lane at a reasonable rate of speed can result in a collision.
Liability on Behalf of the Construction Company
Some work zone accidents are the fault of the construction company. If the company in question establishes a work zone site or if its equipment fails and causes a car crash, a savvy attorney will prove the construction company is guilty of negligence. In fact, the negligent actions of a single construction company employee can also result in legal liability for auto accidents. Some construction companies fail to properly design the construction work zone route, creating a hazard that forces drivers to make a rapid and dangerous maneuver. In other cases, barricades and/or signs are positioned too close to traffic lanes. Even the careless operation of construction vehicles or equipment that prevents the safe passage of moving vehicles can result in legal liability.
If the work zone in question is funded by taxpayer dollars and manned by government employees, it might be possible to pin liability for the auto accident on the government. The failure to place the appropriate traffic warning signs at the proper areas qualifies as a negligent action. Even failing to clearly designate the lanes available to motorists qualifies as negligence. If the government’s construction vehicle(s) lacks the proper warning lights or if its equipment malfunctions, it can be argued such negligence caused the accident. It is also the government’s responsibility to provide legible directions for detours so motorists can safely avoid construction sites.
Some work zone accidents are the fault of multiple parties. However, even if you are slightly at fault for a work zone accident, it is not a guarantee you will have to pay the full cost of causally related damages. Let our legal team analyze your work zone accident, identify all potential liable parties and pursue justice on your behalf. Oftentimes, the quality of one’s legal representative is just as important as the facts of the case. Choose a savvy and experienced auto accident attorney to handle your case and you just might walk away from this unfortunate situation with considerable financial compensation even if you are slightly at fault.