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CalTrans Negligence Attorneys

CalTrans Negligence Lawyers

A huge number of people suffer serious injuries in auto accidents across California every day. In some cases, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) may be at fault – and could be targeted in a lawsuit.

The CalTrans negligence lawyers of Bisnar Chase are here to help injury victims find justice and win compensation for their ordeals.

Our experienced trial lawyers have recovered more than $650 million for clients – and we may be able to help you too. Read on to find out if you could have a legal case against CalTrans and contact us for a free consultation.


Article Contents

What Does CalTrans Do?

When looking at CalTrans negligence claims, you first need to know what CalTrans is and what it does.

CalTrans is the shortened name for the California Department of Transportation. This is a government agency that is tasked with providing the means for safe and sustainable travel across California. It has nearly 19,000 members of staff and a huge annual budget of $17 billion.

The main responsibilities of CalTrans are:

  • Designing roadways
  • Adjusting road and intersection layouts
  • Construction of streets and intersections
  • Comprehensive road maintenance and infrastructure development
  • Road operations
  • Supporting aspects of some public transport systems, such as trains

Essentially, CalTrans is responsible for the creation and upkeep of California state highways, as well as the sections of interstate highways that run through CA.

This means that CalTrans may be liable in the event of a car crash, truck collision, motorcycle wreck, or bus accident in California. Read on to find out more about auto accident liability – and when our CalTrans negligence attorneys can help.

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CalTrans Auto Accident Negligence

Most victims assume that another driver is at fault for their crash. This is often true, with careless or reckless drivers sharing some responsibility for most auto injuries. But some accidents are the result of failures by CalTrans to provide a safe environment for drivers.

So, when can you sue CalTrans and win compensation for the agency’s negligence? The following are some examples of CalTrans failures creating dangerous hazards:

➤   Dangerous Roadway Design

Improper design can turn a road or intersection into an accident blackspot. For example, including a left turn at the crest of a hill with poor visibility of oncoming traffic. CalTrans would be liable for accidents caused by dangerous design.

➤   Failure to Fix Poor Layouts

The level of negligence may be increased if CalTrans has failed to act after an accident. If accident shave already occurred and the agency does not adjust – resulting in further accidents – it could be targeted in a CalTrans negligence lawsuit.

➤   Accident Caused by Lack of Maintenance

A damaged car that has been wrecked in an auto collision.

CalTrans is responsible for ensuring that roads are properly maintained. If a car accident or injury is caused by a pothole, a broken guardrail, or a cracked or loose road surface that CalTrans did not inspect and fix, the agency would be at fault.

➤   Defective Signals or Signage

CalTrans is not responsible for light failures caused by power outages. But it would be liable in accident cases involving poorly placed signals or a lack of proper signage. These factors can cause confusion, creating road and intersection dangers.

➤   Construction Hazards

During road construction projects, any accidents involving exposed trenches or open worksites might result in a negligence claim against CalTrans for its failure to provide a safe environment.

These are just some examples of situations that can force an injury victim to take legal action against CalTrans.

If you have been involved in an accident and believe that the California Department of Transport may have been at fault, contact the CalTrans negligence lawyers of Bisnar Chase now for expert guidance.

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What to do After a Vehicle Accident

An auto accident can be life-altering. A serious crash can leave victims with damaged vehicles, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain damage – and can even result in wrongful death.

Whether you have been in a fender bender or a high-impact smash, our catastrophic injury lawyers can help.

If you are involved in an accident, take the following steps:

  1. Get to safety.
  2. Seek medical attention and treatment, even for minor injuries.
  3. Document the scene, including taking pictures of the conditions leading to the accident and writing your own written account.
  4. Document your injuries and request copies of X-rays, MRIs, and other tests.
  5. Contact a lawyer.

You should speak to a personal injury attorney before approaching either the California Department of Transportation or your insurance company to maximize the value of your claim.

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Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government Agency

Suing a government agency can be a daunting challenge. CalTrans is a huge entity with seemingly unlimited resources. But this just means that you should not have to take on the agency on your own.

CalTrans has a specific form for people to file when they want to submit personal injury or wrongful death claims in the amount of $10,000 or less. But in most cases, this amount would not even begin to cover an injury victim’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, and damages.

If you have suffered an injury, suing CalTrans is your best option when it comes to securing justice and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Our CalTrans negligence lawyers ease the burden on the victim, handling every aspect of their CalTrans injury claim and maximizing their recovery.

To file a successful lawsuit against CalTrans, your attorneys must prove:

  • The agency is responsible for the area in which the accident occurred
  • CalTrans was negligent in its duty to provide a safe travel route
  • That an injury was caused as a result of that negligence

Hire our personal injury lawyers now for superior representation in your case, or call us for a free consultation and legal advice on navigating the government claims program.

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Benefits of Filing a CalTrans Negligence Lawsuit

There can be a wide range of benefits to filing a lawsuit against CalTrans showing the agency’s negligence. These include:

➤   Personal Justice and Compensation

When a victim suffers an injury in an accident caused by the negligence of the California Department of Transportation, they should be properly compensated. By hiring a lawyer to file a legal claim against CalTrans, the victim could receive a settlement or verdict to cover their medical expenses, suffering, and more.

