Construction sites and work zones are necessary for the development of cities and towns. It can be annoying and disruptive to be awoken by jackhammers or sit in traffic on the way to work due to construction work. However, infrastructural improvements, street lighting, and electrical power poles require installation and maintenance. Although the construction industry has strict protocols to protect workers from injuries, safety can never be guaranteed, particularly when vehicles are involved.
In the United States, for every $112 million spent on roadway construction, there is a work zone fatality. 39,100 people were injured in work zone crashes in 2019, and 842 were killed. The majority of those killed in work zone crashes are drivers. To minimize the risk of an accident, drivers must exercise caution when traveling through work zones.
Liable Causes and Factors of Work Zone Crashes
Many car accidents that occur in work zones are avoidable. If there is negligence on the part of the state, the construction company, its employees, pedestrians, or other drivers, crash victims may be entitled to compensation.
For personal injuries due to construction accidents, the statute of limitations in New York states that victims have three years from the day they were injured to take legal action. Contacting experienced our New York accident attorneys as soon as possible after a work zone crash to ensure you don’t miss any essential deadlines.
In New York, a construction company or state body may be held liable for a work zone accident in the following circumstances:
● Missing Cones and Barriers: Some cones and barriers are in place to guide drivers or to prevent them from entering an area where work is taking place. However, sometimes they are used to cover potholes, cracks, or piles of building materials. If drivers crash because these hazards aren’t covered, the construction company may be liable.
● Incorrect or Lack of Signs: Signs are essential for work zone safety. They’re important for workers’ safety and warn drivers that they are about to enter a work zone. Incorrect or an absence of signage can cause severe accidents involving multiple vehicles.
● Poor Lighting: Inadequate lighting is a significant safety hazard for drivers around construction sites as it makes it considerably more difficult to see potential dangers. Work zones should be appropriately illuminated with reflective materials on cones, barriers, and worker clothing.
● Poor Lane Markings: Incorrect road markings can cause vehicles to enter dangerous areas or even the wrong lanes, leading to collisions. Poor lane markings can be a case for liability.
● Misplaced Equipment: Human error is a major cause of workplace accidents, including roadway construction. Stray wiring or misplaced equipment could cause a major accident if they come into contact with a vehicle. Although insurance generally covers construction companies in such circumstances, accident victims are entitled to compensation. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work zone crashes, as drivers are often required to reduce speed quickly when entering the zone. A combination of distracted drivers failing to slow on time and panicked motorists merging dangerously means these types of crashes occur frequently.
How to Show Caution When Driving in Work Zones
To minimize the chances of an accident occurring while driving through a work zone, take the following precautions.
- Reduce Speed: Work zones in New York typically have speed limits of around 25 mph, 20 mph less than the regular limits. According to the New York Work Zone Safety Act, drivers with two or more work zone speeding offenses will have their license suspended for 60 days.
- Maintain a Safe Distance: Keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles gives you more braking and reaction time when lanes are suddenly reduced due to roadway construction.
- Watch Out for Signs: Many road users ignore work zone signage, meaning they aren’t fully aware of where they should go and what’s going on. Obey all signs and watch out for workers giving signals.
- Practice Safe Merging: If lanes are cut off, ensure you merge into the safe lanes as quickly as possible. Be respectful of other drivers and do so safely.
- Switch On Headlights: Large equipment and construction structures often block natural light. Turning on headlights when approaching a work zone increases visibility for you and other road users.
Hire an Experienced New York Attorney
Catalano Law is an experienced firm with some of the leading New York accident attorneys in the state. If you’ve been involved in a work zone motor accident that wasn’t your fault, take action today to receive compensation.
Our skilled legal team works diligently to find the relevant information and details for building a solid case. For more information on how we could help you get compensation after a crash in a work zone, schedule a free case evaluation.