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Who is Liable For Construction Zone Accidents?

Partner with Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp Personal Injury Law Firm

Whether you are a construction worker or a driver in the Virginia Beach area, roadway construction zones are potentially hazardous areas. This is especially true when construction crews are negligent in keeping the work zone safe. Uneven asphalt, trenches, debris, confusing detours, glaring balloon lights, and workers right next to the roadway can all lead to catastrophic accidents. In 2020, there were 774 work zone car accidents resulting in 857 deaths. Of those, only 117 were construction workers and the rest were vehicle occupants. Without the aid of a skilled attorney, proving that a construction company, government agency, or third party was liable for your construction area injuries can be quite challenging. If you were recently injured or lost a loved one in a construction zone car accident, contact the experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free consultation. 

When is a Construction Company Liable For a Car Accident?

Contractors and construction companies have a legal responsibility to make sure that road construction zones are safe for both pedestrians and drivers. Contractors on highway and roadway projects must work under contract with either the Virginia Department of Transportation or, potentially with the local government. The company in charge of the project is obligated to take any precautions necessary to lower the risk of accidents, including: 

  • Displaying warning signs on the road leading to the construction zone
  • Ensuring that debris and equipment are not located in the flow of traffic
  • Establishing safe and reasonable detours
  • Keeping the roadway safe for drivers

If a construction crew fails to take appropriate steps to ensure driver safety, it could be held accountable for any resulting injuries arising from a car accident, such as a crash caused by nails in the road leading to a tire blowout, or when a car careens out of control due to any condition attributed to the activities under repair, improvement or construction.

Who Else Could Be Liable For a Construction Zone Accident?

Roadway construction projects often involve multiple parties, each of whom could potentially be liable for a construction zone collision. This includes:

  • A municipality or city: Sometimes vehicle accidents result from a lack of warning signs near the work area, the absence of proper medians or barriers, poorly planned streets, uneven road surfaces, broken guardrails, and potholes or other road damage. If your accident took place on a stretch of road owned by the state or city, it could be held accountable for damages if “sovereign immunity” does not provide a defense to construction area liability.
  • A product manufacturer: If a construction crew unknowingly uses some items or equipment of a defective nature that somehow causes damage to the roadway or is the direct cause of an accident, the manufacturer of the faulty equipment could be liable for your injuries. 
  • A third party: Construction companies frequently employ third-party contractors to perform certain jobs on worksites. If the negligence of a third party caused your traffic accident, you might be able to hold them liable via a third-party claim. If more than one party shares liability for the accident, a seasoned Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can help you recover financial compensation from each party with the potential responsibility to answer for their negligence.

How Can I Reduce My Risk of a Construction Zone Car Accident?

Defective equipment, damaged roadways, and cumbersome machinery can all contribute to serious construction area accidents. Fortunately, there are some safety precautions drivers can take to minimize their risk of a collision when driving through work zones:

  • Heed warning signs as soon as you notice them
  • Follow all driving laws, including following marked detours and reducing your speed
  • Keep a safe and reasonable distance from workers, barriers, cones, equipment, and other vehicles 
  • Avoid making lane changes that are not absolutely necessary until you are outside of the construction area 
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions like using your phone and fiddling with the radio

What Damages Can I Recover After a Work Zone Collision?

Although the specific damages you are entitled to will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the crash, most victims may recover provable damages for:

  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages include compensation for your injuries, including psychological and emotional trauma, reduced quality of life, anxiety, and depression,
  • Medical bills: If you have medical bills incurred as a result of the crash, you could be eligible to recover compensation for the treatment you received, including current and future medical care, hospitalizations, emergency room and ambulance services, physical therapy services, prescription drug costs, and more,
  • Lost wages: Severe injuries often force injured victims to miss a significant amount of work. If this is the case, you may be able to recover the wages you lost due to your injuries, in the past or in the future,
  • Diminished earning capacity: If your injuries have limited your capacity to work or forced you to take a lower-paying job, this loss can be compensated,
  • Damage to property: The cost of any property damage, such as repairs to your vehicle, is also recoverable
  • Wrongful death damages: If a loved one was killed in a construction zone car accident, surviving family members of the victim might be eligible to collect damages for funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and lost income of the decedent, and the psychological and emotional losses to the beneficiaries (who are beneficiaries is determined by the Virginia Wrongful Death statutes) and more, depending on the circumstances of the wrongful death,

Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp 

Car accidents in construction zones often present legal challenges involving issues of damages, liability, and negligence. Government agencies, contractors, and construction companies have a duty to maintain safe driving conditions in work zones and failure to uphold this duty could result in liability. Some government authorities may assert immunity from negligence actions, and the details of the incident are critical to the analysis. Additionally, there are deadlines limiting the amount of time you have to file your claim for compensation so it is important to get started as soon as possible. 

If you have questions or concerns regarding liability for your work zone accident or any other type of car accident, the Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will provide you with a free and confidential consultation. We have been achieving successful outcomes in Virginia personal injury cases since 1985, like the $1 million insurance settlement we secured for a client who was injured when another driver failed to yield the right-of-way. To schedule your free case review, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out the simple inquiry contact form on our website. We have offices in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Norfolk. 


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