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Car Accident Liability in CA Construction Zones

Highway with works cones, dangerous traffic, construction and symbol

Construction zones or work zones on highways and freeways are frequent sites of car crashes. They interrupt the normal flow of traffic, creating additional hazards that require the care and attention of everyone present. Work crews and drivers alike have to be especially careful to minimize the risk of an accident. When a negligent person causes an accident in a work zone, they or their employer could be held liable for any damage that results. Continue reading for a discussion of construction zones and accident liability, and call a dedicated Lancaster car accident lawyer at the Kistler Law Firm if you’ve been hurt in a construction zone crash in Los Angeles or the Antelope Valley.

What Is a Construction/Work Zone?

A work zone is an area in which contractors can legally undertake repairs, maintenance, and construction work. Work zones may involve the construction of a building or bridge, maintenance of a road, or any other construction or maintenance work.

Accidents Are a Major Concern in Work Zones

Work zones present a heightened hazard for motorists and construction workers. The lanes of traffic may be narrowed, with additional lanes cordoned off from use, funneling more traffic into a smaller space. With limited shoulder space and fewer lanes, there’s less room to swerve or maneuver to avoid a crash. There may be debris, equipment, or other added obstacles and hazards related to the construction. The construction crew may be walking around from place to place on or near the site, creating additional hazards and concerns.

Because of the added risks and hazards, traffic fines are much higher in construction zones. California traffic laws encourage drivers to be especially careful in work zones by threatening much greater penalties. Work zone fines for speeding or ignoring a traffic control device can be increased by 1.5x or even doubled as compared to comparable offenses committed elsewhere.

Who Is Liable After a Construction Zone Car Crash?

Liability in a construction zone accident depends upon who caused the wreck and whose negligent behavior contributed to the accident. If a driver was ignoring signs to slow down or merge, speeding, lane-splitting, or tailgating while in a work zone, and they cause a crash, they’ll be held liable. Drivers who are distracted, drunk, or drowsy are more likely to cause a work zone crash and can be held liable if they do so.

Under certain circumstances, the contractors operating in a work zone may also be held liable. Contractors are responsible for ensuring that the site is reasonably safe for thru traffic. Contractors may be liable when accidents are caused by, for example:

  • Lack of proper signage, cones, or barriers
  • Work crews outside of protected zones, darting in between traffic without proper signs and warning
  • Obstructions on the road caused by equipment, debris, or other hazards originating from the work, assuming the work crew did not adequately warn drivers or remedy the hazard
  • Improper lighting for nighttime work or in other times of low visibility
  • Crew negligence

A seasoned car crash attorney can investigate the circumstances of a work zone crash in order to determine who can and should be held liable.

Call an Experienced Lancaster Construction Zone Accident Lawyer at the Kistler Law Firm Today

Working with a knowledgeable car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. At the Kistler Law Firm, our Lancaster car crash injury attorneys will work with you to assess your case, help you collect evidence, and pursue appropriate legal action on your behalf. Reach out to our team today to schedule a free consultation about your case.

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