Road work is a fact of life. Anyone driving for any distance in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama is likely to encounter a work zone at some point in the journey. In fact, as the infrastructure in the U.S. ages, more roads will need to be resurfaced and rebuilt by construction crews. People are likely to see increasing amounts of road construction.
Unfortunately, work zones are dangerous places. This is true for both drivers and construction workers. Many people don’t know how to respond safely in work zones, especially if they have to merge lanes. Others will get impatient with the traffic that is often caused by construction. They may make dangerous driving decisions due to their irritation. All of this creates a recipe for disaster and explains why work zone or road construction car accidents
are so common in Alabama.
The Dangers of Road Construction Accidents in Alabama
Construction work zones are dangerous both for drivers and for workers performing the necessary task of maintaining and improving our roads.
The statistics on construction site accidents demonstrate just how prevalent the risk of work zone crashes is:
- Alabama Traffic Crash Facts reported 2,302 work zone crashes in the state in 2010. These crashes caused 621 injuries and 19 fatalities.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 639 workers were killed between 2003 and 2007 at road construction sites.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that 305 of the fatal workplace injuries at road construction sites between 2003 and 2007 occurred because the worker was hit by a car.
- Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 759 fatalities among construction workers in 2011. While this data is for fatalities at all construction sites, some of these injuries likely occurred when construction was occurring on the roadways. BLS data also showed 3.9 construction injuries for every 100 full time construction workers in 2011.
This data is bad news for both construction workers and for drivers. The fact is that construction sites and roadside work zones are dangerous for everyone involved. This risk comes from the fact that both construction workers and drivers may not be as careful as they should be.
Causes of Alabama Construction Zone Accidents
Construction zone accidents can occur for many different reasons.
For example, a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcycle rider, bike rider or construction worker could be injured in a construction zone as a result of:
- Unsafe merging – Construction zones often require cars to go from one lane to many. This can cause accidents if drivers don’t yield or look before changing lanes.
- Malfunctioning construction equipment – When construction equipment has a defect or is used improperly, the construction worker and those on the road can be at risk of harm.
- Poor visibility – Construction zones can create barriers that impede visibility, contributing to the risk of a crash.
- Clogged lanes – Overcrowding in lanes due to construction closures can cause drivers to tailgate or drive aggressively. This increases the risk of rear-end crashes and other wrecks.
- Improper barriers – When construction workers fail to set up proper barriers, drivers could travel into a hazardous area and be injured.
- Bad signage – If signs don’t clearly tell drivers they are entering a construction zone, then drivers may not have time to slow down or react accordingly.
- Bad weather – Rain or other bad weather can make roads slick and increase the danger to both construction workers and drivers since the slippery street can cause a car to go out of control in a construction zone.
- Distracted, drunk or fatigued drivers – Drivers who aren’t paying attention or who aren’t able to react to a construction zone could accidentally hit a construction worker or another car.
- Unmarked road hazards – Dips or curves in a road might not be properly marked and could cause a car to go out of control if an unsuspecting driver hits one too fast.
These are just a few potential causes of construction site crashes. Determining the cause of the accident is very important in order to determine who can be held legally responsible for the crash. Construction site accidents often cause serious injury
or even death. The person injured can take action to recover compensation from the responsible party.
Who Is Responsible for Road Construction Accidents?
Construction accidents don’t just happen. They occur because someone does something wrong or because someone is careless. Typically, this is either the driver of one or more vehicles or someone on the construction crew. When the driver is the cause of the accident, he or she can be sued and can be made to compensate those harmed.
When the construction worker(s) are responsible for the crash, however, things can become complicated. Because the worker is employed by the government, it can be difficult to hold the construction worker accountable. Both the worker and the government agency that employs him may enjoy limited governmental immunity protections. These protections don’t make it impossible to sue. However, they do make it harder and impose tougher requirements on a plaintiff. You’ll need a knowledgeable construction accident lawyer to help in these types of cases.
Also complicating matters is the fact that the construction worker who may have been negligent or careless is often not the best person to take action against when a driver is injured. The person or entity that employed the construction worker is usually the one with insurance and the one with enough assets to pay a damage claim.
This means that the injured victim of a construction accident may need to take legal action against the company or agency that employed the construction workers. This can be done through proving the employer was negligent on their own accord (such as by hiring bad employees without careful screening) or by showing that the company is negligent by virtue of the fact that they had a careless employee acting on their behalf.
A Lawyer Can Help with Your Road Construction Accident Case
Due to the complexities of road construction or work zone cases, you need an Alabama road construction accident lawyer to handle your claim to recover damages.
The car accident attorneys
at Belt & Bruner, P.C., have represented clients in Birmingham and surrounding areas in these complex cases. We have the knowledge and skill necessary to help you build a strong case.
To learn more about how the Alabama road construction accident lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C., can help, give us a call today or take a few moments to complete our online form