Who is Liable for Car Accidents in Work Zones in NH?

Summer is usually time for construction, maintenance, or repairs on highways and interstates. It’s also time for road trips. The combination of the two can be deadly. So, when a car accident happens in a work zone, who is liable for it?

Who is liable for car accidents in work zones?

A car accident in a work zone is like any other car accident really: whoever was at fault is liable. Two prime suspects for liability include:

  1. the driver; and
  2. the construction company.

The At-Fault Driver

Many work zone accidents are the result of negligence, and examples of driver negligence include:

  • multi-car collision after the first car collides with construction equipment;
  • rear-end collision while cars are moving slowly or are stopped and are bumper to bumper;
  • collisions caused by distracted drivers who fail to see warning signs, construction workers, etc.

When a driver is at fault for the car accident, you can file a claim or lawsuit against his or her auto insurer as well as the driver directly, depending on the circumstances.

The At-Fault Construction Company

Car accidents can be caused by construction companies, too, who are responsible for the workers in the work zone area. Like the at-fault driver, most car accidents caused by a construction company or its employees or contractors is are usually the result of negligence. Examples of the same include:

  • Failure to provide clear detour instructions to avoid the construction site;
  • Failure to properly set up traffic warning signs;
  • Failure to provide clear indications of which lanes are open and which are not;
  • Failure to maintain the construction site generally.

If the construction company or any of its employees or contractors fail to maintain the construction site or otherwise fails to operate within the construction site in a safe manner, any one of them can be held liable for an accident. In these situations, multiple people or entities can be held liable.

What are the common causes of work zone car accidents?

Most work zone car accidents are not the fault of the construction company or construction worker but are the fault of a motorist. In addition to the examples provided above, there are three causes of accidents typical to work zone areas, and knowing them and be the difference between causing an accident and staying safe on the roads.

  1. Speeding. Speeding is a cause of a high percentage of accidents regardless where it takes place, but in a work zone area, speeding can be more devastating because there are people unprotected on the roads, and thus the reason why fines are often doubled in work zone areas.
  2. Distraction. Distraction is another common cause of accidents regardless of where the driver is, but in construction zones, because motorists are often slowed, drivers can become more easily distracted by passengers, electronic gadgets, or other things, making the work zone more dangerous than it already is.
  3. Merging. Merging is another cause of some accidents regardless of whether there’s construction or not, but in work zone areas, drivers have to merge into another lane often with limited warning, which can make it more dangerous particularly if the driver is speeding.

If you are planning on going on a road trip across New Hampshire or anywhere else this summer, be safe and follow the rules of the road. If there are construction zones, pay particular attention to your speed and to road signs warning or instructing you what to do as the driver. If you are in an accident, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer to learn what your options are or call us at (888) 332-5855.

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