Work Zone Accidents: Serious Business, Requiring Serious Lawyers
Everyone knows that highway work zones are dangerous for the men and women who work in them. Careless drivers speed through work zones, inattentive drivers fail to pick up on lane shifts, reckless drivers ignore flagmen. Calamities in many forms befall the folks who make their living out on the highways. TLO partner Ben Traywick has spent the bulk of his career investigating and collecting evidence from tractor trailer accident scenes all over South Carolina, and he can tell you: trying to work while traffic flies by at highways speeds is quite unnerving. We heartily support the extensive public service campaign to warn drivers of the need for special care as they drive through these dangerous areas.
This blog post, though, is about the risks that work zones present to the driving public. South Carolina’s Department of Transportation works hard to keep works zones safe, but it is a monumental task. Inevitably, some required safety features fall through the cracks, car accidents happen, and people get hurt.
Strict regulations and industry standards govern the manner in which work zones are designed, maintained and managed. Temporary markings such as barrels and cones are subject to mandatory configurations designed to ensure that their purpose—closing off a lane, demarcating travel portions of roadways from areas under repair, etc—is effectuated without endangering the public. Grooved pavement and lane shifts cannot be so severe or acute that they have the capability of causing motorists to lose control of their vehicles. Temporary signage must be worded so as to be clear and cogent. Sight lines of passing motorists must not be impeded. Contractors have contractual obligations to leave their worksite, at the end of the day, in a condition most conducive to the free flow of traffic and the safe operation of vehicles. The list goes on.
These regulatory and contractual responsibilities are serious business, with countless specific requirements: the standard specifications for highway work in South Carolina—just one source of the contractor’s obligations—runs nearly 1000 pages. On the one hand we can sympathize with the road contractor and traffic engineer who has to understand and comply with such dense regulatory mandates. On the other, the existence of such detailed regulations really illustrates the massive responsibility for public safety that these contractors assume. Road construction is terribly hazardous work for the motoring public, and it is quite profitable for the companies who secure these large government contracts. They have an obligation to satisfy the public’s interest in safe practices, and when they fail to do so, they need to be held accountable.
The important concerns for the people is that they are aware that when accidents happen in work zones, there is an important layer of investigation that the injured person’s lawyer needs to carry out: is there responsibility on the part of the highway contractor as well as a potentially negligent driver? In these cases experience and detailed investigative work counts: many of your more volume-oriented lawyers do not have this kind of heavy analytical lifting in their business model. Use lawyers who work hard, study hard, and take pride in finding every angle, for every client, every time. This truly is the concept on which Traywick & Traywick is founded- it guides our approach every day. David Traywick—is available to speak with you about your accident at any time.