Construction and Work Zone Accidents in Rhode Island

When Lowered Speed Limits and Other Safety Measures Don't Work, We're Here.

traffic going through a construction zone

At 60 miles per hour, you'll travel 1 mile in 1 minute. If you're only going 45 miles per hour, it takes a longer time to go 1 mile. But, not by much: you'll cover the same distance in 1 minute and 25 seconds. Though the two speeds feel much different from behind the wheel, slowdowns affect our travel time.

Road construction accidents may hurt drivers, workers, and even pedestrians. They can involve heavy equipment or dangerous materials. Depending on the accident type and who was involved, questions of fault and liability may quickly become complex.

If you're having trouble getting an insurance settlement after an accident that took place in a construction zone, we may be able to help. Contact our construction and work zone accident attorneys at 401-841-5300.

On This Page:

  • Characteristics of Construction Zone Accidents
  • Who Is Involved in Construction Zone Accidents?
  • How Our Attorneys Can Help

Characteristics of Construction Zone Accidents

With workers all around, traffic patterns disrupted, and the potential for roadway hazards, construction zones require major concentration from drivers. Our state has implemented legal remedies to assist motorists and workers in demanding situations.

Rhode Island's “Move Over Law” requires drivers to slow down or change lanes when approaching construction workers. Work zones may also be assigned temporary speed limits to increase safety. In some cases, these measures are not enough to keep everyone safe.

Common Collisions

Most construction zone accidents include 2 vehicles, but cars may also hit (or be hit by) objects related to the work being carried out. Trends show four types of crashes occur much more than others:

  • Rear End
  • Fixed Object
  • Angle
  • Head On

The danger of each crash type varies depending on the driver's location relative to the roadwork, but overall, rear-end accidents are most common in construction zones. As cars slow down or even stop for obstacles, drivers behind them may not notice or follow suit. Those who are already going slower may close their following distance in impatience, thereby reducing their reaction time. In such situations, the danger of collisions increases.

High Speeds

More construction zone accidents happen above 50 mph than in any other speed bracket, meaning victims may sustain very serious injuries. Drivers simply don't have much time to react when traveling so fast. On a dry road, a car doing 50 mph needs around 300 feet to stop. That's almost the length of a football field. If the road is wet or icy, a car will travel even further before coming to a halt.

Driver Distractions

A study of Kansas work zone accidents found that the biggest contributing factor to these crashes is a driver failing to pay attention. Distracted driving is a hazard on any roadway. Construction zones introduce elements including rough pavement and large trucks entering roadways suddenly. When traffic patterns change, drivers need to focus more, not less.

Who Is Involved in Construction Zone Accidents?

If made to guess, most people would assume that on-the-ground workers suffer the most injuries and fatalities from accidents in construction zones. However, car users are the most common victims.

Negligent Drivers

Three of the four most common collision types in these situations involve two cars. They may take place between two commuters or between a commuter and a worker using a truck or other equipment. When large trucks are involved, accidents are more likely to affect multiple cars. They also cause more fatalities than car-on-car collisions.

Stationary Parties

Perhaps because it's easier to avoid, most accidents don't involve a driver running into workers or equipment. However, drivers who are:

  • too close to the side of the road,
  • driving too quickly, or
  • impaired

may endanger the road crew. Like pedestrians, on-foot workers are easily injured by fast-moving autos. If a parked vehicle is hit, anyone inside it may be thrown around, especially if they are not wearing a seatbelt. There is also the possibility a driver could trap workers by pushing or tipping heavy equipment.

Construction jobs come with enough risk even before considering the danger of unsafe drivers. Employees who are injured may be able to file a claim with their employer's workers' compensation insurance to receive additional benefits during their recovery.

Negligent Workers

Road construction requires the coordination of many workers and heavy pieces of equipment. Failure to properly train workers or secure loads can result in unexpected and unplanned equipment or materials in the roadway. When traveling at high speeds, even small pieces of construction debris can damage a car and cause an accident.

When multiple contractors are involved in the construction efforts, companies might pass blame back and forth in an effort to avoid the costs associated with an accident. A lawyer may be able to bring more clarity to the situation and speed up the resolution.

Our Construction Zone Accident Attorneys Can Help

Karns & Kerrison has the experience and determination to see your case through, even if that means going to trial. We've recovered over $250 million for clients after their lives have been changed by bad accidents. Trying to work with insurers and potentially other companies' legal departments can be difficult and frustrating. You don't have to take on the job alone.

When you work with us, you'll quickly discover why people love our compassionate team. Reach out today if you think you have a case.

You can contact us online or call 401-841-5300 to set up a free consultation.

Contact Us Today

Karns & Kerrison is committed to answering your questions about Personal Injury law issues in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.