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Kansas road worker struck while flagging traffic on K-68

Pittsburg drivers are expected to adapt to changing traffic conditions, liking slowing down while driving through road construction areas. Highway workers often do their jobs just feet away from high-speed traffic; flaggers occupy even more precarious positions by standing on roadways. Signs and flaggers direct drivers to pass with care but not all motorists heed the warning.

Franklin County authorities said a Kansas road worker was hospitalized in serious condition after he was injured on the job. The 62-year-old suffered head injuries, when he was hit on K-68 near Ottawa while flagging traffic past an earlier workplace accident -- a non-injury crash involving a loaded dump truck. Sheriff's deputies were on the scene investigating the initial accident when the construction worker was struck.

A 73-year-old pickup truck driver told Kansas Highway Patrol that he simply didn't see the workman on the highway. The Overbrook worker, part of a pavement reconstruction crew employed by the Kansas Department of Transportation, had been wearing a reflective vest at the time of the collision. State troopers said that a decision whether to file charges against the uninjured truck driver would be made once the investigation was completed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than three-quarters of all 2012 fatalities in road construction areas were due to transportation accidents. Sixty-seven percent of the fatalities involved on-site or other vehicles hitting pedestrians. More than 600 deaths from motor vehicle accidents were recorded in U.S. road work zones in 2012.

Employees injured in road construction site accidents have a right to file claims for workers' compensation benefits through employers; employers are generally immune from civil liability. When an accident is the result of third-party negligence, injured victims may file claims for damages with Kansas civil courts. Plaintiffs may receive monetary relief for medical costs and wage losses, plus compensation for anticipated, accident-related health care expenses like future treatment or surgeries.

Source: The Ottawa Herald, "Overbrook man suffered head injuries in K-68 work zone collision" Doug Carder, May. 16, 2014

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