A woman was killed last week when her car was sideswiped by a semi-truck after she drove into an intersection in Lufkin, Texas Wednesday evening. According to an article by the Austin-American Statesman, the 18-year-old driver was the only occupant in her vehicle and was on her way to start college at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas when the accident occurred. According to an accident report referenced in the article, a stop sign at the intersection that would have alerted the woman of cross-traffic had been knocked down by a truck and was not visible at the time the woman approached the intersection.
The Dangers of Road Construction
Last week’s accident shows the dangers associated with driving in construction zones. Some of the most dangerous and deadly New Mexico semi-truck accidents either involve construction vehicles or occur in areas with ongoing construction. When construction projects close lanes or redirect traffic, drivers who are used to driving the affected routes can be confused by or fail to see warnings that are designed to alert them of the changing traffic conditions. If, as happened last week, a warning sign is not visible or functioning properly, the construction zone can be a virtual invitation to danger for drivers.
Who Is Responsible for an Accident Like This?
It can be difficult to ascertain who should be held responsible when an accident like this occurs. The person or party running a construction project has a duty to drivers to prevent or warn drivers from foreseeable harms and dangers associated with the construction project. Generally, this duty would include a duty to have proper signage and notice for drivers that will be affected by closures resulting from the construction. A construction company cannot be expected to prevent any and every possibility that a sign may not function properly, and whoever was responsible for knocking the sign over may also be somewhat responsible, depending on his or her knowledge of the condition.
Why Do Victims Always Face the Blame?
In an accident like this, especially when the significant loss associated with serious injury or death is involved, some parties may try and blame the victim of the crash for causing the accident. Although the parties involved in construction have a duty to prevent danger and to warn drivers, insurance companies for the construction company or government entity involved in an accident will sometimes argue that the affected driver had a continuous duty to exercise caution when driving on public roads, and that visible warnings of a construction site (other than the sign that had fallen down) should have been enough for the driver to exercise increased caution and enable him or her to avoid the accident.
How Does Fault Get Divided?
When an accident occurs and a New Mexico personal injury lawsuit is filed, the jury or judge has the opportunity, under New Mexico law, to divide up the responsibility for an accident among several responsible parties, including the victim. If the victim is found to have a significant amount of responsibility for the accident, he or she will be found to have been “comparatively negligent,” and the damages that he or she may receive from other responsible parties can be substantially reduced, based on the division of fault. Since every accident is unique, and could often be prevented in several ways, accident defendants don’t have much to lose by alleging that a driver was comparatively negligent after an accident occurs.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident with a semi-truck, the skilled New Mexico accident attorneys at the Fine Law Firm want to hear about your case. We have the experience to know what tricks insurance companies try and play on accident plaintiffs, and we can help you to make the decisions that give you the best chance of getting the compensation that you deserve. We represent clients in all kinds of New Mexico personal injury cases, including construction accidents. Call today at (585) 889-3463 to schedule a free consultation, or set one up through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Bicyclist Hit and Seriously Injured By Garbage Truck in Albuquerque Last Month., New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2014.
Distracted Driver Causes Crash on Interstate 25 That Leaves One Dead, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, June 5, 2014.