Road Construction Accident Lawyer in San Antonio
San Antonio remains one of the fastest growing cities in America. Much of the traffic you encounter on the road each day is a result of the city’s rapid growth. Texas Department of Transportation construction projects will eventually improve our roads and highway systems so they can accommodate the influx of people. In the meantime, active construction zones worsen existing traffic problems.
Construction projects often bring vehicles to a standstill and place them in the middle of hazardous operations. Confusing work zones contribute to road construction accidents. Serious, catastrophic, and fatal injuries are often a result.
Drivers have accidents in construction zones due to a combination of negligent actions and complicated driving requirements. Vehicle operators have difficulty navigating through areas with shifting lane layouts and sudden speed reductions. Construction projects often include design, planning, and execution flaws, and hazardous worker-created conditions. Significant damage and injuries occur when these contributing factors come together in high-traffic areas.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Road Construction Accident Injuries
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we believe that negligent parties should pay for the damages they cause. Our law firm focuses on personal injury cases only. We have the background and the expertise to recover the damages to which you are entitled. Our personal injury attorneys have a strong working knowledge of state and local laws. We’ve evaluated numerous liability issues and injury complications. We’ve seen how serious injuries affected our clients and their families, and we believe that responsible parties should pay no matter who they are.
Our Law Firm’s Results
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we have always worked hard to recover damages for our clients. We have represented our clients against private citizens, corporations, and governmental entities. Our attorneys have brought our legal experience, courtroom experience, and firm resources to every case we have handled for our clients. We always work to deliver the most desirable results.
When possible, we have cooperated with responsible parties. Our lawyers have settled our clients’ cases through aggressive negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution forums. We prefer to resolve cases amicably, but when necessary, we have presented our evidence before a judge and jury.
At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we are proud of the settlements, judgments, and damage recoveries we have secured for our clients. We don’t share personal settlement details but we invite you to view our client evaluations on our Testimonials Page.
How Do Construction Zone Accidents Occur?
Drivers are the obvious cause of road construction accidents. They sometimes drive too fast and drive distracted. Sometimes they simply can’t control their vehicles through narrow or convoluted road construction deviations. Frequently, construction site layouts and ongoing operations cause or contribute to a driver’s negligent actions.
As of April 2019, Texas drivers were dealing with an estimated 3,000 active Texas DOT construction sites throughout the state. In 2018, DOT documented 25,162 statewide work zone crashes. 161 fatalities and 684 serious injuries also occurred due to road construction accidents.
A combination of factors contributes to accidents in construction zones. Traffic lane reroutes often trigger sudden speed and course changes. Drivers lose control on pavement shifts, shoulder drop-offs, uneven patches, and metal plates. Highway construction exits incorporate narrow lanes, confusing layouts, and inadequate signage. Construction operations often eliminate lane lines, shoulders, and traffic signs. During nighttime activities, construction crews add bright blinding lights to already unmanageable situations. When a construction zone is poorly planned, safe navigation is often difficult for even the most conscientious driver.
Construction Zone Accident Injuries
During 2018, when accidents occurred in highway construction areas, 84 percent of the people killed were motorists and their passengers. Of the Texas DOT road construction accident injuries documented in 2017, 2,970 occurred in Bexar County. Five of these area accidents included fatalities.
When accidents occur in road construction zones, the injuries sustained are sometimes catastrophic or fatal. Speed is one of the primary factors. Even at reduced construction zone speeds, vehicles may travel faster than on other roads. When they crash into another vehicle, a piece of heavy construction equipment or a stationary object, the impact sometimes causes extensive vehicle damage and devastating injuries.
Vehicle occupants sustain life-altering injuries. If they survive the initial impact, they often manage pain, physical impairments, and ongoing recovery efforts. Injured people handle financial setbacks due to medical bills, lost income, and lost personal and financial opportunities. Some deal with a lifetime of disabilities from serious and catastrophic conditions such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. Many people sustain accident-related injuries that complicate their lives long after recovery:
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Traumatic amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Severe burns
- Multiple fractures
- Disc and spine injuries
- Disfiguring scars
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Fatal injuries
Who Is Responsible for Construction Zone Accidents?
When an accident occurs in a construction zone, vehicle drivers are usually liable for damages, but they often share that liability with others. When they are traveling through a confusing, poorly planned construction site, the road conditions often contribute significantly to a driver’s negligent actions.
When the Texas Transportation Institute conducted an accident-site study of 77 fatal construction zone road accidents, they documented a number of contributing factors. Their report, Work Zone Crash Influences on Texas Roadways, pinpointed construction-site specific problems that directly or indirectly contributed to accidents:
- High pavement edge drop-offs
- Misaligned lane channels
- Lane alignments designed for lower traffic speeds
- Temporary highway two-lane/two-way operations;
- Elimination of shoulders used for vehicle emergencies
- Temporary lane closures with unanticipated traffic queues
- Construction dust reducing visibility
- Elimination of edge lines necessary for night driving
- Removed shoulder rumble-strips
- Repaving that eliminated traffic warnings
Construction sites have worked to improve safety concerns. They post construction locations and closings online and publicize annual safety campaigns. Yet drivers still encounter construction zone safety issues. The entities that plan, design, operate or oversee construction zones often have negligence that’s equal to or greater than the drivers who are involved in road construction accidents.
