Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 at 10:58 am
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there were close to 100,000 vehicle accidents across the United States in construction work areas in 2015. This represents a 7.8% increase from the year before. North Carolina has had its own issues with construction workers getting injured on the job. The FHWA data showed that the accidents broke down as follows:
These numbers are similar to crashes in non-work zone areas.
According to the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 590 people died in construction zone areas in 2011, 617 died in 2012, 579 more in 2013, and 669 in 2014.
Some of the leading factors for work zone deaths are:
North Carolina has 17 Interstate Highways including I-26, I-40, I-85 and I-95. Other main roads include State Highways & Routes 1, 13, 17, 21, 168, 158, 301, 321, 401, and many other roads. There are numerous highways and roads throughout the state that are in constant need of repair and maintenance. Virginia has similar highways, many of which continue from Virginia into North Carolina, particularly the North -South I-85, I-95 corridor. Once upon a time, State Routes 17 and 301 were the primary North-South ways to drive the east coast, before the Federal System.
Construction is done for many reasons:
A great example of road improvement is Route 17 between Chesapeake, VA and Elizabeth City. Many folks remember when it was just one lane in each direction, especially on the Virginia side. It was the sight of many fatal motor vehicle accidents, particularly where the road abuts the dismal swamp canal and it was particularly dark at night.
Now the road is four lanes all the way down, the road was moved east to open farm land, away from the dismal swamp, and there is a new high rise 4 lane toll bridge on the Chesapeake side. The road is now much safer and provides a faster route between the two cities.
Similar to this are the massive improvements made to Route 168, now a toll road in Virginia known as the Chesapeake Expressway. As locals know, this road continues south of the Virginia Border to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Once a pitifully difficult one-lane-each-way trip to the Outer Banks, improvements on both sides have now substantially lessened travel time, even though the road remains bumper-to-bumper on the weekends in the summer. Once can now travel from Moyock, N.C. to downtown Norfolk, VA, in about 30 minutes, making Moyock a bedroom community for many who work in Norfolk.
Some of the common reasons accidents happen at construction zones are:
Many different people, companies, and entities may be liable for a work zone accident. An investigation usually begins with determining who initiated the construction site work. We review whether the roads were federal roads, state roads, county roads, or even private roads. We work to understand why the work was being done. Was fixing the road the primary task? Or was the need to do work related to some other purposes such as clearing trees from electric lines, raising a new building in a city, or any area, or some other reason?
Some of the possible defendants when a car accident in a construction zone causes injury or death are:
Architects, civil engineers, and maintenance crews may also be liable for injuries and deaths when North Carolina construction accidents happen.
Time is critical in construction site accidents. It’s important to have investigators and experts go the accident site, take pictures and videos, speak with witnesses, examine the damage to any personal vehicles, and examine the damage to any construction vehicles or equipment. Construction sites change rapidly. The whole idea behind construction work is to complete the work as soon as possible which makes it hard to verify what the conditions were when the accident happened.
Get Justice. Speak with an Experienced North Carolina and Virginia car accident and highway construction injury attorney today
At the North Carolina Law office of Joe Miller Esq., we have the experience and resources to investigate car accidents, including at construction sites. Once we know how the accident happened, we are skilled at bringing personal injury claims against the responsible parties. Of course, we also assist injured highway construction workers, as well as injured drivers who may have been travelling for work purposes, through both the North Carolina and Virginia Workers Compensation Systems. Attorney Joe Miller has been helping personal injury victims for more than 30 years. He understands how to examine the facts and argue the law. He’ll work to prove liability and to show all your pain and suffering. For help , please call (888) 694-1671 or complete my contact form.
Wrongful Death in North Carolina
Car accidents take numerous lives. According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, in 2016:
Wrongful death generally means that the defendant’s negligence caused the fatality. Driver negligence usually includes one or more of the following:
The right of family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit is governed by North Carolina Statutes section 28A-18-2 Generally, the personal representative of the person who dies files the wrongful death claim. The personal representative is normally the executor named in the decedent’s will. If there was no will, then there are rules for who can apply to be the administrator/personal representative of the estate.
There are strict timelines for bringing wrongful death claims an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can explain. The key thing to remember is that it is always good to consult with a respected personal injury trial lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident causes someone to die. It’s also important to show that that the deceased did not contribute to the accident in any way. We aggressively fight to show the responsible defendants are fully responsible for the tragedies they caused.
The personal representative brings the wrongful death claim on behalf of the following survivors:
The damage award is not part of the Estate though. This means the funds go directly to the beneficiaries and not creditors. If any beneficiary is under 18, then it may be necessary to appoint a guardian for the child or place the funds in a trust. Normally, the co-parent will handle the funds for the child until he/she reaches 18.
The state statute essentially combines the following two claims:
The North Carolina wrongful death statute also authorizes a punitive damage award if the facts merit it. Punitive damages are generally designed to punish the wrongdoer to deter him/her from similar wrongful conduct. Punitive damage awards are also meant to send a message to others might act “with malice or willful or wanton conduct.” Punitive damages may be awarded, if for example, a driver drove his car while intoxicated or drove a car that he/she knew needed safety-related repairs.
Generally, all awards are adjusted to reflect the current monetary value of the damages. Generally, a respected North Carolina car accident lawyer charges a contingent fee in wrongful death cases. This means the lawyer does not get paid his fee unless the case settles or there is a jury verdict. The lawyer does get a percentage of any recovery plus reimbursement for fees that were advanced.
Experienced personal injury lawyers understand what is required to prove fault for the car accident. They also understand how to prove damages. Some damages are easier to place a dollar amount on than others. In wrongful death cases, we often work with professionals who can assess the value of intangible losses such as loss of guidance and support or loss of care and assistance.
At the end of the day, though, the primary thing that determines the value of a wrongful death claim is going to be insurance coverage. The minimum limits in North Carolina are $30,000.00. The more valuable cases are those involving commercial vehicles, which routinely carry policies of $1Million. With larger companies, there may also be excess coverage.
No amount of money will ever replace the loss of a loved one. The aim of wrongful death cases is to hold the drivers and other responsible parties liable for their actions. Families are entitled to be paid every dollar the law does allow, whether it is due to the fault of another or for a workers compensation recovery. Attorney Joe Miller has helped thousands of injured victims get justice. He has the resources and experience to help you get justice for the loss of a loved one. To schedule an appointment, please call (888) 694-1671 or complete my contact form.