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Accidents At Highway Construction Sites

Accidents At Highway Construction Sites

Spring will soon arrive, and with it the start of the road construction and repair season. For most of us, this means adding a few minutes of driving time to compensate for the delays that will arise as a matter of safety for drivers as well as the road construction crews that must work very close to high-volume traffic flow on a daily basis.

Thanks to rigorous safety measures, most road and highway construction and repair work is accomplished safely with motorists suffering little more than a temporary inconvenience during their daily routines. There are times, unfortunately, when accidents that are related to road construction sites will occur.

In this post, a road construction accident lawyer will review some of the sometimes complex legal issues that can arise when planning a lawsuit over injuries and related damages that are related to accidents at road construction sites.

Who is liable in road construction site accidents?

In law, the party or parties that are deemed responsible in causing an accident are responsible (liable) for any damages to an individual and/or the real and personal property of others. In the vast majority of cases, the responsible party’s potential liability for damages to others is protected by liability insurance that is required by either state or federal law. In some cases a business, or an individual, with substantial financial resources may be allowed to act as their own “self-insured” insurer.

Establishing liability for highway construction site accidents is carried out in the same manner as in other liability cases:

  • Someone (the road construction contractor) owed a duty to others to act in a manner that will not cause harm to others.
  • A breach, or failure, of that duty occurred and that failure occurred as a result of carelessness or negligence.
  • An injury or harm to another occurred, and that injury or harm was directly caused by the breach of duty.
  • An injury or harm to another occurred, and that injury or harm was directly caused by the breach of duty.
  • The party that breached their duty (the road construction contractor) is therefore responsible for paying damages to the injured party.

Once liability has been established, the liable party and/or their insurance carrier has a legal responsibility to pay compensation to the injured party. Since there is almost always there is a disagreement over the amount of such compensation, it may become necessary for the injured party to file a lawsuit to seek a court to order the payment of any damages that may be awarded by a jury.

When dealing with a claim for damages, many issues may arise that involve topics that are quite unfamiliar to those without a background in the laws of contracts and liability. For this reason, and others, it is almost always to retain the services of personal injury accident attorney to manage these matters on behalf of an injured client.

Government liability in road construction accidents

Although your personal injury accident lawyer will attend to this detail of your lawsuit, a good rule of thumb is that the government agency which advertised and accepted bids for the road construction project is the agency that will be named in a lawsuit. As an example, if the state highway department awarded a road construction or repair contract, the state highway department will usually be liable for damages that are directly related to that project. There is, however, one critical factor which must be taken into account when considering government liability for road construction accidents.

In the United States the federal government, as well as most state and municipal governments, are immune to lawsuits and cannot be sued without their consent. This is calledsovereign immunity, a concept that can be traced back to the English common law doctrine that “The king (sovereign) can do no wrong.” Over the years, this doctrine has been modified by federal laws such as the Federal Tort Claims Act as well as by state and local law. The status of local or state immunity, if applicable to your case, will be known to your personal injury accident lawyer.

As is the case with other accident injury lawsuits, and regardless of who is being sued, there are time limits imposed on the filing of such actions. These time limits are called the statutes of limitations and are strictly enforced by the courts. Since the time limits imposed by the statutes of limitations are usually shorter if a government agency is involved, it is always best to consult an accident attorney as soon as possible after any accidental injury that is due to road and highway construction conditions.

Wrapping it up

In this post we have seen how accidents due to conditions that are created by road construction and repair may result in liability of the road construction contractor and, possibly, the government agency responsible for monitoring the status of such roadwork. We also saw how both the statutes of limitations as well as sovereign immunity can shorten the period of time during which a lawsuit must be filed. Given the potential complexity of road construction personal injury lawsuits, it is essential that anyone injured by the activities at a road road construction site consult a road construction accident attorney as soon as possible after such an accident in order to protect their right to compensation for their injuries.

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