Legal claims stemming from vehicle/truck accidents in construction zones can be both devastating on the involved parties and incredibly complex, often involving multiple entities (including state and local governments) and numerous different causes of action (a set of facts to sufficiently justify a person’s ability to sue for compensation). If you sustained significant injuries in a construction zone vehicular accident, without question, your case is best left to experienced litigators with proven results in similar cases.
Construction zone accidents involving trucks and other motor vehicles happen far too often. According to federal government data, between 1982 and 2020, nearly 30,000 people died in work zone crashes. That amounts to roughly 776 each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 2015 and 2020 (the most recent data available), the annual average for work zone vehicular accidents increased to 794.
Construction workers are especially at risk when it comes to work zone vehicular crashes. Roughly three out of every four construction worker deaths occur at road construction sites. In 63% of these events, the construction worker was struck by a motor vehicle.
The construction accident lawyers at Wisner Baum know firsthand how devastating these accidents can be for those involved. We have represented victims in numerous construction accident cases and earned significant results. If you would like to speak with an experienced accident lawyer about your potential claim , please contact us today or give us a call at (855) 948-5098 for a free and confidential case evaluation. Our legal team is here to answer any questions you may have about the legal process and vindicating your rights.
What is a Construction Zone?
Construction zones, also known as work zones, are the part of the highway that is utilized for conducting highway work. As a result, workers, vehicles, equipment, materials, supplies, excavations, or other obstacles are present.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration defines a work zone as, “an area of a trafficway with highway construction, maintenance, or utility-work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channeling devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles.”
Causes of Construction Zone Accidents
Construction zone crashes can be caused by any number of factors. In urban areas like Los Angeles, one of the most common scenarios involves drivers who fail to recognize that traffic has slowed entering a construction zone. That may be due to negligently designed traffic configurations, as well as driver error. We have represented clients in truck accident lawsuits where a truck driver was fatigued and rear-ended multiple cars, causing death and/or devasting injuries.
Below are some of the most common causes of accidents in construction areas.
It is critical that construction zones have the appropriate signage to warn drivers of lane closures, barriers, etc. Construction zone areas are typically split into four consecutive sections:
- Advanced warning area
- Transition area
- Activity area
- Termination area
Here’s how these areas are defined:
Advanced Warning Area
The upcoming construction zone or incident area is initially addressed to road users.
Road users are directed away from the normal path. The calculated utilization of tapers is typically employed in transition areas.
The location where the work actions take place. It includes the workspace, traffic space, and buffer space.
The working actions end, and traffic returns to a standard pace.
Driving over the posted speed limit in a construction zone is very dangerous for road workers, motorists, and anyone else in the area. Some states have increased penalties for speeding in a construction zone. In California, for example, a driver is presumed to be in violation of the speeding law if the infraction happens within 400 feet of a construction zone. California law states that construction zone speed limits can be set as low as 25 miles per hour. Drivers need to use caution and obey the posted speed limit when traveling through construction zones to avoid collisions.
Distracted driving is a serious safety concern, especially when it comes to work zones. It can lead to serious accidents and fatalities if not taken seriously. Drivers need to focus on the task at hand instead of giving in to distractions such as talking or texting on the phone, eating or drinking, taking pictures, and adjusting controls such as radio or navigation systems.
Driver fatigue can cause decreased reaction time, poor decision-making ability, and increased risk of accidents. Motorists—particularly truck drivers that spend many hours behind the wheel—should take frequent breaks whenever needed to stay alert at all times and get adequate rest before hitting the road. Truck drivers also need to stay in compliance with Hours of Service regulations to ensure that they are not overly tired while driving. Other ways to avoid driving fatigued include planning your trip for times when traffic is light or when there is no pressure to reach their destination quickly, and healthy meals and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help prevent fatigue as well.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense and can have devastating consequences. Not only does it put the intoxicated driver’s life at risk, but it may harm someone else due to impaired judgment and reaction time.
If pulled over by a police officer, it is possible to face hefty fines, jail time, license suspension, and potential vehicle impoundment.
In addition to these legal penalties, drunk driving can also lead to property damage and significant psychological distress.
States With Most Work Zone Crash Deaths
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 2,200 workers sustained fatal injuries at road construction sites between 2003 and 2022, which translates to an average of around 123 per year.
Texas ranks as the state with the most worker deaths at road construction sites. The states with the most construction zone worker deaths in road accidents include:
- Texas – 143
- Florida – 99
- Pennsylvania – 60
- Indiana – 52
- Illinois – 51
- California – 49
- Tennessee – 49
Who is Liable in Construction Zone Accidents?
A construction entity can be a contractor who acts negligently in traffic control design, including signage, and as a result of faulty design or signage, a motorist or other road user is injured. Similarly, a premises liability case may be warranted if they fail to comply with safety standards and other rules.
If the road construction is conducted in a negligent manner or if the maintenance crew hired by the government fails to adhere to the safe, reasonable, and legal way of conducting road work and you are hurt as a result, the government agency responsible for the negligence may be held liable.
When the primary reason for the accident is due to the negligence of the truck driver or their employer, they can be held liable for resulting damages and losses. This could include failing to observe speed limits, failing to use caution in lane changes, and other negligent behavior such as improperly loading cargo or not maintaining vehicle brakes. Those driving commercial vehicles should take extra precautions when driving through construction zones by slowing down and vigilantly monitoring the environment.
If a trucking company fails to properly maintain its vehicle—for example, brakes not working correctly, or cargo loaded improperly—then a trucking company or independent contractor responsible for truck maintenance may be held liable.
