What happens if I am in a car accident in a work zone in South Carolina?
No matter where you live, you are likely to have to drive through work zones on a regular basis. Work zones can be one of the more dangerous places to drive, especially on busy highways and interstates. Not only is there increased road congestion, but also likely an increased number of pedestrians and distracting activity. Workers may not be as careful as they should be about monitoring traffic, as they are busy concentrating on their jobs. Drivers may not be as cautious as they normally would be, either, due to the increased amount of distracting activity as well as confusion from traffic pattern changes. Unfortunately, car accidents in work zones can have significant and long-ranging effects.
If you have been involved in a work zone car accident, reach out to an experienced South Carolina Car Accident attorney. An attorney can help inform you of your rights after being involved in an accident and can fight for you to get the compensation you deserve to get back to your life as soon as possible.
What Is a Work Zone?
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, a work zone is “an area where roadwork takes place that may involve a lane closure, a detour, and moving equipment.” When approaching a work zone, drivers will typically see various types of signage, as well as cones, barrels, large vehicles, and workers. The signs will be recognizable, as they are generally diamond-shaped and produced with an orange background with black images or words printed on them.
These signs will be used to convey a variety of information — that roadwork is occurring, that workers are present, that there will be a traffic pattern change or a reduced speed ahead. You may also see workers holding signs, which may inform you to slow down or stop, or which direction you need to travel in. Signs may also be used to warn you of a rough road or uneven lanes.
You may also see barriers such as cones or barrels. These barriers are highly visible and are used, along with signs, to help guide drivers safely through a construction zone. They may also be used to ensure that drivers don’t enter into areas where it would be unsafe for them to drive.
How Can I Drive Safely in a Work Zone?
When driving through a work zone, one of the most important things to remember is to reduce your speed. This helps keep you and your passengers safe, as well as the workers who are on the road.
It is also the law. As of 2017, if you are caught speeding in a work zone, you can be saddled with hefty fines, especially if the speeding results in any bodily harm. It will also result in an increase of points on your license, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6. If you accumulate 12 points on your license in South Carolina, your license will be suspended.
Other ways you can ensure safety when driving through a work zone are to leave extra room between vehicles and be prepared to stop at any time. If you are driving through at night, exercise extreme caution whether you see any workers or not. Try to stay centered in your line, and pay close attention to signs warning you of lane or traffic pattern shifts. If you are aware of the roadwork, it may be best to plan an alternate route. If another route is not available to you, you should plan on delays and leave extra early to arrive at your destination in a timely manner.
Who Is at Risk in a Work Zone Car Accident?
When driving through a work zone, everyone involved in the situation is at risk of being involved in an accident. However, the good news is that work zone car accidents are rarely fatal. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2019 there were over 33,000 car accidents that resulted in fatalities. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), only 842 (2.6%) of those fatal accidents occurred in a work zone.
The fact that fatal accidents are not any more likely to occur in work zones should not cause drivers to be any less alert than they normally would be when driving through a construction zone. In fact, when work zone accidents do happen, the FHA reports that the drivers and passengers are at much more risk of dying as a result of their accident than the workers.
However, just because an accident doesn’t result in a fatality doesn’t mean that it’s not serious or life-changing for the people involved. If you’ve been injured in a work zone car accident, contacting an experienced work zone car accident attorney can help put you on the road to recovery while giving you some peace of mind knowing that you have someone in your corner.
Who Is Liable for My Work Zone Crash Damages?
When you have been involved in a serious accident in a work zone, you are likely to have major financial losses in addition to a period of painful life changes. The good news is that your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses may be recovered through a personal injury claim.
The person or business you end up filing your claim with depends completely on the circumstances of your accident. Possible at-fault parties include:
- Another driver who was negligent and caused the accident
- A construction crew that failed to provide adequate warnings or use proper signage according to industry standards
- The general contractor or contract awarder who failed to maintain a safe work zone for crews and others on the road
- A vehicle or part manufacturer if a specific malfunction led to the accident
Determining who is at fault — and, thereby, who could be responsible for your accident costs — can be a complicated legal question. Working with experienced South Carolina work zone accident lawyers can help you identify all potentially liable parties while also helping you calculate the full value of your claim.
Contact An Attorney from Auger & Auger
If you or a loved one has been involved in a work zone car accident, contact an experienced attorney from the law firm of Auger & Auger. Our lawyers have almost 40 years of combined experience fighting for victims of car accidents. When you contact us, you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation so that we can hear the specifics of your case and help advise you on your next steps moving forward.
Once we help you figure out your plan of action, you can use your time to rest and recuperate from your accident while we take care of your case. You can have peace of mind knowing that someone is working on your behalf, with your best interests at heart. Call us at (843) 751-4690 or contact us online so we can start moving forward on your case!