Most construction zone car crashes are caused by another party’s negligence, often the negligence of another driver. However, there are other parties that may bear fault for these accidents. Sometimes negligent drivers may share fault with construction companies or construction workers.
Shared liability is just one reason why victims of Cleveland construction zone car accidents should contact an experienced lawyer. The Cleveland car accident lawyers at Friedman, Domiano and Smith know the many factors involved in these cases. We have the resources and legal knowledge to seek full compensation for the damages you suffered. There are also no upfront costs with our services.
Call to discuss your next steps following a crash: 216-621-0070.
How Does Ohio Define a Construction Zone?
In Ohio, a construction zone refers to lanes or portions of roads or highways that are adjacent to other lanes or roads where any of the following activities are being conducted:
- Lane construction, reconstruction or resurfacing
- road shoulder construction, reconstruction or resurfacing
- Berm construction or repair
- Other repair or maintenance work on the road
- Public utility work
The construction zone begins where the first worker or piece of equipment is stationed and ends where the last worker or piece of equipment is stationed.
This is the definition of a construction zone as provided in Ohio Revised Statutes Section 5501.27 (C).
How Many Car Crashes Happen in Ohio Construction Zones?
Road construction zones are dangerous places. In 2021 alone, there were 4,796 crashes in work zones, causing 1,759 injuries and 29 deaths. From 2017 to 2021, 3,713 construction zone crashes occurred in Cuyahoga County. This county alone represented 14.5 percent of the total work zone crashes that occurred in the state during that period.
Ohio State Highway Patrol has a dashboard that is regularly updated with work zone crash data. The dashboard showed more than 400 work zone crashes on Interstate 77 between September 1, 2022 and September 24, 2023. This includes 14 crashes in which serious injuries were suspected.
What Causes Construction Zone Car Accidents in Cleveland, Ohio?
Construction zone crashes are often caused by negligent drivers, including drivers who:
- Speed – This is particularly dangerous in construction zones because lanes are closed and open lanes can quickly narrow. Speeding gives drivers less time to react. Additionally, construction zones often have less space, so it may not be possible to switch lanes in time to avoid a collision.
- Engage in distracted driving – Drivers should always pay attention. However, this is particularly important in construction zones due to lane closures and confusing routes. For example, the lane or lanes that go through the construction area may cross over double yellow lines or dotted white lines.
- Change lanes without signaling – Drivers who get distracted may need to quickly change lanes once they refocus on driving. For example, they may need to quickly merge or slam on the brakes to avoid a rear-end crash. If they do not signal or stop fast enough, these situations could cause a collision.
- Fail to stay in their lane or follow instructions on road signs – Drivers should slow down and pay close attention to traffic, road signs and their surroundings. If drivers are not careful, they could drift out of their traffic lanes or fail to follow road sign instructions, making a crash more likely. A driver who brakes at a stop sign could get rear-ended by a driver who is not paying attention.
Road construction zone accidents may also be caused by construction worker negligence, which could include:
- Leaving debris or construction equipment in active lanes of traffic
- Failing to put up signs warning drivers of hazardous conditions, such as poor visibility, uneven lanes, narrow lanes or speed limit changes
- Failing to put signs giving adequate instructions to drivers before they pass through the construction zone
- Failing to put up barriers or putting them in the wrong position
Who Could Be Held Liable For a Construction Zone Crash?
While drivers are often held liable for road construction zone crashes, construction workers or their employers may also bear liability. For example, the construction company could be vicariously liable for poor training or supervision of workers if those workers create dangerous conditions, like poorly placed barricades, cones or barriers.
The construction company may also be liable for designing a dangerous route through the construction zone that causes drivers to make sudden, dangerous maneuvers. The workers may be unlikely to be held liable in that type of situation because they did not design the route.
Construction companies may also bear liability for:
- Using malfunctioning equipment
- Hiring workers who are not qualified to work at the construction site
- Failing to make changes to the construction site if there are hazards at the site that caused other accidents or near accidents
Call Friedman, Domiano and Smith to Discuss Your Claim
Are you unsure what to do after suffering a car crash injury?
At Friedman, Domiano and Smith, we understand how confusing and difficult the aftermath of a car crash can be for victims. We have helped car crash victims in northeast Ohio for decades, obtaining millions in compensation to help them move forward.
Many crash victims who would benefit from hiring a lawyer decide to go it alone. Unfortunately, these victims may be unable to recover full compensation. Hiring an experienced lawyer often results in a larger financial recovery.
Give Friedman, Domiano and Smith a call today. We are ready to help: 216-621-0070.
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