You may recall at the end of April when a 44-year-old woman was charged with drunk driving and two felony counts of serious injury by vehicle after slamming into two North Carolina Department of Transportation workers on Interstate 440. Both workers were severely injured, and one had to have both legs amputated after he became pinned between the driver’s car and his work truck.
But these are isolated incidents, and the problem stretches far beyond the Carolinas, particularly in the summer months, when roadway construction across the country picks up.
Just to give you a snapshot of the issue nationally:
- In North Fullerton County, GA, two construction workers were hospitalized after being struck by a 21-year-old driver just after 1 a.m. on Georgia 400 in Alpharetta. One worker suffered minor injuries, while the other was in critical condition after he became pinned against a guardrail and had to undergo emergency surgery.
- In Lumberton, NC, a 53-year-old Pennsylvania woman is charged with the death of a 31-year-old construction worker and the critical injuries suffered by a 27-year-old worker after she plowed into them on U.S. 74 around 5 a.m. She reportedly failed to reduce her speed in a construction zone or maintain lane control. The workers were in charge of paving operations, which were just shutting down for the night when the crash occurred.
- In St. Charles Parish, LA, four highway construction workers were injured when a man suspected of driving impaired crashed his truck into them as they worked along U.S. 61 around 3 a.m. The construction workers, ages 20, 25, 32 and 53, are being treated for injuries that range from moderate to severe.
- A 69-year-old road construction worker in Florida was killed when he was struck by a sweeper truck on a job site on FL 207 in Hastings.
- A 26-year-old construction worker suffered critical injuries in Randolph County, GA when working as a flagman. A young driver failed to stop or even slow down.
While we refer to these incidents as “accidents,” the reality is each and every one of these crashes was preventable.
Workers who are injured in roadway crashes may have more than one avenue for compensation, and should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to gain a full understanding of their rights.
First and foremost, employees (or surviving family members) should file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These should cover all reasonable and related medical bills, (a portion of) lost wages and funeral expenses.
Beyond that, there may be grounds to pursue a third-party lawsuit. There is an exclusive remedy provision to workers’ compensation law that prohibits lawsuits against one’s employer for work-related injuries and fatalities. However, that provision does not prevent workers from taking action against negligent third parties.
Even so, there are subrogation considerations. That is, if a worker/family does obtain compensation from a third-party for those injuries, the workers’ compensation insurer may expect to be compensated for part of its losses in paying out the original claim.
Still, pursuing such claims can be beneficial, as third party claims generally result in higher pay-outs than workers’ compensation claims.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Don’t be on the phone, don’t be eating: DOT urges caution in work zones, May 24, 2016, WRAL.com
More Blog Entries:
South Carolina First Responders Fight for PTSD Workers’ Comp Coverage, May 15, 2016, Greensboro Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog