Who Is Responsible for a Work Zone Accident?
When accidents happen in work zones, investigations often reveal that one or more factors contributed to the crashes, such as:
- Poor signage
- Weather conditions
- Traffic congestion
- Inattentive drivers
- Driver fatigue
- Inadequate training of road construction crews
Road construction crews and construction companies have a duty to make work zones safe and to warn motorists of dangers that may exist. When this duty is breached, they may be held liable for the damages that are caused by their negligence.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, issued by the Federal Highway Administration, details how signs, cones, and flashers should be used to prevent work zone accidents. It may be discovered that an employee, a subcontractor, or a company did not follow the guidelines outlined in that manual. As a result, companies could be held liable for the negligence of their workers and subcontractors.
Even if the construction company complied with all work zone guidelines, accidents can still occur due to driver negligence. Members of the road crew, other drivers, and pedestrians can all become victims of another motorist’s negligent behavior during road construction. When motorists are distracted, speeding, reckless, or otherwise impaired while driving, they can cause catastrophic accidents in a work zone.
How a Lawyer Can Help with a Work Zone Accident Claim
In most traffic accidents, the first step to obtaining compensation for your injury is to file an insurance claim. You must protect yourself against being taken advantage of by an insurer that is in a hurry to settle the claim for the least amount of money possible.
The most important thing you should do if you are seriously injured in a work zone accident is to consult with our attorneys. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing any statements to your employer, the insurance company, or other parties that are involved.
Our law firm has over 100 years of combined legal experience working with victims of accidents and handling pre-trial settlements and jury awards. It will be our objective to prove that the other party was negligent and this negligence was a cause of your injuries. We will prepare and investigate every case as if we are going to trial to ensure that you will receive the best settlement offer for your compensation and damages.
Compensation for Injuries in a Work Zone Accident in Florida
If you are injured in a work zone accident, determining who is responsible for your injuries and damages can be a difficult process. A motorist may have been negligent, but the road construction crew may have also been negligent. There may be a combination of factors that led to the accident.
If you are injured while performing a job on a road crew, you can probably file for workers’ compensation. However, a negligent third party may also be involved. In this case, Florida law may also entitle you to additional compensation from the negligent driver’s liability insurance policy.
If you are an injured motorist or passenger of a vehicle, the nature of the accident will determine which party is responsible and what type of compensation you may recover. For example, if you are involved in a rear-end collision, you will most likely receive compensation from the other driver. If you were in an accident because of construction road debris, poor pavement, or worker negligence, you may be able to hold the state, municipality, city, or the construction company liable.
It is also important to note that Florida is a comparative negligence state. Individuals who are injured in work zone accidents may still recover a certain amount of money for damages, even if they are partly at fault.
When filing a lawsuit against the state of Florida or public authority, the standards may be more complex than seeking compensation from a private construction company or an individual motorist.
Common Causes of Work Zone Accidents in Florida
A few examples of causes of accidents in work zones caused by road crews include:
- The design of construction zone routes that force drivers to make sudden or dangerous maneuvers.
- The maintenance of routes that create hazards by causing drivers to make sudden or risky maneuvers.
- A lack of warning signs or improperly placed warning signs.
- Directions for detours are not fully visible or not clear.
- The warning signs are inaccurate or misleading.
- The placement of signs, barricades or devices is in too close in proximity to moving lanes.
- The operation of construction equipment impairs the passage of moving vehicles.
- There are unsafe pavement and road conditions that are unmarked.
Some of the most common causes of work zone accidents caused by motorists include:
Construction signs are posted to alert drivers about upcoming detours and road construction. Sometimes drivers ignore these signs, traffic directions, and caution signals in work zones, causing an accident.
It is common for work zones to have stop-and-go traffic, since the road is condensed into fewer travel lanes and the speed limit in these zones is reduced. Drivers who speed through these zones may face doubled fines as well as cause serious traffic accidents in the process.
Serious accidents can happen because of distracted driving, such as rear-end crashes. The conditions of the roadway in a work zone can change quickly, resulting in an auto accident by a distracted driver.
In construction zones, motorists may need to merge into another lane to accommodate the road work that is occurring. If a driver merges at high speeds or merges too late, it can result in a severe motor vehicle accident.
How Long Do You Have to File a Florida Work Zone Accident Claim?
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim relating to a work zone accident, the statute of limitations restricts the amount of time that you are permitted to file a lawsuit. In Florida, injury victims have four years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit, but the law has some narrow exceptions to the four-year limit.
In cases where an injury is not immediately apparent or detectable, the four-year period for filing a lawsuit starts on the date when the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, instead of the actual date of the work zone accident. For example, a traumatic brain injury may not be detected at first but may then emerge weeks later as a dangerous medical condition.