As a Miami-Dade construction accident attorney,I was interested to read an article suggesting an unusual number of crashes in a construction zone on Interstate 75. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Nov. 20 that the state Department of Transportation plans to review the safety of the work zone, following a fatal crash just after midnight on Nov. 19 involving a construction worker. The worker was not killed, but a motorcyclist was. The newspaper said the 9.4-mile stretch of Interstate 75 through Venice has seen many accidents since work started in May, although there are no statistics available to show whether it’s higher than average. More traffic is expected as winter brings more visitors to the region.
According to the article, the area has seen multiple accidents since work started, including crashes that closed the interstate entirely. One, in July, involved a tractor-trailer that spilled its diesel fuel and caught fire. The accident early Friday killed motorcyclist Curtis Haley, 51, of Venice. He hit a dump truck operated by Mark Glotfelty, 49, also of Venice. The accident also affected driver Kimberly Geaquinto, 48, of Deerfield Beach. Geaquinto and Glotfelty suffered only minor injuries, but because Glotfelty is an FDOT worker, that agency will do a safety review along with the FHP’s investigation. The crash happened during the night hours, when lanes can be closed and the speed limit is reduced from 70 mph to 60 mph. FDOT said everything it’s doing meets safety standards. Spokespeople for the AAA and the FHP advised motorists to slow down and be extra careful in construction zones.
That’s advice that could apply to any construction area. But as a Davie construction accident lawyer, I hope FDOT seriously considers whether this zone is particularly unsafe — and if it concludes that more should be done, I hope it takes all of the necessary steps. There are risks in any work zone that places human workers on foot just a few feet away from speeding cars. But if the state has failed to prevent foreseeable accidents, it could be legally responsible for any accidents that result. That could include serious motorcycle accidents like Haley’s or other traffic crashes, as well as injuries to FDOT workers themselves. In either case, the state as well as any drivers who were negligent would be legally liable to the injured people, or their loved ones. Because suing the state of Florida involves many special rules, it’s especially important that these victims get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Cohn, Smith & Cohn represents clients who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a preventable accident in a construction zone. This includes passers-by who happened to be there at the wrong time as well as construction workers whose employers failed to take reasonably necessary safety precautions. In many construction injury cases, there may be multiple parties at fault — for example, a driver who wasn’t paying attention to the road as well as a company or government agency that failed in its duty to create a safe environment. Workers injured on the job may be eligible to collect workers’ compensation payments from their own employers, but also sue a third party responsible for the injuries. Our Aventura construction accident attorneys help clients sort out responsibility and get the money they need for medical care and to support themselves as they recover.
If you were injured at a construction site and you believe someone else’s careless behavior is responsible, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn for help. To learn more or set up a free consultation, call our main Pembroke Pines office at (954) 431-8100 or send us a message online.