Construction Accidents Increase During the Winter


As the weather in Texas starts to get colder, construction workers face increased hazards since construction projects don’t stop because of weather conditions. These dangers include slip and fall accidents and heavy machinery accidents. Also, workers on roads have additional unique threats to their safety during the winter season. Snowy or icy pavement conditions are some of the biggest concerns. All these factors contribute to approximately 900 deaths and 76,000 injuries in work area accidents across the country during an average year, according to the most recent federal data from the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

 Road construction projects require adequate planning during cold weather

There is no shortage of hazards in the construction of roads and highways in Houston, especially during the cold-weather months. Large vehicles, excavation equipment, hazardous materials, reduced visibility, narrow lanes, and modified traffic patterns are all issues that increase the risks for construction workers in the winter. Proper planning is essential for the safety of workers. In fact, federal and state laws insist on it. But for some reason, these regulations are sometimes violated. Construction workers suffer the consequences when accidents that can be prevented lead to serious injuries or even death.

The Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices establishes the “temporary traffic control” (TTC) standards that are required for safe work zones. Motorists passing by should exercise utmost caution in work areas, but experience shows that they often do not. A good TTC plan for a work zone can help protect road construction workers from danger.

For example, a good TTC plan involving the construction of roads at night will provide light projectors that make workers more visible to their co-workers and to passing traffic. Likewise, good work area planners will examine how to create detours to maximize safety for construction workers and motorists during cold-weather months. Well-designed work zones also include clear warning signs, barricades, and cones to protect construction workers.

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common in the winter 

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration reports that every year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes happen on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement with 15 percent happening during snowfall or sleet. More than 1,300 people die and over 116,800 people suffer injuries in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement while 900 people are killed and almost 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet.

The most common types of construction accidents during the winter include:

-Workers being hit by oncoming traffic

-Workers being involved in an accident while driving a vehicle in a work area

-Injuries by backhoes, excavators, and other excavation equipment

-Trauma caused by road and surface leveling machinery

-Injuries caused by defective equipment

-Slip and Fall Accidents – Increased snow and ice mean more slick surfaces and a greater risk of workers possibly falling and suffering serious injuries.

-Accidents involving road obstructions or environmental factors, such as trees

-Responsibility for the construction and work area

Normally, employers are covered against personal injury claims if they have workers’ compensation insurance. However, workers’ compensation does not prohibit lawsuits against an employer if negligence caused the injury, or if the employer failed to create a safe work area. That is, each case is different, and at PMR Law we have experience in handling these types of cases successfully.

The person responsible for your injury may be the owner of the work area, the general contractor, the subcontractor, the equipment manufacturer, the architect or engineer, another party involved, or several of these at the same time.

Only a rigorous investigation of medical history, work area, witness statements, and various aspects related to the incident, can help determine liability, as well as the laws applicable to your claim. Our attorneys can initiate this investigation, identify the guilty parties, and determine what type of claim you have. We know how to proceed in these cases, and we’ll try to handle every detail of your case.

If you were seriously injured due to poor planning or a violation of the safety rules of a work area, then whoever was responsible for designing the temporary traffic control plan could be subject to legal action. Those parties may include construction contractors, state and local transportation planners, traffic engineers, and other entities.

Because Houston’s construction legislation is complex, it is very important to get in touch with a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. Failure to meet a deadline to file a claim for injuries can suspend your right to compensation forever.

How PMR Law can help

If you were injured in a construction accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights.

The attorneys at PMR Law can help you understand the complicated laws related to construction accidents. We will work with you to fight for the terms of a settlement, including compensation and reimbursement, which your injuries deserve.

An attorney who has experience with commercial accident claims will be able to consult with you about your legal rights and open an investigation into the full cause of the accident to help determine true liability.

Get in touch with us so we can evaluate your case for free. Call PMR Law at 832-844-6428 and a member of our team will get in touch with you immediately.

PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms in America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers have named three of our attorneys as Top 100 attorneys. The Academy of Attorneys has named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum. Texas Lawyer magazine has named PMR Law as the #1 Personal Injury Law Firm in Houston.