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Indiana Road Construction Accidents: Types, Who’s Liable, and What to Do

Updated February 23, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Indiana Road Construction Accidents

Road construction is necessary in all states, towns, cities, etc., to ensure our roads stay safe for drivers. Construction projects may take place both during daylight hours or at night, and each poses its own risk. During daylight, traffic is heavier. At night, there is less traffic, but visibility is lower for drivers passing through the construction zone. Road maintenance and construction can be the cause of many accidents, both avoidable and unavoidable. For workers to complete their jobs safely, it is important drivers take necessary precautions to keep all parties safe.

Who is Liable?

When determining liability in a construction-related crash, there are several parties who could be at fault or liable. It is the legal responsibility of the construction company to ensure proper safety is put into place in their work zones. If a construction company doesn’t follow guidelines on proper safety protocol, they could be responsible for an accident occurring in a road work construction zone. If the driver is able to prove that a worker contributed to the accident, this puts the construction company at even higher risk of liability.

In other cases, the city in which the accident occurred could be liable for the accident. Situations in which the city would be responsible include poorly designed roadways, potholes, lack of barriers, or failure to place warning signs leading to a construction zone. If negligence by the city can be proven, they could be liable for the accident.

Other construction zone accidents can be a result of defective or malfunctioning products. If a piece of construction equipment malfunctions at the scene of road construction, it could potentially cause an accident. If a victim can prove the accident was due to equipment, the product manufacturer could be liable.

A third party, such as a driver, could be held responsible for the accident if they were acting negligently. Speeding or ignoring safety measures in construction zones would place the driver as liable for the accident.

Indiana Work Zone Speed Limits

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is responsible for designing and and maintaining clear work zones on state roads to ensure the safety of all construction workers and drivers. INDOT schedules and carefully manages construction projects carefully with Interstate Highways to reduce the likelihood of accidents. Speed limits in work zones may be lowered to keep road workers and drivers safe.

Common Accident Causes in Construction Zone Accidents

Each year, construction workers and drivers are killed as a result of accidents in road work construction zones. According to INDOT, the most common causes of construction zone accidents include the following:

  • Following too closely
  • Improper lane change
  • Run off roadway
  • Driver negligence
  • Unsafe speed

The majority of those killed in work zone accidents were drivers, not highway road workers. Areas where traffic enters or leaves work zones have been shown to incur the highest accident rates.

Safety Measures in Work Zones

We all play a role in keeping road workers and drivers safe, but there are certain safety measures put in place just for this purpose. Different control devices to improve safety include:

  • Road signs
  • Barricades
  • Cones
  • Pylons
  • Pavement markings
  • Flashing lights

To ensure safety in work zones, it is important drivers observe safety measures. Even with precautions, accidents can still happen. Tips for driving safely in work zones include:

  • Paying closer attention than usual
  • Avoiding cell phone use
  • Watching closely for speed limit reduction signs
  • Anticipating narrowing of lanes
  • Keeping a safe distance
  • Expecting delays in traffic and allowing extra travel time

Following these safety tips can drastically reduce your chances of being in an accident.

Penalties in a Construction Zone

Generally, speed limits in a work zone are reduced to protect the safety of workers and vehicle occupants. Motorists who disregard reduced speed limits can face an inflated fine for breaking the law. In the state of Indiana, speeding in a work zone can result in a ticket ranging from $300 to $500 for a first offense. Beyond the first offense, ticket fines and fees run as high as $1,000 to $10,000 and can result in jail time.

What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Work Zone Accident

If you’re involved in an accident in a road construction zone, the first step is to call the police. Calling the police will ensure an ambulance is dispatched to the scene in case anyone is injured. Stay on the scene until police arrive and file an accident report with them. For road construction workers, the supervisor of the site should be called to the scene if they are not currently present. As a next step, photo evidence should be gathered in the event you need to build a case. Collect contact information from any witnesses unless injuries prevent you from doing so. The final steps following a work zone accident include receiving a medical assessment and contacting your attorney. In the event of filing a lawsuit, a medical assessment and any evidence gathered will help your lawyer build a strong case.

Contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham Today

If you have been involved in or injured in a road construction zone accident, contact the Indianapolis car accident attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.


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