Working road construction may be a satisfying job, but there is no denying its dangers. You may experience near misses practically every day on the job. Perhaps you are now recovering from injuries you sustained when a car or truck hit you at a worksite.
If your department follows Florida protocol, it probably uses a variety of safety measures to alert drivers to slow down for construction sites. Some of the common devices include:
Nevertheless, drivers often ignore these precautions and speed through constructions zones out of frustration or impatience. One third of fatal work zone accidents occur because a driver disobeyed warnings to slow down.
Improving roads for others at your own risk
The safety zone may include several miles before and after the area where your crew is actually working. Reduced speed limits may extend because of the need for slow-moving equipment to reach the work site safely. If your job includes maneuvering construction equipment through traffic, you certainly appreciate considerate motorists who place your safety ahead of their own speed.
Road construction is usually about improving travel for everyone. This may mean changing the traffic pattern, either temporarily or permanently. Drivers who aren't alert to those changes or who don't slow down to accommodate them may be unable to control their vehicles. This places you in danger.
Swimming with sharks
Flaggers often stand in the lane of traffic, exposed to distracted or careless drivers. While your job is to help motorists to navigate what may be a dangerous or unfamiliar traffic pattern, you place yourself in harm's way. Drivers who are concerned with changing the radio station, sending a text or rubbernecking run the risk of hitting you before they even realize you are there.
Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reveal that traffic accidents at road construction sites result in 40,000 injuries each year. Six hundred more suffer fatal injuries. Florida is one of three states with 50 or more such deaths each year.
Recovering what you deserve
If you have been injured by a motorist while you were working in a road construction zone, you should receive your rightful benefits from workers' compensation. However, you may also be eligible to receive additional compensation through a third party personal injury case if the motorist who struck you is deemed responsible for your injuries. You have every right to consult an attorney about this possibility.
Not only will your lawyer help you deal with workers' compensation insurance issues, but an experienced attorney will have the resources to investigate your third-party claim and work toward getting you the compensation you need to make a full recovery from your injuries.