Highway construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. They are at risk of injury or death due to the environment they work in and around every day. Construction work, in general, is often rife with work injuries. But then you add the fact that you have cars and huge trucks zipping by your work site mere feet from you. This is a recipe for a lot of serious work injuries. Workers can be injured or killed by being run over, crushed, hit by highway equipment, falls, and other causes. During the construction season in New Jersey, there are thousands of construction workers on the roads on any given day. It’s no wonder that there are a significant number of highway construction work injuries in New Jersey each year.
Causes of Highway Work Zone Injuries
Highway construction workers suffer injuries from highway construction accidents in many ways. For example, highway work zones use “barricades” to direct cars away from the highway work areas so that they don’t impede the progress of highway work crews. The problem is that sometimes drivers don’t pay attention to these signs and end up crashing into the highway barriers and injuring any construction workers nearby. Also particularly dangerous for highway workers is when vehicles plow through the barricades without stopping; this tends to hurl debris near highway workers which can injure or kill them. Here are some other common causes of highway construction accidents and injuries:
- Insufficient lighting around the work site when working at night;
- Electrical hazards such as exposed power cords that can cause construction workers to be electrocuted;
- Improper maintenance of construction machinery;
- Improper and negligent use of heavy construction equipment;
- Falling debris hitting workers in the head;
- Slip, trips, and falls due to slick and slippery work areas;
- Insufficient blocking of the work site from passing vehicles; and
- Lack of adequate enforcement of construction zone speed laws.
Unfortunately, road construction accidents happen way too often and many of the injuries are significant, causing long-term disability and an inability to work.
Two Types of Injury Claims to Pursue
There are a few different ways that highway construction workers can be compensated if they are injured on the job. The first way is to file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. The second way is to file a claim against a third party, such as someone driving negligently on the highway, who caused an accident and injury to a road construction worker.
Filing a New Jersey Workers’ Comp Claim
Just like any type of work injury, injured highway construction workers can file for workers’ comp benefits. The benefits you receive under a workers’ comp claim consist of your medical benefits and wage benefits. If you are off work due to a work injury, you will receive wage benefits for the time that you’re off work. You’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly gross wages (pre-tax wages) for every week that you’re off work. However, there is a maximum weekly wage benefit amount and a minimum weekly wage benefit amount. For injuries that happen in 2021, the weekly maximum wage benefit rate is $1,065 and the minimum is $284. What this means is that no matter how well you’re paid, if you’re hurt at work and can’t work due to a work-related disability, the maximum you’ll receive each week that you’re off work is $1,065. There is also a third benefit you may be entitled to receive if there is a permanent partial loss of physical function from your work related condition.
It’s important to understand that if it’s a straight workers’ comp claim and no third parties were involved, these are the only benefits you get. A workers’ comp claim isn’t like a personal injury lawsuit where you have the potential to recover pain and suffering compensation.
Third-Party Liability Claims
The other way to recover compensation for a highway construction accident injury claim is through a third-party liability claim. A New Jersey highway construction worker has this option if the work injury was caused by someone outside of the work environment. The most common example for a highway construction worker is if they were struck by a negligent driver who was traveling too fast in a construction zone. It’s a work-related injury so the worker can file a workers’ comp claim. But they can also file a negligence lawsuit against the at-fault driver. With third-party liability claims, the injured worker can also seek compensation above and beyond what they’d receive in the workers’ comp claim. They could seek pain and suffering compensation as well as damages for the loss of life’s pleasures. Another benefit is that their spouse could file a separate claim for loss of consortium. A loss of consortium claim would compensate the spouse for the loss of companionship and services of their injured spouse.
Trust Petro Cohen with Your Personal Injury Case
At Petro Cohen, P.C., our injury attorneys have decades of experience handling thousands of personal injury cases with successful outcomes for our clients, fighting hard to recover fair compensation and appropriate medical care for their injuries. Petro Cohen Managing Partner Susan Petro heads the Personal Injury Department, which includes experienced personal injury attorneys Rich Gaeckle and Mike Veneziani. Whether your injury resulted from a slip and fall, construction site mishap, or an accident involving an automobile, truck, motorcycle, boat, or bicycle, we can help, even if it means litigating against big corporations or public entities. Petro Cohen, P.C. has offices to serve you in Northfield, Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton, NJ. To determine if you may have a potential personal injury case, schedule your free and confidential consultation with a Petro Cohen, P.C. attorney by calling 888-675-7607. You can contact us through our online form or via 24/7 live chat at PetroCohen.com.