Who can I sue in a Construction Zone Road Accident?

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on July 01, 2021

The risk of a motor vehicle accident is higher along Ontario road construction zones for several reasons. Collisions generally result when drivers don’t adjust their speed or when drivers fail to properly monitor for lane reductions, slowdowns or stops in traffic, or for other circumstances that are frequently found around road construction. To compound the danger, because construction zones often create traffic congestion, the negligent driver is rarely the only one affected by their mistake, and one person’s failure to adhere to construction zone speed limits or to watch for potential hazards often impacts multiple road users and sometimes, construction workers.  One of the most common types of accidents in construction zones is when a driver barrels into another vehicle and causes a rear-end collision involving multiple vehicles and injured parties.  

If another driver’s negligence has caused your injuries, you are entitled to commence a lawsuit against the owner/driver of the ‘at fault’ vehicle for any losses that you incurred as a result of your injury.   In the case of a rear-end collision, the rear-most driver in a construction zone accident (or elsewhere) is almost always found responsible and liable for the accident and related injuries. If there were multiple vehicles involved in the rear-end collision, then fault for causing the accident may be partly shared between drivers whose vehicles rear-ended another vehicle, as specified in the Fault Determination Rules under Ontario’s Insurance Act.  

If no other driver was responsible for causing your construction zone accident and you are the person ostensibly at fault in the collision, then you generally don’t have a case for bringing a lawsuit for your own losses (although you may seek ‘no fault’ accident benefits from your own vehicle insurance provider, regardless who was at fault).   

However, there are circumstances where the victim of a construction zone accident may have just cause to sue another party even when their vehicle is the only one involved or when they crashed into another vehicle.  On April 27th, 2021, a Toronto man was fatally injured when his car was crushed by a huge overhead road sign along the QEW.  The 46-year-old victim was driving towards Toronto on the QEW between Hamilton and Burlington, when a construction vehicle knocked the sign off its post, causing the sign to fall on his car.  

If the municipality responsible for a construction zone or the construction company running the construction site created an unsafe situation that caused injury to a road user, or caused someone to lose control and crash, they may be liable for the accident.  Under Ontario’s Occupier’s Liability Act, the owner or occupier of a property, including a roadway, carries responsibility for keeping people using the roadway reasonably safe.  Accordingly, if the construction company, a sub-contractor or municipal workers failed to erect signs to warn road users of upcoming danger, left hazardous materials on the road, or committed another action (or inaction) that led to a road user’s injury, then the injured person may have good cause for suing the negligent party (or several negligent parties) for any losses they incurred.

Determining liability in a construction zone accident can be a complicated matter.  If you were injured and believe another party is responsible for causing your injury, talk to an experienced lawyer at Injury Lawyers of Ontario and learn about your legal right to compensation.   

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