The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reports that over the past five years, there have been almost 2,700 annual car wrecks in work zones, with the spring and summer construction season accounting for a large portion of these accidents. During this time, 50 people have died and 5,200 people have been injured in work zone accidents. The risks of accidents in road construction zones continue to this day, and if you are injured, it is important to understand the steps you can take to obtain compensation.
Why Are Work Zones Dangerous?
There are a number of reasons why car accidents are more likely to occur in road work zones. Some of them include:
- Narrow roadways: Road work often requires the closing of the shoulder or the restriction of lanes on a multi-lane highway, forcing drivers to share a smaller space. Without the proper safety precautions, this close proximity can lead to collisions.
- Debris or objects in the road: Cones, barricades, materials, equipment, and other construction debris can enter the roadway, obstructing traffic and possibly contributing to reduced traction or the risk of a punctured tire.
- Insufficient warning signs: Drivers who are warned of an approaching construction zone have the opportunity to adapt accordingly, but without clearly visible signs, they may not be able to do so.
- Speeding: Sometimes, drivers fail to reduce their speed in a construction zone, despite warning signs and state laws allowing for harsher penalties for speeding in a work zone.
- Tailgating: WisDOT notes that tailgating, or following another vehicle too closely, was the most prominent factor in work zone accidents over the past five years, accounting for nearly one-third of all collisions in that time frame.
- Distracted driving: Out of recognition of the danger that distracted driving poses, Wisconsin has made any kind of handheld mobile phone use illegal in a work zone.
Responding to a Construction Zone Accident
As with any car crash in which you are injured, your priorities after a construction zone accident should be to get medical attention and contact an attorney who can help you further investigate your case. If possible (and safe to accomplish), use your phone to take pictures of how any barricades and barrels are set up–it is never known immediately what contributed or caused an accident, and an experienced attorney may be able to analyze those pictures after-the-fact to determine what role, if any, warnings and barricades played in causing or contribution to an incident. Your attorney can also help gather evidence from the scene of the accident, including pictures of the vehicles involved and the road conditions, and they can follow up with witnesses, law enforcement, and other possible sources of evidence that can help you establish another party’s negligence. Liable parties may include other drivers who failed to drive safely in a work zone or the entity responsible for the construction project if it did not uphold reasonable safety standards.
Contact a Green Bay, WI Construction Zone Accident Attorney
The attorneys at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. understand the unique effects that work zone accidents may have on the process of pursuing a personal injury claim, and we will work with you to build a strong case for compensation through a settlement or trial. Contact an experienced Appleton personal injury lawyer for a free initial consultation today at 920-739-7366.