Illinois Road Construction Zone Auto Accident Lawyers
It is said that Chicago has two seasons: winter and road construction. Indeed, road construction projects in the Chicagoland area is a necessary constant as our climate and heavy traffic usage necessitates ongoing roadwork and maintenance to keep streets safe and drivable.
Residents and visitors are accustomed to seeing construction cones and barricades parked along the side of the roadway throughout Illinois. Even so, road construction zones pose a danger to both motorists and road construction crews alike when drivers are not alert and aware of their surroundings.
Hiring a Chicago Road Construction Zone Injury Attorney
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent motorists and construction site workers injured in motor vehicle accidents in Illinois road construction zones. Due to the congested nature of these areas, these auto accidents frequently involve multiple parties and significant injuries.
Regardless of the Illinois jurisdiction, our accident injury lawyers stand ready to file and resolve your case to achieve maximum recovery for you. Complete our online contact form for a free case review with an experienced attorney who can file a workers' compensation claim or provide advice for you or your loved one.
Our attorneys currently represent clients throughout Illinois, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Naperville, and Schaumburg.
Defining a Work Zone Under Illinois Law
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) defines a work zone as;
"A work zone is an area of a traffic way where construction, maintenance, or utility work activities are identified by warning signs, signals, and indicators, including those on transport devices that mark the beginning and end of construction, maintenance, or utility work activity. It extends from the first warning sign, signal, or flashing lights to the END ROAD WORK sign or the last traffic control device pertinent for that work activity."
"Work zones also include roadway sections where there is ongoing, moving work activity such as lane line painting or roadside mowing only if the beginning of the ongoing, moving work activity is designated by warning signs or signals. A work zone crash is a motor vehicle traffic crash in which the first harmful event occurs within the boundaries of a work zone, or an approach to or exit from a work zone, resulting in activity, behavior, or control related to the movement of the traffic units through the work zone."
Understandably, the State has carefully defined a road construction work zone due to the rate of serious road construction accidents in these areas every year.
According to crash data from IDOT relating to work zone crashes in 2017,
- Of 5,423 reported traffic accidents reported within a designated work zone along Illinois roadways, 1,435 people were injured, and 30 people lost their lives in crashes
- Roadwork zone accidents have decreased substantially over the past four years of available data. The reports suggest that injuries and fatalities have been reduced by 16% and 11.4%, respectively, between 2013 and 2017.
Motorist Injuries in Illinois Highway Construction Accidents
Speed and driver inattentiveness are primary factors involved in traffic accidents occurring in roadway construction areas. When drivers fail to abide by reduced speed limits or take notice of redirected traffic flow, collisions involving injuries can quickly happen.
Inattention creates an environment where there is practically nothing a motorist can do to avoid an impending collision in a congested work area.
To help improve the safety of drivers and passengers, the AAMVA Model Driver Manual suggests the following:
- Watch the traffic around you and be prepared to react by reducing your speed, obeying signs and flaggers, and increasing your following distance.
- Do not become oblivious to work zone signs when the work is long-term or widespread. Be aware that traffic patterns in work zones can change daily, including lane shifts or alternating lane closures, to create a safe work environment.
- If traffic is light and speeds are still relatively high, merge early. If congestion increases, traffic slows down, and gaps between cars get smaller, merge late and use the "zipper" method.
- Use extreme caution when driving through a work zone at night, whether workers are present or not. Watch the road, and don't use cell phones.
- Adjust your lane position away from where workers and equipment are located when possible.
- Some construction zones are mobile and moving, such as when line painting, road patching, or mowing occurs. Not seeing the construction workers after you see the warning sign does not mean crews are not there. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says, "End of Road Work."
- Expect delays, plan for them, and leave early to reach your destination on time.
- When you can, avoid construction zones altogether by using alternate routes.
Injuries to Workers During Road Construction
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that 20,000 skilled workers are injured every year on roadway construction job sites. Over the past five years, more than 115 workers have lost their lives while working on highway projects, accounting for more than 1.5% of all work-related fatalities.
Statistics reveal that machinery is a significant factor in work zone accidents involving construction crews, large trucks, truck drivers, and passenger cars.
