Workers who help repair the highways and roads across Tennessee routinely place their lives in danger. According to WorkZoneSafety.org, close to 800 people were killed in roadway work-zone accident in 2017, and 132 workers were killed. For every death, there are normally many more workers who suffer serious injuries that require surgeries and long-term medical care.
Roadway construction should include numerous safety measures to protect the workers who are focusing on their jobs. Common safety measures include:
- Marking the roadway construction with signs that work is taking place
- Having roadway crews direct traffic, including using signs and physical gestures to indicate when traffic should proceed and when it should stop
- Marking the roadway to indicate where the lanes of traffic are and where traffic is forbidden
- Placing barriers, cones, and other equipment in a far radius of the workers themselves
The role of driver negligence in Nashville work zone accidents
In virtually all cases where a roadway worker is struck by a car, it is the fault of a driver who was negligent. Negligence includes:
- Even with signs and roadway personnel, some drivers are just going too fast to be able to stop in time – without hitting a worker. Speeding also makes it hard to shift lanes.
- Ignoring signs. Some drivers think they own the road. They often ignore signs or fail to take the time to understand the signs.
- Driver distraction. Many drivers are talking on their smartphone, looking at their GPS system, or eating while driving. In the worst cases, they even text while driving. Distracted drivers aren’t looking at the roadway in front of them including the roadway workers. By the time distracted drivers realize they need to stop, it’s too late.
- Improper merging. Many roadway construction areas require drivers to merge from two lines into one or three into two. Drivers who are too aggressive or not paying attention at the point where they should merge can cause an accident.
Injured workers and the families of deceased workers have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against negligent drivers.
When the construction company is responsible for the accident
Construction companies may also be responsible for a roadway accident. Generally, if the construction company doesn’t insist on common sense precautions, such as posting signs and directing traffic, they may be negligent. Negligence can also include failing to give workers protective clothing, such as hard hats and high-vis vests or shirts, which help drivers see the workers in low light.
Employees must generally file a workers’ compensation claim against their employer. There is no need to prove fault in a workers’ compensation case. Injured workers are generally entitled to 2/3 of their lost wages and payment for their medical expenses. In some cases, they may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. The immediate family members of a worker who is tragically killed can file for funeral/burial benefits and for lost income benefits.
If a construction company caused the accident through its own negligence, then workers who are not employees of the company can file a personal injury claim against the construction company responsible for the site.
Whether another driver caused a work zone accident, or the construction company did, you should call the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm to speak with experienced, aggressive Nashville injury lawyers. Our Gladiators in Suits file workers’ compensation claims and negligence claims. For help now, call us at 615-246-5549 or use our contact form to make an appointment at our office in Nashville or Hendersonville.