Experienced Kansas City Work Zone Accident Lawyers
Skilled representation for injured drivers and workers in MO and KS
Work construction crews seem to be constantly repairing Interstates 70 and 435 and many of the numerous state, city, and rural roads in and near Kansas City. Road work includes widening lanes, building new roads, and repairing potholes, and other wear and tear to roads. Construction work along the roads also includes trimming trees and utility work. The companies that do the construction work have a duty to ensure that work zone accidents don’t happen. A failure to protect other drivers and pedestrians can be deadly and can cause catastrophic and permanent injuries.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our seasoned car accident lawyers understand the standard procedures road construction companies should follow to prevent accidents. We understand the dangers involved with narrowing lanes and placing cars and pedestrians in proximity to construction workers, construction vehicles, and heavy equipment. We fight to hold construction companies and maintenance companies liable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, and vehicle damage they cause.
Why are work zone accidents in Missouri so common?
According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearing House, in 2019, in Missouri, there were 13 fatal work zone crashes killing 19 people. Nationwide, in 2019, 39,000 people were injured in work zone accidents. 1,000 of the people who were injured were pedestrians. In general, motorcycle riders make up about 10% of all work zone fatalities each year.
Roadwork places workers and vehicles near each other – often, on roads that have high speed limits. Road construction often requires closing lanes requiring cars to merge into other lanes – sometimes when the traffic is already heavily congested. Drivers can become easily confused about when and where they should shift into other lances. The combination of heavy traffic and merging lanes is a recipe for disaster.
Construction work along roadways is also dangerous because the road surfaces are often uneven. Drivers may have to drive on roads that have been stripped down, are filled with dirt and gravel, and across lanes that have different surfaces. Many roads are poorly lit which makes driving around construction sites when it’s dark especially dangerous.
What are the causes of work zone accidents?
There are many safety steps construction site companies should take to ensure that accidents don’t occur. Some of the many causes of accidents that the companies should anticipate include:
- The construction zone route designs force cars, trucks, and other vehicles to make sudden decisions.
- The route designs force drivers to make risky moves.
- There aren’t proper warning signs, the warning signs are not clear, or the warning signs are placed too close to the construction work.
- The cones to control traffic are not properly placed.
- The detour signs are confusing or are not visible.
- Any barricades that are set up to force traffic into other lanes are not placed in a position to help drivers avoid the construction site or cars in other lanes of traffic.
- The lanes near the construction site are not properly marked.
- The construction equipment, such as bulldozers or vehicles that lift workers up into the trees, are too close to moving traffic.
Construction companies are also required to follow roadway maintenance guidelines issued by the Federal Highway Traffic Administration and any state or local regulations. The construction companies should also make sure their workers are properly trained.
Work zone accidents may be the fault of other drivers. Even if the warnings are clear, other drivers may be in too much of a hurry to respond in time. Other drivers may cause accidents because drivers are:
- Speeding. The speed limit where construction work is being done is usually reduced. Drivers may fail to reduce their speed accordingly. Drivers may often speed up to be able to shift into other lanes. Drivers are often warned that speeding in a construction work zone will result in double fines.
- Distraction. Drivers who are texting while driving or talking on their cellphone while driving often fail to see the road warnings until it’s too late. Distracted drivers are likely to rear-end other drivers who have slowed down or stopped in the work zone.
- Improper merging. Most construction sites require that at least one, sometimes two, lanes of traffic merge into other lanes. Many drivers simply don’t practice common courtesy and let drivers merge into their lanes. Some drivers are inattentive and don’t realize they should merge until merging becomes impossible.
Bad weather conditions such as rain and fog only increase the possibility of work zone accidents in Missouri and Kansas.
Who is liable for Kansas City work zone accidents?
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we file personal injury lawsuits against all responsible defendants including:
- The construction site companies and road crews who are responsible for the road work. These companies have a duty to understand and follow standard safety protocols to reduce the risk of serious accidents. These companies should thoroughly think through all safety precautions in advance of any road work - where the lanes need to shift, where the warning signs should be posted, what steps are needed to inform nearby drivers and pedestrians, and how best to protect their workers.
- Negligent drivers. Drivers have a responsibility to slow down and follow the road construction instructions and detours. Drivers who fail to drive carefully should be held accountable for any injuries or deaths they cause.
- A state or local government agency. The Missouri Department of Transportation, the Kansas Department of Transportation, or other state/local government agencies who are responsible for the design and maintenance of their roads may also be liable. There are special requirements such as providing a timely notice involved with claims against the government.
Other defendants may be liable depending on how the accident happened.
Who can file a work zone accident claim in Kansas City?
Any driver, passenger, or pedestrian who is injured in a work zone accident can file a personal injury claim against the responsible defendants. Construction workers who are not employees can also file a personal injury claim.
Injured employees are required to file a workers’ compensation claim. The families of employees killed in a work zone accident should be entitled to death benefits.
The families of anyone who is killed in a road construction accident can file a wrongful death claim – if the deceased could have filed a personal injury claim had he/she lived.
Do you have a work zone injury attorney near me?
Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys maintains five different locations throughout Missouri and Kansas. Our Kansas City office is located at 510 Walnut Street, close to City Hall.
Injured in a work zone accident? Our Kansas City car accident lawyers are ready to help.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our lawyers have been fighting for accident victims for 30 years. We work with investigators and experienced road construction professionals to show how your accident happened, and why it should have been avoided. We settle many personal injury cases for the insurance policy limits. We’re ready to try your case before a jury if necessary. We also are skilled workers’ compensation lawyers.
To discuss your work zone accident claim, call us at 816-471-5111, start a live chat today, or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation. From our headquarters in Kansas City, we represent clients across Kansas and Missouri. We have offices in Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph, and Parkville, MO as well as Overland Park and Olathe, KS available by appointment.