According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, Illinois ranks among the top five states in the country with the most fatalities at road construction sites. Even if these accidents do not result in death, collisions between workers and vehicles or heavy machinery can lead to the life and future of a worker.
If you were a victim in a road construction accident in Chicago, the road construction accident lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates may be able to help.
Steps to take after a road construction accident
The steps you take in the aftermath of a road construction accident can have a major impact on your ability to recover compensation for the injury. If you’ve been involved in an accident at a road construction site, whether or not you believe you’re injured, act carefully and take the following steps.
1. Call 911
Prompt attention from emergency medical personnel and law enforcement is essential after any type of accident. The paramedics can screen all involved parties for signs of injury and ensure that injured parties receive the medical help they need. Likewise, the responding police officer can investigate the accident and create an official report that may be used as evidence in a claim for compensation.
2. Gather evidence
While the accident scene is still fresh, you should take a few moments to document it. Take pictures of the vehicles, roadway, safety signage, equipment damage, contributing hazards, visible injuries, and any other evidence that may help to demonstrate what happened. It’s also a good idea to gather the names and contact information of all witnesses.
3. Seek medical attention
It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you’re able, even if you don’t feel injured. Some types of injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, can take time to manifest. The sooner you get checked out by a doctor, the easier it will be to prove that your injuries are related to the accident.
4. File a report with your employer
Once you’ve taken care of your immediate needs, you should formally notify your employer of the accident. Your employer will likely have an official accident report form for you to complete. It’s important to be thorough and accurate in this report — it will likely be used as evidence if you decide to seek compensation.
5. Speak with an attorney
After an accident at a road construction site, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Chicago road construction accident lawyer experienced in representing victims of road construction accidents. They can help you determine if you have a claim for compensation and guide you through your next steps.
Examples of roadway construction accidents
As at any construction site, there is always a possibility of injury. From any number of sources, whether equipment, debris, or the actions of other workers, injuries can occur. Some types of accidents are unique to roadway construction projects, and the consequences to workers can be very serious.
Passing vehicles striking a flagman
The flagman works directly in the line of traffic, helping to ensure that cars stay away from workers. He or she also directs drivers to behave safely in the vicinity of the work site. As a flagman, you are almost entirely at the mercy of any inattentive or reckless driver.
The risk is even greater if you were not properly positioned if you did not receive adequate training on the job you were asked to do, or if you were not provided with appropriate safety and protective equipment.
Passing vehicles striking a worker
If you are active in the road work zone, there is always the possibility that a driver will strike you. This could be the consequence of a driving error, but it could also be the result of inadequate planning or defense of a safety zone for the work that is being done.
Construction equipment striking a worker
Road repairs can require heavy equipment such as dump trucks, bulldozers, or excavators. These vehicles can strike workers as they back up or cause them to be stuck between the vehicle and an object.
Causes of road construction accidents
Often, the negligence or recklessness of drivers is to blame for roadway construction accidents. Inattentive, aggressive, or impaired drivers can cause serious injuries or fatalities when they exceed the speed limit, ignore signs or traffic directions, or fail to merge properly.
Employer or worker negligence may also play a role in some road construction accidents. Employers may fail to provide workers with the proper safety equipment or training, which can increase the risk of accidents. Similarly, workers may fail to follow safety protocols or use equipment improperly, endangering themselves, other workers, and passing drivers.
Common road construction accident injuries
The injuries resulting from road construction accidents are often severe and can involve the entire body. Common examples include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains, strains, and ligament tears
- Lacerations (deep cuts) and contusions (bruises)
- Internal organ damage
These injuries can often result in long-term disability and may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. A severely injured worker may even be left permanently disabled by paralysis, brain damage, or limb loss.
Wrongful death in road construction accidents
Unfortunately, not all victims of road construction accidents survive. When a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, the surviving family members may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against any responsible party.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, loved ones may seek financial compensation for damages such as funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses incurred before the victim’s death, loss of income, and loss of companionship. While this compensation won’t bring back the deceased, it can help to ease the financial strain of the loss and provide closure for grieving family members.
