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Wrongful Death Suits for Highway Maintenance Workers

May 12th, 2021

Highway maintenance workers are some of the most important public servants we have. After all, most of us use our roads every single day. Too often, though, they go ignored and unappreciated. For example, while we know that police and firefighters face danger every day, we don’t often think about the dangers road crews face. In fact, while a total of 163 police officers are killed each year, the number of highway maintenance workers who lose their lives is almost as high: 123.

If your loved one is among this number, they deserve the same respect and compensation as any other government employee, including fire and police personnel. Know your rights in a situation like this one and how to protect them.

Who is at Fault?

Liability can be a complex issue when someone dies while working for a highway crew. Many accidents, for example, happen when heavy equipment drivers on site back over workers. In such instances, you cannot sue the highway department itself unless you can demonstrate clear negligence on the department’s part.

However, if a motorist caused your loved one’s death, you may have a case, including a wrongful death case. Most states have recognized in recent years just how dangerous road work can be and have taken steps to protect workers by raising fines in work areas.

In addition, work areas are usually clearly marked by signs and posted with reduced speed limits. Under such circumstances and where a driver disobeys those signs, that driver’s negligence, or fault, may be more apparent if they strike a worker.

Who Can File?

Who can actually file a wrongful death suit? That varies by state. In every state, spouses have the right to file such a suit, though the timeframe to file can be a short as one year. In Colorado, the statute of limitations is two years for wrongful death cases. In addition, estate representatives can file such claims. States differ, however, on whether or not parents can file when a child dies or adult children can file when a parent dies.

If you’ve lost a loved one who died while working as a highway maintenance employee, find out if you are entitled to compensation. For more information, call the law firm of Ogborn Mihm, LLP at 303-592-5900, or submit a contact form here.