Road Construction Crashes: Who’s at Fault?  

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Road construction is something we all likely will encounter at one time or another. Our country’s roadways need constant repair and oftentimes expansion as cities grow and change. While this is a fact of life, encountering a sudden road construction site when travelling down the highway can force you to quickly slow down and result in backups, traffic delays, and in some cases, accidents.

These accidents can become a little more complicated than your run of the mill fender bender and it can be difficult to determine just who is at fault, especially if the accident involved only one vehicle and the construction site itself is listed as the main cause. In such a case, how can you legally determine exactly who is at fault? The answer is…it depends.

Obviously, the driver of a vehicle will always be required to do a few things while behind the wheel as required by law including:

  • Maintaining a safe speed
  • Operating the vehicle in a safe manner (no reckless, quick maneuvers)
  • Taking care to apply the brakes and slowdown in order to avoid a collision

The responsibility is not just on the driver, however, and there are a number of requirements that a construction site must adhere to as well in order to avoid liability in a road construction crash.

A few of the rules and procedures that must be adhered to at a construction site include:

  • Proper signage to warn drivers of the upcoming road construction-It is imperative that motorists have plenty of time to slow down and prepare for an upcoming change in the traffic pattern that will often accompany a construction site. Failure to post such signage represents an egregious negligent error that could make the construction team liable for an auto accident.
  • Ensuring that no construction equipment is left in the path of an oncoming vehicle-An errant traffic cone or other piece of equipment that is left in the roadway or close enough to it that a driver cannot easily avoid hitting it would again make the construction team liable for any damages that may occur during an auto accident.
  • Erecting proper barriers or cones to help guide vehicles through the construction site area-If traffic patterns need to be altered, such as a detour around a construction site, the construction team is responsible for erecting the proper barriers to help safely navigate motorists through the site. If this is not done or performed incorrectly, it could represent negligence on the part of the construction team and thus make them liable for any crash that occurs due to their error.
  • Ensuring that all employees have proper OSHA certifications and training in order to be working on the construction site-If it is found that one of the on site workers was not trained or did not posses the proper certifications, these could also be reasons as to why a construction crew may be found liable for a construction site crash.

As you can see, there are several variables and scenarios that could be considered when trying to decide exactly who is liable for a construction site crash. If you are involved in such an incident, it is recommended that you consult with a legal team that has experience in dealing with such matters and that you do so very soon after the incident.

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