As one of the country’s largest states, Texas has a lot of roads and highways – and many of them are often under construction in order to expand and improve our state’s infrastructure. While many drivers get frustrated when they see the orange diamond shaped signs indicating road construction is ahead, we should all be grateful for driving improvements and take care when driving near those who are working hard to make them.
Between 2018 and 2019, fatal crashes in work zones increased 11 percent nationally while fatal crashes outside of work zones decreased two percent. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), our state has at least 3,400 active work zones; in 2020, more than 22,000 traffic crashes occurred in work zones, resulting in 186 deaths and 680 serious injuries. So, what can we do to help prevent construction work zone accidents?
Construction Work Zone Accidents Safety
Work zones change up a driver’s usual route, and if the driver isn’t prepared for a change in the number of lanes or a detour caused by road closures, accidents can happen pretty easily. In addition to mixing up a routine, construction work zones on the roadway can also include uneven pavement, potholes, narrow lanes, barrels, additional concrete barriers, and more hazards that can contribute to additional car accidents. If you see the signs of an upcoming construction zone, be sure to:
- Drive slowly, following the posted reduced speed limit and being mindful of workers and equipment that may be on or very near the roads (this may also mean you need to give yourself extra time for your drive so you are not in a rush)
- Pay even greater attention than usual and avoid distractions
- Leave more room between your car and other vehicles because tailgating always makes rear-ending accidents more likely, but even more so in a work zone where abrupt stops can be common
- Stay calm and be patient while being sure to buckle your seatbelt
Common Roadway Construction Accidents
Transportation events account for at least 76 percent of roadway work zone fatal occupational injuries and of those, 60 percent involved a worker being struck by a vehicle in the work zone. Vehicles backing up accounted for 89 percent of worker deaths. Larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs accounted for the most deaths. The most common types of road construction collisions include rear-end crashes, sideswipes, and collisions with objects like barrels, barricades, and signs. The most common driver-related causes of work zone crashes are speeding and driver inattention; but, aggressive, reckless driving, impaired driving, and drowsy driving also cause and/or contribute to roadway work zone crashes. However, some additional common causes of construction zone accidents are attributable to the employers of our state’s construction workers, and include:
- Failure to follow the legal guidelines for safe construction
- Poor construction zone design
- Failure to post adequate warning signs or inaccurate/not visible signage
- Unlevel roads
- Improper placement of barricades
- Insufficient lighting at night or during inclement weather
According to the National Safety Council, the majority of work zone fatalities happen on roads with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or more. So construction companies need to be extra cautious when setting up work zones in high speed and high traffic areas like these.
What Damages are Available for Construction Zone Accident Victims?
In order for the victim of a motor vehicle accident to be entitled to compensation for the resulting injuries, another party must be found to have been negligent, or at fault, for the collision. Because negligence is a complex legal issue to begin with and becomes even more complex in a work zone accident, it is crucial that victims consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine who is responsible for their injuries so they can pursue a claim against the responsible party or parties.
After a construction zone crash, an injury victim and/or the survivors of a wrongfully killed individual may be entitled to financial compensation for various types of damages, including:
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Past, current, and future medical bills and related expenses
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Texas Construction Work Zone Accidents Lawyers
If you were injured in a work zone crash, you may be able to obtain financial compensation from the responsible party or parties. If a construction company or government entity was negligent, they can be held liable, as can other drivers if their actions caused the accident. Ezequiel Reyna, Jr. grew up in Weslaco, Texas and has practiced personal injury law locally for over 40 years. He has achieved award-winning results for his clients throughout his legal career and would be honored to help you and your loved ones. Contact the Ezequiel Reyna Law Office team today for a free consultation with our law firm.