As the number of vehicles traveling across Illinois roads increases, so does the volume of highway construction projects drivers encounter along the way. Even though highway maintenance and construction is essential, road construction sites can create road hazards that lead to dangerous accidents that injure or kill drivers and construction workers.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) says 6,011 car crashes occurred in Illinois in 2010 in roadway construction or maintenance areas or near utility workers or designated work-zone areas. Of these wrecks, 28 were fatal crashes that claimed 32 lives. Three of the people killed were roadway construction workers. Another 1,405 of these highway construction accidents resulted in personal injuries to 2,041 people, according to IDOT.
Illinois Law Is Aimed at Preventing Highway Construction Accidents
Accidents at highway construction sites continue to happen despite efforts by the state of Illinois to promote safety.
When a driver approaches or enters a road construction or maintenance area, the Illinois Vehicle Code requires a driver to:
- Discontinue wireless / cell phone use
- Slow down
- Yield to any authorized vehicles or workers in the area
- Move into a lane away from the workers and proceed with caution. (If a lane change is not possible, the driver is to reduce speed and proceed with caution.)
Illinois law also mandates stiff penalties for speeding and/or being involved in an accident in an Illinois construction zone. Offenders are subject to a minimum fine of $375 for speeding in a work zone. Repeat offenders face a $1,000 fine. Drivers ticketed twice in two years lose their driving privileges for 90 days.
If speeding in a construction zone results in an accident, the driver faces a $10,000 maximum fine and having their driver’s license suspended for anywhere from 90 days up to two years.
If a driver speeding in a work zone causes the death of another person, the driver could be sentenced to three to 28 years in prison upon conviction.
What Causes Highway Construction Accidents?
While any worksite can be dangerous, highway construction projects are particularly dangerous due to several different factors:
- Drivers who fail to observe traffic safety rules, such as those engaged in speeding, driving while impaired (drunk or drugged driving) or otherwise driving in a careless or reckless manner, can quickly collide with construction site equipment and/or workers and cause a serious accident.
- Because construction sites share space with vehicles traveling at high speeds, even slightly misplaced equipment or road markers can create a road hazard.
- Highway construction projects may be contracted out to independent construction companies that fail to follow state safety regulations.
- Lack of adequate warning signs may mean drivers do not have enough time to adjust their speed as they approach a construction site.
- Road hazards, such as sharp curves or dips, may not be properly marked, and drivers may not be able to slow down or stop suddenly when they come upon a construction site unexpectedly.
- Weather conditions that make driving more difficult can turn a construction site into an accident site when construction companies fail to anticipate or understand the effect of weather on driving conditions.
Legal Help After a Chicago Highway Construction Accident
Construction companies, independent contractors and others involved in highway construction have a duty to the public to complete their construction projects in a timely manner without endangering drivers. If someone is injured or killed in a vehicle accident caused by hazards in an improperly prepared work zone, the government entities or the contractors involved may be held liable for the losses the accident victims suffer.
When a driver’s negligence or recklessness has caused a car crash in a work zone, and a construction worker, another driver or any other person has been harmed, the driver at fault should be held liable for the losses, pain and suffering of anyone who was injured.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our Chicago highway construction accident attorneys understand how to investigate work zone accident scenes properly to determine what went wrong and who should be held accountable. We know the relevant state safety laws and how to review the scene and assess whether any regulatory violations occurred. Our legal team also examines other factors involved in highway construction accidents, such as defective construction equipment or inadequate warning signs, to assign liability to the responsible party or parties.
We know that if you have been injured in a highway construction accident, you may be facing serious medical challenges that you shouldn’t have to handle on your own. Whether your accident was caused by the negligence of a construction worker, the manufacturer of faulty construction equipment, a contractor’s failure to maintain proper site safety standards, or a reckless driver, you deserve answers and compensation for your injuries.
Contact Our Chicago Highway Construction Accident Lawyers Today
If you have suffered serious injury in a work-zone accident, the Chicago highway construction accident attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can help you obtain compensation to assist you with medical expenses and other losses.
Contact the highway construction accident lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. today at our toll-free number, or use our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. You will not pay for our legal services unless we obtain compensation for you and your family.