Los Angeles Caltrans Negligence Attorneys
When Caltrans Fails You, We’re Here to Hold Them Accountable
When the California Department of Transportation and its employees fail to do their jobs, the stage is set for catastrophic injuries. Caltrans can be held responsible for accidents in a wide range of situations on the road, so long as Caltrans was negligent in performing its legal duties.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash and you suspect Caltrans was to blame, call Novik & Stanley, A Professional Law Corporation, at (818) 305-6041 to learn about your legal options. Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers know how to gather the evidence that helps get you maximum compensation. Talking to us is FREE, and if we take your case, we take no fees upfront. We only take our rightful fee if we get you a just settlement or jury verdict.
How Can Caltrans Be Responsible for an Accident?
- By not fixing dangerous roads. The roads we drive on must be safely designed and constructed, and properly maintained. It is Caltrans’ responsibility to ensure public roads under their control – from freeways to expressways to streets - are safe for drivers to use, and to take appropriate action when a road becomes unsafe or damaged in any way. Any fallen trees, downed power lines, missing medians, missing or defective guardrails, dips or cracks in a road, unmarked sinkholes or trenches, or improperly managed construction zones can easily lead to a wreck. California Highway Patrol is largely responsible for reporting road hazards to Caltrans, which must correct them in a "reasonable" amount of time. For example, a former UCLA football player was able to sue Caltrans for a "known" dangerous intersection in Redondo Beach, winning $35 million after suffering a motorcycle accident and losing his leg.
- By allowing Caltrans vehicle to hit other cars. Caltrans is constantly making repairs, but sometimes, their work vehicles can cause as much damage as they fix. These trucks often contain heavy loads, from steel cables to toxic chemicals. If those loads are not tied down or secured properly, they can spill onto other vehicles, causing multi-car wrecks. These vehicles can also hit other vehicles, especially if a driver isn’t experienced or trained. Caltrans can be held liable for its employees’ negligent actions.
- By not protecting employees or bystanders. A pedestrian may fall into an open trench without warning. A worker who is repairing a road may be struck by another vehicle because Caltrans failed to block off the road. The injured worker may be able to hold Caltrans liable for the negligence that contributed to his injuries, but this will be an uphill battle without a skilled lawyer. Government agencies have sovereign immunity, and workers’ compensation insurance generally bars employees from filing a lawsuit against their own employer. But Caltrans recently paid out $56.5 million to a worker who was left paralyzed in a "locked-in" state after he was struck by a vehicle on the 101. Caltrans, the jury found, had not blocked off the lane or erected barriers to protect the worker, and was 100% responsible for what occurred.
It is important to talk to an attorney about your potential case, because there are different filing requirements that depend upon the claim value – and an attorney is better placed to know what your claim is truly worth. Caltrans allows people to file personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage claims directly against Caltrans if in the amount of $10,000 or less. If the loss is greater than $10,000, victims must file a claims with the Government Claims Program. You need a strong advocate looking out for your best interests, and soon – most claims must be filed within six months of the accident!
What If I Was Partly to Blame for the Accident?
First, we want to remind you that you rarely if ever know who was truly to blame in a car crash. From your vantage point, you can’t see all the factors that went into causing the accident. That’s where your attorney will come in and investigate. You might think you just lost control, but perhaps you hit a deep pothole that blew out your tire, sending your car skidding into another vehicle.
However, California operates on a "comparative negligence" system, which means that you can be held partly to blame for your injuries if a jury decides it’s so. If you took prescription medication before driving, or you were speeding, then even if Caltrans was clearly negligent, the jury may decide you were partially at fault and diminish your award. If you were 10% at fault, you would receive only $90,000 out of a $100,000 jury verdict. That doesn’t mean you can’t file a claim if you think you were a little at fault, but you do need an experienced Caltrans injury lawyer to get you the best outcome possible.
On the other hand, it could be that another private company or the City of Los Angeles was also responsible for your accident. We will research exactly who had control over the road itself, and all the other circumstances of your accident, to hold the right parties liable for your injuries.
File a Claim Against Caltrans with a Skilled LA Car Crash Attorney
Proving that Caltrans did not correct a dangerous road condition in a reasonable amount of time will require a great deal of research and testimony from professionals in the transportation industry, which is why having an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney is vital.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of Caltrans, you have options available to you for compensation, but you must act quickly. Filing a claim against Caltrans is much easier when you have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side. Call Novik & Stanley at (818) 305-6041 right now to make sure your rights are protected.
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