Horizontal Construction: Can the Highway Contractor Be Held Liable? Part 3
Like most legal matters, highway construction liability is a complex issue solved on a case by case basis.
Having a better understanding of the topic can protect you, and our Jacksonville construction lawyers are here to help. In Part 1 of this three-part article, we presented some statistics regarding construction zone accidents and discussed the meaning of “reasonable precautions.” In Part 2, we talked about limits on liability and when a contractor would typically not be liable. Today, we will discuss instances a contractor could be held liable, and how to protect yourself.
Instances a Contractor Could Be Liable
Generally speaking, if a contractor has not taken reasonable precautions, has done anything that falls under the category of gross negligence, or has failed to follow procedures that influenced the accident, he or she can be found liable.
Barriers are one of the major topics outlined in The Florida Department of Transportation’s Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction 2010. They are an important factor in preventing a motorist from entering the construction zone. A contractor is responsible for ensuring that the construction zone intersections are fully visible and navigable at highway speeds.
If a contractor has not adhered to the precautionary measures regarding number, size, and type of signs, barriers, lighting, and any other factor proximate to the injury, death, or property damage that has occurred, then the contractor could be held liable.
How to Protect Yourself
There are countless scenarios wherein a contractor could be held liable.
One critical way to protect yourself is to stay on top of your documentation. If a motor vehicle crashes into your construction zone, it has the potential to throw everything into disarray. Your construction vehicles, signage, barriers, and essentially anything on site could be pushed into a different position from where your crew left them. Even if you left everything in its proper place, you could be held liable if you cannot prove that in court. Thorough documentation is key.
Like any legal matter, lawsuits involving highway construction contractors are handled on a case by case basis. For example, say the driver involved in a construction zone car accident had been drinking, but there was also an inadequate number of reflective drums present at the time of the crash. This case could go a number of ways, which is why it’s important to have trusted legal counsel.
Remember, don’t wait until after an incident occurs to start protecting yourself.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.