Who Is Liable for Work Zone Accidents?
Road work is a constant presence on New Jersey’s roads and highways. Unfortunately, statistics show that work zones increase the risk of serious and fatal traffic accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that there are more than 700 fatal accidents in work zones each year. Many more of these collisions result in serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Occupants of motor vehicles may be entitled to compensation for their losses in a work zone accident. However, liability for these crashes can be a complicated issue.
The car accident lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help. Our attorneys investigate to determine what caused the crash and what party or parties may be liable.
Companies That May Be Liable for a Work Zone Accident in New Jersey
Multiple construction companies, contractors, and other parties may be involved in a road work project. While the company doing the work might be liable, this is not the only possibility.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to bring a claim against one or more of the following parties:
The Construction Company
Due to the risks involved in performing construction on a busy road, construction companies have a number of obligations under state and federal law. They must take appropriate safety precautions to prevent accidents, and they must ensure that their workers have adequate training and experience to do their jobs without putting motorists in harm’s way.
However, road construction companies do not always meet these obligations. The following are all common causes of work zone accidents for which construction companies and contractors may be liable:
- Failure to properly warn approaching motorists of a work zone
- Failure to identify a safe lane for motorists
- Failure to properly control traffic
- Construction materials and equipment in the roadway
- Debris in the roadway
A Subcontractor or Supplier
Construction companies will typically hire subcontractors to perform certain jobs on roadway construction projects. Construction companies and subcontractors also rely on suppliers to safely deliver appropriate tools, equipment, and materials.
If an error on the part of a subcontractor or supplier led to the work zone accident, one or both of these parties may be liable.
A Commercial Truck or Bus Company
According to the FMCSA, “large trucks are disproportionately involved in work zone crashes.” The FMCSA also notes that “[t]rucks and buses have limited maneuverability and large blind spots, both of which make operating in [work zones] more challenging for them.”
However, this is not an excuse. Truck and bus drivers must operate their vehicles safely regardless of their surroundings.
When truck and bus drivers merge into other vehicles, when they brake suddenly because they weren’t paying attention, and when they make other mistakes that lead to work zone accidents, both the drivers and their employers can generally be held liable.
New Jersey law holds companies legally responsible for their employees’ negligence within the scope of their employment. For truck and bus drivers, this includes negligence behind the wheel.
Another Driver’s Insurance Company
Of course, truck and bus drivers aren’t the only ones whose errors can lead to work zone accidents. Negligence on the part of motorists driving passenger vehicles can lead to serious injuries and deaths in work zones as well.
If you were seriously injured or a loved one was killed in a work zone accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to significant compensation. A car accident lawyer can help you file a fault-based claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
Filing a Claim Against a Government Agency
Local and state government agencies are responsible for maintaining public roads so they are in a safe condition for motorists. While government agencies often hire private construction companies to do road work, these municipal entities could also be liable for work zone accidents in certain circumstances.
Filing a claim against the government for an accident caused by a dangerous or defective roadway presents a host of unique challenges. These include a limited time to file a claim, as well as limitations on the ability to sue.
If you suspect that the negligence of a government entity led to an accident on a road that was under construction or being repaired, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Failure to act quickly may result in you losing your opportunity to pursue compensation.
Injured in a Work Zone? Contact an Accident Lawyer Today
The risk of accidents increases whenever work zones are set up on the road. If you were injured or a loved one was seriously hurt or killed in a work zone crash, you should seek legal guidance as soon as possible.
Attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have nearly a century of combined legal experience. We handle a wide range of accident claims, pursuing maximum compensation on each client’s behalf.
Please call (201) 585-9111 today for a free review of your claim. Our accident lawyers serve those injured in work zones in Fort Lee and all of New Jersey, as well as New York.