Work zones and roadside construction projects are necessary to keep Arizona’s roads functioning in good condition. Unfortunately, construction zones can pose numerous dangers to drivers and workers alike. Work zones can come with crash risks such as equipment left in the road, dangerous detours, and distracted and inattentive drivers. Find out who may be liable in a work zone accident to determine who pays for this type of crash.
What Causes Construction Zone Accidents?
The first step in determining liability for a work zone accident is identifying what caused the crash. The person or party most at fault for causing the accident is typically who will be held financially responsible. Many different hazards can cause work zone accidents. Accident risks can come from the driver’s side as well as from negligent workers.
Common causes of work zone accidents are:
- Speeding drivers
- Inattentive or distracted drivers
- Texting and driving
- Drunk and drugged drivers
- Drowsy drivers
- Aggressive drivers
- Dangerous road conditions
- Potholes or cracks in the road
- Loose rubble
- Materials or tools left in the road
- Heavy equipment or workers too close to the road
- Distracting or blinding lights
- Changes in traffic patterns
- Narrow rights-of-way
- Confusing detours
According to data collected by the Federal Highway Administration’s Work Zone Management Program, There were 857 work zone traffic fatalities in 2020. The majority of these deaths were drivers and their passengers (680). Pedestrians and bicyclists, including construction zone workers, accounted for 170 deaths. Most fatal work zone accidents involved speeding (37 percent), followed by commercial motor vehicles (27 percent) and rear-end collisions (20 percent).
Driver Liability for a Work Zone Accident in Arizona
After a car accident in a work zone, Arizona will rely on a fault-based insurance law to pay benefits to injured parties. Under this law, all victims seek financial recovery from the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. However, accident victims must prove that the driver is at fault. Proving a car accident claim requires clear and convincing evidence, or enough evidence to show that the defendant is more likely to be at fault for the crash than not at fault.
If a driver struck a construction worker in a work zone, an investigation will be launched to see who is at fault. If it is determined that the driver was engaging in dangerous, reckless or negligent behaviors, his or her car insurance company will be liable. All drivers in Arizona must maintain minimum amounts of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance to pay for such accidents. The injured worker may be able to sue the at-fault driver to access this coverage.
Construction Company Liability for a Work Zone Accident
If a motor vehicle driver is not found responsible, liability may go to the construction company or maintenance crew in charge of the project, instead. A construction company could be liable for a work zone disaster if it was negligent in keeping drivers and workers safe, such as through negligent worker training, signage and detours.
An injured driver or vehicle occupant could potentially bring a lawsuit against a construction company for a dangerous work zone in Arizona. An injured worker may also have grounds to bring a claim against a negligent construction company for an accident that occurs at work, or else the worker could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits without having to prove fault.
What to Do After a Work Zone Accident in Arizona
Collect as much information about your accident as you can after a work zone crash, including taking photos while you are still at the scene and getting a copy of your police report. As a driver, call your own car insurance company to initiate a claim. Your insurer will investigate and can bring a claim against someone else, if applicable. As an injured worker, notify your employer about your injuries and get immediate medical care. Then, contact an Arizona personal injury lawyer to discuss bringing a lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.
If you were recently injured in a work zone accident as a worker or driver, contact an Arizona work zone accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you determine who is liable for your accident and file a claim.