Construction Zone Accidents with Trucks and Buses

[Page Updated 06/20/2022] Suppose you got injured in a crash like this, which was not your responsibility.

LA County Truck Crash Lawyer, Michael Ehline

In that case, a California construction accident lawyer might be able to help you go after compensation for your losses and injuries. 

Here are some items of information you should know about construction zone accidents involving trucks and buses:
When traveling past construction zones, motorists must slow down and be aware of lane changes, reductions in the speed limit, personnel, and heavy machinery.
The truth is that when a truck or bus approaches a construction zone, the dangers increase.Due to their sheer weight and size, 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles need more space to slow down than other motor vehicles. A truck driver’s negligence, whether due to weariness, distracted driving, or ignoring the speed limits, is enough to cause a construction zone truck accident, which can be devastating.

Posted on Premises Liability Blog / Blog /Construction Zone Accidents with Trucks and Buses

Moreover, other motorists, construction workers, pedestrians, cyclists, and passengers could be victims when these accidents occur. Suppose you were injured in an accident involving a bus or truck caused by someone else’s negligence. In that case, a construction accident lawyer might be able to assist you in obtaining compensation for your damages.

Contact Ehline Law Firm today to find out how you can file a personal injury claim. We are the epitome of service and compassion. We can help you recover an award of maximum financial compensation and hold your hand through the insurance settlement and litigation process. Book a free consultation with an experienced construction zone accident lawyer!

What Are the Most Common Types of Construction Zone Truck Accidents?

The two most common accidents in construction zones are head-on and rear-end collisions.

  • Head-on Collisions. These accidents occur when the front end of one vehicle collides with the front end of another.

    A driver swerving suddenly to prevent another accident, failing to manage an unexpected change in the direction of traffic, failing to heed the warnings or directions from traffic regulators, or losing control of the vehicle are all common causes of head-on collisions.  

  • Rear-end Collisions. A rear-end crash can occur when a driver travels too fast and cannot break in time to avoid the car in front of him or her. Typically, a semi-truck moving too fast in a construction zone can collide with the car in front of it.

    These collisions can happen if there is a lane change in the construction zone and the truck driver has problems merging or tries to avoid hitting one vehicle but collides with another.

Why Do Truck Accidents Occur in Construction Zones?

A buildup of traffic near a highway construction zone increases the inconvenience that highway construction may bring. Work zones may require the closure of one or more traffic lanes, and vehicles are often diverted, resulting in congestion and delay.

Construction work zones are notoriously disorderly, with a high volume of pedestrian and mechanical activity and perplexing changes in road access, lower speed restrictions, and constricted lanes for road users. Transportation accidents are responsible for over 75% of all occupational accidents in highway work zones, making them a common cause of fatalities and injuries.

Over 60% of construction zone worker fatalities happened when the worker was hit by a vehicle. Trucks and buses have design elements that limit the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, which is related primarily to their enormous size.

How Often Do These Construction Zone Accidents Occur?

According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (NWZSIC), 672 fatal collisions occurred in construction work zones across the United States in 2018, with 30% involving large trucks. In the same year, 228 people died in deadly construction zone truck accidents, compared to an average of 236 fatalities per year from 2015 to 2017. Also, each year about 100 construction related bus wrecks occur.

Moreover, there were more than 18,000 construction zone accidents involving heavy vehicles in 2017, with 2,000 resulting in over 4,000 injuries.

Altogether, large commercial vehicles are involved in about 40% of fatal construction zone incidents on interstate city highways and over 50% of fatal construction zone accidents that occur on remote interstates, according to the NWZSIC. 

Large commercial trucks are also much more likely to become involved in deadly construction work zone accidents on other major highways in remote regions than other vehicles.

The NWZSIC is a project undertaken by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) that is working with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the Federal Highway Administration.

What Makes Trucks and Buses So Hard to Maneuver?

The following factors influence a driver’s ability to control large vehicles and contribute to the prevalence of construction zone accidents with trucks and buses:

  1.  Center of Gravity

    A large vehicle has a higher center of gravity than smaller vehicles and is more likely to topple over when making a quick turn. This is especially dangerous if the driver attempts an evasive move or a truck is loaded incorrectly, resulting in a weight imbalance.

    Drivers are forced to make sudden sharp turns when they encounter temporary lane configurations, which are common in construction zones. The more perplexing the area is for drivers, the more likely they will undertake an evasive move to avoid colliding with a car or pedestrian.

