Accidents Caused by Road Construction
Road construction zones increase the risk of car and truck accidents due to blockages, detours, unclear lane markings, and other distractions that may be present. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by road construction, we recommend that you contact a Jacksonville car accident attorney who can evaluate your case. At The Lawrence Law Group, we investigate what caused the accident, determine the party or parties responsible for your injuries, and obtain the compensation you deserve.Explore Your Legal Options Following an Accident Caused by Road Construction
Construction zones are often full of barricades, cones, and temporary traffic control devices, such as hand held stop signs. In certain cases, construction workers may even direct the flow of traffic. Detours are also not uncommon. The most common type of construction zone accident is a rear-end crash. Other common causes of construction zone accidents include distracted driving, speeding, and making unsafe lane changes.
The Federal Highway Administration reports that about 600 people nationally have been killed each year between 2008 and 2014 in construction zone crashes. According to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange Program, the state experienced 17 fatal crashes and 839 crashes that resulted in injuries in construction zones in 2014. Unfortunately, Florida ranked fourth in the nation for vehicle occupant deaths in work zone accidents.
A construction company can be liable for an accident caused by road construction. For example, our lawyers represented two people seriously injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by uneven pavement. The state hired a private contractor that was in the processing of repaving Highway 17 in Clay County, south of Green Cove Springs, Florida. In the process, the company had to pave one lane at a time of the four-lane highway.
Florida regulations require that, when this is done, the height difference between adjoining lanes can only be one and one half inches. Further, the transition must have a four-to-one slope between the lanes to make it for a smoother transition when vehicles change between the lanes. Unfortunately, the height difference at issue was much larger than one and one half inches and there was essentially no slope to the transition itself.
Our clients were riding on their motorcycle and were unaware of the height difference. They were in the process of changing lanes when they hit the abrupt change in height causing the motorcycle to crash. Both of our clients were thrown from the motorcycle and suffered serious injuries. By proving the height difference and lack of slope with photographs, we were able to achieve significant recovery for our clients to compensate them for medical bills, scarring and pain and suffering.
Florida Statute § 337.195 limits liability for contractors performing roadway construction, maintenance, or repair as long as their work was in compliance with the contractual specifications. For example, if a contract called for a yield sign to be placed at an intersection and the contractor installed a yield sign, that contractor cannot be sued on the basis that a stop sign should have been used instead.
In some cases, the government also may be at fault for an accident caused by road construction. Under Florida Statute § 768.28, there are exceptions to the general rule of sovereign immunity. The statute allows injury victims to bring a negligence claim against the local or state government under circumstances in which a private party would be liable for property damage, personal injury, or wrongful death. For example, the state cannot be liable for its decision whether to put in a stoplight at an intersection because that is strictly a policy level of governmental decision-making. However, if the state installs a stoplight and fails to properly maintain it, any resulting accident can result in a claim against the state.
While damages in claims against the state are capped at $200,000.00 per person, an injured person has at least some opportunity to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
At other times, a careless driver may cause an accident in a work zone even if a construction company or government entity did nothing wrong. Drivers often rubberneck to watch construction, get distracted during traffic jams caused by work zones, or fail to notice and obey posted signs regarding detours or lane closures. Often, the result is a rear-end collision when traffic stops in front of the distracted driver. Of course, in this situation, someone injured would be able to bring a claim against the at-fault driver.Discuss Your Car Crash Claim with a Jacksonville Attorney
When construction companies, government entities, or careless drivers cause auto accidents in construction areas, we will hold them fully accountable for the resulting harm. At The Lawrence Law Group, our motor vehicle collision lawyers are committed to vindicating the rights of people injured in accidents caused by road construction throughout Northeast Florida. We represent victims in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Baker, Nassau, Flagler, Putnam, Brevard, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties. To set up a free consultation with one of our Jacksonville attorneys, call us at 904-632-0077 or contact us online.