What You Should Know About Work Zones and Liability

August 10, 2023 | By Impact Legal Car Accident Attorneys
What You Should Know About Work Zones and Liability

Next week is National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11 - 15, 2022). Raising awareness about how to properly navigate work zones is crucial for the safety of drivers and work zone employees. Work zones can be extremely dangerous and often fatal when accidents do happen. Here are a few recent statistics about construction site car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

  • About 774 people die every year as a result of work zone accidents
  • 2002 was the peak year for fatal accidents in work zones – 1,186 people were killed
  • From 2008 - 2014, average yearly fatal work zone car accidents decreased to about 591, then increased again from 2015 - 2019, averaging about 782 deaths per year
  • According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, 2,103 workers were killed on road work sites from 2003 - 2019 

As communities across the nation continue to expand, work zones seem to be everywhere these days. The data shows these road construction zones can be extremely dangerous, especially if proper precautions aren't taken by drivers and construction companies. Though work zones can be really frustrating, following the posted safety signs and restrictions is important so that the necessary road repairs can be completed and everyone can stay safe in the process. However, sometimes the safety measures employed in construction zones make it more difficult to navigate, which increases the likelihood of accidents. When accidents happen in these areas, it can also be quite difficult to establish liability. In this article, we'll discuss who may be held liable in construction work zone accidents. 

Were you hurt in an accident near a work zone? If so, contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to help you get the compensation you need and deserve by ensuring liability is put on the correct party. At Impact Legal, we offer free initial case reviews, which you can schedule by calling, texting, or filling out our convenient and confidential online form. If you're in Arizona, call or text 602-345-1818 to set up your consultation. If you're in New Mexico, call or text 505-386-2807

When the Driver Is Liable 

Drivers have a duty to pay special attention to signage and other safety measures within work zones. Some instances where a driver may be proven negligent, causing a work zone accident are:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to merge properly/on time
  • Failure to follow signs, signals, and other safety instructions

Common types of accidents that happen when any of the above negligence occurs include:

  • Running into work zone equipment, signs, etc
  • Read-ending another vehicle 
  • Harming on-site workers
  • Running into other cars as a result of improper merging

If any of the above factors exist, it's likely that the driver will be held liable, and proving otherwise when up against a large construction company can be a challenge.

When the Construction Company Is Liable 

Depending on the facts of the case, a construction company may be liable for work zone accidents. Some examples of construction company liability include negligence in the set up of the zone and in how work zone equipment operates. Specifically, construction companies may be liable in these scenarios:

  1. Using inadequate or badly placed lighting 
  2. Bad placement or lack of caution signs
  3. Confusing lane usage instructions, making it unclear which lanes drivers should use or when they should merge
  4. Hitting vehicles with construction equipment
  5. Failure to provide understandable detour instructions
  6. Improper construction site maintenance, creating hazards for drivers

Further, if a construction site employee is deemed responsible for the accident, the construction company may also be held liable due to vicarious liability, which holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees. Every case is different, so it's important to speak with a car accident lawyer about your specific case to know where liability may fall and how to go about proving it. 

Avoiding Construction Zone Accidents

National Work Zone Awareness Week was created to help drivers avoid construction site car accidents. This year's theme is “Work zones are a sign to slow down.” That's one of the best and safest things drivers can do when they enter construction zones in addition to:

  • Paying attention to the signs, changing lanes, etc
  • Keeping a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you
  • Paying attention to your surroundings; things can change quickly as lanes are merging
  • Avoiding the use of technology and other forms of distractions, such as tuning the radio, focusing on other cars, etc
  • Always using your turn signals when merging
  • Keeping your radio low and rolling down the windows to hear instructions if flagmen are on site providing verbal information 

Contact Impact Legal's Car Accident Attorneys

Proving liability in work zone accidents can be a difficult job, and every case is different. To prove liability for an accident, we recommend calling an experienced car accident lawyer. We offer free initial case reviews at no cost to you. To set up your free case review, call 602-345-1818 if you're in Arizona and 505-386-2807 if you're in New Mexico. Alternatively, you may also fill out this online form to request your free consultation. 

While we hope the information on our blog and website provides you with good general information, no content on this website is meant to replace legal advice. Additionally, no content on this site is intended to establish attorney-client privilege. If you have specific questions about a case, please contact us by reaching out in one of the ways listed above.