  2.  It Takes Longer to Slow Down

    When a driver detects danger on the road and hits the brakes, a particular distance must slow down or come to a complete stop. However, large trucks and buses require a greater distance than smaller vehicles.

    Because larger vehicles have a greater mass than smaller vehicles to increase their strength and stability, they have greater momentum when traveling at the same speed as cars. Therefore, this greater momentum will require a greater force to bring the vehicle to a stop.

    Buses and trucks may require approximately 50% more stopping distance than regular applying an equal force is applied. A truck going at a greater speed or traveling on a wet or snowy road will also require a greater distance to slow down.

  3. More Blind Spots

    Blind spots are regions a driver cannot see in the side or rear mirrors and require the driver to glance over his or her shoulder to change lanes or reverse. Due to their size, trucks and buses have more blind spots than cars on all four sides of the vehicle. If cars or construction workers are in a truck’s blind spot and the driver fails to check these areas frequently, they risk causing a construction zone accident.

  4. Wider Body

    Large trucks and buses have a wider body than cars, making it a lot more difficult for them to travel past roadways with construction zones, as these roads are usually narrower. When a driver underestimates the distance he or she must travel through, it can endanger workers, pedestrians, and other vehicles.

What Other Factors Contribute to Construction Zone Truck Accidents?

In addition to the features of large vehicles, several factors contribute to construction zone accidents with trucks and buses.

Traveling Over the Speed Limits

When drivers travel over the legal speed limits and encounter a construction zone, it can increase the time needed to slow down their vehicle. Speeding entails exceeding the legal speed limit and the speed limit for the work zone.

At a construction site, the speed limit is usually lowered to facilitate the movement of pedestrian traffic and construction equipment on the roadway. Authorities in the construction area must frequently strike a balance between ensuring the safety of construction zone employees and keeping traffic moving constantly to prevent a slew of other issues caused by congestion. 

Distracted Driving

As the available technology grows, the likelihood of distracted driving grows as well. Drivers who are distracted by passengers, their cell phones, food or drink, or engaged in any other sort of cognitive, physical, or visual distraction can miss key indications or changes in lane orientation, resulting in a collision.

Truck and bus drivers are not exempt from such distractions, and operating a large vehicle while distracted through a work zone puts the people on the bus or truck and construction zone workers in danger. 

Tailgating

Tailgating is when one car follows another very closely. When this happens, it can cause that vehicle to collide with the one in front of it should the driver encounter a construction zone and need to slow down abruptly.  

Sudden stops are common in construction zones, and they’re a tricky move for trucks and buses since they demand a greater stopping distance. Therefore, the risk of accidents when these vehicles tailgate other vehicles is much greater, especially near construction zones.

Merging

Another common characteristic of work zones is that all impacted travel lanes combine as vehicles reach the area. Merging in a heavy truck with numerous blind spots is challenging because other drivers may be hesitant to let the vehicle pass. Additionally, the heavy vehicle driver may not be able to see other cars in the lane he or she is merging into because they are in a blind spot.

Fatigue or Impairment

Drivers need certain skills in order to travel safely. This includes responding to changes in conditions, maintaining a travel lane, and changing lanes safely. These abilities are all affected by fatigue and alcohol impairment. Bus and truck drivers require frequent drug and alcohol tests to ensure that they are in line with federal standards and are not endangering lives.

While drug and alcohol testing helps avoid many instances of drunk or intoxicated driving, some drivers still choose to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Additionally, fatigue is a significant problem for the drivers of commercial vehicles, who spend long periods on the road and frequently work late into the night when they tend to be more tired.

Incorrect Setup at Construction Zones

While the bus or truck driver is often to blame for many construction zone accidents, how the area is set up contributes to some of the incidents.

Construction zones that do not have the appropriate signage, barriers, cones, or speed warning signs can increase the likelihood of an accident. Moreover, poor illumination can cause these accidents if drivers cannot see the warning signs or barriers. 

Poor Visibility Due to Bad Weather Conditions

Drivers traveling through construction work zones confront a variety of hazards, including poor visibility and slick surfaces due to bad weather. It makes driving a large vehicle with limited mobility even more challenging.

Slippery surfaces could also increase the distance a large vehicle will need to slow down or come to a complete stop. Bus and truck drivers must obtain sufficient training in order to drive their vehicles safely in such conditions. 

Defective Parts

In some cases, manufacturing defects can cause construction zone accidents. If a truck or bus has defective breaks and they aren’t able to stop in time, for example, this could lead to a construction zone accident.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Construction Zone Truck Accident?

