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Work Zone and Construction Site Accidents

Albert E. Hirst Law Offices- Work Zone and Construction Site Accidents

Those who work in construction zones are exposed to a number of safety hazards every day, whether they are working under dangerous conditions, or encounter an irresponsible motorist.  Work zone accidents are common on highways, interstates, and city streets and many individuals have sustained serious and even fatal injuries as a result. The statistics regarding work zone accidents and fatalities are staggering.  It was reported that in 2015, more than twenty-five percent of work zone crashes resulted in at least one injured individual.  In addition, on average, on every day in 2015, nearly seventy work zone crashes occurred that involved at least one injury, and every week, approximately twelve work zone accidents happened that resulted in at least one fatality.  From 2003-2015, California ranked as the fifth state with the most worker deaths at road construction sites.

Many work zone accidents occur due to driver negligence.  In these instances, drivers fail to slow down, are distracted, or do not pay attention to signs or lane changes.  But in other cases, injuries at work zones happened because of poor working conditions, unsafe procedures, or faulty or defective equipment.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that from 2011-2015, seventy-three percent of roadway work zone fatal injuries were caused by transportation events.  In sixty-one percent of these events, a worker was hit by a car, SUV, truck, or machinery in the work zone.  In addition, many workers were fatally injured by backing vehicles.  Some other common potential hazards that cause or contribute to work zone accidents include:

  • Equipment or debris that is left in the roadway;
  • Uneven or improperly marked lanes;
  • Poor signage;
  • Unexpected or sudden detours;
  • Uneven road surfaces;
  • Open manholes;
  • Inadequate lighting;
  • Overturning construction vehicles;
  • Falls from heights or equipment;
  • Slips, trips, and falls;
  • Defective equipment;
  • Improper merging; and,
  • Failure to follow signage.

For workers that are injured in work zones or other construction accidents, the road to recovery can be a difficult one.  Fortunately, when individuals who are working in a work zone are injured in an accident, they are usually covered by California’s workers’ compensation laws.  Workers who are injured in work zones will typically qualify for benefits that include compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.  Other benefits can include permanent or temporary disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits.

In some cases, a worker who is injured in a work zone can also seek compensation from third parties.  When the negligent actions of someone who is not a co-worker or employer results in injury, that individual, or third party, can be held liable for damages.  Some examples of third party claims in work zone accidents include lawsuits against a negligent driver who caused or contributed to the accident, or lawsuits against the manufacturer of defective equipment, machinery, or other products.

Seasoned and Skilled California Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you or someone you know has sustained an injury or illness while working in a construction zone, particularly if your injury or illness happened in the San Bernardino, Hemet, or Inland Empire areas, you likely will be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits under California law.  However, depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be able to pursue a third party negligence claim against the individual or entity that was responsible for your injuries and other damages.  Albert E. Hirst, III, has many years of experience handling injured worker cases and he has the knowledge and resources necessary to help you obtain the best possible results in your case.  Call us today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free consultation.