For those whose profession requires that they occasionally work on the side of Georgia highways, it will come as no surprise to hear that the shoulder of a road is a dangerous place to be. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 400 deaths per year are caused by accidents occurring on road shoulders across the country.
Over the past several years, every state has enacted its own version of a “Move Over Law,” which requires motorists to slow down or give room to emergency vehicles and workers on the road’s shoulder. While each state’s law is slightly different, most laws require motorists to accommodate police, firefighters, emergency responders, tow-truck drivers, accident clean-up crews, and other state transportation workers.
Georgia’s move over law was enacted in 2003 and requires drivers to move over when emergency vehicles are present. If it would be illegal or impossible to change lanes, the driver must slow down to a “reasonable and proper speed,” given the current road conditions.
Move over laws go a long way in protecting the many types of workers who routinely find themselves working on the side of the highway. However, accidents will still happen. In some of these accidents, a passing motorist may be at fault, and a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. However, liability will not be present in every case. For situations in which a personal injury lawsuit is not appropriate, injured workers may be entitled to compensation through the workers’ compensation program.
Highway Work Zone Awareness Week
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) declared the first week in April as Highway Work Zone Awareness Week. The purpose of Highway Work Zone Awareness Week was to bring attention to motorist and worker safety in construction work zones across the country.
According to a local news source, the FHWA, the State of Georgia, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and local employers engaged in “safety stand-downs” to focus on the dangers of distracted drivers, flying roadside debris, and other issues of roadside safety. In order to conduct the stand-downs, employers paused construction projects along Georgia roads and discussed the safety issues employees routinely face, including early recognition techniques to help decrease future accidents.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Roadside Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while working on the shoulder of a Georgia road, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As noted above, in some cases in which a third party was responsible for your injuries, a third-party personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. However, in cases in which no fault has been assigned, or even in cases in which your own fault played a role in the accident, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more about how you may be able to receive compensation for your workplace injuries – either through a third-party personal injury lawsuit or through a workers’ compensation application – contact one of the dedicated and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at J. Franklin Burns, P.C. With decades of collective experience handling all types of cases arising out of Georgia workplace injuries, we understand how to help our clients seek the compensation they need and deserve. Call 404-920-4708 to schedule your free consultation today.