Common negligent behavior includes exceeding speed limits, failing to use caution when traversing lanes, texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, and distracted driving such as tuning the radio. To reduce the risk of a construction zone accident taking place, it is important for drivers to always pay attention when driving through a construction zone and follow all safety protocols accordingly.
Manufacturer of Defective Equipment
When a manufacturer produces defective vehicle tires or brakes that lead to an accident in a construction zone, then they may be held liable for any damages. Common examples of manufacturing defects include faulty braking system or tire blowouts. Another less common example of product liability in an accident is a defective fuel tank, where an issue leads to a post-crash fire.
Common Construction Zone Accident Injuries
Some of the most common injuries sustained in construction zone accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Burn injury
- Crushing injuries
Catastrophic injuries sustained in a construction zone crash can lead to lifelong, painful, emotional, physical, and financial difficulties. Even injuries that don't seem severe at the time of the crash can cause a person to leave the workforce or require specialized care for prolonged periods of time.
Those who suffer amputation, paralysis, or any other permanent physical disability may require ongoing care for life. These situations can cause significant financial hardship, especially with the expensive medical costs linked to long-term treatment.
How Much Is My Construction Accident Case Worth?
This might not be the initial question clients pose when investigating filing a catastrophic injury claim, but it usually pops up during the initial consultation. And for good reason—people need to understand what they can anticipate by employing a lawyer to get them justice in an injury claim.
Amongst others, the ultimate value of your case will hinge on the following:
- What happened during the accident in which you sustained injuries, particularly what the other person or people responsible did.
- How severe your injuries are.
- The extent of the insurance policies held by all liable people and entities.
- Where the accident happened as well as where you reside. The laws are different in various states across the U.S.
Although these elements might not explicitly portray a dollar figure, they do give us an entry point to evaluate the damage, which then decides the possible compensation for your injury case.
You may be able to recover the following damages in a construction zone accident:
Past and Future Medical Costs
In a personal injury lawsuit, medical bills count as economic damages since they are an expense that you would not have to pay had you not been injured.
In some cases, it's possible to seek damages for future medical expenses, as multiple accident victims will continue to seek treatment for their injuries in weeks, months, and in some scenarios, years after the incident.
A proficient personal injury lawyer from can help you gather the proper documentation to showcase that more medical costs may be encountered over time. The medical bills which you have already paid and may need to pay in the future can be an important aspect in determining the worth of your case.
Lost Wages as a Result of Missed Work Due to an Injury
Lost wages consist of all money that would have been accrued if you were not injured. This encompasses your pay rate per hour or salary, but can also include overtime pay, sales commissions, bonuses, paid holidays, and other perks.
Loss of Earning Capacity
When injuries are so severe that the victim is no longer able to carry out their previous job, this is referred to as a loss of earning capacity.
For example, a construction worker who incurs a neck or back injury may be forced to seek a new, potentially lower-paying role because they are unable to continue working in the same capacity.
Establishing lost earning capacity can be challenging, thus it is critical to work with an experienced injury lawyer who can bring in medical and occupational experts to strengthen the case. It is important to note that not all states permit plaintiffs to make claims for lost earning capacity.
Loss of Consortium
This occurs when a person who was hurt is unable to give their spouse or immediate family the same love, affection, services, and attention they gave prior to the accident. A plaintiff that has experienced the loss of consortium of their partner may have the ability to seek damages that are set by a jury.
There is no exact standard for damages for loss of consortium, although in general, more serious and longer-lasting injuries tend to result in higher awards. It must be noted that not all states allow victims to pursue claims for loss of consortium.
Pain and Suffering
Damages awarded for pain and suffering are for physical pain, mental and emotional distress and anguish, and suffering caused by injuries.
For example, a person who gets a painful facial laceration due to an accident that left them disfigured may be eligible to receive compensation not only for the pain but also for the disfigurement and the suffering that can continue into the future.
Pain and suffering injuries experienced by the immediate victim of a crash, as well as loss of consortium suffered by their loved one (such as a spouse) are both considered non-economic damages since they aren't based on economic losses such as medical bills or lost earnings.
Both types of damages are intended to compensate injured victims with losses arising from psychological trauma, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment in life caused by the crash. To claim damages for pain and suffering, victims must collect evidence to demonstrate how their life was impacted by the crash.
Punitive damages exceed compensatory damages and are intended to punish the defendant (or defendants) if their actions were particularly harmful. They are also meant to serve as a warning to those who may act in similar wrong or hazardous ways. Punitive damages can be substantial if an injury lawyer is able to prove that a defendant's behavior was generally careless towards human life or safety, or deliberately malicious.
Do I Need a Construction Accident Attorney Near Me?
It is natural for your search for an attorney to begin with law offices close to you. At , we believe the best chance for a successful outcome begins with hiring a legal team that has the experience and resources necessary to win your case, regardless of where their offices are. An attorney’s track record in cases similar to yours should carry more weight in your decision-making than the location of their offices.
has several office locations throughout California and the country, which makes it easier for us to establish personal relationships with our clients.
Law Office Locations
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Bakersfield (Satellite)
- Ontario (Satellite)
- Sacramento (Satellite)
- San Diego (Satellite)
- Washington DC (Satellite)
Hiring a construction accident lawyer with proven case results gives you the chance to exercise your legal rights without sacrificing the time and effort that would be better spent healing from your injuries. Across all areas of practice, our firm has won more than $4 billion for clients, including those who were harmed in car and truck accidents. Call (855) 948-5098 to speak with an attorney about your legal case.