We cannot file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against all the other people involved in the accident right away. First, we must prove all four of the following factors to establish the fault of the negligent party: Most victims of construction zone accidents involving trucks and buses often believe that the driver is the only one to blame. However, there are other parties that can also be held liable. Your construction accident lawyer will help you determine who is responsible for your damages. In the meantime, here are some of the parties that can be held liable following a bus or truck crash.

The Bus or Truck Driver

Fatal work zone accidents could occur if drivers are distracted, impaired, or negligent when traveling through construction work zones. These actions may lead the driver to lose control of the truck or bus, resulting in a collision with other vehicles, construction equipment, or construction workers.

The Trucking Company

Trucking companies, bus lines, and transportation authorities all have a duty to verify that the truckers or bus drivers they employ have been adequately trained on different aspects of driving a large vehicle and transporting members of the general public safely.

Furthermore, the trucking company that employs the driver must verify that the driver complies with all other state and federal regulations, such as acquiring the appropriate licenses, taking required breaks to prevent fatigue, and undergoing regular drug and alcohol tests.

To ensure that the vehicle is safe for passengers, the company must have adequate insurance coverage and conduct regular maintenance to ensure that it is functioning at its best.

The Construction Company

Construction sites that are not adequately staged pose significant risks to employees and drivers traveling through them. Failure to sufficiently stage the worksite or putting equipment or building materials in the roadway where they may be hit by cars can result in the construction company being held accountable for any injuries that occur as a result.

Other Motorists

The truth is that it isn’t just bus and truck drivers that cause construction zone accidents. Drivers who act negligently by speeding, ignoring warning signs in construction zones, and cutting in front of large trucks and buses could also cause a construction zone accident. In such cases, these motorists will be held liable for any damages that workers, pedestrians, drivers, and passengers sustain should an accident occur.

Proving Liability in Construction Zone Accidents with Trucks and Buses

When filing a personal injury claim, it is the victim’s duty to prove negligence in a construction zone truck or bus accident. In order to do so, there are four key elements that you will need to prove. They are a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and resultant damages.

  • Duty of Care. The first thing that a plaintiff will need to prove is that the defendant had a duty of care or a responsibility to act in a way that did not threaten them. This factor is generally easy to prove because every motorist traveling on public roads is responsible for driving carefully and respecting traffic laws.

  • Breach of Duty. Next, victims must prove that the defendant failed to provide this duty of care. When a person’s activities do not meet the legal standard, they are considered negligent and have breached their duty to keep others safe. This can be proved by analyzing security footage, photographs taken at the scene of the accident, and more. 

  • Causation. Additionally, the construction zone truck accident must have been caused or exacerbated by this negligent or careless behavior. If a truck driver was negligent, but his or her negligence was not responsible for the accident, he or she cannot be held liable for the damages that the injured parties sustained.

  • Resultant Damages. Finally, plaintiffs must prove that the damages directly resulted from the bus or truck accident. To qualify for compensation in a construction zone truck accident, you must have measurable damages, such as physical injuries or property damage.

What Damages Can You Claim in a Construction Zone Truck or Bus Accident?

You might be eligible to obtain other types of compensation, including pain and suffering, disfigurement, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The total compensation you can pursue to pay pack your losses will lean on the unique facts of your state of affairs. Each negligence claim is different. Even if someone else in your vehicle got hurt, their injuries and damages might have a different settlement value from yours.

A top-rated personal injury lawyer can help you or your family go after the payments you deserve for your injuries. Please do not sleep on your rights by waiting too long to speak to us. Under California law, you are limited in the time you have to bring a lawsuit protecting your right to compensatory damages. If you blow the deadline, you can lose the right to get paid money for your losses forever. Contact our superior law office today. After proving the blameworthiness, the petitioner can usually claim restitution for medical care expenses required to pay for the injuries sustained due to the mishap.

Should your physician believe you will need continuous medical interventions, such as surgery or physical therapy, you can claim for these future expenses. 

You might be entitled to compensation for lost wages if you did not receive a regular paycheck or income due to a construction zone truck accident. Moreover, if your impairments have compelled you to limit your working hours or choose a lower-paying job, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for the loss of earning capacity.

Another recompense, such as disability, emotional distress, and pain and suffering, may be available to you. The amount of compensation you can obtain for your damages will be determined by the specific facts of your case. Every claim is unique. Even if other individuals in your vehicle were injured, their losses and claims might be worth more or less than yours.

