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Work zone accidents on the rise causing worker injury and death

| Jul 14, 2021 | workers' compensation |

In Maryland, road work is a common aspect of the warmer months. This is important to maintain, repair and improve the roads to enhance safety. While the goal is to ensure drivers and passengers are safer on the roadways, the actual work is risky on its own. Work zones are a breeding ground for auto accidents in which construction employees are in the crosshairs. As with any construction job, there will be heavy equipment, complex tools, the need to coordinate with fellow workers and weather-related challenges. When the construction is on a busy roadway, it adds another layer to the possibility of an accident with injuries and death. For those who have been impacted, it is important to understand the workers’ compensation process to recover for what was lost.

Emptier roadways did not prevent road work zone accidents

In the past 15 months, the roads were comparatively empty in the context of how busy they usually are. Despite that, there was a rise in work zone accidents. Since the roads were less congested, municipalities decided to move forward with road projects that would cause traffic jams if circumstances were normal. The idea was that workers would be safer. In truth, there was a spike in work zone crashes.

When surveyed, 60% of contractors who were hired to perform road construction said there was a work zone auto accident. Part of that is believed to be directly related to the lack of traffic as drivers took the opportunity of fewer vehicles to slow them down and reduced law enforcement to commit various violations they otherwise would not. This includes speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence and other dangerous behaviors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there was a 7% increase in road fatalities despite a 13% reduction in miles driven.

Drivers were found not just to speed through work zones, but to speed excessively at more than 100 mph. Anecdotal evidence shows multiple deaths for workers. Even as society slowly returns to normal, drivers are still speeding. Attempts to make work zones safer include enhanced training, improved technology and the toughening of laws so the consequences for drivers are worse and they might be dissuaded from committing a violation. Just recently, a Maryland construction worker lost his life when he was hit while working in a road zone. A tractor-trailer hit the 33-year-old as he was setting up the area with signs.

Workers’ compensation may be available for injured construction workers

These work zone accidents can cause injuries and fatalities. For those who have been hurt, there can be a litany of issues they must navigate including medical expenses, lost income and the possibility that they will no longer have the physical capabilities to perform the same work as they did before.

It is not just an auto accident that can cause a construction worker to need medical care, but repetitive stress or an accident involving a fellow worker. The tasks of construction work are arduous and can cause damage. Neck injuries, back injuries, broken bones, brain trauma – all can happen when performing physical labor on a construction site.

There are specific requirements when seeking workers’ compensation benefits and a small mistake can damage the case and even result in a claim being denied. Having assistance with a case is imperative and that could be the difference between maximizing benefits and facing an uncertain personal, physical and professional future.