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Accident in Petaluma shows construction dangers near highways

We've all seen traffic signs while driving along the highway that warn us that we're approaching a construction zone. Large and orange they're usually hard to miss. But despite these warnings, accidents still occur, killing hundreds of construction workers across the nation every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It's a fact many California residents were reminded of this month because of a serious construction accident that injured two workers in Petaluma. The accident happened along U.S. Highway 101 when a big-rig struck a load of steel rebar while travelling along the freeway. The rebar was hanging from a crane at the time; but after it was struck by the passing truck, the bundle fell, hitting the two workers.

One of the workers, a 28-year-old, suffered head lacerations and a broken femur while his 47-year-old coworker suffered other serious injuries that were not disclosed in some reports. Both men were taken to the same hospital though and treated for their severe injuries.

Though it's unknown at this time, OSHA may look into the accident to determine whether negligence was a factor or not. Investigators will need to look at a number of variables to determine fault, including, but not limited to, how fast the truck driver was travelling at the time of the incident, whether appropriate room had been afforded the crane that was lifting the metal bundle, and if the crane operator was properly trained prior to the incident.

Though recovering from their injuries should be the two workers' main priority, if negligence was a factor in the accident, then their next priority should be to seek the help of a skilled lawyer. Because of their knowledge of the law, a lawyer can explain the men's right to compensation, help them with their workers' compensation claims or even help them pursue a personal injury claim if this turns out to be a better option.

It's unknown though at this time if this is the course of action either man will take in this case.

Source: Better Roads, "Two construction workers injured in big-rig accident," Brian Ethridge, Sept. 25, 2014

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