➤   CalTrans Accountability

The California Department of Transportation has an extremely important job. Millions of people travel by road and rail every day, making CA road safety vital. If CalTrans has failed in its duty, it must be held accountable, making similar mistakes less likely in the future. Filing a claim is a good way to shine a light on the issue.

➤   Road Improvements

In injury cases involving poor road design or maintenance, winning a lawsuit against CalTrans may be the best way to see permanent progress. A legal victory that acknowledges an area as dangerous could force CalTrans to make road layout improvements or to fix a poorly maintained road. This will benefit a huge number of drivers.

Brian Chase, California catastrophic injury lawyer

Brian Chase, Senior Partner:
“When we represent you in a case against CalTrans, together we are making roads safer for all drivers. Our verdicts force CalTrans to improve highway hazards and prevent accidents.”

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Examples of CalTrans Negligence Claims

There have been numerous high-profile cases filed against CalTrans due to accidents and injuries suffered throughout California.

A safety guardrail at the side of a road to minimize car accident dangers.

In one such case, Bisnar Chase represented a Laguna Beach man who suffered life-altering injuries when his Jeep left Interstate 15 in Escondido.

The victim was paralyzed, and filed a lawsuit against CalTrans due to the absence of a safety guardrail at the side of the road.

A guardrail would have prevented the plaintiff’s vehicle from rolling down into a ravine when it left the road surface. At trial, top-rated attorney Brian Chase said: “In cases involving highway accidents, more often than not they arise because CalTrans did not follow its own rules. When CalTrans fails to follow the rules, our drivers suffer.”

The following are just a few other examples of successful lawsuits against CalTrans:

Pedestrian Killed in Crosswalk; CalTrans at Fault


A man was struck by a car and killed as he walked over a pedestrian crossing. Chris Chandler, 62, died while using a crossing in Atherton, CA. After a jury trial, CalTrans was ordered to pay Mr. Chandler’s family a total of $9.5 million.

The jury placed only 10% of the blame on the driver who struck Mr. Chandler, finding CalTrans to be 90% responsible. Two women had previously been severely injured at the same crosswalk, and CalTrans had promised to add pedestrian-activated stoplights to improve safety.

CalTrans failed to install the promised lights, despite the crossing having poor visibility. The department twice tried to settle the case – for $10,000 and $100,000 – before losing at trial.


Former UCLA Footballer Loses Leg at Dangerous Intersection


Nick Ekbatani, a former starting lineman for the UCLA Bruins, sued CalTrans and was awarded $35 million after suffering a horrific motorcycle crash.

The motorcyclist was severely injured while riding along Pacific Coast Highway in 2012. A taxi turned left in front of the bike at a notoriously dangerous accident blackspot in Redondo Beach. Ekbatani nearly died, surviving only after 13 surgeries and intensive care.

The intersection has line-of-sight issues, with a hill preventing turning drivers from seeing oncoming vehicles. CalTrans was found to be negligent in failing to fix the known issue.

The law firm of Bisnar Chase is highly experienced when it comes to winning auto accident claims and securing compensation for catastrophic injury victims.

Contact us now for a free consultation and to find out if you have a case.

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CalTrans Negligence Lawsuit FAQs

If you have a question about an injury claim case involving CalTrans fault, check out our frequently asked questions below.

In most personal injury cases in California, plaintiffs have a statute of limitations giving them two years to file a lawsuit. However, this changes when you are dealing with government claims against agencies such as CalTrans. In this case, you must file your initial claim within 6 months of the accident. Contact an attorney as soon as possible for guidance.

Bisnar Chase works on contingency. This means we advance all costs required to win your case, including filing fees and hiring expert witnesses. You will face no out-of-pocket costs. If we win for you, a pre-agreed percentage of the compensation will cover our expenses. If we do not win, you will never owe us a penny.

No two cases are the same, and the compensation an injury victim will receive depends entirely on the specifics of their case. Elements such as the type of injury, lost wages, medical expenses, ongoing care, and rehabilitation costs can all play into the outcome. Contact Bisnar Chase to find out how much your case could be worth.

There is no time limit. A lawsuit might be resolved in weeks, months, or even years. It will depend on a whole range of factors, such as the complexity of the case and the evidence that must be gathered. The process will be quicker if a case is settled, but sometimes it is a better option to take it to a jury trial.

Do you have further questions? Or are you unsure whether your car accident or motorcycle crash would qualify for a CalTrans lawsuit? Please do not hesitate to contact us. Our dedicated legal team is here and ready to help.

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Hire the Best Lawyers for Your Case Against CalTrans

Bisnar Chase has more than 40 years of experience in helping victims of catastrophic auto injuries seek justice. We have taken on the California Department of Transport and won – and we can win your case too.

You do not have to take our word for it. We are proud of our track record and believe it speaks for itself. A 96% success rate. More than $650 million won.

Whether you are from Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, or further afield, our attorneys are here to help. We believe in helping people throughout California and making our road conditions safer for everyone.

Take on the California Department of Transport with confidence, knowing that the CalTrans negligence lawyers of Bisnar Chase are in your corner. Call (800) 561-4887 or click the following link to email us.

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Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
1301 Dove St., #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660

(949) 203-3814


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