At our law firm, we represent people injured in highway work zones across Maryland, whether drivers, passengers or construction workers. A driver who ignores posted speed restrictions or otherwise drives negligently or recklessly in a work zone and causes injury or death in a collision will be liable in a personal injury lawsuit for resulting damages.
A construction worker struck and hurt in such a crash is likely eligible for Workers’ Compensation as well as to file a third-party lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Why are construction zones dangerous?
Construction zones are often tricky to navigate for many reasons:
- Narrow lanes with little or no shoulders
- Unfamiliar rerouted lanes
- Sharp turns to accommodate construction areas
- Difficult maneuvering around upcoming, unfamiliar hazards at night
- Uneven surfaces and rough pavement
- Temporary, less solid barriers
- Heavy equipment
- Distracting movement in construction activity
- Unexpected road debris
Accordingly, safe, reasonable driving behavior in a work zone is different than that which is normally reasonable. It can be negligent or reckless not to adjust driving practices for these potentially dangerous conditions.
2018 construction season
Earlier this month, the Work Zone Management Program of the Federal Highway Administration or FHA kicked off the 2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.” The campaign’s goal is to raise nationwide awareness of safe driving practices in work zones.
Right on schedule, Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Slater recently announced the beginning of this year’s road construction season, projected to be a major undertaking, according to WTOP. The WTOP article contains a link to ongoing Maryland state road projects, allowing people to anticipate potential slowdowns on their planned routes.
The Maryland State Highway Administration’s Workplace Safety Manager is cited as saying that the riskiest behavior he sees in work-zone traffic is the use of mobile phones behind the wheel. He also notes that drivers engage in reading on the road, with papers held on steering wheels and held in people’s laps.
Such negligent, potentially illegal driving behavior, if it causes injury or death in a motor vehicle accident, can form the basis for the driver’s liability for damages for harm like medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage and lost wages.