- Runovers/back overs (often by dump trucks): 48%
- Collision Between Vehicles / Mobile Equipment: 14%
- Caught in Between/Struck by Construction Equipment and Objects: 14%
- Rear-end collisions (6%)
Illinois Road Construction Law
As a recognized threat to the safety of motorists and skilled workers, the Illinois legislature has adapted some of the most comprehensive highway construction safety laws in the country.
(625 ILCS 5/11-605.1)
"Sec. 11-605.1. Special limit while traveling through a highway construction or maintenance speed zone.
(a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle in a construction or maintenance speed zone at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit.
(b) Nothing in this Chapter prohibits the use of electronic speed-detecting devices within 500 feet of signs within a construction or maintenance speed zone indicating the zone, as defined in this Section, nor shall evidence obtained by use of those devices be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding, provided the use of the device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in the construction or maintenance speed zone."
Drivers who fail to adhere to this law are subject to an initial fine of $375 for speeding in a work zone. Repeat offenders face a $1,000 fine. If a driver is cited more than two times within two years, they may lose their driver's license for ninety days.
The penalties for speeding in an Illinois roadway construction zone increase substantially when an accident ensures a driver is subject to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence depending on the nature of the crash.
Filing a Road Construction Zone Accident Claim
The car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are well aware of the dangers posed to motorists and construction workers in highway construction zones.
Accident victims might pursue a legal claim for damages against various parties who may be responsible for a construction zone accident, including:
- The driver of a vehicle
- Construction companies
- Safety inspection companies
- Local governmental entities
Our goal is to thoroughly investigate all avenues of recovery to provide the best results for our clients. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has Chicago highway construction accident lawyers with experience investigating work zone accident scenes and litigating the inherent complexities involved when multiple parties are responsible for an accident.
Investigators, insurance companies, or the Illinois state police may have expressed their opinion on how your accident occurred. However, Jonathan Rosenfeld will evaluate each circumstance to determine which party's negligence may be responsible for your injuries.
Particularly in highway repair accidents involving governmental entities, it is essential to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as feasible. The statute of limitations may have shortened time for filing a lawsuit compared with other types of personal injury cases.
Road Construction Zone Accident FAQs
How Many People Died on US Roads in 2019?
Statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show an estimated 39,000 men, women, and children died in car crashes in 2019.
The National Safety Council stated that the number of fatalities had dropped dramatically in seven states, but not in Illinois. The drop in fatalities is thought to have occurred due to advancements and advanced driver assistance of systems, including lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, and back up cameras.
Who is at Fault in a Construction Zone Accident?
The narrow roads, heavy traffic, and reduced speed limits can make it challenging to determine who is at fault for causing a construction zone accident. Often, commercial trucks enter and exit the construction zone unexpectedly or drop debris in the roadway in the path of oncoming motorists.
An attorney working a behalf of the victim might investigate the case to determine that there are multiple parties responsible for causing the crash. The shared responsibility might help ensure there is adequate insurance coverage to pay injured victims and families who lost a loved one in a car zone accident wrongful death.
How Many Flaggers Die Each Year?
Flaggers, crossing guards, and traffic controllers are dangerously at risk of being killed in a construction zone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics reveal that forty-one of every 100,000 construction zone workers die every year, where many of them were working as a flagger.
What is the Most Common Cause of Deaths in Work Zones?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the leading cause of death for workers in the private sector were falling in construction work zones. Being struck by objects ranks second in the number of wrongful deaths on the job, followed by electrocution.
The fourth leading cause of death to construction zone workers involved "caught between" and "caught in" accidents where the worker was caught between two heavy objects or caught in an object that led to a crushing death.
How Likely are You to Die in a Car Crash?
According to statistics maintained by the National Safety Council, motorists and passengers in a vehicle crash have a one and 103 chance of dying from the accident. While the number seems high, it is a comparatively lower rate than all victims of car accidents nationwide.
Hiring an Illinois Road Construction Zone Accident Attorney Can Help
Victims of construction zone accidents should speak to a highway construction accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to ensure they get full compensation for their injuries.
Contact our Chicago office law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law office remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Please do not send time-sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message.