Highway Maintenance Accident

How many times have you driven down a Colorado highway and seen a construction crew repairing or mowing the grass alongside the road? Although this may seem like a simple task, landscaping companies and construction crews must be extremely careful to avoid sudden lane closures that are dangerous to drivers. At Cook, Bradford and Levy, we are compassionate Colorado car accident lawyers representing drivers who have been hurt or killed by unsafe highway maintenance projects. Our lawyers are skilled and aggressive advocates regularly holding negligent contractors responsible. If you have been injured by an unsafe road construction lane closure, call us today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation. We represent drivers across Colorado and want to talk with you.

Why Highway Lane Closures Are Dangerous

In Colorado, highway maintenance contractors have a duty to keep drivers safe. To do this correctly, contractors must warn drivers in advance that there is a construction or maintenance project up ahead. This can be done with signage, flaggers, cones, flashing lights, or other traffic control devices. Our lawyers know that the Colorado Department of Transportation issues safety standards that highway contractors must follow in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. This MUTCD shows how traffic signage for a construction project must be done to avoid unsafe lane closures that can cause cars, semi-trucks, or other vehicles to suddenly stop and become a hazard.

Especially where semi-trucks and tractor trailers are concerned, the failure to properly notify truck drivers that a lane is closed ahead can cause trailers to jackknife, roll over, or even barrel through stopped cars and trucks. When a semi-truck must take evasive action, the tractor and trailer can be a hazard to the cars around it and hurt or seriously injure other drivers. In Colorado, where weather can lead to dangerous highway conditions, standards are especially important to avoid crashes from occurring.

Case Study in Unsafe Highway Lane Closure

Recently, a law firm that our attorneys work closely with on truck-crashes represented a man who died and his spouse who was seriously injured. In that case, a lawn mowing contractor was cutting the grass along the highway and blocked all traffic so they could do so. The lawn mowing crew did this without giving motorists enough time to stop or enough advance warning that traffic was stopped ahead. Moreover, their contract with the state prohibited them from blocking highway traffic to mow the lawn. Sure enough, a tractor-trailer did not see that traffic had stopped and ended up jack-knifing and rolling over the car carrying the man and his wife. Not only was the trucking company held liable for the death and injury of the man and woman, but the lawn care contractor also was required to pay more than $10 million for unsafely blocking highway traffic. It is likely that had the contractor followed the guidance given in the MUTCDs for proper signage the crash could have been avoided.

What Are the Rules the Highway Contractor Should Have Followed?

A lawyer analyzing a crash with serious injuries or death must look at each case as a unique set of circumstances. For example, the traffic control signage may be different for a contractor who is painting the lines in a highway than for a contractor that is repairing potholes or working on a part of a highway exit that must be closed. The traffic control provisions for Colorado are precise only to a certain level, and then an experienced highway safety expert may be required to tailor the signage to the specific facts of a particular project.

In cases where there may be limited resources, like in rural Colorado, highway safety cannot be compromised. Typically each government agency overseeing the project has a contract with the maintenance company to ensure that safety standards are clear. A good Colorado car accident lawyer knows that when a contractor fails to follow the regulations in a contract, it is evidence of negligence should a car crash occur.

Call Us Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by an unsafe highway construction crew, we would like to speak with you. Regardless of where your crash happened in Colorado, call us today at 303-543-1000 to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.

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