Massive construction projects are affecting traffic all around the state, and drivers are feeling the burn. With gun violence, road rage incidents and motor vehicle crashes at an all-time high, Georgia’s roads are among the deadliest in the nation. Sadly, this has consequences for more than just drivers and passengers. Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise as well, and the workers who maintain our highways are at greater risk than ever before.
Recently, a Gwinnett County man was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident while he directing traffic at an active construction site. The victim, Constantin “George” Bolof, was a longtime employee of the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources (DWR) and, tragically, just nine months away from retirement. The Georgia Sun reported that “Bolof worked as a Trades Associate in Field Operations since 2000 and was known for his cheerful disposition around the DWR office.”
Sadly, Bolof is not the only one of his coworkers to fall victim to the hazards of the job. According to a study conducted by Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN), vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among highway maintenance workers. The study compared fatality rates among 263 professions employing at least 50,000 people to find the top 25 most dangerous jobs in the United States. Public works jobs make an appearance in nearly half of that list, with some jobs clocking in at “…33 times more dangerous than the average job nationwide.
How safe are Georgia’s work zones?
Closer to home, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Facts About Work Zone Safety found that “In 2019, the most recent year for which statistics were available, there were 762 fatal crashes in work zones resulting in 842 deaths. Of those work zone fatalities, 135 of the people killed were roadway workers….” The severity of work zone accidents is underscored by the fact that the number of deaths exceeds the number of incidents, and does not take into account the catastrophic injuries for those who survived.
What are the causes of deadly work zone accidents?
The majority of work zone accidents are caused by distracted driving. Even when it appears that very little activity is going on in a construction zone, heavy machinery and major earthworks mean that things can change very quickly. It is always important to keep your attention focused on the road, but work zones require even more awareness. The responsibility for someone’s death, even if truly accidental, is a weight that you carry for life.
In Bolof’s case, there were other contributing factors. The Georgia Sun article reports that the driver who hit Bolof was under the influence at the time. According to GDOT’s Crash Data Portal, Driving Under the Influence was the third leading cause of fatal accidents in Georgia in 2019 and 2020. This is not just another statistic. From the same source, “On average in Georgia 76% of fatalities in crashes are caused by unsafe driving behaviors, including distractions, impairment, or driving too fast for conditions.”What can you do if your loved one dies in a work zone crash?
If you are hurt in a work zone accident in Georgia, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hurt you. If your loved one is killed, however, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money will make up for your loss, it does ensure that the negligent party is held accountable. It can also help ease the stress that comes with the financial burdens of a lost income and burial expenses.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our experienced wrongful death lawyers demand justice for your family. Our Atlanta and Savannah lawyers have obtained numerous wrongful death verdicts and settlements. Our compassionate attorneys help support grieving families while leaving no stone unturned. We work with probate counsel to set up an estate, investigate why the accident happened, determine who is at fault, and demand compensation from the individuals or businesses responsible. Please contact us to schedule a free, confidential appointment, or call us to learn more: 404-998-8847 in Atlanta or 912-417-3774 in Savannah.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.