Caltrans is an acronym for the California Department of Transportation. Along with being responsible for designing, building and maintaining roads in the California State Highway System, Caltrans does the same with that part of the Interstate Highway System inside of the state.
Construction Zones and the Duty to Warn
In the context of maintaining roads, Caltrans has a duty to warn users, including bicyclists, of any hazards on those roads like the existence of a construction zone, uneven pavement, holes, ditches, shoulder drop-offs, poor drainage, wet cement, malfunctioning traffic lights or other potentially dangerous conditions. A failure to warn of a potentially hazardous condition can cause a bicycle accident that results in severe and permanent injuries. Caltrans also has hundreds of trucks, backhoes, bulldozers, graders rollers and other heavy equipment at its disposal. If the driver of a truck or operator of heavy equipment owned by Caltrans negligently injures you or causes the death of a loved one, you should talk with us as soon as possible. Our law firm exclusively represents injured bicyclists and their families in personal injury and wrongful death claims in and around Los Angeles.
Assuming that you’re claiming in excess of $10,000 in damages, California law requires you to file and properly serve notice of your claim within six months of the date of your accident. Failure to file and properly serve that notice is cause for dismissal of any personal injury lawsuit that you might file in the future. Even a timely and properly served but technically deficient notice can result in dismissal of such a lawsuit.
The Caltrans Response and the Statute of Limitations
Although Caltrans has 45 days to respond to a claim, it’s unlikely that it will respond. You must still wait though, so that adds extra time to your claim. In nearly all personal injury cases, only a lawsuit is going to get the attention of Caltrans. Should Caltrans fail to provide a response within that 45-day period, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed. The general rule is that any such lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. This is a strict rule. There are very few exceptions to it.
Proving a Personal Injury Case Against Caltrans
In order to prove that Caltrans was liable for your injuries, you must prove the following:
- Caltrans had control over that part of the road that you were injured on.
- There was an unreasonable risk of harm or dangerously defective condition on that part of the roadway.
- Caltrans knew or should have known of the unreasonable risk of harm or condition and failed to warn or repair it in a timely manner.
- The dangerous condition directly and proximately caused your accident and injuries.
If you were injured or lost a family member as a result of the carelessness and negligence of Caltrans, contact our offices as soon as possible to arrange for a free consultation and case review. Remember that you only have six months from the date of your accident to notify Caltrans of your claim. We specifically limit our practice to the rights of bicyclists.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.