Arizona’s Road Construction Projects Create Dangerous Driving Conditions

Road construction zones often present shifting traffic patterns and uneven surfaces for car and truck drivers to navigate. Often, there is little notice of these dangerous conditions. On an average day, 11 automobile accidents take place in Arizona road construction zones. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT), these accidents have accounted for over 80 deaths and more than 11,000 injuries in the past five years. Drivers and their passengers account for the vast majority of the people hurt in these accidents.

Car Accidents in Construction Zones

Construction zones are a common sight on Arizona roads these days. Many major construction projects, such as those currently underway on Interstates 10 and 17, Highway 93 and State Routes 92 and 179, are expected to extend to late 2009 or 2010. These projects cause general upheaval that can result in hazardous road conditions, including:

• Poorly marked or unmarked construction areas
• Improperly installed or missing guardrails
• Inadequate lighting
• Uneven road surfaces
• Potholes
• Gravel and debris on the road
• Sudden lane restrictions
• Unexpected traffic congestion
• Sudden speed limit changes

In combination with the disruption of normal traffic patterns, these kinds of conditions frequently turn road construction zones into the sites of serious auto accidents.

Studies conducted by the Arizona DOT report that the most common type of road construction zone crash is a rear-end collision. This type of crash accounts for approximately half of all accidents. Many collisions also involve fixed objects, such as barriers and stationary construction equipment.

Common injuries in car crashes include broken bones, spinal cord injuries and brain damage. Death can also occur, and fatal accidents are often the result of single vehicle crashes.

Legal Issues to Consider

Several important factors affect the legal claims of those injured in vehicle accidents in road construction zones. Carefully documenting the conditions that led to an accident is an important first step in preparing for a lawsuit. Arizona law (A.R.S. § 28-650) requires that proper warning signs and barricades be maintained for the duration of all road construction. This applies to both municipal workers and private contractors. Engaging an attorney to thoroughly analyze the accident report and interview eyewitnesses is essential to preparing for a lawsuit and improving your chances of recovering fair financial compensation.

It is also vital to identify the party responsible for the accident. If the Arizona Department of Transportation or other governmental entity controlled the road construction zone when the accident occurred, certain types of legal immunity may come into play. An attorney can determine whether the state or local government can be held liable for injuries or other damages caused by their employees or contractors. Other potentially responsible parties include private contractors, subcontractors, construction companies, engineers and surveyors that were involved with performing the construction work, maintaining the road construction zone and designing the highway or bridge. Government immunity does not shield these private parties.

Timing is a third important issue. An injured party must serve a notice of a claim involving government employees or entities within 180 days of the accident (A.R.S. § 12-821.01) and file a lawsuit within one year (A.R.S. § 12-821). Claims against other parties must be made within two years. Accident report analyses and interviews can be time-consuming, and delays, especially in the time period immediately following an accident, can be costly. In general, it is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a road construction zone accident to ensure that your interests are protected.

Road construction zones often present shifting traffic patterns and uneven surfaces for car and truck drivers to navigate. Often, there is little notice of these dangerous conditions. On an average day, 11 automobile accidents take place in Arizona road construction zones. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT), these accidents have accounted for over 80 deaths and more than 11,000 injuries in the past five years. Drivers and their passengers account for the vast majority of the people hurt in these accidents.

Car Accidents in Construction Zones

Construction zones are a common sight on Arizona roads these days. Many major construction projects, such as those currently underway on Interstates 10 and 17, Highway 93 and State Routes 92 and 179, are expected to extend to late 2009 or 2010. These projects cause general upheaval that can result in hazardous road conditions, including:

• Poorly marked or unmarked construction areas
• Improperly installed or missing guardrails
• Inadequate lighting
• Uneven road surfaces
• Potholes
• Gravel and debris on the road
• Sudden lane restrictions
• Unexpected traffic congestion
• Sudden speed limit changes

In combination with the disruption of normal traffic patterns, these kinds of conditions frequently turn road construction zones into the sites of serious auto accidents.

Studies conducted by the Arizona DOT report that the most common type of road construction zone crash is a rear-end collision. This type of crash accounts for approximately half of all accidents. Many collisions also involve fixed objects, such as barriers and stationary construction equipment.

Common injuries in car crashes include broken bones, spinal cord injuries and brain damage. Death can also occur, and fatal accidents are often the result of single vehicle crashes.

Legal Issues to Consider

Several important factors affect the legal claims of those injured in vehicle accidents in road construction zones. Carefully documenting the conditions that led to an accident is an important first step in preparing for a lawsuit. Arizona law (A.R.S. § 28-650) requires that proper warning signs and barricades be maintained for the duration of all road construction. This applies to both municipal workers and private contractors. Engaging an attorney to thoroughly analyze the accident report and interview eyewitnesses is essential to preparing for a lawsuit and improving your chances of recovering fair financial compensation.

It is also vital to identify the party responsible for the accident. If the Arizona Department of Transportation or other governmental entity controlled the road construction zone when the accident occurred, certain types of legal immunity may come into play. An attorney can determine whether the state or local government can be held liable for injuries or other damages caused by their employees or contractors. Other potentially responsible parties include private contractors, subcontractors, construction companies, engineers and surveyors that were involved with performing the construction work, maintaining the road construction zone and designing the highway or bridge. Government immunity does not shield these private parties.

Timing is a third important issue. An injured party must serve a notice of a claim involving government employees or entities within 180 days of the accident (A.R.S. § 12-821.01) and file a lawsuit within one year (A.R.S. § 12-821). Claims against other parties must be made within two years. Accident report analyses and interviews can be time-consuming, and delays, especially in the time period immediately following an accident, can be costly. In general, it is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a road construction zone accident to ensure that your interests are protected.