Road accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. While most crashes occur due to an error on the part of the motorists, some accidents can also be caused by external factors. For instance, accidents within a work zone may be the fault of the contractor or construction crew. If you have suffered a crash in a work zone, you will need the help of an Orange County car accident attorney to recover damages.
Work zone accidents are sometimes complicated. This is because many parties can be potentially liable in an accident that takes place within a work or construction site. It is important to first identify the liable party and then proceed with the damages claim.
What Is a Work Zone?
A work zone along a roadway is an area where a contractor is legally permitted to undertake repair, maintenance and construction work. This may involve building or repairing a portion of the road, a bridge, a roadside building, or any other structure.
Why do Work Zone Crashes Occur?
Work zones pose a notable hazard to the motorists on the road. This is because many traffic accidents take place in such zones. According to Federal Highway Administration statistics, more than 27,000 were killed in work zone accidents from 1982 to 2017.
This is for a number of reasons. If a work zone lies on a high-speed highway, for instance, the open roadway may be reduced from multiple lanes to a single lane or two lanes. This increases the chances of traffic congestion and crashes.
Here are some other reasons why traffic accidents occur in a construction zone:
- Improper set up of warning and alert signs for the drivers
- Sudden changes in the number of lanes, instead of a gradual change with warning cones
- An exceptionally narrow window for the traffic to flow, leading to rear-end collisions
- The presence of different kinds of debris on the roadway near the construction site
- Construction crew walking on the roadway and not taking proper precautionary measures
These are some of the reasons why an accident may take place in a work zone. When a crash does occur, it is important to understand who the liable party is. It is only after determining this that you can seek compensatory damages for your losses.
Liable Parties in a Work Zone Accident
For most work zone accidents, the liability lies either with a driver, or with the construction company or contractor overseeing the site.
When the Driver Is Liable
Work zones typically require a driver to slow down, possibly change lane, and pay attention to special traffic signs. A driver who fails to do so may end up causing an accident. When a construction zone crash is caused by a driver who was speeding, taking a call, texting on the phone, or tailgating another vehicle, the liability will typically rest with the driver. The driver can also be held liable for failing to observe special traffic signs set up in the area.
When the Contractor Is Liable
A contractor can be held liable for a work zone accident for:
- Work Equipment Operator Errors. A driver operating construction machinery and other heavy on-site vehicles may fail to take proper safety measures. This can cause the driver to collide with a vehicle traveling on the road, causing vehicular damage and injuries.
- Missing or Improper Signs. It is the responsibility of a contractor to set up proper signs for reduced speed limits, lane change, and other desirable driver actions. When such signs are set up or placed in a way that they fail to alert a driver, accidents can occur.
- Obstructions on the Road. A construction crew must keep the roadway clear of any debris so that motorists can pass by the site safely. Debris, equipment, or any other obstructions from the construction zone may end up on the road and cause a crash.
If any of the above scenarios occur, the construction company or contractor is liable for damages. Similarly, if any negligence on the part of the crew contributes to the accident, the contractor can be held vicariously liable.
How Can an Orange County Car Accident Lawyer Help?
If you have suffered a crash in an Orange County construction zone, we can help you. Here at the Crockett Law Group, we work with car crash victims to seek maximum compensatory damages for their crash-related losses.
For construction zone crashes, we help you file a claim against the construction company or another at-fault driver. We also negotiate with the construction company or the insurer on your behalf to make sure your rights are protected. Get in touch with us today to discuss your car crash claim with our Orange County lawyers.