Road construction seems to be never-ending in Chicago. Both the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have a constant stream of projects on roads and highways around the city, especially during the warmer months. Road work can cause delays and frustration among drivers, especially due to lane closures. However, this work is necessary to ensure our streets are as safe and efficient as possible for all Chicago motorists.
While road construction happens to keep us safe, road work zones are also common locations for traffic accidents. Cars can crash into one another or into members of a construction crew, and serious injuries may result. Despite increased penalties for traffic violations in work zones, as well as safety initiatives for the public, road work zone accidents continue to occur with surprising frequency. In fact, according to IDOT, 6,741 work zone crashes took place in the state of Illinois during 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. That comes out to an average of nearly 18.5 construction zone accidents per day!
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are committed to representing the rights of people injured in construction zone accidents. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.
Various Parties Can Cause Serious Motor Vehicle Accidents in Illinois Construction Zones
In any injury case, it is necessary to identify which specific party or parties caused your accident. Motorists can file claims against various parties, which may include:
- Other motorists – The negligence of other motorists causes a significant percentage of construction zone accidents. When drivers are driving in narrow lanes and in close proximity to other vehicles, small mistakes can cause disastrous results. Some examples of negligent driver conduct that can cause serious accidents in construction zones include texting, speeding, following too closely, and making improper lane changes.
- Construction crew workers – Sometimes, the negligence of the crew working the site is responsible for accidents that occur in construction zones. Issues like failing to display adequate signage, misplacing cones or barrels, performing shoddy work, leaving materials in the road, working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or negligently operating machinery can cause serious, injury-causing motor vehicle accidents.
- State agencies – Many construction crews work directly for CDOT or IDOT, making the city or state agency responsible for the negligence of workers. In addition, if the city or state improperly plans or executes a project, the agency itself may be negligent. These cases often require the analysis of construction experts who can assess whether negligence caused your accident.
Importantly, if your accident occurred due to the negligence of a construction crew employed by a state agency or a state agency itself, you may have to bring your claim under the Illinois Court of Claims Act. This law allows individuals to bring claims against the government, but places certain limits on the amount of time victims have to file a claim and the amount of compensation they can ultimately recover. For this reason, if you have any suspicion that your claim will be against the government or a construction company hired by the government, you should speak with an attorney immediately.
Injuries to Construction Workers
Occupants of cars are far from the only people who may suffer severe injuries in work zone crashes. In many situations, a driver may collide with a construction worker standing in or near the road. Illinois has many laws aimed at keeping workers safe, such as increased fines for speeding or cell phone use. However, drivers may make mistakes or may choose to disregard the safety of workers, resulting in an accident.
Many negligent or reckless acts can result in a construction worker getting hit by a car. Such acts may include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Dangerous lane changes
- Failing to adhere to signs and traffic direction
- Aggressive driving
Construction can slow traffic, which can make it tempting for drivers to look at their phones. In addition, delays can frustrate drivers, which can escalate into aggression or even road rage.
As with any pedestrian accident, construction workers can suffer life-altering injuries if they get hit by a car. Even with safety gear, the impact of a collision can cause a wide range of traumatic injuries, including spinal cord injuries and shattered bones. Even with a hard hat, a construction worker can still suffer head trauma, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. The losses associated with such catastrophic injuries can be astounding and can include:
- Medical expenses for emergency care, hospitalization, rehabilitative therapy, surgeries, and more.
- The estimated costs of any anticipated future medical care
- Lost income from time away from work
- Lost future earnings due to disabilities
- Permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or impairments
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
When a driver hits a construction worker, a criminal case can penalize the driver with costly fines and possible jail time. However, the injured construction worker also deserves to receive full compensation for all of their injury-related losses. By filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, an accident victim can seek the financial recovery they deserve. You should not wait to call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a serious crash.
Hurt in a Construction Zone Accident? Call Abels & Annes, P.C., Today to Speak with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered injuries in an accident that occurred in a construction zone, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as you can. You may be entitled to significant compensation under Illinois law, and an attorney at Abels & Annes, P.C., can review your case at no cost to you and let you know whether you have a legal claim. If you choose to retain us to represent you, we will never collect legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your completely free, no-obligation case evaluation with an experienced attorney, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.