Workers who spend their working hours in construction zones along California highways are extremely vulnerable. In addition to the hazards posed by the heavy equipment typically used during road construction, the actions of drivers traveling through construction zones can never be anticipated. The risks are even higher for those working at night as, unfortunately, drunk driving is prevalent in the early morning hours. When construction workers' accidents are caused by passing drivers, it is not uncommon for third-party cases to arise.
Such an accident recently caused the death of a man who was working as a subcontractor for Caltrans. According to a report that was prepared by the California Highway Patrol, a construction crew was busy repaving the road surface on Interstate 580 when, shortly after midnight, a vehicle operator struck a wall. His car was propelled into the construction zone that was cordoned off with traffic cones, and he struck one of the construction workers.
Troopers reported that the impact threw the worker about 100 feet, causing fatal injuries, and he died at the accident scene. The vehicle operator was not injured, but he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The family of the man who lost his life in this tragic accident will now have to cope with adjusting to life without their loved one.
The California workers' compensation insurance system allows the dependents of victims of fatal construction workers' accidents to pursue death benefit claims. Compensation typically includes coverage for end-of-life expenses and some level of lost income. However, if a worker's death was caused by the negligence of a person not associated with the employer, the family is entitled to seek additional recovery of damages by filing a third-party wrongful death claim in a civil court. Many families choose to utilize the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to navigate both avenues of compensation on their behalf.
Source: ABC News, "Caltrans subcontractor fatally struck by driver charged with DUI on I-580 in Oakland", Sept. 19, 2015