- Under Texas Transportation Codes, Title 6 Roadways, cities, and other governmental entities have authority to plan and complete roadway construction within their jurisdictions.
- The Texas DOT Design Division is involved in road construction processes from the initial concept through contractor bidding. The division controls design policies, roadside safety criteria, and other project elements. They also oversee the contractor, professional services consultants, and other critical construction operations.
- Construction companies are responsible for day-to-day job operations. They create unsafe temporary lanes and exits, block lanes with heavy equipment, and post signs that control drivers’ actions. Contractors and their employees are usually on-site when accidents occur. They often subcontract their responsibilities to independent companies.
What Damages Can An Injured Victim Recover?
When you are injured in an accident in San Antonio, you may recover compensatory damages as described in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, §41. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages. Under some circumstances, a jury may also allow a punitive or exemplary damage award.
Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate. They include expenses incurred during treatment and recovery. They also include losses caused by your inability to work or care for yourself or your family. Injury settlements usually consider past and anticipated future expenses:
- Lost wages
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Mobility assistance structures and devices
- Physical and emotional therapy
- Plastic surgery
- Home care and assistance expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
Non-economic damages are also known as general damages. They are often difficult to evaluate. An assessment sometimes relies on physical damage elements such as scarring and permanency. They also include more subjective damages such as pain, emotional considerations, and lifestyle changes:
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and depression
- Changes in spousal and familial relationships
- Lost bodily functions
- Disabilities and impairments
- Permanent scars
Exemplary or punitive damages punish the person or entity responsible for your injuries. A jury awards a punitive or exemplary damage award only if you produce clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
Can Responsible Parties Defend Themselves Against Liability?
The Texas DOT’s drive to build and renovate local roads is causing traffic safety issues in San Antonio and throughout the state. Still, when an accident involves a vehicle and construction site structures, governmental defendants focus on a driver’s negligence. They acknowledge numerous construction site accidents but accept no responsibility. Their report on Work Zones and safety awareness blames driver speed and inattention.
Drivers in serious accidents often follow the same strategy. They defend liability cases by focusing on errors and omissions committed by construction planners, designers, and contractors. Even when both share some responsibility, they rely on available defenses to avoid liability:
- Sovereign immunity. When a governmental entity designs and oversees a construction project, they may plead sovereign immunity to avoid a judgment.
- No negligence. Defendants will seek to avoid responsibility at the expense of other defendants. A government may seek to prove that they had no negligence because a driver caused the accident. A driver will try to prove that they weren’t negligent as the construction site was unsafe or negligently designed, operated, or supervised.
- Comparative negligence. Texas’s modified comparative fault standard acknowledges that more than one person or entity can cause an accident. If the injured person was driving the vehicle that crashed, courts adjust their damage awards by their percentage of negligence. An injured plaintiff/driver recovers no damages if the defendants prove that the driver has 51 percent or greater negligence. A passenger is usually considered free of negligence and may recover from jointly responsible parties.
- No notice. A governmental entity or contractor responsible for an unsafe work site may try to prove that they had no prior notice of an adverse condition. The fact that no prior incidents occurred at a location may help them prove their defense.
- Disputed damages. If the defendants prove that a plaintiff’s injuries didn’t occur as a result of the claimed accident, they can diminish or eliminate the injured person’s damage claim.
At The Law Firm of George Salinas, our personal injury attorneys understand how to deal with defendants’ attempts to minimize liability and damages. We have always investigated our clients’ cases, reviewed the evidence, and entered the courtroom prepared to defeat traditional and inventive defense strategies.
Your Right to Recover Damages From a Governmental Entity
Governments have the right to plead a sovereign immunity defense whether or not their negligence caused damages. Texas has that right but the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Title 5 allows governmental entities to waive that privilege. This chapter is also known as the Tort Claims Act. Under §101.0215, a government can be responsible for damages arising from its governmental functions. These functions include street construction and design.
The law sounds simple, but you must meet all requirements and comply with a precise claim submission or litigation process. You must notify a governmental entity of your claim within six months after the incident occurs although local entities may have other statutory notice requirements.
The Act also contains a cap on damages. An injured plaintiff may receive a maximum damage award of $250,000. There is a maximum payout of $500,000 for injuries per claim and a $100,000 per incident property damage limit. Tort Claims Act provisions are complicated and have a time deadline for compliance. Consult with a road construction attorney at the Law Offices of George Salinas as soon as possible after your accident. The firm will review your case and determine if they can help you.
Call Our San Antonio Road Construction Accident Lawyers Now
If you were seriously injured in a construction zone accident, you need an attorney who understands the issues and is willing to work hard to protect your legal rights. At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we’ve recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. We’d like the opportunity to determine if we can help you. Call us at (210) 225-0909 or complete our contact form to schedule a free case review and consultation.