LINN COUNTY, Iowa (April 3, 2020) – Authorities have released the name of the person who was killed in a head-on collision in a construction zone in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. According to sources, 43-year-old Dawn Elaine Stout of Cedar Rapids was killed when a vehicle heading westbound on Ellis Road collided with her vehicle as she was heading eastbound. The crash occurred at 5:37 p.m. at 12001 Ellis Road, on the western edge of Linn County.
According to KCRG, the driver of the other vehicle failed to yield in a construction zone. That driver and two other occupants in the vehicle were transported by ambulance to nearby hospitals in Cedar Rapids. Authorities continue to investigate the crash, and no further details have been released at this time.
Collisions in Work Zones
Construction work is common on highways, expressways, and other major traffic areas across the U.S. Safety is of the utmost importance when construction zones are present. According to WorkZoneSafety.org, there were 671 fatal collisions in work zones in 2018, resulting in a total of 754 fatalities.
Of these collisions:
- 203 involved trucks, resulting in 228 fatalities
- Eight involved buses, resulting in 10 fatalities
- 121 involved pedestrians, resulting in 122 fatalities
- 124 construction workers were killed
Not all construction zone accidents involve commercial vehicles, however. Conditions in work zones often lead drivers to be confused or unprepared, resulting in collisions involving two or more passenger vehicles.
Because the circumstances surrounding each crash will vary, there is no one clear answer to the question of which party is liable in a construction zone crash. In some cases, the construction company might be liable, and in others, drivers might be liable.
When the Construction Company Might Be Liable
Construction companies must make sure that the site is safe for workers, motorists, and pedestrians. They have a responsibility to protect others from harm or warn of possible hazards. When that duty is breached, they could be held liable for any damages caused by the company’s negligence. This includes vicarious liability for injuries caused by the negligence of workers or subcontractors.
The construction company could be liable if an accident occurs due to:
- Lack of warning signage or improper placement of warning signs
- Inaccurate warning signs
- Hazardous construction route designs that force motorists to make dangerous maneuvers
- Maintenance to the construction site route that creates a hazard
- Obscured directions for detouring through the construction zone
- Placement of barricades, signs, or devices too close to moving traffic
- Construction equipment operation that impairs the movement of vehicles
If negligence on the part of the construction company was to blame for the crash, those who’ve been injured (or the families of those killed) could hold the company accountable for damages.
When a Driver Might Be Liable
When a crash occurs due to a motorist’s carelessness, recklessness, or another form of negligence, they could be held liable for injuries and other losses. Some examples of driver negligence in a construction zone include:
- A distracted driver failing to observe posted signs and warnings in the construction zone
- A driver rear-ending another vehicle that had properly slowed down or stopped
- A vehicle hitting a barricade, warning sign, or other device in the construction zone, causing a chain-reaction crash
Hurt in a Construction Zone Crash? Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in an accident in a construction zone, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced injury attorney right away. Determining liability can be challenging, since multiple parties could potentially be to blame for the crash. An experienced construction accident lawyer like those at The Ammons Law Firm, LLP can help identify the liable parties and seek the maximum compensation possible for your claim.
Disclaimer: On our blog, we report on recent catastrophic accidents to begin important conversations about consumer safety. If these resources are found to include any false or outdated information, we invite you to contact The Ammons Law Firm as soon as possible so we may update them. This content should not be construed as legal counsel or advice.