Sharing the road with a huge commercial truck always comes with its share of potential danger. But when you have to do this in a construction zone, that can make things flat-out intimidating. Truck drivers are notorious for making mistakes that can have devastating results – when they’re in a construction zone, they have even less of a margin for error.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck that occurred in a construction zone, the truck accident attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen will be the ones to turn to first. The professionals with our firm have years of experience in these kinds of cases, and we’re ready to put our expertise to work for you. Just contact us online or give us a call at (800) 732-3070 to schedule a free consultation.
Construction Zone Statistics
More than 850 people died, and more than 44,000 people were injured in construction zone accidents in 2020 alone. More than 80% of these fatalities occurred due to one of three kinds of accidents – rear-end collisions, accidents involving a commercial motor vehicle, such as a truck, and speeding-related accidents. Here’s a quick look at the numbers.
- Speeding-related accidents – 287 deaths in 2020 (37%)
- Commercial vehicle accidents – 208 deaths in 2020 (27%)
- Rear-end collisions – 156 deaths in 2020 (20%)
Types of Accidents that Occur in Construction Zones
Whenever the lanes on a street or highway suddenly narrow due to construction, that can be a recipe for disaster when truck drivers or motorists don’t make the necessary adjustments. The narrower lanes could cause the side of a vehicle to scrape a barrier. When the driver overreacts, they could easily slam into the side of another car or truck.
Construction zones will often include other types of obstacles as well, such as cones or temporary barricades. If someone isn’t paying attention, they could have to slam on the brakes, increasing the chances of the aforementioned rear-end collision. Also, drivers will often ignore warning signs telling them they need to slow down in a construction zone. This can obviously increase the risk of a potentially catastrophic wreck exponentially.
Who’s Liable for Construction Zone Accidents?
There are several different potential parties that could be held liable for any injuries that result from a truck accident – or any other type of accident – that occurs in a work zone. Here are just a few of the parties that could be responsible.
Trucking companies will often place unreasonable deadlines on their drivers. Those drivers will often operate a rig while fatigued, because they’re trying to push through past their limitations. They’ll also often take shortcuts, such as speeding through a construction zone. When they’re tired and in a hurry, they can easily cause a wreck.
But the company that owns the truck may also have neglected to conduct a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle. A critical component, such as a tire or the braking system, could have failed as a result and caused an accident. The trucking company could be held liable for that failure as well.
However, drivers will typically face most of the blame when they cause an accident. If they don’t bother to completely plan out their route beforehand, and they’re not aware of an upcoming construction zone, they could cause a wreck because they hit a barrel, or some other type of barrier. Commercial trucks are so much wider than passenger cars, even a small lack of focus could lead to major problems.
Construction companies can also be held accountable for contributing to an accident due to negligence. They might fail to erect the proper warning signs, or they might neglect to mark other hazards so they are easy to see any time of the night or day.
Personal Vehicle Drivers
Motorists are often to blame for construction zone accidents as well, for many of the same reasons truck drivers cause them. Motorists might ignore speed limit signs, or they might be distracted by their phone, and surprised when they come upon a zone.
How to Prove Fault in a Construction Zone Accident
Just like any sort of personal injury case, you’re going to need strong evidence in order to obtain the compensation you deserve in a construction zone accident. The more proof you have, the stronger your case will be.
One of the most important things you can do – only if you can do so safely, of course – is to use your phone to take pictures and videos of the accident site. Don’t just take pictures of your car, but any other vehicles that were involved in the wreck as well. Also, pay attention to any skid marks on the road, and take photos/videos of those as well. If you were hit from behind, the skid marks could show that the vehicle that hit you was going too fast.
It’s just important, however, to know what NOT to do as it is to know what to do. You should never discuss the accident with the trucking company’s insurance provider. They’re going to try and get you to at least admit some fault. If they’re successful, that could cost you a great deal of money. Always have your attorney speak with the insurance company on your behalf.
Driving Safely Through a Construction Site
There are many things you can do to reduce the chances of being in a construction zone accident. Here are just a few to keep in mind.
- Put away your phone and other potential distractions. Don’t fiddle with the radio or any other buttons. If you have a passenger with you, keep any conversation to an absolute minimum so you can concentrate.
- Slow down and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
- If there is a worker acting as a road flagger, pay attention to where they’re directing you to go.