A personal injury lawyer can assist you in pursuing the recompense you deserve for your damages. You only have a limited time frame to file a claim to secure your right to monetary damages. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your entitlement to compensation for the rest of your life.

It isn’t always easy to determine what losses you may claim in a construction zone truck accident case. You should get in touch with an experienced attorney from Ehline Law Firm who will guide you through the process and ensure that you receive fair compensation.

When a Construction Zone Accident Leads to a Wrongful Death

Sadly, construction zone truck accidents and accidents involving buses can result in death in some cases. Because these commercial vehicles are so large and heavy, when they collide with pedestrians, they often lead to fatal work zone crashes.

You may be entitled to compensation if you have lost your loved one in a construction-zone truck accident. While filing a wrongful death claim cannot replace what you’ve lost, it can help to hold truck drivers and other negligent parties liable for causing the accident.

Moreover, the unexpected death of a loved one can place an unnecessary financial strain on the family of the bereaved.

However, when you file a wrongful death claim, you can receive compensation to help you recover financially. You can claim the following damages in a wrongful death claim:

  • Funeral expenses

  • Loss of support and companionship

  • Medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident

  • Loss of earnings

To find out more about what you may be entitled to following a fatal bus or truck accident, contact Ehline Law Firm today, and a lawyer will guide you through the process.

Protect Your Legal Rights After Construction Zone Truck Accidents

Highway construction zones need traffic modifications, which all vehicles should be aware of. Passenger vehicles must slow down and combine swiftly, avoiding large vehicles. Additionally, vehicles should stay out of a commercial vehicle’s blind spots as far as possible.

Drivers who are harmed in accidents involving commercial trucks and buses should contact a personal injury attorney who has handled truck accidents before proceeding. Large corporations typically own these vehicles, so it’s essential to have legal representation when filing a lawsuit against them.

While large companies own most commercial trucks, some semis are owned by truck drivers. The difference between the two could substantially influence your claim, which you are entitled to if the truck driver’s carelessness caused your injuries. A knowledgeable construction zone truck accident attorney can help you figure out who owns the truck and who is responsible for a trucker who causes an accident.

Trucking businesses and their insurance companies could dispute the claim or offer victims of accidents unfair settlement offers that do not cover past and future expenses. This is why it is essential to talk to an attorney before accepting settlement offers.

The subcontractor and the local authority responsible for the highway may be held legally accountable if a poorly managed construction work zone led to the accident. Common concerns in accident claims against government institutions include governmental protection and rigorous notification deadlines for ongoing cases. Victims who do not consult a lawyer as soon as possible may be without remedy.

All construction accident victims should seek the advice of a competent attorney who has previously dealt with cases involving commercial companies and is familiar with the intricacies of these matters. If we can pursue a legal claim, we will do so on a contingency basis, which means that you will not be charged a legal fee until your lawyer successfully recovers compensation for you.

Contact a Construction Zone Truck Accident Lawyer Today!

You may be eligible for compensation if you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault. Construction zone truck accidents and collisions involving buses often lead to serious injuries that can change your life forever. It can financially strain families with mounting medical bills and time off work to recover.

However, you can take legal action and hold the negligent parties responsible for your damages by filing a lawsuit. Here are a few reasons to choose Ehline Law Firm to represent you:

  • You get a free consultation and case review to discuss the specifics of your bus or truck accident case

  • We have decades of experience in dealing with construction accidents.

  • If you choose us, you can access 24/7 award-winning legal counsel.

  • Our attorneys will not charge you for their services unless they get you results – we don’t get paid unless you do!

  • We will cover the cost of the investigation and help you find expert witnesses to back up your claim.

  • Because personal injury cases are often traumatic, we always approach every case with respect and care it deserves.

  • Our team has secured over $150 million in compensation for victims, so you have the assurance that you are in good hands.

  • At Ehline Law Firm, we believe you shouldn’t have to travel far to receive sound legal counsel, which is why we have several law offices around California.

Our California personal injury attorney could protect your legal rights if you got injured in a construction support accident. You only have a short period to pursue a legal claim or file a lawsuit. If you blow the deadline, you will waive your ability to seek compensation for your losses.

Get in touch with our experienced personal injury lawyer or book your free consultation with Ehline Law Firm. Contact us today by dialing (213) 596-9642. Alternatively, complete our online form, and we will contact you!


Michael Ehline

Top rated injury lawyer, Michael Ehline in Tuxedo Suit

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.


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