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Sacramento Construction Zone Car Accident Lawyer

Sac Construction Zone Accident LawyerAutomobile accidents frequently occur within construction zones, for several reasons.  Signs, barriers, and cones often impede the roadway.  The disruptions may confuse or distract drivers that are used to the normal conditions when traveling through the zone.  Construction materials can end up on the road, and cause drivers to swerve or maneuver erratically.  If you or a family member has been involved in a construction zone car accident, it is essential to find a lawyer experienced in that particular field to help with the complexities of such a case.

In this Article:

Construction Zone Car Accidents - An Overview

California highways transport a high volume of vehicles per day, and many of those vehicles are crucial to interstate commerce.  When highways, freeways and other roads need improvement, it is not usually feasible to shut them down completely.  Instead of total shutdown, construction zones are designated, which partially obstruct the traffic lanes on which the work is being done, while leaving the remaining lanes accessible to drivers.  The construction zones are often designated by orange cones, flashing signs, and barriers.  The disruptions can confuse motorists.  The construction materials can be struck or otherwise move from their intended spot to create road hazards.

Construction zone car accidents can cause significant injuries or death.  In 2013, over 67,500 car accidents occurred within construction zones throughout the United States, resulting in more than 47,700 injuries. In 2017, there were 799 fatalities of drivers, occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians within U.S. construction zones. 

Why are Construction Zone Car Accidents so Dangerous?

Here are some examples of scenarios within a construction zone that can cause a car accident:

  • A barrier or cone within the construction zone falls or is knocked over, which creates a road obstruction.  In an attempt to avoid the obstruction, two vehicles collide. 
  • A sign within a construction zone is dislodged and blown onto a driver's windshield, affecting his ability to see ahead of him, causing a collision.
  • A driver is confused by unclear or incorrect markings or barriers within the construction zone and veers into oncoming traffic.
  • A detour can confuse a driver - for example, if a driver is directed to the left side of the street, but he has the intention to turn right, he may not know what to do.
  • When lanes are closed, merging traffic can bottleneck, and some drivers may not stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
  • Construction vehicles are often large, bulky, and may have limited visibility.  They can have blind spots that may result in them striking other vehicles.

Below is a YouTube video created by Caltrans discussing construction zone safety.

Lawsuits Related to Construction Zone Car Accidents

If you were involved in a construction zone car accident, the first question that needs to be answered is, how did the accident happen?  If the accident was caused by negligence or careless maintenance on behalf of the construction company or a public entity involved in the project, a claim against the negligent party or parties may exist.

The construction company and/or public entity such as the state's transportation department may be responsible (liable) for a construction zone car accident if:

  • The construction company and/or public entity did not give proper, timely warning to approaching motorists of the construction zone by the use of adequate warning or detour signs.
  • The construction company and/or public entity left behind equipment in the roadway, which created a hazard to drivers.
  • The construction company and/or public entity failed to safely direct traffic when necessary.
  • The construction company and/or public entity did not properly warn of a dangerous condition such as a large hole in the pavement.
  • The construction company and/or public entity did not properly designate temporary lanes. 

Additionally, because construction zones often involve the use of detours and require that drivers suddenly merge, these areas can become the setting for chain-reaction crashes that involve multiple drivers. Those types of accidents can be complicated when trying to figure out if a driver has a viable claim since multiple drivers may be at fault.  In such cases, the construction company and/or public entity could also share some liability.

What to do After a Construction Zone Car Accident

After every car accident, including those that occur within a construction zone, there are several things you should do to protect your best interest going forward.  Below is a list of steps to take following an accident, assuming that the severity of your injuries does not prevent you from doing so.

  • Give a thorough, honest account of the circumstances leading up to the accident, and what happened during and after the collision, to the investigating police officer.
  • If you speak with any other drivers or employees of the construction company at the scene, limit your conversation to the facts.  Do not admit fault or apologize, even if others are or whether you feel like it is rude not to.
  • If there were independent witnesses to the crash, ask them what they saw and get their contact information.  Take photographs with your phone of the damage to the involved vehicles, the scene of the accident, and as many of the construction site itself as you can - include signs, barriers, cones, etc.  If you sustained visible injuries, have someone photograph those as well. Photographic evidence at the scene will be beneficial if you end up hiring an attorney and proceeding with a case.

Often times, following the shock of the accident, you will not feel intense pain due to the adrenaline.  You may not immediately want to seek medical care, but it is recommended that you do.  The shock of the accident can mask the pain of injuries.  If you choose to return home following the accident, be sure to note any symptoms that arise.  Many times, the day following an accident is when the inflammation and pain really set in.

Another step you should take following an accident within a construction zone is to consult with a lawyer who has experience and knowledge about such claims. 

Construction Zone Car Accident lawyer - Experience Counts

We recommend that you consult with an attorney who has experience handling construction zone car accidents before you begin any communication with another party or parties' insurance company. The goals of an insurance company adjuster are to 1) assign fault to anyone other than their own insured (which will include you) and 2) pay as little money as possible towards a claim - preferably none at all.  

Knowing those goals of an insurance adjuster, it is in your best interest to have a well-regarded personal injury lawyer handle all communications with the adverse insurance company or any attorneys retained by the other involved parties.  

Sacramento Construction Zone Car Accident Lawyer

I'm Ed Smith, a Sacramento construction zone car accident lawyer. If you or a member of your family has been injured in a car accident that took place within a construction zone, call my office today for free and friendly advice.  My local number is (916) 921-6400.  If you are calling from outside the Sacramento area, dial (800) 404-5400. I also have an online contact form on my website: here.

We are proud to be members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

Prior client reviews are posted on AVVOGoogle, and Yelp. See also our verdicts and settlements page for a rundown of some of our past case successes.

Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash

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