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Who is Liable for a Car Accident in a Work Zone?

Posted in Car Accidents on August 23, 2021

Many drivers find traveling through work zones extremely frustrating. They may have tight lanes, restrictions on how many cars can pass, and barriers that make it difficult for a vehicle to pass safely through the area. 

In work zones, however, workers take care of vital repairs to the road. Restrictions to the area, including barriers and signs, help keep those workers and their equipment safe while they complete those repairs. Unfortunately, they may also make it much more difficult for drivers to navigate safely through the area, increasing the risk of an accident.

It can often prove very difficult to determine who bears liability for an accident in a work zone. Following a work zone auto accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney like The Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC to learn more about who may bear liability for your accident and how you can seek compensation. 

Driver Liability in Work Zones

Drivers in work zones must pay careful attention to the road around them as they carefully navigate through the changed lanes left behind by road work requirements. Drivers may bear liability if their negligence in a work zone causes a serious accident.


In many work zones, the speed limit drops considerably when compared to the roads around it. A driver who exceeds the speed limit of the work zone may have a harder time maneuvering through restrictive lanes, which can significantly increase the risk of accidents. Speeding in work zones may also carry heavier penalties than speeding down other stretches of the road. 

Driving While Distracted

Distracted driving claims an estimated 2,800 lives and causes hundreds of thousands of injuries each year. In construction zones, distracted driving can pose an even larger problem than it does on other areas of the road. Distracted drivers may have a hard time seeing what happens around them. That problem can increase as a construction worker gets too near a barrier, especially an intangible barrier that does not offer enough protection to stop a speeding car. Distraction can also increase the risk of rear-end collisions as other drivers slow down in an effort to safely navigate through the construction zone. Just as distracted drivers may bear liability for accidents caused by their negligence outside construction zones, they may bear liability for using their phones in construction zones. 

Ignoring Clear Directions, Including Signs and Signals

In many construction zones, the workers put up clear signals that help guide drivers through the shifting lanes that occur as a result of the construction. They may put up flashing lights, directional signs, or simply road signs that contain instructions intended to help guide drivers and give them warning about the challenges they may face ahead. Some drivers, however, may choose to ignore those signs completely. Instead, they may speed freely through construction areas, failing to drop their speed or driving in areas blocked off by construction traffic cones or other signs. When a driver drifts outside that assigned area, it can significantly raise the risk of an accident.

Construction Company Liability in Work Zones

Often, a driver bears liability for negligent actions behind the wheel in a work zone. Sometimes, however, the driver may exercise every possible precaution, but still end up involved in an accident. What happens when the construction company commits dangerous acts of negligence that increase the risk of accidents in those construction zones?

Construction companies who work on the road have a high duty of care to drivers who need to use those roads to reach their destinations. If the construction company violates that duty of care, the company may bear liability for the accident. 

A Construction Company-Owned Vehicle or Piece of Equipment Causes an Accident

Sometimes, it may not be the driver of a passenger vehicle on the road that slips out of its assigned lane. Instead, a construction vehicle or piece of heavy equipment may come out from behind the barrier, resulting in serious injury to both the construction worker and the driver. If a construction worker’s error leads to a car accident, the construction company may bear liability. 

The Company Fails to Put Up Adequate Signs

Safely navigating a construction zone often relies on clear signs, lane markers, and barriers that make it easier for drivers to see what they will need to do next. Unfortunately, some construction companies do not put up adequate signs in their work zones. If the workers fail to put up the signs needed to ensure safe passage for drivers, the company may bear liability for any accident caused by that lack of signage.

The Company Blinds Drivers with Excess Lights

Often, construction companies work on busy streets at night so they can minimize their impact on the busiest times of the day on the road. In order to see, however, they may put up very large spotlights designed to illuminate the area as clearly as day. If the workers put those lights in the wrong position, they can flash into the eyes of drivers on the road, leaving the driver blinded and making it very hard for him to navigate safely. 

The Company Places Dangerous Hazards on the Road

Sometimes, construction companies may fail to properly maintain the site or to keep track of their equipment or debris. In some cases, construction debris has made its way onto the road, causing serious hazards for drivers and ultimately resulting in accidents with serious injury. If a construction company’s failure to properly maintain a work site leads to debris in the road that causes a serious accident, the company may bear liability. 

Confusing Designations and Instructions

In addition to direct acts of negligence that may cause severe accidents, construction companies may bear liability when they fail to provide the instructions and designations needed for drivers to figure out how to safely navigate the construction zone, including which lanes they can use or which areas are blocked off. 

Did you suffer serious injuries in a work zone car accident? You may have grounds to file a personal injury claim that can help you seek compensation for those injuries. Contact the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC at 504-500-5000 to learn more about your right to compensation.