Last Update: 01/13/16
Road work, either in maintaining and repairing Florida roadways; building new freeways; or expanding existing routes and streets, is pretty commonplace here in the area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Driving to work, home, school, or off to the beach or a restaurant on the weekend means drivers pass those orange warning cones or signs to slow down in construction areas all the time. We’re used to it.
However, construction work zones on highways and streets here in Florida are dangers that should never be taken for granted. All too often, these are areas with much higher risks of accidents and serious injury or death. Car crashes and auto accidents in a Florida roadway’s construction zone can result in life-altering injuries for loved ones and their families that happen in split seconds.
Roadway Construction Zones
In any area where traffic moves that is in need of repair or construction, workers are responsible for making sure that drivers are well aware that the area is hazardous. Things like warning signs, flashing lights, and big orange neon barrels are all to be placed well in advance of the driver’s path into the construction zone area so that drivers have a chance to brake and slow down, change lanes, and maybe even adjust their route and opt for a detour rather than manuever through the construction zone area.
Why? These road construction zones are very dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Florida was one of the top three states (others being Texas and California) in the country with the most road work motor vehicle accidents resulting in deaths in 2012. Drivers, passengers, and construction workers are all at risk of serious injury or death in a roadway construction zone accident.
Construction Zone Car Accidents in Florida
Here in South Florida, where we enjoy weather conditions that allow for road work year-round, drivers face a wide variety of risks as they approach and drive through a roadway construction area. The kinds of accidents that drivers are potentially facing include:
- Colliding with a sign or marker that warns of an upcoming construction zone (hitting barrels, sawhorses, signs, etc.);
- Hitting another vehicle or side-swiping as traffic lanes narrow or end;
- Vehicle hits construction road worker;
- Rear-end collision as traffic slows or stops due to construction interrupting flow of traffic;
- Rear-end accident due to failure to slow down (rear car) or failure to keep brake lines lit as warning (front car).
Driving at night, when it is not as easy to see surrounding traffic as well as road hazards, increases the likelihood of an auto accident in a Florida road construction zone. Failing to slow down as a driver moves through a construction area is another big reason for serious car crashes in construction zones here.
In fact, the risk of a motor vehicle accident in a Florida road construction zone is so high that the state government has invested time and money into researching the issue and finding ways to make Florida drivers safer as they travel through these danger zones.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s studies have resulted in the agency publishing and promoting the following safety tips for Florida drivers moving through road construction zones:
1. Be Alert – Expect anything to occur why entering a work zone.
2. Don’t Tailgate – Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
3. Don’t Speed – Note the posted speed limits in and around the work zone.
4. Don’t Change Lane in the Work Zone – The time saved just isn’t worth the chance.
5. Minimize Distractions – Avoid changing the radio & using cell phones while driving in work zones.
6. Expect the Unexpected – Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
Car Crash in a Construction Zone: Do You Have a Claim?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that happened in a road construction zone, then you may have a claim for damages not only against the other driver in the accident but against others who may share responsibility for what has happened.
Contributing factors to construction zone accidents can include the construction companies who have contracted to do the work and then failed in their duty to warn drivers of the road hazards and dangers. For example, were the warning lights blinking or were they dark? If they weren’t working, then the company may have to answer for that failure to warn.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you evaluate your situation and determine the potential contributing factors to your accident (”proximate causes”) as well as identifying your legal damages (lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.) and those entities (other driver, construction company, etc.) that may share the responsibility for your harm. These construction zone accidents can be complicated and investigation into the contributing factors may take time (something that those responsible for the crash as well as the police officers filing the accident report are not going to explain to you).
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in an accident, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.