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On the road again

The state of California's Department of Transportation has a webpage listing highway construction projects across the state, including in our Riverside district. It lists the dates when the work is scheduled to begin and when it is planned to end. Not included in the plans, of course, are accidents in the work zones that result in injuries -- and in worst-case scenarios -- deaths of construction workers and motorists.

It's not an insignificant problem: across the country, there were 87,606 crashes in U.S. work zones in 2010. Thirty percent of those accidents resulted in injuries; 69 percent resulted in property-damage-only and 0.6 percent involved a fatality.

Most of the road construction accidents (about 70 percent) occurred during daylight hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Researchers found that night-time road construction work doesn't lead to dramatically higher injury or crash rates.

Studies show that there were nearly 38,000 work zone injuries in 2010, or about one injury every 14 minutes. That's a record that could obviously use some improvement.

More than 20,000 road construction workers were injured in a variety of accidents, including the following:

  • Contact with objects or equipment: 35 percent
  • Slips, trips and falls: 20 percent
  • Overexertion: 15 percent
  • Transportation mishaps: 12 percent
  • Exposure to harmful substances/environments: 5 percent

When injured, eligible construction workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits that include wage replacement and medical care. And when those needed, earned, deserved benefits are denied, workers turn to attorneys experienced in the complex appeals process to pursue full and fair compensation.

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