Understanding workers’ compensation
Victims of road construction accidents usually qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to employees who have been injured on the job.
Nearly all part-time and full-time employees in Illinois are covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Those who qualify after a work-related injury may receive payments for medical bills, lost wages, and certain other damages stemming from the injury.
In addition to workers’ compensation, there may be other forms of legal remedy available to those injured in these accidents that can potentially provide more compensation. Although you generally can’t file a personal injury claim against your employer, you may be able to file one against a third party whose negligence contributed to the accident.
Make sure you meet the deadline to file a claim
Civil claims for compensation in Illinois are generally subject to a strict deadline known as the statute of limitations. If you intend to file a personal injury claim against a liable third party, you must do so within two years of the accident. Missing this deadline could result in you being barred from recovering compensation for your injuries.
A separate set of deadlines applies to workers’ compensation claims. When the injury was caused by a single event such as a road construction accident, the injured employee must report the accident to their employer within 45 days of the accident. Exceptions may apply in certain circumstances, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and consult a road construction accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Possible damages to claim
The primary purpose of legal action after a road construction injury is to seek compensation for the losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. These losses, known as damages, typically fall under one of two categories: economic and non-economic.
Any losses with a clear financial value, such as medical expenses and lost wages, can be considered economic damages. These types of damages are available in both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims, but personal injury claims tend to account for a more comprehensive range of economic damages.
Non-economic damages don’t have a fixed financial value and are designed to compensate victims for intangible losses stemming from the injury. These types of damages are only available in personal injury claims, with common examples including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Parties who may be liable for your claim
If you’re eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim, we’ll need to identify the liable parties before moving forward. In road construction accidents, liable parties may include:
- The driver of the vehicle that struck the worker
- An independent contractor or a third-party company that was working on the site
- The road construction company that manages the project
- A government agency responsible for overseeing the project
- The manufacturer of any defective equipment or machinery
When you bring your case to our Chicago personal injury attorneys, we’ll work diligently to identify all liable parties so that you can receive the maximum amount of compensation.
How a Chicago road construction accident lawyer can prove liability
After we’ve identified the liable parties, we’ll need to prove that they owed you a duty of care and breached that duty in some way, leading to your injury. We’ll do this by collecting evidence such as witness statements, police reports, photographs of the accident scene, and surveillance video.
We may also consult experts in the field to help establish liability. Our experienced road construction accident lawyers in Chicago have access to a wide network of industry professionals, such as accident reconstruction experts and medical practitioners.
Cost of hiring a road construction lawyer in Chicago
Money is often tight after suffering a work injury, and the last thing you need to worry about is the cost of quality legal representation. That’s why our attorneys work on a contingency basis.
This means that you won’t have to pay legal fees unless we recover compensation for your claim. Our fees will be deducted from your settlement or award at the conclusion of the case, so you never have to worry about out-of-pocket costs.
Why hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
If you have been injured in a road construction accident, it’s vital that your rights and interests are protected by an experienced Chicago work injury attorney. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we are recognized as the premier Chicago work injury law firm. We have recovered what was the largest verdict ever awarded in Illinois history. You can trust us to do right by you and your family.
No-cost, no-obligation consultation
A no-cost consultation will give you important insight into the strength of your case. We can provide the options that you have for seeking compensation. Our Chicago construction accident attorneys have secured more than $1 billion in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. We are personally dedicated to achieving justice and full compensation for those we represent.
Proven track record
Our Chicago road construction accident lawyers take great pride in the fact that we have achieved substantial settlements in cases other firms feared to take on. These cases were complex and required trial experience, both of which we are well-equipped to handle.
During three generations of service to workers in Illinois, we’ve learned a great deal about the body of law that relates to workplace injuries. Our Illinois personal injury attorneys know the effective legal strategies to employ in injury claims.
Our Chicago road construction accident lawyers are here to help
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates take responsibility for the costs associated with establishing, presenting, and, if necessary, litigating your case, with no fees due until the case is resolved. You won’t be asked to pay until we have achieved a settlement or verdict in your favor.