It’s said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. However, a third inevitability should be added to that list: roadway construction. No matter where you go, the telltale signs of construction are ubiquitous. Unsurprisingly, roadway construction intersects with personal injury law in a variety of ways.
Road Construction Accidents
Road construction obviously places the workers themselves in potentially hazardous situations. Working in the middle of a busy street, avenue or highway necessarily involves a certain degree of danger for construction workers and equipment operators. There are, of course, standard security procedures intended to keep road crews safe. Unfortunately, if these procedures are improperly implemented, or motorists fail to comply, the results can be disastrous.
Less frequently, the repair process and associated conditions can themselves be the cause of traffic accidents. For example, the large floodlights often used during construction could unreasonably obstruct visibility for pedestrians and motorists. Or, digging up concrete and pavement could result in insufficient water drainage around the site, leading to accumulation and potential danger. Finally, it’s possible that confusing or inadequate signage might lead to driver injury.
A third category of construction-related injuries stems from a recent decision by New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. In Turturro v. City of New York, the Court held that a young boy who was permanently and severely injured by a speeding motorist could collect damages from the city for negligence, where the city knew that the street in question was designed such that it encouraged unsafe driving practices, yet failed to implement any traffic calming measures or otherwise address the problem. The Court determined that the city was acting in a proprietary, rather than governmental, capacity regarding this remediation failure, and thus, qualified immunity did not apply.
 Turturro, et al. v. City of New York, et al. Slip Op. 08579 (N.Y. 2016).
We Can Help
If you were injured while driving by or working at a roadway construction site, or you think your injury might fit within the parameters of the Turturro decision, we invite you to call Campbell & Associates at 716-992-2222 for a free consultation.
Example Verdicts/Settlements for High-Speed Collision Accidents
Rappold v. Trembling, et al. (N.Y. Sup. 2000) – Plaintiff, a seat belted front seat passenger in a car driven by Defendant, was severely injured when Defendant driver lost control of the vehicle due to excessive speed and struck a tree. Plaintiff suffered severe brain damage which necessitated the removal of approximately 25 percent of his right temporal lobe. Plaintiff was in the tragic position of suffering significant cognitive deficits while nonetheless being fully aware of the nature and extent of his injuries. A jury awarded Plaintiff $47,452,461 for past and future pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, and future lost earnings.
Clementi v. Walck Brothers AG Service, Inc. (N.Y. Sup. 2002) – Plaintiff, a 39-year old female, suffered injuries when her vehicle was struck from the rear by the Defendant’s truck on a highway exit ramp. Plaintiff suffered aggravation of preexisting disc disease at L4-5 and L5-S1 that required fusion surgery and resulted in chronic pain syndrome. Plaintiff contended that Defendant was driving much too fast on the exit ramp. The parties agreed to a pretrial settlement of $1,010,000.
Santowasso v. Brady (N.Y. Sup. 1986) – A 17-year old man was killed while riding his moped. His estate sued the driver of the second vehicle for wrongful death. The evidence showed that Defendant driver was travelling at an excessive rate of speed and playing “chicken” in the wrong lane of traffic prior to striking the moped. A jury awarded Plaintiff’s estate $2,300,000 ($5,137,000, adjusted for inflation) for the young man’s wrongful death.