Highway Work Zone Crash Results in Critical Worker Injuries

Roadway construction workers provide a critical component of our national infrastructure, and they toil in extremely dangerous conditions to do so.
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Take, for example, the recent case of a roadway construction worker who was struck by a driver in Massachusetts, resulting in critical injuries. The crash happened around 2:30 a.m., and the 29-year-old motorist was later arrested for operating under the influence of liquor resulting in serious injury (akin to a DUI causing injury), negligent operation of a motor vehicle and driving with a revoked license.

The victim is a 25-year-old who was working at the site the time of the crash.

Although this crash was not local, this is by no means a unique or isolated incident. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that from 2003 through 2010, there were 962 workers killed at road construction sites. That means these incidents accounted for approximately 8 percent of all construction worker deaths during this period. Nearly all involved a worker being struck by a motor vehicle.

The vast majority of these cases – 87 percent – involve harm to a worker who is actually working on the site at the time of the crash, while the remaining 13 percent involve harm to a worker who is passing through the site at the time of the crash.

Although work zone traffic fatalities have steadily decreased since 2003 (when they peaked at 1,095), they remain a significant problem.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports there are more than 200 major work zones in this state, and in a recent year, there were more than 2,125 work zone crashes. In those incidents, more than 1,200 people were injured and 11 workers were killed.

This is actually a fairly significant reduction, considering that in 2004, there were reportedly nearly 6,000 work zone crashes and 50 work zone deaths just in this state alone. Both figures have been steadily decreasing since then.

Most of these accidents happen on clear days during dry conditions when the sun is out. This reveals the most common cause is driver error, most often attributed to alcohol or drug impairment, distraction or speeding.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Department of Transportation reported that in a single recent year, there were 754 work zone crashes, and approximately 363 injuries and 11 fatalities resulted. These were most likely to occur between the afternoon rush hour, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Although there has been a downward trend on these incidents, we’re unlikely to see them end entirely anytime soon. That’s because as our roadway infrastructure ages, we’re going to need ongoing roadwork. As long as workers are on the road and people continue to drive carelessly or recklessly, we will continue to see these incidents.

Workers who suffer injury may be entitled not only to workers’ compensation, but also third-party compensation through additional insurance claims or, if necessary, through litigation.

Our experienced legal team can help.

If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Construction worker critically injured; police charge driver with OUI, Aug. 28, 2015, Staff Report, The Low Sun

More Blog Entries:
Holliday v. Tropical Nut & Fruit Co. – Workers’ Comp for Laser Tag, Aug. 19, 2015, Spartanburg Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog

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