The Augusta Chronicle reported on March 19, 2017, that two South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) employees were killed when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver while they were conducting a ditch inspection. A third employee was injured. The accident happened even though an SCDOT truck had its warning lights on to alert oncoming drivers. The hit-and-run driver ultimately turned himself in to authorities. The accident happened on Columbia Road. The deaths and injuries highlight how dangerous construction work can be. 18 SCDOT workers have died under similar circumstances, and there have been many close calls over the years, according to the article by the Augusta Chronicle.
Factors that place construction workers at high-risk for injury or death
Some of the known causes for auto-related accidents at construction sites are:
- Distracted driving. This includes drivers who operate their vehicle without having their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road, and their mind on traffic. Distracted driving includes texting while driving, talking on a cellphone, looking at a GPS system, eating, personal grooming, and other attention-diverting activities.
- Drivers who fail to obey the conditions around them. This covers running through flagging stations, ignoring warning lights, and driving too fast for conditions.
- Drunk driving. Drivers who are intoxicated fail to have control of their vehicle. They are a danger to everyone around them.
- Disobeying traffic laws. This includes speeding, running through a red light, failing to merge properly, and other traffic violations.
Construction projects are fairly routine throughout South Carolina. Accidents can happen on most any road during the year. For example, the South Carolina Highway Patrol reported five accidents at Aiken County work sites in one year, three of which involved speeding.
Construction zones are especially dangerous because they are congested, with many people working near oncoming vehicles. Officials are evaluating what steps can be taken to reduce construction zone accidents, such as utilizing more attention-grabbing blue lights instead of “construction ahead” signs.
In the reported case, the families of the deceased worker would have the right to bring a wrongful death action against the hit-and-run driver. If anyone besides the hit-and-run driver owned the vehicle used by the driver, the owners could be sued too. Additionally, the worker who was injured could sue for all his/her medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The workers and their families would likely also have a workers’ compensation claim.
Our South Carolina construction accident lawyers have been advocates for injured victims for over 20 years. At McGowan, Hood, and Felder, LLC, we are experienced trial lawyers who try cases before juries. We settle cases only when the settlement offer is just and acceptable to the client. Delay can hurt your case. For help now, please phone 1-888-302-7546 or fill out our contact form.