What you need to know about accidents in construction zones

On behalf of Dan Doyle Law Group posted in Personal Injuries on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Most of the time, highway work zones do a good job of warning drivers about the potential risks and pitfalls associated with roadside construction, at least so far as legal warnings and speed limits go. While it is easy to notice bright signs saying that fines and penalties are going up or warning you to protect workers, it can be harder to understand the full range of risks that come up when you drive in work zones.

Work zone accident facts

According to the Federal Highway Administration and the CDC, the vast majority of fatal accidents in work zones do not actually involve workers. In fact:

  • In 2014, there were 669 accidents in work zones.
  • Worker fatalities average around 115 per year.
  • For the years between 2002 and 2010, there were an average of 591 deaths/year.
  • Traffic deaths overall and in work zones have been mostly flat for several years.
  • Fatal accidents and fatal work zone accidents are currently 20 percent lower and 19 percent lower, respectively, than they were in 2007.
  • Crashes are more common during the day, when traffic and work are both at their peak – only 35 percent of work zone accidents happen at night.

What these facts mean

If you are driving on the highway, these facts mean a few things:

  1. It is as important to be aware of other drivers in work zones just as much as it is to watch out for workers.
  2. The largest sources of risk in construction traffic is other drivers.
  3. Your biggest risks come when the traffic is busiest, not when visibility is lowest.

If you get into an accident in a work zone

First and foremost, stay calm. Follow the same procedures you would normally follow in terms of contacting authorities, assessing injuries, and responding safely. It’s also important to document the order of events for future litigation, because it is very likely that there will be further legal action in work zone crashes, especially if there is an injury to another driver or to a worker. Depending on the situation and the findings of a police investigation, this documentation can help you to prove that you are not liable for the accident. In the event that you are injured, it can also help your case if your attorney is able to receive an independent and well-documented timeline from you.

Contact an attorney

Accidents in work zones can be both severe and legally complex. If you are hurt in one, it is important to get relevant advice that fits the needs of your particular case. That’s why you need an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the importance of an equitable resolution when there has been a severe accident.

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