Construction workers performing road repairs face job risks not just from the dangerous equipment they use or the activities they engage in, but also from the actions of motorists zipping nearby them as they work in construction zones on the road. It is not unheard of for a construction worker to be struck by an errant motorist who was speeding or distracted in a construction zone.
If you are injured in a car crash caused by a reckless driver while performing your job duties, you generally do not sue your employer. Your employer likely did not cause your injuries, and they are mostly absolved from lawsuits based on at-work injuries through the Virginia worker’s compensation system.
But you might be able to pursue compensation from the driver responsible for the collision and/or their insurer. This is referred to as “third-party” liability, and it is based on negligence.
What is negligence?
Virginia is a fault-based insurance state. This means that if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you might have grounds for suing the other driver and/or their insurer directly. These grounds would be the negligent act of the other driver.
All motorists have a duty to drive in a manner that does not impact the safety and well-being of others. Motorists must drive reasonably under the circumstances.
Striking another driver, pedestrian or a road worker could be seen as a breach of this duty. For example, if the motorist was speeding, distracted, under the influence or in some other way driving recklessly, they were not operating their vehicle in a safe manner.
Still, you can only collect damages if the breach caused your injuries. You must be able to show that if not for the other driver’s conduct, you would not have been injured. You also must be able to show that your injuries are the type that would have been anticipated due to the other driver’s actions.
Proving negligence is not necessarily straightforward. Many factors regarding fault come into play, making any personal injury claim a complex affair.