Accidents in highway construction work zones
Houston’s highway work zones are full of dangers. Workers still face the same hazards found in any other construction project. These include falling objects or accidents involving heavy machinery. But workers on roads also have additional unique threats to their safety. Incoming traffic is one of the biggest concerns. All of these factors contribute to approximately 670 deaths and 41,000 injuries in work area accidents across the country during an average year, according to the most recent federal data from the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Road construction projects require adequate planning
There is no shortage of hazards in the construction of roads and highways in Houston. Large vehicles, excavation equipment, hazardous materials, reduced visibility, narrow lanes, and modified traffic patterns are all issues that could endanger construction workers. Proper planning is essential for the safety of workers. In fact, federal and state laws insist on it. But for some reason, these regulations are sometimes violated. Construction workers suffer the consequences when accidents that can be prevented lead to serious injuries or even death.
The Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices establishes the “temporary traffic control” (TTC) standards that are required for safe work zones. Motorists passing by should exercise utmost caution in work areas, but experience shows that they often do not. A good TTC plan for a work zone can help protect road construction workers from danger.
For example, a good TTC plan involving the construction of roads at night will provide light projectors that make workers more visible to their co-workers and to passing traffic. Likewise, good work area planners will examine how to create detours to maximize safety for construction workers and motorists. Well-designed work zones also include clear warning signs, barricades, and cones to protect construction workers.
Types of accidents in Houston’s work zones
In its latest available report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2015, roadway incidents accounted for the greatest share of fatal work-related transportation injuries. Out of 2,054 transportation incidents, 670 fatal injuries (or 32.6 percent of the total) resulted from a roadway collision with another vehicle.
The most common types of accidents involving construction workers include:
- Workers being hit by incoming traffic
- Workers being involved in an accident while driving a vehicle in a work area
- Injuries by backhoes, excavators and other excavation equipment
- Trauma caused by road and surface leveling machinery
- Injuries caused by defective equipment
- Accidents involving road obstructions or environmental factors, such as trees
Responsibility of the construction and work area
Normally, employers are covered against personal injury claims if they have workers’ compensation insurance. However, workers’ compensation does not prohibit lawsuits against an employer if the injury was intentional or serious. That is, each case is different, and at P&M Law we have the experience of having handled these types of cases successfully.
The person responsible for your injury may be the owner of the work area, the general contractor, the subcontractor, the defective equipment manufacturer, the architect or engineer, another party involved, or several of these at the same time.
Only a rigorous investigation of medical history, work area, witness statements, and various aspects related to the incident, can help determine liability, as well as the laws applicable to your claim. Our attorneys can initiate this investigation, identify the guilty parties, and determine what type of claim you have. We know how to proceed in these cases and we’ll try to handle every detail of your case.
If you were seriously injured due to poor planning or a violation of the rules for the development of a safe work area, then whoever was responsible for designing the temporary traffic control plan could be subject to legal action. Those parties may include construction contractors, state and local transportation planners, traffic engineers and other entities.
Because Houston’s construction legislation is complex, it is very important to get in touch with a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. Failure to meet a deadline to file a claim for injuries can suspend your right to compensation forever.
Our attorneys for injuries in the Houston work areas can help
The construction accident attorneys at P&M Law know that an injury in a work zone in Houston can be devastating. Our firm has the resources and experience to investigate your claim thoroughly to identify all those responsible and fight hard to hold them responsible for their negligence. We will discuss your legal options during a free consultation. Please contact us at 832-844-6428 or text our attorneys directly at 832-438-3012.