Why Liability for a Road Work Zone Crash Is Complicated

Road work sign There were 27,235 work zone crashes in Georgia in 2018 alone, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). Those accidents resulted in 8,928 injuries and 52 deaths. According to the GDOT, all 52 of the work zone-related fatalities were public motorists, not construction workers.

Below, you can learn more about liability for these kinds of accidents and why it may be more complicated than you think. There are a variety of factors that contribute to these accidents, and this is why you may want assistance from an attorney who has represented numerous car accident victims.

The Savannah car accident lawyers at Roden Law have a history of recovering fair compensation for car accident victims in Georgia. If you are not sure whether you have a valid case, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. We can determine if you may have a case and explain how we may be able to help you pursue it.

Who Is Liable If You Crash in a Work Zone?

Work zone accidents often occur because of the negligent actions of drivers, such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely or not following traffic sign instructions.

However, there are times when the construction company or the government may be found liable for work zone accidents if they did not take proper steps to protect the work zone and/or warn the public about it.

A few of the reasons a construction company may be assigned fault include failure to:

  • Alert drivers with adequate warning signs
  • Appropriately guide or divert traffic when necessary
  • Provide visible signage for motorists to warn them about a hazard, road work or new construction
  • Properly mark temporary lanes to guide drivers away from the work zone
  • Remove heavy equipment, road debris or other materials in the roadway

Companies could also potentially be held liable if construction workers:

  • Placed cones in a way that confused drivers
  • Operated construction equipment in the roadway without providing any warning lights
  • Operated construction equipment by backing into the road when there was oncoming traffic

Unexpected detours and sudden merges often result in chain-reaction collisions at these sites. When pileups occur, it becomes even more challenging to determine the cause of each individual accident and how to assign fault. The construction company and more than one driver may share a percentage of fault.

Georgia’s Move Over Law

One law you need to be aware of when approaching a construction zone is Georgia’s Move Over Law. The law says when you are approaching stationary emergency vehicles or highway maintenance vehicles you need to move one lane away if it is safe to do so. If not, you need to slow down to a reasonable speed for existing traffic conditions and be ready to stop.

Another law you must always obey, particularly in construction zones is Georgia’s hands-free law, which requires drivers to use hands-free technology to operate cellphones while driving. Drivers cannot hold a phone in their hands while driving.

Why Work Zone Accidents Happen

Work zone accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Work zones often make drivers impatient and frustrated due to the delays, which may cause them to try to pull into the emergency lane, speed through the area or ignore traffic signals. Some of the most common types work zone accidents are: 

  • Sideswipes – Sideswipes are common in construction zones when lanes narrow and there are unpredictable lane shifts.  
  • Rear-end collisions – When there are construction delays, drivers may try to entertain themselves and engage in distracting behaviors, such as texting while driving, messing with the radio or fiddling with other controls in the vehicle. Drivers who are distracted may run into the back of another vehicle due to the constant stop-and-go pace.
  • Collisions with construction vehicles – In construction zones, the presence of idle or slow-moving vehicles may cause an accident.

Call an Attorney Today to Discuss Your Accident

If you were involved in a work zone car crash, we encourage you to contact one of the knowledgeable lawyers for a free consultation. We welcome the opportunity to review the details of your accident and answer any questions you may have. There are filing deadlines and other laws that may affect your ability to pursue compensation, so if you think you may have a case, do not delay.

Contact our office today at 1-844-RESULTS