Construction Zone Car Accidents Pose Risk to Workers in Maine

A road worker was left in critical condition following a Portland car accident in a construction zone.

The Portland Press-Herald reports the 58-year-old worker, employed by a private construction firm, sustained severe injuries while on the Maine Turnpike after a driver drifted off the road to where the worker was standing next to his truck. The impact threw him into the travel lane, but he managed to crawl to safety and was not struck by another vehicle. The motorist was cited for failing to move over or slow down, in accordance with Maine’s “move over law.”

Although a citation in and of itself is not proof of negligence, information therein could be used in a future personal injury lawsuit against the driver. In a situation like this, an injured worker may have multiple avenues from which to seek compensation. They would include a claim against the at-fault driver, as well as a workers’ compensation claim, due to the fact that the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment. Also, depending on the circumstances and whether there were  other construction companies involved, there may be grounds for a third-party liability claim if the construction site was not properly established. Consulting with an experienced attorney is essential to ensuring you receive full and fair compensation.

Construction firms know or are investing in knowledge of best practices for how to reduce the risk of hazards like these. That doesn’t always mean motorists will follow the rules, but it can go a long way in driving down the types of incidents known to happen most commonly.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Transportation Research Board found that while driver negligence is the main reason for work zone crashes, there are ways construction companies can reduce the chances of a crash and the severity of injuries involved in crashes that do happen. For example, in areas with high traffic volume, the number of traffic lanes established was shown to reduce the likelihood of a crash. Meanwhile, an uptick in the percentage of large trucks increased the risk of a crash, as did higher posted speed limits within a construction work zone.

Another recent study published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention found that while the placement of electronic signs (called “dynamic message signs”) within a construction zone had no bearing on the potential crash risk caused by drivers’ compliance with instructions, the refresh rate (how frequently the sign changed) did. Also, drivers were more likely to slow down and obey the signs when the fact that workers were present was mentioned in the text of the message.

Drivers, passengers, and construction workers are all at risk of serious injuries or death when a construction zone accident occurs.

As motorists, it’s important to always expect the unexpected. This is especially true when approaching or navigating a construction zone. Failing to do so or to follow the signs and instructions set forth in these areas – particularly when it comes to reduction of speed – would likely be considered negligence.

If you are a victim of a Bangor car accident on the job, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Construction worker struck by car on Maine Turnpike in Gray, June 13, 2017, By Matt Byrne, Portland Press-Herald

More Blog Entries:

Speeding Crackdown in Construction Zones Aims to Prevent Bangor Traffic Collisions, Aug. 8, 2017, Portland Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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