Road construction, repairs and relocation projects are critical to Maryland’s infrastructure. Despite how critical these projects are, they can still be frustrating for road users and dangerous for workers. This combination tragically results in hundreds of deaths and numerous injuries in work zones every year.
Even when a work zone accident results in non-fatal injuries, it has the potential to change victim’s lives dramatically. Thus, knowing the common causes of these incidents can help people avoid them.
Who is to blame for work zone accidents?
Recent reports suggest that speeding and distracted motorists are most commonly to blame for work zone accidents. Drivers who follow other vehicles too closely or enter restricted areas also are at risk of causing an accident. Additionally, drivers who miss detours or fail to observe construction barriers also contribute to accidents.
However, drivers are not the only people who cause accidents. Work zone accidents also occur when construction vehicles hit or back over a worker or when a worker slips and falls. Further, workers can experience injuries if they are struck by debris from passing cars or if they are victims of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Staying safe in work zones
Motorist behavior have a dramatic impact on worker safety. Drivers can prevent countless accidents by paying attention, slowing down and giving other vehicles more space. Unfortunately, not everyone does this, and many drivers endanger the safety of road workers.
That considered, workers can also take precautions to stay safe. This includes wearing protective and reflective gear, as well as simply staying alert around construction equipment.
These efforts go a long way in keeping everyone safer in a work zone, though accidents may still happen.
What to do when accidents do occur
After a work zone accident, the injured worker should assess the nature of their injuries. If emergency medical care is not required, the injured worker should be sure to report the accident to a supervisor and obtain the information of the parties involved in the accident. This may include co-workers, bystander witnesses, or a person who was at-fault for the accident. If the accident occurs on an active roadway, it may be best to contact the police. If a person attempts to leave the scene, it usually dangerous to attempt to pursue the individual. Recording a license plate and contacting the police is best choice under such circumstances.
Road side accidents are often complicated as there may be claims under workers’ compensation as well as a general personal injury claim. Receipt of benefits from claim prior to another could also have an adverse effect on the injured worker’s recovery. If such an accident occurs, it is important that the injured worker contact an attorney that is familiar with both types of claims to ensure the claims are handled in the best interest of the injured worker.