Personal Injury Liability: Highway Construction
Can a Contractor Be Held Liable for Driver Injuries Resulting From Highway Construction?
Yes. Most states recognize that the constant presence of speeding cars makes highways a dangerous and likely place for severe injuries. As a result, contractors are generally obligated to exercise reasonable precautions when constructing on public highways. Failure to do so can make a contractor liable for any injuries that result.
What Does It Mean For a Contractor to Exercise "Reasonable Precautions"?
Though states vary on what exactly are reasonable precautions, the general idea is to make sure construction interferes with highway drivers as little as possible. Some of the more common precautions courts usually require include:
- Barricades to isolate construction zones from main highways
- Signs indicating construction and warning of oncoming hazards
- Proper lighting to ensure that drivers can see the construction
- Limiting construction to times when driver levels are at their lowest
Does Following Any of These Precautions Shield Contractors From Injury Liability?
Not necessarily. Although the above precautions are definitely helpful, courts generally determine injury liability on a case-by-case basis. This involves looking into a number of factors beyond whether or not reasonable cautions were taken. For example, in some cases, it's possible to see contractors being held liable for injuries even though construction signs were visibly placed along the highway.
What if the Entire Road Itself Is Closed for Construction?
If the road is closed, contractors generally will not be liable for any injury. If a driver decides to drive on a closed road, courts usually assign most of the blame for injury on the driver.
Does It Matter If An Injury Occurs During the Night or Daytime?
Yes. Given the lack of visibly, most courts require even more precautions from contractors during highway construction at night. Consequently, contractors have a greater chance of being held liable for driver injuries that occur during night hours.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
If you a driver who was severely injured as a result of highway construction, you should contact a personal injury attorney to learn about any legal claims you may have. A lawyer can look into your state's local highway construction laws, and help determine whether the contractor failed to exercise reasonable precautions, leading to your injury.
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Last Modified: 08-09-2011 03:48 PM PDT