The New York State Department of Transportation recently urged drivers to take extra care as they travel through road construction zones. Reportedly, crashes in work zones totaled almost 700 in 2017, with most of them caused by distracted driving. NYSDOT highway maintenance employees are at risk of being injured or killed in construction workers’ accidents on every shift they work.
Workers remind drivers that they are incredibly vulnerable, working right next to those orange cones with no protection. They report seeing drivers talking and texting on mobile devices every day. One worker even saw a driver working on his laptop as he went through the work zone. The same worker says he is still suffering the consequences of injuries he suffered when his construction vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor trailer last spring.
Another worker explained how he suffered a head injury in 2014 when a big rig crashed into a work zone where he was involved in a paving project. Fortunately, his hard hat saved his life when he was struck in the head by a sharp piece of steel. He said the truck driver just continued driving without stopping after the incident.
Victims of work-related accidents in New York may find comfort in knowing that the workers’ compensation insurance program will ease the financial burden that typically follows. An attorney who is experienced in assisting injured workers can provide the necessary support and guidance with benefits claims. However, when independent parties cause construction workers’ accidents, there might be grounds for third-party civil lawsuits, which could be filed in addition to workers compensation benefits claims. This option might provide more compensation than the insurance benefits, which usually cover no more than medical expenses and lost wages.