Work Zone Accidents
In 2014, Texas had the most work zone crash fatalities of any state. These accidents can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, or even a tragic death. In most cases, the Texas Department of Transportation keeps an updated work zone area map, which can help you be alert to this type of situation. The government and its contractors are supposed to post warning signs ahead of a work zone to alert all drivers to a change in driving conditions. For example, lanes may narrow from three all the way to one lane, or the surface of the road may change dramatically, necessitating a reduction in speed. However, in some cases, no warnings are posted or the warnings are insufficient. In other cases, a distracted driver fails to notice the warnings. People who have been hurt in a work zone crash in the Dallas area can explore their options with car accident lawyer Nick Feizy, who has the knowledge and skill to protect their rights.Establishing the Right to Damages after a Work Zone Crash
Under the Texas Transportation Code, a work zone is an area of a street or highway where construction or maintenance is being undertaken, and it is marked with signs indicating it is a construction or work zone. It is common for drivers to misunderstand what they should do in a work zone and thereby cause an accident. The most common reasons for fatal work zone accidents are drivers who misunderstand the path through the zone, drivers who are surprised by an obstacle in the zone, drivers who are confused by the complexity of navigating the work zone, drivers who are not quick to react when approaching the work zone, and unsafe pavement conditions.
If another driver in a work zone causes a crash in which you are injured, you may choose to file a negligence claim. To prove negligence, you would need to show the defendant's duty of care, the defendant's breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and damages. All drivers owe a duty to other drivers to drive with reasonable care, considering the traffic and weather conditions. In most cases, failing to pay attention to warning signs or driving aggressively in a work zone is a breach of duty.
However, in some cases, there are no warning signs or the instructions being given about how to navigate the work zone would be confusing even to someone using reasonable care and paying attention. In that case, the government or the construction company may be responsible for the accident. Governments and their agencies have what is called "sovereign immunity." You cannot sue the government unless it has waived its immunity with regard to the type of lawsuit you are bringing.
Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, a government entity may be liable for personal injuries and deaths caused by conditions on real property if it would be liable as a private party. The government entity thus may be held responsible to a plaintiff in the same way that a private person would be liable to a licensee on private property. This means that the government entity owes drivers the duty not to injure them by willful, wanton, or grossly negligent conduct. It is supposed to make reasonably safe any hazardous conditions of which drivers would not be aware.
Moreover, the government also has a duty to warn of "special defects" such as excavations or obstructions. Whether a condition that causes a work zone accident is a special defect is generally an issue of law. An example of a special defect would include a situation in which a ramp installed as a temporary road repair stopped rainwater from draining and created a pool of standing water that obscured uneven concrete below it.Discuss Your Car Accident Case with a Dallas Lawyer
If you were hurt by another party’s negligence in a Dallas work zone, it is important to retain a motor vehicle collision attorney who understands the shorter timelines and notice requirements involved when suing the government. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent injured individuals in other Texas cities, such as Fort Worth, Irving, Garland, Arlington, and Plano.