Resulting Injuries From Construction Zone Car Accidents
Your Arizona Injury Lawyers Discuss Accidents within Construction Zones
There’s a good reason that speed limits are lowered and fines are doubled in construction zones. With all of the equipment, lane closures, and other conditions created in construction zones, accidents that occur in them are particularly dangerous. In 2018, there were 17 fatal construction zone accidents in Arizona resulting in 20 deaths.
Arizona observes Work Zone Awareness Week each year in April to remind drivers to be more cautious when entering a construction area. It may be surprising to learn that 80% of victims in these accidents are not construction workers but vehicle occupants. You should always slow down and be aware of your surroundings in a construction zone.
Who is at Fault in an Accident in a Construction Zone?
As car accident injury lawyers in Mesa, we have seen many accidents of this type. Construction zone accidents are either caused by negligence of the construction company, or through the conduct of drivers in the construction zone. The construction company may not put up proper warning signs or workers may not behave carefully, but if you’ve lived in Arizona long enough, you know plenty of drivers think the 101 is the Autobahn and 5 lane changes are worth shaving 5 seconds off their drive. You’ve probably also seen drivers at highway speeds happily typing away on their cell phones. This careless style of driving is just as likely to cause an accident as an improperly-maintained construction zone.
Arizona allows for comparative negligence, which means a party doesn’t need to be completely free of fault to collect in an Arizona personal injury lawsuit. In comparative negligence states, plaintiffs can collect for their damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. For example, a driver is speeding in a construction zone, and a worker suddenly backs his truck into the lane despite coworkers signaling for him to stop. Some of the cones and signs demarcating the construction zone have also fallen or are missing. The driver is declared to be 25% at fault for the accident, so the driver can collect 75% of their damages from the accident in a lawsuit.
Could the City or State be Liable in an Arizona Construction Zone Accident?
Many construction zones are commissioned through city or state governments, meaning these governments could potentially be held liable for accidents that occur in them. The city or state may be responsible for creating detours and posting warning signs, and failure to do this can be a factor in construction zone accidents. You should know that while the standard statute of limitations (time limit in which to file your lawsuit after an accident) in Arizona is 2 years, you only have 180 days to file a claim against a public entity in Arizona with help from an accident injury lawyer in Mesa.
How Common are Accidents in Construction Zones?
In 2019, car accidents were reported in 67% of United States construction zones. Someone in the U.S. is injured in a construction zone car accident approximately once every fourteen minutes. In Arizona, there were 3,540 work zone accidents between 2017 and 2019.
What is the Most Common Type of Car Accident in Construction Zones?
Just like on the road in general, the most common type of car accident in construction zones is a rear end collision. Drivers often become impatient due to traffic congestion and reduced speeds and tailgate the vehicle ahead of them in the construction zone. If that vehicle stops due to traffic or instructions by a construction worker, the likelihood of a rear end collision is high.
When the Construction Company May be Liable for an Auto Accident
The construction company may be held liable for an accident if any of the following are present:
- Lack of warning and caution signs
- A dangerous reroute with sharp turns, narrow lanes, etc.
- Barricades and walls placed too close to driving lanes
- Improper operation of construction vehicles and equipment
- Inaccurate or obstructed signs
When a Driver May be Liable for an Auto Accident in a Construction Zone
The following bad driving habits can always cause a car accident, but even more so in a construction zone:
- Texting/cell phone use
- Failure to yield while merging lanes
- Disobeying warning signs and workers’ signals
- Distracted driving
- Improperly maintained vehicle, e.g. brakes
- Impatience and road rage
Hazards in a Construction Zone that Could Lead to a Car Accident
The following hazards in a construction zone can make a car accident more likely:
- Rubble and debris in the road
- Overly bright lights or insufficient lighting
- Routes that are confusing or require tricky maneuvers
- Damaged and knocked over signs, traffic cones, barricades, etc.
- Water flooding
Contact an Experienced Arizona Construction Zone Attorney Today
After a construction zone accident, there are many types of damage you may suffer and for which you may be eligible to receive compensation. These include your medical expenses (past, current, and future), time missed from work, decreased earning potential, temporary or permanent disability, scarring, disfigurement, loss of companionship or consortium, and pain and suffering. Pain is suffering is usually calculated using a multiplier between 1-5x on the total of the rest of the damages. One thing a personal injury attorney in Mesa will do for you is negotiate for a higher multiplier to be used in your case, resulting in a higher personal injury award for you.
Because Arizona is a comparative negligence state, another tactic the other party will use to reduce their costs is argue that you had a higher percentage of fault. Let’s say you are driving a few miles over the posted limit in a construction zone, but the accident was otherwise due to the construction company’s negligence. Your damages are $100,000. You may have been about 5% at fault for the accident, reducing your damages by $5,000. However, your construction company’s insurance provider has a good lawyer. Without your own legal advocate, your fault could be increased to 10-15%, decreasing your payout by an additional $5,000-$10,000.
Don’t Wait to Hear from the Other Guy, Contact Your Arizona Injury Attorney Right Away
If you’ve been in a construction zone accident, you will be up against a construction company, possibly a city or state government, and their insurance companies. Don’t wait after an accident to contact a legal representative for yourself. You deserve compensation from the liable party when you’ve been injured in an accident, and you and your family’s future can depend on it. Get started with the personal injury process by scheduling your free consultation with one of our expert Arizona personal injury attorneys.
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