Negligence At The Hand Of Cal Trans


Welcome to the Ehline Law Firm, and our page dedicated to understanding lawsuits against the California state agency known as Cal Trans.  Our negligence lawyers in California, assist victims wounded in catastrophic government claims related roadside collisions, in all California cities. When there is a vehicle wreck, in which you or a loved one is injured potentially due to a negligent failure to act, or negligent inaction of the agency responsible to maintain those roads, it is possible the California Department of Transportation (“DOT”) is at fault.

This department is responsible for repairs on the roadways, including freeway and highway guardrails, as well as medians that are not installed correctly or missing. When they set up construction zones, this organization is supposed to properly warn traffic of dangers, like sinkholes, open trenches and so forth. Failing to do their jobs right, can result in serious injuries during a vehicle accident or cause the accident due to a roadway defect or repair presently being performed in an improper manner. The California Highway Patrol alerts Cal Trans of problems areas and also areas where more accidents occur.

This department has a multi-billion dollar budget and when alerted by the California Highway Patrol of a problematic geographic area on the freeway, highway or streets under the state’s jurisdiction, it is their job to evaluate what can be done to make the problem road area safer for motorists. Keeping every inch of the California roads safe and this takes all of the available employees to keep the highways in safe condition. After a vehicle injury on these roadways, contacting the attorneys at Ehline Law Firm PC is a great way to hold Cal Trans responsible.

Attorney Michael Ehline is an awarded member of the Circle of Legal Trust, a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an A rated member of the BBB, and has also received awards from Super Lawyers, and Legal Torch, to name just a few.  Having recovered millions of dollars for seriously hurt victims of roadway mishaps, we are recognized by peers and opponents alike as honorable, courageous legal knights.  We shall act as your sword and your shield in your pursuit of justice. Against the odds, we strike hard and fast to get you a tactical and strategic advantage over the government, and their career defense attorneys. To learn more, call 888.400-9721, or read on.

Suing Under the Government Claims Act for Personal Injuries Makes Freeways and Roads Safer

If you or a jury want to decide upon a case against the state, we must first dis-spell some common notions of thought about the propriety against suing the state. Number one, the government like everyone one else can make mistakes, or fail to act, or act improperly. Accordingly, there is a Tort Claims Act (Read about the California Tort Claims Act here) that allows taxpayers like you to seek redress for your grievances, like moderate and severe injuries, for example.  The right to petition the government for redress is part of our Constitutional Republic, and an important tradition we inherited via English Common Law.

So don’t be embarrassed or feel that you are doing the state a disservice by seeking money damages.  Keep in mind that you have a very limited time to sue however.  So understand that suing the government carries with it a stricter, heightened duty on the part of the afflicted party.  This is because under the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity, the state is in fact immune from being sued for money damages.


Fairness Means You Can Sue the Government When they Act Improperly

But our legislature felt that doctrine conflicted with the idea that the government, above all else must be held accountable.  Otherwise, it would be unfair to victims. But along with the legislation, California’s politicians built in special rules that make it very hard for an unrepresented tort victim to actually fulfill the tenuous and demanding notice requirements.

Understanding this, Ehline Law Firm PC is not just representing the injured victim’s claim against Cal Trans in order to help these downtrodden consumers get their day in court and money. Ehline fights to get media coverage and public awareness to spotlight your case and make sure politicians get the problem fixed, or be prepared to get thrown out of office. We want public servants to fear the voters, not the other way around. Your case is helping to make the highways safer for every motorist one case at a time. A verdict against CalTrans means they will ore likely that not, take quick action to improve the California highway dangers for motorists.


What Are Some of the Common Dangers?

Understanding the several means of injury that can be avoided when Cal-Trans does their job, helps consumers get a better grasp of who may be responsible for their injury or death claims. Some of the wrecks for which ultimate liability may rest with this powerful governmental agency include:

  • Falling Objects (Cement dust, and other foreign residue or dust that irritates or penetrates your eyes or body, for example. Othe examples include )
  • Failure to Install a Manhole Cover over a sewer, or cover a trench and fail to warn or put up a proper barricade, etc. (A walker or jogger could just fall right to their death in such a situation, a car could fall in and explode, and kill everyone on board)
  • Unrepaired potholes can cause single vehicle incidents all day long, everyday until fixed (read more about single vehicle accidents here.)
  • Cal Trans repair vehicles and trucks, may fail to correctly tie down their heavily laden vehicles, which can lead to a load of supplies, equipment, chemicals and other types of cargo being released behind them, into quickly approaching, light passenger cars and/or two wheeled vehicles.  Accidents involving transport of heavy freight, are particular dangerous and life threatening. Think about the “wide load” signs on those bulky trucks carrying heavy steel, bridge building equipment, and  steel cables for things like the Golden Gate Bridge and so on. You may have a claim against the state and not even know it.


