We all know those roads that always seem to be under construction. In New York City and Long Island, there are strict rules for navigating construction zones. Many of these traffic rules are in place protect construction crews who must work in these hazardous job sites, but other rules are there to protect the motoring public and prevent accidents and personal injury.
When someone gets into a car crash, motorcycle accident, or semi-truck collision in a construction zone, the injuries and damages can be devastating. But who is at fault? Who must pay for all the harm that is done? To understand liability for construction zone crashes, it is important to first understand a little about how New York law treats motor vehicle crashes.
If You are a Construction Worker
If you are a worker performing job-related duties on a job site, and you are injured by a negligent driver, then you likely have two separate cases. First, you probably have a right to file a workers’ compensation case with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. However, you may also have a right to pursue your personal injury claim against the driver who caused your injuries.
If You are a Driver
If you are in a car or other traditional four-wheel vehicle and get into a wreck in a construction zone, New York’s “no-fault” law requires you to first notify your own insurance company and make a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Once you have exhausted the coverage available through your PIP coverage and met certain statutory qualifications, you may pursue your claim against the at-fault driver who injured you.
If You are a Motorcyclist or Motorcycle Passenger
Motorcyclists and their passengers are exempt from the requirement to carry PIP insurance. Likewise, they do not have to meet any statutory threshold of injuries in order to pursue their claim against the at-fault driver. Therefore, if you are injured on a motorcycle in a construction zone and it was someone else’s fault, you can immediately pursue your claim against that person’s insurance company.
Proving Who is at Fault
This is often one of the toughest parts of an insurance claim. After all, insurance companies are only required to pay if their driver was at-fault. Negligence just means acting in a way that is unreasonable under the circumstances. So, auto accident attorneys use many things as evidence to show negligence. For instance, if the other driver was guilty of any of the following, it could be strong evidence of liability:
- Passing on the right
- Texting and driving
- Driving under the influence
Special Construction Zone Laws
New York law prohibits cell phone use behind the wheel unless completely hands free. This means no texting. Since about 2013, the State has had “texting zones” set up around the state on major throughways and highways to allow people to pull over and use their phones. Otherwise, texting is still entirely illegal.
In a construction zone, things are even more strict. Drivers who speed through a construction zone are making a big mistake. Not only are speeding fines doubled, but by breaking the law, this can be used as evidence of negligence.
Getting Help After a Construction Zone Wreck
If you or a loved one have been involved in a crash in or near a construction zone, contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today. There are a lot of ways for drivers to negligently operate their vehicles in a construction zone, whether it is getting distracted by lights and signs or overcorrecting and not following temporary street lines. Fortunately, our attorneys have years of experience helping clients hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. Call or visit us online today to schedule a completely free case consultation.