Fort Wayne car accident lawyers explain how to avoid a collision
Work zone crashes in Indiana happen far more often than you might realize. Each year, hundreds of people are injured or killed in work zone crashes, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation (IDOT).
Work zones are hot spots for car accidents because they present an unfamiliar and somewhat chaotic environment to drivers. Still, that's no excuse to cause a crash that results in severe injury or death.
Injuries are common in work zone crashes
Work zone accidents wreak havoc on Indiana’s roads and highways. In 2018, work zone crashes in the state claimed the lives of 14 people and resulted in more than 650 injuries.
Most injuries and fatalities involve drivers and passengers. In particular, 4 out of 5 people injured or killed in a work zone crash were either driving a vehicle or riding in the car, according to IDOT.
However, many other work zone accidents also involve pedestrians, cyclists, construction workers, police officers, or other people working alongside the road in a construction zone.
Causes of crashes in work zones
Work zone crashes happen for many different reasons. Tailgating drivers who follow too closely and don’t give themselves enough time to avoid a rear-end collision cause the most work zone crashes, according to IDOT. Other common causes of work zone crashes include:
- Distracted driving, including texting, using handheld devices, talking to a passenger, self-grooming, etc.
- Failing to recognize construction zone signs, signals, and traffic officers (often, this is because a driver was speeding or distracted).
- Changing lanes illegally or making unsafe lane movements.
- Failure to yield.
- Driving off the roadway and hitting a person or object.
- Running over something in the road.
Work zone safety tips for drivers
IDOT has many suggestions for drivers aimed at avoiding a car accident in a work zone, including:
- Slow down and obey the posted speed limit in the work zone.
- Do not follow the vehicle in front of you too closely.
- Do not text or talk on the phone while driving in a work zone.
- Pay close attention to changing traffic patterns.
- Pay close attention to construction signs and traffic signals.
- Expect delays and allow for extra time when driving through a work zone.
- Take an alternate route if possible.
- Be patient. Remember, construction workers make the roads better for all of us.
What to do if you're injured in an accident
Here's what to do if you're involved in a work zone crash:
- Notify the police and tell them you’ve been in an accident. If it's an active work zone, a police officer will likely already be at the scene.
- Whether you get checked out by an EMT at the crash scene, take an ambulance to the hospital, or make an emergency appointment with your doctor, be sure to have a medical professional examine you right away. Delayed pain is common after a car accident, which means you could still be injured even if you don't immediately notice any pain or symptoms.
- Take pictures of the scene, especially the exact spot in the work zone where your crash happened, property damage, relevant signs/signals, and any visible injuries.
- Don’t discuss your accident with anyone other than the police officer at the crash site.
- Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer about your legal rights and options before you talk to an insurance company. Insurance adjusters know how to ask leading questions, take things out of context, and use your recorded statements against you to minimize your claim. Remember, insurance companies have a financial interest in paying crash victims as little money as possible.
Let a car accident attorney review your case
Dealing with a car accident that isn't your fault can be very challenging, especially if you or someone you love was injured and you need to recover your losses. Insurance adjusters might come off as friendly when you talk to them, but make no mistake, their goal is to protect the insurance company's bottom line.
Some insurance companies will insist that their first settlement offer is the best they can do and that you don't need to get an attorney involved. The reality is most initial settlement offers don't even come close to covering the crash victim's damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.). That's why you need someone on your side who can help make you whole again and fight for the financial compensation you're entitled to.
At Boughter Sinak, LLC, we know how the legal system works in Indiana and how to deal with the insurance company. Whether it's in settlement negotiations or in court in front of a judge and jury, we will fight for every dollar you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. We have two offices conveniently located in Fort Wayne and South Bend.