Some Examples of Defective Roadway Caused Accidents

Generally roadway accidents are thought of as occurring due to driver error, but that is not how all accidents happen. There are mishaps that are caused by a defective highway or surface street. When a car accident occurs from streets or roadways that are defective in some manner it is possible to hold the state or government entity liable.

The car accident may have been caused due to poor maintenance or defective designs that contribute or cause the mishap. If there is a low shoulder, it should not present a risk to motorists and with ongoing roadway construction there is a duty to warn motorists of dangers. When there are improper signals or inoperable traffic lights, the entity overseeing roadways is responsible. Motorists should not be put at risk or harm when traveling on roadways and the agency in charge is liable when roadways have not been properly maintained. These types of improper maintenance can be a basis for liability to hold the entity responsible.

The design of roadways must meet certain specifications and standards, which are subject to change. Then there are states such as California that do not require highways to be updated to construction standards, when these standards or specifications are updated. This takes a skilled professional with experience in highway defect cases to know what standards and specifications apply. In order to be successful in recovery of damages against a government entity in highway or street defects, four things must be proven:

  • The entity was in charge of the roadway that caused the damages.
  • The roadway either crated an unreasonable risk of harm or injury, or the roadway was defective.
  • The entity either had a warning or actual notice and within a reasonable amount of time did not correct the issue.
  • The unsafe or defective condition of the roadway was the direct cause, also known as the legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Common Injuries and Damages From the Government Failing to Act In Keeping Roads Safe Include:

  • Minor things like busted windshields, scratches to paint, chipped custom wheels, to the more serious to major vehicle body, frame, suspension damage, bent wheel, blown tire, and even total loss of the vehicle you occupied at the time of the unfortunate event
  • If you were driving a convertible, or a vehicle that rolled to to a roadway obstruction, you could suffer a serious head wound like a concussion, or terrible brain injury
  • Blindness from flying objects or unfastened equipment is also a potential outcome leading to a suit against the State of California for government claims, believe it or not
  • Deafness or hearing loss from explosions are also potential issue for a wounded wayfarer
  • In very serious cases, amputation and dismemberment of limbs can occur, and even loss of use of limbs, such as paraplegia. This can also cause bowel control failures like incontinence
  • Shock and damage to the central nervous system is also a distinct possibility.

These are just a few of the many injuries and safety failure scenarios involving negligent acts that subsequently brings damages to citizens, vacationers and other visitors who ingress and egress throughout the gigantic Golden State. Damages would include a rental car that maybe you failed to get their damage insurance on and your insurance doesn’t cover it, for example.  They can include things like hospital and ambulance bills as well. So money can run out fast.

And don’t miss out on the fact that just because a private company with minimal insurance is being contracted by Cal Trans to work on the transit roads, does not necessarily mean that the private trucking company insulates CalTrans for its negligence in failing to properly direct and or control the construction. CalTrans could be liable for the inter and intra state transportation of the building materials, and other cargo, etc.

Of course, contacting Ehline will help you end your theorizing, and get you on the road to suing all proper parties to get you the maximum recompense in sufficient sum to make you legally whole under the laws of California, and even perhaps, federal laws.

It is not required legally for all roadways to be in perfect condition or free from imperfections. This means that each case must be evaluated to determine, if the standard of care was breached and the public entity liable. Having legal counsel is essential in these types of claims, who have experience in this area.

One of the other facts that should be known is that in some states there has been legislation enacted that will limit the amount the plaintiff/injured party is able to recover in damages in a claim against a government entity. This is known as a cap on damages, which for example may be $250,000 for a state or city entity, and a lower amount of $100,000 against a county entity. This is something the expert and experienced legal professional has knowledge of and can discuss with the injured client.


Important Steps to Take Immediately Following a DOT Caused Accident

This is by no means exhaustive, but a wounded victim should take at a minimum, the following steps:

  • Get medical care and take an ambulance to the hospital
  • Get pictures of the accident scene, preferably following the collision
  • Get Xrays and/ or an MRI to help rule out spine injuries and brain injuries, etc.
  • Get physical therapy and follow your physicians instructions as to care and maintenance
  • Do keep a journal or even take videos and pictures of bruising and healing process, so you have a progression record
  • Do not ever speak to anyone about your case other than your duly retained attorney and make sure you have a signed retainer
  • Understand that you must not only file a government claim within six months, but that there could be more than one person at fault, so make sure you hire a great lawyer.

Protect Your Government Claim By Speaking to a Lawyer Immediately?

When a vehicle incident on the roadways has occurred, and the crash was due to the fault of Cal Trans.   Contacting us rapidly can help protect your legal rights in many situations. This is the legal answer for the injured victim and it is a way to force Cal Trans to use the billions in tax dollars they receive already, in order to ensure the roadways are kept safer for every motorist. Caltrans negligence lawyers at Ehline Law Firm PC, California are waiting for your important call at 888-400-9721.