Road Construction Zone Accident
Every day, Georgia drivers face a wide array of dangers on roads across the state. These dangers are even greater in and around construction zones. In addition to the usual risks of impaired drivers, speeding vehicles, unexpected obstructions in the roadway, and bicyclists that may be difficult to see, drivers in construction zones almost must safely navigate large trucks, heavy machinery, hazardous materials, and even blasting equipment. Because construction zones can be so dangerous, the law imposes additional duties of care to both the workers in these zones and drivers who pass through them. Failure to meet these legal obligations can impose legal liability upon drivers, workers, construction companies, and government or municipal entities that undertake dangerous construction projects.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction zone car accident, you have the legal right to be compensated for all the losses you have sustained. Georgia law requires negligent parties to pay for all the many different types of losses victims suffer as the result of a car accident injury. This can include physical, emotional, and financial losses. The experienced car accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have spent decades defending the legal rights of accident victims across the state of Georgia. Call 404.255.6677 today to learn how an attorney can protect you from untimely claims filing, lowball settlement offers, and other insurance company tactics.The Legal Duty of Care of Road Users in and Around a Construction Zone
Drivers have a heightened duty of care in construction zones. This is found both in statutes (such as Official Code of Georgia Section 40-6-188, which lowers speed limits in construction zones) and the common law of Georgia. Common law rules require all drivers to operate their vehicles with “due care.” Due care is that which would be exercised by the reasonably prudent driver in similar circumstances. Because the reasonably prudent driver exercises greater caution in construction zones, a driver who fails to do so can be found negligent. Common examples of negligent driving in a construction zone include:
- Failure to obey temporary road signs and traffic signals
- Failure to obey road workers who are directing traffic
- Merging issues - because traffic patterns change quickly and are not the same patterns drivers are expecting, many drivers are unprepared to merge into a construction zone
- Inattention is one of the largest problems drivers experience in construction zones. By paying attention and slowing down, drivers will be prepared to respond to unexpected traffic changes, workers in the roadway, nearby equipment, and other conditions common to construction zones.
Bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users must also exercise greater caution in construction zones. This is largely for their own safety, as road users on motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, scooters, or their own two feet have far less protection from injury than vehicle occupants do in the event of a collision. But this is also because these road users can also be found to be at fault for causing a collision. In such a case, the insurance carriers of the involved drivers will apportion a percentage of liability to the negligent pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle driver. This reduces the amount of auto insurance that is available to compensate them and other vehicle occupants who are injured in a construction zone accident (because auto insurance carriers only compensate the percent of damage that was caused by their insured driver). It is a complicated legal situation that is made worse by the severity of injuries many bicyclists and pedestrians sustain.The Legal Duty of Care of Workers and Employers in and Around a Construction Zone
Because work in construction zones can be so dangerous, workers and construction companies also owe a heightened duty of care to those who travel through and near them. Workers who suddenly stop traffic, leave equipment in the road, or unsafely perform construction activities (such as excavation or blasting) can be found negligent. These tasks are known to be dangerous. This is why the law requires them to be performed with even more care than most work tasks. Some activities (such as blasting) are so dangerous that a worker can be held liable for any injuries that occur as the result of the activity - even if he or she was not negligent. This is known as “strict liability.”
In general, employers are held liable for any negligence committed by an employee acting in the scope and course of his or her employment. (In certain circumstances, this can extend to independent contractors, as well.) This rule helps injury victims recover compensation for injuries caused by negligent construction workers. Construction companies, municipal governments, state agencies, or other legal entities can all be held liable for negligence committed by the construction workers they hire. This is known as “vicarious liability” because it is committed by an employee rather than by the employer itself. Employers can also be “directly liable” for their own negligent acts. Examples include negligently hiring a dangerous employee, or negligently supervising employees by failing to give them adequate safety training. Whether the liability is vicarious or direct, the victim injured by the employer’s acts is entitled to be compensated by filing a claim with the employer’s liability insurance carrier.Aggressive Representation in Atlanta Construction Zone Accident Cases
There are many ways that an accident victim can lose his or her legal right to compensation without the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. Claims can be lost entirely if they are not timely filed. A low settlement offer that is accepted by an unrepresented injury victim often cannot be rescinded after an attorney has been consulted. These and many other complications can impair - or entirely remove - a victim’s ability to recover the compensation he or she is entitled to by law. Call 404.255.6677 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney at Slappey & Sadd. We fight hard to protect our clients at every step of the legal process.