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Who’s Liable for a Car Accident in a Work Zone?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Work Injury


It seems as if Chicago’s highways are constantly under construction. And while they seem to hinder our daily commutes, these work zones also pose risks to drivers and construction workers.

There are nearly 850 fatalities in work zones annually due to car accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Many more serious injuries occur each year in work zones.

Work Zone Accident Responsibility

Multiple parties may be to blame for a car wreck in a work zone, and it may require filing an insurance claim with each party.

Some parties who may be at fault include:

Negligence in Work Zones: Your Duty of Care

Many parties are responsible for keeping a work zone safe. If any party, including a company or government entity, fails to take adequate actions to maintain safety, they may be considered negligent. Negligence is a legal term that indicates a party failed to use reasonable care and that action or inaction resulted in damage or injury to another party.

For example, the construction company must maintain a safe work site that complies with regulations established by Illinois. They must use orange barrels or cones appropriately to direct traffic and set speeds at safe levels.

Signs must be posted as rules indicate. If any of these actions are not taken, the construction company may have failed to maintain its duty of care. They may be negligent, and if a car crash occurs, they can be held liable for damages that occur.

The city of Chicago or the state of Illinois also has duties when work zones operate on their roadways. These government entities must make sure the construction companies they hire are licensed and compliant with all regulations. If they do not exercise due diligence in hiring a responsible company, they may also be liable.

Careless Drivers in Work Zones

Most car accidents occur due to driver error, and work zone accidents are no exception. Some common causes of work zone accidents include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to adhere to signs and signals
  • Improper merging

These causes indicate a driver was at fault. However, a company or the government may be to blame also. Other causes may include:

  • Improper signs and signals
  • Lack of direction for drivers
  • Uneven lanes
  • Lanes that are too narrow
  • Failure to follow OSHA or IDOT regulations

How to Prove Fault in Work Zone Accidents

To prove who is at fault in a work zone accident, you must conduct a thorough investigation. That begins with collecting evidence at the scene. If you are able, you should take pictures and videos of the scene of the accident.

Obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses. If you’re unable to get this information, your lawyer can hire an investigator and experts to determine what happened.

Once you know what happened, fault can be placed on the appropriate parties. Insurance companies will also be trying to place blame. They may also try to blame you, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. They will use anything you say against you.

Never talk to an insurance company before discussing what you will say with your attorney. In most situations, it’s best to let your work zone accident lawyer communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Can Help

Work zone accidents can be confusing because many third parties may be involved. It’s important to conduct a thorough investigation of what happened. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will leave no stone unturned in your case.

Call our Chicago car accident lawyers today at 312-236-2900 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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