Work zone accidents are typically caused by the specific circumstances of a work zone – narrow lanes, traffic congestion, frustrated drivers, heavy on-site machinery, and orange cones. If you have been involved in a crash in an Atlanta work zone, you will need the professional help of an Atlanta auto accident lawyer. This is because identifying the liable party in a work zone crash is a bit complicated.
Common Causes of Work Zone Accidents
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Georgia saw 26,039 work zone crashes in 2019 alone. These resulted in 8,355 injuries and 38 deaths. Work zone accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of such accidents:
Frustrated Drivers: Work zones usually result in traffic congestion and delays. This can frustrate the drivers who may then try to switch lanes dangerously, drive over the shoulder, or tailgate another vehicle. Most of these are traffic violations and if a crash is caused by this, the driver is likely to be held liable.
Construction Vehicle Collisions: Work zones typically have construction vehicles carrying out various activities on site. These vehicles are larger and slower. Drivers who are speeding or fail to slow down in time may end up colliding with one of these vehicles.
Rear End Collisions: Slow traffic in a work zone typically results in a slow vehicle pace and frequent use of brakes. Motorist may use the time to distract themselves with music, radio, texting or another activity. Such distractions frequently lead a driver to become careless and end up rear-ending another vehicle.
Narrow Lanes: At a work zone, vehicles are typically limited to one or two lanes. This can create bottlenecks as well as confined spaces which are more likely to result in an accident.
Lane Shifts: Narrow lanes may cause drivers to shift lanes dangerously so that they may end up sideswiping another vehicle.
Georgia’s Move-Over Law
Georgia’s Move-Over Law is a piece of legislation that applies to many work zones. Under this law, you must move one lane away when you see an emergency vehicle or a highway maintenance vehicle. If you can’t switch the lane, you must slow down to a safe speed. Failure to do so will be regarded as a traffic violation.
Who is At Fault?
A number of parties can be held liable for a work zone accident, depending on the unique circumstances of the crash. Here is a look at these.
The Construction Company
In many work zone accidents, the construction company working and managing the site is liable. This is the case when:
- The company fails to put up proper signs or markings to alert the drivers about the work zone.
- The company fails to divert traffic with signals and personnel.
- The company doesn’t provide an alternate route for the drivers to take due to the closure of one or more lanes.
- The company fails to remove debris or heavy equipment from the roadway.
- The company doesn’t observe safety protocols when operating heavy construction equipment.
The work in a work zone typically involves building or maintaining a portion of the road. It is generally the responsibility of a government entity to contract and oversee such work. The actual work may be done by a contractor. However, the government entity that hired the contractor can be held responsible in the event of an on-site accident if the contractor is blacklisted or doesn’t have the requisite credentials. This is possible only when the fault for a work zone crash lies with the contractor.
In many work zone accidents, the driver is the at-fault party. A driver can be held responsible for tailgating, speeding, reckless driving, or failure to slow down for the traffic conditions. Georgia also has a hands-free law for construction zones. As per this law, drivers can use a mobile phone in a construction zone only with the help of hands-free technology.
Hire a Qualified Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered a work zone accident in Atlanta, GA, it is important to seek legal help at the earliest. A good lawyer will help you identify the liable party and then file a claim for damages without wasting any time.
Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we help car crash victims in Atlanta recover a fair amount of compensation for their losses. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.