When you hear about work zone accidents on the roadways, the first thing most people think of is construction workers being injured or killed. While it is true that these work areas are incredibly dangerous for those who earn a living by repairing and improving our infrastructure, they are far from the only individuals at risk by entering these sites.
Cars, trucks, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles all face hazards in construction zones. The one factor restricted to motorcycles when it comes to construction accidents is that the driver is unprotected making him or her much more susceptible to serious injury and death.
Common causes for motorcycle work zone accidents
In 2019, there were 7,029 work zone crashes in North Carolina, with over 6,500 people injured and 30 killed. When most folks enter a construction zone on the highway, they tend to worry more about hitting a worker than what could happen to them. Advertising campaigns like “let ‘em work, let ‘em live” have trained NC travelers to think that way.
When you are driving a motorcycle, however, you should focus on your own safety first. There are some work zone risks that become inherently more dangerous for you, such as:
- Uneven pavement. When roads are resurfaced blacktop is laid in stages. Often one lane may be several inches higher than another so that when you change lanes, you must go up or down. The same can happen in the lane you are already in where workers have stopped paving for the day. Uneven surfaces can cause a devastating motorcycle accident if a bike tire hits it at the wrong angle and speed.
- Construction barriers. These guides are often made of concrete. If a bike hits one the driver doesn’t have any protective barrier from the hard concrete. Legs or arms can be crushed requiring amputation and if the driver falls off the bike, there is a risk of hitting his/her head, which can lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Other vehicles. Cars or trucks that have had a brush with a construction barrier can leave parts like hubcaps, side mirrors and bumpers obstructing lanes. If a motorcycle tire strikes an object, it can throw the bike off balance sending the driver and any riders skidding down the road.
- Tailgating. Vehicles that are in a rush to get through the work zone, especially distracted drivers, put motorcycle riders at higher risk for having their bikes bumped causing a loss of control.
- Loose rocks and debris. Anything loose lying around in the road can be kicked up by speeding cars and trucks and there is no telling where it could land. If struck at the right angle, rocks can become projectiles hitting motorcycle riders. If the rider is not wearing a helmet, it could cause a TBI. At the very least, it could cause gashes and permanent disfigurement.
What to do if you have been injured in a Charlotte, NC work zone
If you are s injured, your first priority always needs to be seeking medical attention. Depending upon your injuries, time could be an enormous factor in how fully you recover.
You also need to:
- Report the wreck to the police and have emergency medical services dispatched.
- Get contact information for any witnesses who saw the crash.
- Take photos of the damage to all vehicles and of the scene.
- Report the accident to your insurance company but do not provide a recorded statement to anyone as these are frequently used to limit liability and settlements.
You want to hire a Charlotte personal injury attorney as soon as possible, especially when the accident was not your fault. An attorney will be able to take the police report, your medical records, and other important documentation and use all of it to try and reach a fair settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An attorney will also be able to guide you through the claims process to prevent you from making innocent mistakes that can harm your case.
The knowledgeable Charlotte construction zone injury lawyers at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC want to ensure that our clients are protected when they have been hurt in a work zone accident. Schedule your free consultation by calling 704-377-7777, or reach out to us through the firm’s contact page to tell us your story.