Construction Site Vehicle Accident Risks and the Legal Options You Need to Know
Construction work is rewarding but extremely dangerous. In addition to hazards you may already associate with construction sites, such as falls and machinery injuries, construction site vehicles pose a significant threat to workers. Injuries from construction site vehicles may put you out of commission for weeks, months, or even longer.
Trucks, earth-moving equipment, and other heavy vehicles are essential on construction sites. These vehicles not only help workers with large scale projects but also make their jobs a little less strenuous. Unfortunately, these vehicles, when placed in the hands of other workers, can also be dangerous. Furthermore, dangerous vehicles that pass through construction zones can also threaten the lives of those working nearby.
Vehicle Dangers on Construction Sites
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), vehicle traffic and poor operation account for approximately three work zone fatalities per day and over 40,000 injuries per year. Distracted and inattentive drivers can easily run over or back over road construction workers or collide with other vehicles. Similarly, unsafe drivers on public roads pose their own threats while passing through construction zones.
OSHA attempts to control vehicle mayhem by requiring a traffic control plan for the movement of vehicles at worksites. This plan includes the use of devices to communicate alternate routes, signs, traffic barriers, and flags so that drivers, workers, and pedestrians alike can see and understand the routes that need to be followed. OSHA also encourages strict training for those who operate large vehicles and construction equipment as well as safety education for those on the ground. These initiatives are meant to control and limit the following common vehicle accident types:
- Collisions and rollovers. The most common type of accidents with any kind of vehicle is a collision or rollover. These occur as a result of erratic driving, failure to pay attention, and reckless driving. These types of accidents are extremely dangerous to construction workers who aren’t protected inside vehicles. Also, because construction vehicles are significantly larger and heavier than normal vehicles, they can inflict even greater damage when they collide with workers or other vehicles.
- Back-up accidents. A back-over incident occurs when a vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind the vehicle. Nearly 70 workers a year die from back-over incidents that could have been avoided. These kinds of incidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Drivers may not be able to see workers in their blindspots, injured workers may fail to hear backup alarms, drivers may fail to check their surrounding properly, etc.
- Cargo spills. Unsecured cargo can pose an extreme threat when it spills or falls out of a vehicle. In addition to causing debris that can affect the safety of other drivers, the weight of the cargo could potentially crush nearby workers.
- Pinnings. When drivers fail to pay attention or inadvertently leave vehicles in motion, workers on the ground can become stuck or pinned between the vehicle and other objects. This pinning can result in severe crush injuries.
Liability and Filing Your Claim
A construction worker hurt by a coworker or in the course of his work duties may turn to Texas workers’ compensation for a fair recovery; one hurt by a contractor or a non-employee may have to file a personal injury claim to collect fair compensation. However, in order to pursue a successful claim, the injured worker must first be able to prove liability. In construction accidents, liable parties can be difficult to determine as several people (coworkers, employers, subcontractors, etc.) might be at fault. However, with the help and resources of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, determining and proving liability can be less taxing and much more lucrative.
If you’re injured in a vehicle accident while on the job at a construction site, you’ll most likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Attorney Steve Lee is here to help. With over 25 years’ worth of experience with workers’ compensation claims, liability disputes, and insurance trickery, Steve Lee has the know-how to help you build a strong claim. Contact him today to set up a no-obligation case review. Trust us; you won’t regret it.