Dangerous Construction Zone Results in Fatality
Nueces County, Texas: Trace Blair of Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair, LLP handled another tragic construction zone accident that was initially considered to be a potential product liability case after a one vehicle on-road rollover accident left Alfredo DeLeon dead on a desolate stretch of FM 624 in LaSalle County, Texas. The damage to the car left unanswered questions. Prior to the release of the accident report, Trace Blair and the Atascosa County Sheriff performed a thorough inspection of the accident site and discovered what appeared to be construction zone debris caused by the wreck. Further investigation revealed that the site of the accident was an active with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) construction zone and that Alfredo’s vehicle had collided with crash cushions, causing the violent rollover and Alfredo’s death.
In spite of what initially appeared to be just another sleepy oilfield worker who drifted off the road in the middle of the night after working all week, as well as the immunity that typically shields TXDOT and its contractors from liability for construction zone accidents, Trace Blair sued the contractor and its subcontractors that were involved in the work in that construction zone.
The scope of the project included the replacement of guardrails along bridge and box culverts. The traffic control plan called for the removal of the permanent striping on the road and its replacement with raised, reflective, noise making traffic buttons to guide motorists away from the hazards caused by the crash cushions and concrete barriers installed to protect the work and the workers.
The contractor and its subcontractors blatantly ignored the traffic control plan and failed to install the temporary traffic control lanes that were designed to guide motorists around the hazard. Shockingly, TXDOT’s nearly daily inspections didn’t concern the contractors, and neither did the two prior accidents involving motorists crashing into the end of the crash cushions that had been placed so that they extended over the edge line and out into the lane of travel.
Suddenly, and without warning by sign, striping, or traffic buttons, the lane narrowed because the crash cushions and the temporary concrete barrier had been placed in the main lane of travel. Alfredo’s vehicle struck the crash cushion on the right front side, sending the vehicle flipping down the middle of the highway. Alfredo was ejected from the vehicle and suffered severe, serious and fatal injuries. This case settled for a confidential sum.