Sometimes it seems there are only two seasons: Winter and Construction. Road maintenance is never-ending, though when it is neglected, complaints are loud and continual.
Waiting for the road crews to finish their jobs is frustrating, but our first thought should always be to protect the life and limbs of the road construction workers.
DOH Worker Hit by a FedEx Truck in West Virginia
Road construction workers are at constant risk of injury. Not only are vehicles passing by at relatively fast speeds, but the job also involves dangerous machinery and heavy machinery and dangerous equipment that can inflict horrible and sometimes and fatal injuries. In addition, careless drivers who text, speed, or drive drunk can cause serious safety hazards.
West Virginia MetroNews recently reported a tragic collision in Wayne County, WV which happened in one of the highway work zones. A FedEx truck swerved to avoid hitting a motorcycle, seriously injuring a road construction worker.
Vehicle accidents involving multiple parties including a commercial vehicle are complicated and are extremely contentious. Each party will have their own attorney and all of the plaintiffs will be fighting to receive a portion of the available insurance money.
If the case settles before trial, it will involve numerous depositions and finally a mediation hearing to try to sort out who is actually at fault and how the insurance settlements (and the there may be several sources of insurance available) will be divided.
If the case ends up going to trial (most settle before trial), even more depositions will be conducted, experts will be hired, exhibits such as a digital reenactment of the collision will be created, and a year or two could pass before these seriously injured people could see justice and receive compensation for their injuries, personal losses, pain, and lost wages.
The penalties of speeding and/or losing control in a work zone designated by road signs are tough -- and for good reason! West Virginia Code §17C-3-4b tells us that anyone driving 15 mph over the posted speed is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined $200 or confined in jail for up to 20 days, or both EVEN if workers are not present.
This particular accident occurred Monday morning on Route 52 near the Rebel Mart in Fort Gay when deputies say a driver of a Fed Ex truck swerved to avoid a motorcyclist near a construction project.
The truck clipped the motorcycle and hit the DOH worker, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.
The FedEx truck dragged the DOH worker for a while. According to the DOH, the 25-year old worker was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center is currently in serious condition.
The driver of the FedEx truck and driver of the motorcycle were also transported to the hospital as their conditions have not been learned.
Department of Transportation Secretary Byrd White has issued the following statement on the accident:
"It is saddens me to think we have a 25-year-old - with his whole life in front of him, and who just started with us about a month ago, hoping to go full-time with the DOT one day - now lying in a hospital bed. Even one accident like this is one too many. There are so many hardworking men and women, who are trying to fix our state's roads, who should be able to do their job without needing to look over their shoulder every few seconds.
"I know it can be frustrating to drive slower than you're used to, but our men and women deserve to make it home to their families safely at the end of the day. Today, for one of our workers, that did not happen. My heart breaks and yours should too. I am praying for this man to make a speedy recovery and I am praying that all motorists traveling through West Virginia put themselves in the shoes of our incredible DOT workers and remember to slow down and be alert while driving through work zones."
The accident remains under investigation.