This case involves a biker who regularly commuted to work on his bicycle. The biker was riding his bicycle in a marked bike lane when he came upon a wet patch of cement in the road. A construction company had dug a ditch in the street to connect sewer and power lines for a new building being built and had filled the ditch with cement and had then moved their construction operations to the sidewalk area. The construction company did not cover the wet cement. The front wheel of the bike became stuck in the cement and this caused the bicyclist to flip over the handlebars and land head-first into the pavement. The roadway construction accident left the biker with an incomplete spinal cord injury, fractured cervical vertebrae, and nerve injury. There were no warning signs posted at the ditch and there were no flagmen at the construction site. The biker sued the construction company for negligence.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
1. Can a bicyclist sue a construction company for a roadway construction accident when the construction company failed to provide warnings about a dangerous condition?
Expert Witness Response
A person who is injured in a roadway construction accident may sue the construction company if there was a dangerous condition that caused an injury and there is evidence that the construction company was negligent in failing to warn people about the dangerous road condition. In general, a construction company working on a roadway project has a duty to make the road and portions of the construction site safe for motorists and other people who are using the area. When a construction company working on a roadway project fails to barricade construction zones or fails to warn motorists or others traveling there about known hazards in the area, this usually is negligence. In this case, the construction company is probably liable for the biker’s injuries because it had control over the construction site and failed to warn people about the cement by putting visual clues so that people could avoid the construction site. Since the construction company had a legal duty to put up barricades and/or cones to warn motorists and bikers about the cement and failed to do so, it is probably liable for negligence in this case.