If you were recently involved in a car accident within a construction zone, your circumstances may be different than those of the typical accident. When it comes to highway or road construction, there are often special considerations that could affect your case and your liability. Whether you're a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or construction worker, here are four little-known facts that could make a difference in your case and why you need an attorney to assist you.
Construction Zone Stats
It's estimated that during the peak of the construction season, about 20% of US highways are being worked on. Furthermore, for every 100 miles you travel along the highway, you'll probably hit at least one construction zone. Out of these work zones, about 40,000 injuries will happen each year, resulting in approximately three fatalities per day.
While you certainly have a duty to drive safely and abide by traffic laws, a construction zone on the highway can lead to distractions and dangerous driving conditions when certain criteria are either met or neglected. And an attorney who is familiar with the laws can help protect your rights if you feel as though the accident was not your fault.
For instance, suppose you were driving through a work area that rerouted traffic through unmarked lanes without giving any clear warning. You swerve and hit a car in another lane. The other driver has sued you for damages, but you feel as though the accident isn't your fault because the lanes were not clearly marked, and there was no warning that a construction zone was ahead. A car accident attorney familiar with construction zone cases can represent your interests and help provide you with the proper defense.
The statute of limitations varies from state to state, so it's important to contact a lawyer soon after the accident. In some states, plaintiffs must file a Tort Claims Notice within 180 days of the accident occurring.
OSHA and Traffic Control Plans
Any time there is a construction area on the road or highway, OSHA requires the city or state to implement a traffic control plan. This is supposed to maintain the safety of construction workers and pedestrians in the area, as well as allow for the safe passage of vehicles through the construction zone, and you're probably familiar with most of them.
Examples of traffic control plans include signs that read, "do not enter," "reduced speed ahead," or "road closed." They also include traffic routing signs, cones, barrels, concrete or sand barriers, flaggers with high-visibility clothing as well as a warning that there are flaggers ahead, and proper lighting for nighttime construction.
A car accident attorney can work with you in determining if any part of the traffic control plan was missing and contributed to your accident.
If you haven't heard of sovereign immunity, it's a legal term that states the government should be immune or protected from lawsuits, even in cases where a private citizen or corporation would be held liable.
In some ways, this certainly serves the best interest of the public; multiple lawsuits would only result in grave financial loss to the city and state, which could ultimately get passed down to the people in extra taxes. However, even the most frugal of individuals can see that, sometimes, government entities are liable.
The good news is there are exemptions or waivers to sovereign immunity. This means that a car accident attorney can work on your behalf, establishing whether or not the government agency can be held accountable, either partly or wholly, for your accident.
Settling With Contractors
With highway or road construction, you're not always dealing with a single entity doing all the work. Many times, multiple companies are contracted to perform the needed construction. For example, one company may be used to safely dig up part of the road, another to replace the water lines, and yet another to haul off trash and debris.
In those cases in which a settlement can be reached, having a skilled attorney to investigate and make phone calls to various contractors and insurance companies can ease your burden as well as increase the odds of you actually getting the settlement. This is because your attorney knows what facts to look for, what kinds of questions to ask, and how to negotiate on your behalf.
For more information, contact a local auto accident lawyer.Share
12 March 2015
My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.