Who Is Liable In a Construction Zone Accident?

March 17, 2023

Construction zones crop up regularly on and around roadways. Even though government entities and construction companies typically take reasonable measures to ensure driver safety, there are times when accidents occur. In some cases, these accidents can occur due to the negligence of other drivers, but liability could fall to a construction company or a government entity involved in the project. Here, we want to discuss liability after a construction zone accident.

Construction Zone Accident Statistics

Work zones are essential on and around the roadways of West Virginia. As local, state, and federal agencies work to improve the conditions of state roadways, they will typically set up comprehensive construction zones in order to ensure the safety of workers and drivers.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, fatal collisions in work zones increased by 1.4% between 2019 and 2020, the most recent full years of reporting data available. In 2020, most work zone fatalities occurred to drivers and passengers inside vehicles involved in collisions, pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as those in other non-motor vehicle transportation devices.

The vast majority of construction zone fatal collisions occurred on interstates or arterial roads that lead from the main roadways of cities or towns back to the highways.

How is Liability Determined After These Incidents?

After any type of construction zone accident occurs in West Virginia, there will need to be an extensive investigation into the incident. Just like any other collision, liability could fall to multiple parties. However, with the addition of a construction zone, the pool of possible liable parties expands significantly.

A government entity or construction company could be held responsible if they fail to adequately maintain safety at the construction site. For example, some of the most common causes of incidents in these situations include missing cones or barriers, incorrect signs or no signs at all, a lack of speed warnings, and poor lighting. If these conditions caused a crash, the construction company or government entity could be held liable.

Liability for a construction zone crash could also fall on the drivers involved. For example, if a driver fails to uphold basic traffic laws, fails to adjust their speed, or is otherwise operating their vehicle recklessly or negligently, they could be held responsible for any injuries or property damage caused to others.

Actually determining liability after a construction zone accident involves gathering as much evidence as possible. This can include evidence gathered at the scene of the incident, such as:

  • Photographs taken of injuries, property damage, debris and skid marks, and the overall surroundings.
  • Video surveillance taken from nearby cameras, including cameras at the construction zone, on nearby homes or businesses, or dash cams.
  • Statements taken from eyewitnesses, including other drivers and passengers, bystanders, or construction zone workers.

In the days and weeks that follow the incident, an attorney can work to gather additional evidence to help prove liability. This can include the construction company or government entity’s safety operation plans for that particular construction zone as well as the safety and training records of the workers involved at the scene.

If you or somebody you love has been involved in a construction zone accident, we strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled Martinsburg car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

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