I Was Injured in a Road Construction Crash
Anyone who spends a fair amount of time on Georgia’s roads knows that construction happens year-round—and seemingly just about everywhere. It’s also probably no surprise to drivers who’ve had to suddenly merge into a different lane or slow for an unexpected flagger that work zones are incredibly dangerous. And not just for the construction workers present. According to the Georgia DOT, there were 17,297 crashes in Georgia work zones in 2020, with 5,123 injuries.
So what should you do if you’re in a work zone crash, and how can you stay safe in these high-pressure areas?
Who is at fault in a work zone crash?
With lanes shut down or narrowed, workers and machinery close to traffic, lowered speed limits and unexpected signage, there are numerous ways accidents can happen in work zones.
That’s why there are heightened expectations for both drivers and workers. Drivers are expected to follow posted rules, of course, slowing down and following temporary sign directions. But they’re also expected to operate in the zone with due care. This means taking extra precautions and remaining vigilant because everyone’s safety is on the line.
For workers, the same expectations hold. It’s their job to ensure the cars passing through the zone can do so safely. They must:
- Place necessary signs—this includes work zone signs, lane closure signs, temporary exit signs and others
- Keep equipment clear of the driving space—there should be room for cars to safely pass by equipment
- Create detours and mark them
- Keep the roadway clear of construction materials and debris
- Take particular care when performing extremely dangerous work, like blasting or excavation
If the construction company, its workers or its contractors fail to keep the site safe, they can be found negligent for accidents that occur. Additionally, municipal governments and state agencies can be held responsible for an injury in a work zone. Government agencies can also be held liable for road condition or design issues, like a crash caused by a pothole or an accident worsened by the lack of guardrails.
Depending on the situation, the road work equipment manufacturer can be held liable as well.
Because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, you may still be able to recover damages in a work zone crash even if you were partly at fault.
How to avoid accidents in work zones
In an effort to reduce work zone accidents, the Georgia DOT organizes an annual awareness campaign. In 2019, there were 842 work zone deaths across the country. Of those, 135 were workers. The majority were drivers, passengers and pedestrians. To save lives and prevent these accidents from occurring, the DOT recommends that drivers:
- Expect the unexpected: Lanes close, narrow or shift. Speed limits drop. Workers are close to the road. To adapt to these unusual conditions, drivers need to be aware of their surroundings.
- Slow down; don’t tailgate: Most work zone crashes are roadway departures or rear-end accidents. Avoid problems by keeping a good distance between your vehicle and other cars and workers.
- Obey road crew flaggers: The consequences for this one are steep—heavy fines and even prison time.
- Stay alert: Avoid touching your device, your console or adjusting your radio.
- Keep up: Don’t stop or slow down to look at the work in progress.
- Plan ahead: Stay on top of potential roadwork on your route and consider alternate drives.
- Be patient: We all need our roads to be maintained, and everyone wants to get back home safely at the end of the day.
- Wear your seat belt: It’s your best protection in a crash.
Contact an Experienced Work Zone Accident Attorney at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill
If you’ve been hurt in a work zone crash, you need an attorney who can demonstrate that you were not at fault. At Buzzell, Welsh & Hill, our team has the experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (478) 217-2072 for a free case consultation.