Construction zone accidents are a serious problem for construction zone workers and for motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Highway Administration, each year, there are more than 20,000 workers injured in road construction work zones. These injuries result from:
- Contact with objects or equipment (35%)
- Slips or falls (20%)
- Overexertion (15%)
- Transportation accidents (12%)
- Exposure to harmful substances (5%)
There also are many worker fatalities. These are most often caused by:
- Workers being run over or backed over by equipment vehicles (dump truck) (48%)
- Collisions between equipment vehicles (14%)
- Workers being caught in between construction vehicles or struck by objects (tools, materials, parts of equipment, trees) (14%)
Travelers are also involved in work zone crashes. In 2018, there were 45,400 injuries from work zone crashes. There also were 671 fatal work zone crashes resulting in 754 total work zone fatalities:
- 228 fatalities involved trucks
- 10 fatalities involved buses
- 122 fatalities were pedestrians
- 124 fatalities were workers
The number one cause of work zone crashes is driver inattention. Other factors include:
- Following too closely
- Improper lane usage
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Failure to yield
Of the nation’s 671 work zone crash and 754 fatalities, Missouri and Kansas accounted for:
- 13 total work zone crashes
- 15 total work zone fatalities
- 4 truck-involved fatalities
- 0 bus-involved fatalities
- 2 pedestrian fatalities
- 0 worker fatalities
- 5 total work zone crashes
- 6 total work zone fatalities
- 4 truck-involved fatalities
- 0 bus-involved fatalities
- 0 pedestrian fatalities
- 1 worker fatality
In 2019, in Missouri, there were 18 people killed in work zone crashes; 64% were not wearing their seat belts.
If you or a family member have been injured in a work zone accident, the attorneys at Foster Wallace will help you recover the compensation you deserve from the responsible party.
What Laws Apply to Make Work Zone Areas Safer?
Missouri imposes several traffic violations designed to make work zone areas safer for workers and for travelers.
- Endangerment of a highway worker.Mo. Stat. 304.585 defines “endangerment of highway worker” as any of the following committed within a construction zone or work zone:
- Traveling 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Improper passing
- Failure to stop for a flagman or obey any traffic control device
- Driving through or around a work zone in an improper lane
- Physically assaulting (or attempting or threatening to assault) a highway worker
- Intentionally striking, moving, or altering barrels, barriers, or signs erected to control traffic or protect workers
If you endanger a highway worker by committing any of these violations without causing any injury or fatality, you could be fined up to $1,000.00.
In addition to a $1,000.00 fine, you also could have four points assessed against your license if you:
- Leave the scene of an accident
- Drive carelessly
- Operate a vehicle without a valid license
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Commit a felony involving a motor vehicle
- Aggravated endangerment of a highway worker. If you commit any violation warranting a fine and cause injury or death, this is defined as “aggravated endangerment of a highway worker,” for which you may be fined $5,000.00 for causing any injury and $10,000.00 for causing any death, with 12 points assessed against your license and possible suspension or revocation.
- “Slow Down and Move Over” Law. Mo. Stat. 304.022 requires all drivers to slow down and change lanes whenever they approach Missouri DOT vehicles parked with amber and white lights flashing or law enforcement and emergency vehicles with lights flashing.
What Should You Do When Involved in a Construction Zone Accident?
If you are involved in a work zone accident and suffer injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. We at Foster Wallace will evaluate your case and help you obtain all the evidence you need to assert a claim against the responsible party.
To ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, here are six things you should do if you are involved in a construction zone accident:
- Call for medical assistance. Of course you should be sure to receive medical attention if you or anyone else is injured.
- Call the police. Police will provide order at the scene of the accident and will take statements from the parties involved and any witnesses. It is critical to obtain as much information as you can about the accident, its cause, and who was responsible. Be sure to get a copy of the police report.
- Exchange Information. Make sure you exchange information with any drivers or workers involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses that you may need to contact later for statements. This information should include names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
- Take pictures. Most people have cellular phones available that can take pictures. Try to photograph anything at the scene that may be relevant to your claim. Take pictures of any vehicles involved, damage to vehicles, and any road signs or traffic signals that may be relevant. If you can, try to take pictures at the scene of any injuries you suffer before you receive any medical treatment.
- Obtain a medical evaluation immediately. Always seek medical attention right away, even if you think you are not injured. Many injuries do not occur until hours or days after the accident.
- Contact Foster Wallace. You will need a personal injury lawyer experienced in construction zone accidents to investigate your case and obtain all the evidence you will need to support your claim. The attorneys at Foster Wallace are available to help you right away and will investigate every aspect of your accident. We will obtain critical evidence, including:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Driving records
- Construction company accident records
- Any possible security videos that recorded the accident
- Scientific or expert opinions that help determine the cause of the accident and who is at fault
Have You Experienced a Personal Injury in Kansas City?
If you've experienced a Kansas City personal injury, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation.