Highway construction sites are hazardous for both the motorists who must navigate through signs, cones, and barrels, as well as for the workers who build, maintain, and repair New York’s highways. Efforts have been taken to reduce the risks to highway construction workers; in fact, highway construction worker fatalities have been reduced by 36% between 2005 and 2010. However, according to the most recent data available from the Department of Transportation, more than 20,000 workers are injured in highway construction work zones each year.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a highway construction zone, it is wise to contact an experienced New York highway construction accident attorney to assess your circumstances and give you the sound advice you need to navigate the legal issues you are facing.
Causes of Highway Construction Zone Injuries
Due to the complexity of highway construction zone sites and the myriad moving parts involved, highway construction accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Contact with objects or equipment – 35%
- Slips, trips, or falls – 20%
- Overexertion – 15%
- Transportation incidents – 12%
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments – 5%
According to a Department of Transportation study based on a five year period, highway construction zone fatalities were caused by:
- Runovers/Backovers (often by dump trucks) – 48%
- Collision between vehicles/mobile equipment – 14%
- Caught in between/struck by construction equipment and objects – 14%
Steps Employers Can Take To Prevent Highway Construction Accidents
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are a wide variety of steps that employers can take to make highway construction sites safer for their employees. These steps include:
- Developing and enforcing standard operating procedures concerning highway construction worker safety, including minimizing worker proximity to vehicles and equipment.
- Using equipment with minimal blind spots and clearly-posted proximity warnings.
- Establishing safe night work practices, including wearing high-visibility clothing.
- Providing competent oversight on jobsites.
- Using spotters for backing vehicles.
Steps Highway Construction Workers Can Take To Prevent Accidents
While it’s true that employers have a duty to ensure that work environments are as safe as possible for their employees, all risk cannot be eliminated, so employees must also act in a safe manner to ensure their own safety. Here are a few steps that highway construction workers can take to help prevent highway construction accidents:
- Wear high visibility apparel that is appropriate for your job task and work environment at all times.
- Be aware of blind spots in equipment and vehicles and stay out of those areas.
- Confirm communications signals with the equipment operator and wait until the operator gives acknowledgment before approaching.
- Be conscious of equipment travel paths and avoid standing or walking in these areas.
- Always listen for reverse signal alarms in the area.
- Be attentive of your environment and ensure that other workers are aware of you.
What To Do If You Are Injured In A Highway Construction Accident
If you are injured in a highway construction accident, what you do in the first fifteen minutes can be the difference between winning and losing a highway construction injury claim. Taking a few minutes to follow these steps can help you ensure your future:
- Have your injuries treated right away.
- Immediately alert your supervisor or employer.
- Ask witnesses to take pictures and video of the accident site, including any tools that may have caused the injury.
- Do not make a statement to insurance companies or investigators until you’ve spoken with an experienced highway construction accident attorney.
- Keep detailed records of what you remember of the accident and any subsequent activities related to the accident and your injuries.
Your Rights Following A Highway Construction Accident
When you are injured on a construction job, you have the right to make claims against multiple parties, including your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier. Depending on the type of accident, you may be able to make claims against a multitude of parties, including:
- Your employer
- Equipment manufacturers
- Government entities
- Other third parties
It’s important to note that, depending on who you plan on making a claim against, different deadlines apply, some of which are as soon as 90 days from the time of your injury. This is why it is important to speak with a highway construction injury attorney as soon as possible.
Trust The Attorneys With 150 Years Of Personal Injury Experience
Again, your benefits can be forever lost if you fail to file on time. If you’ve been injured in a highway construction accident, trust the experience of the New York highway construction accident attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. We have a proven track record of success and are well-prepared to take on your claim. Contact us today at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!