What happens if I am in a car accident in a work zone in North Carolina?
Work zones present many dangers that drivers may fail to consider before it is too late. Thousands of work zone crashes occur every year, with hundreds resulting in fatalities. According to the Work Zone Management Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 842 individuals were killed in 762 work zone accidents in 2019 alone. 690 of those fatalities involved regular drivers and passengers.
If you or someone you loved has been injured in a wreck in a construction zone, reach out to a North Carolina car accident lawyer to see what role negligence may have played. If another party’s actions caused your crash, you might be eligible to file a claim to seek compensation for all of your losses.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Work Zones
There are a number of things that can go wrong on the road at all times. However, adding in construction equipment, workers on the road, and drivers who are in a hurry collectively makes the situation even more precarious.
Road and highway repair is something to take seriously. Unfortunately, miscommunication, mismanaged projects, and failure to use caution contribute to a number of work zone accidents. Driver negligence is also a factor in a significant portion of crashes.
Accident causes related to construction negligence include:
- Debris on the road or highway
- Construction equipment too close to the road
- Missing or inadequate signage
- Misplaced cones or barrels
- Inadequate lighting
In an attempt to avoid those issues, construction zones are subject to strict federal and state laws. However, the chances of an accident occurring increases significantly when those regulations are not followed.
Causes related to driver negligence include:
- Distracted driving
- Improper lane changes
- Aggressive driving
- Ignoring road signage
In an effort to discourage drivers from erratic driving in construction zones, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) has a minimum fine for speeding in a work zone of $250. Depending on the clocked speed, a driver could also have their license revoked. Unfortunately, the possible consequences do not always stop people from acting negligently behind the wheel.
Determining Liability for a Crash in a Work Zone
It is often difficult to determine fault for a work zone accident. With so much happening in a small area, a thorough investigation is needed to determine if a driver was negligent or if a construction worker or independent contractor failed to follow state or federal safety regulations.
If you have been injured in a wreck, you may be able to seek compensation for related losses like medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more. However, it typically is not advisable to pursue a claim on your own. When you work with an experienced car accident attorney, your chances of obtaining a full and fair recovery increase significantly.
If you pursue a car accident claim with help from the lawyers at Auger & Auger, we will start by collecting evidence from the accident scene. Evidence may be in the form of personal testimony, witness interviews, photographs, videos, and work logs from the construction company. Depending on the severity and complexity of the situation, it may be beneficial for our firm to hire an accident reconstructionist to determine what happened before, during, and after your crash. The goal of the investigatory process is to ultimately determine who to hold accountable for your injuries and related expenses.
In addition to determining liability, we will also handle any relevant paperwork, keep track of applicable deadlines, and determine what your case is worth. In most instances, the more severe your injuries, the higher your settlement is likely to be. While most car accident claims resolve via negotiations, there is a possibility your claim could proceed to court as a lawsuit. We will build a solid case to present before a judge or jury to ensure a favorable verdict if that happens.
Tips for Road Construction Safety
Work zones are crucial in maintaining and improving roadways. Unfortunately, traffic pattern changes narrowed right-of-ways, and other construction activities make maneuvering through work zones dangerous when drivers are not careful. To avoid an accident, consider the following safety tips:
- Acknowledge entrance signs. Orange signs typically denote upcoming construction zones. Pay attention to the signs and prepare to slow down or stop, depending on traffic and the work being done.
- Follow the posted speed limit. Following the speed limit in a work zone is absolutely crucial. Speeding significantly increases the chances of an accident, especially in narrow lanes where drivers do not have anywhere else to go.
- Pay close attention to roadway and lane changes. Construction zones often change from day to day. Lane closures and the length of the work zone may change, so it is essential to be aware of the road and where your vehicles need to be to remain as safe as possible.
- Avoid distractions. While distractions are always dangerous behind the wheel, that danger is compounded in a construction zone. Avoid texting or talking on the phone, adjusting the car controls, eating, or any other activities that could take your eyes, hands, or mind away from the road.
- Leave enough space between vehicles. Tailgating in a construction zone increases the risk of an accident, especially when traffic is down to one lane. Remember to leave adequate space in front of you to have time to stop in case traffic patterns change abruptly.
While safety tips can help drivers navigate work zones more confidently, they will not stop an accident from happening if even a single person fails to abide by them. If you have been in a crash, it may be in your best interest to seek legal guidance from an experienced law firm.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina
You deserve the best possible chance at recovery no matter where your car accident happened. At Auger & Auger, our attorneys are well-versed in personal injury claims and are prepared to help you file a claim to seek compensation for any accident-related expenses. Schedule a free consultation with a North Carolina car accident lawyer today when you call 800-559-5741 or contact us online.