Is It Legal to Sue Caltrans for Damage Incurred On the Road?

The California-based road construction agency Caltrans is the state-run organization responsible for building and repairing roads. Caltrans, a division of the California Department of Transportation (“DOT”), is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the state’s roadway network, including the California Freeway and the Expressway System. Caltrans also manages the state’s transportation infrastructure.

In California, there are many car accidents, some of which are brought on by the state’s poor road conditions and frequently by objects that Caltrans workers have dropped or trash they have left behind.


The maintenance of the roads is the responsibility of Caltrans. It is also in charge of warning drivers of dangers or pitfalls on the roads. It is considered reckless and negligent behavior on the part of Caltrans when it is aware of a threat but does not disclose it or issue a warning.

The company must also maintain and provide highway guardrails, correct any damaged or missing medians, and repair the motorway when it needs to be fixed. The company is supposed to alert drivers to the dangers when construction zones are set up.

Additionally, Caltrans is expected to provide its personnel with the necessary training. Caltrans’s inability to fulfill its obligations could cause major harm or even death. In this article, you will further learn about the risks and injuries caused by Caltrans’ negligence and learn more about how to file a claim with caltrans.


Caltrans may be held accountable when the state’s construction, repairs, lack of compliance with warning regulations, metro department, etc., result in an accident and subsequent injury.

The following are some dangers that can frequently result from Caltrans negligence:

Potholes: If a pothole is not fixed, it may cause serious harm to the vehicle and the driver in the long run.

Objects Falling: Accidents can be caused by falling concrete, cement, building dust, or other items.

Repair Vehicles: Caltrans maintains a sizable fleet of repair vehicles on and around the state’s highways. When these repair vehicles do not have their equipment, supplies, cargo or chemicals monitored and secured properly, they present a risk for accidents.

Manhole Covers: An exposed manhole has the potential to harm a car seriously and injure the occupants or possibly cause a person to fall and suffer serious injuries or even die.


Numerous injuries can result from Caltrans’s negligence. These wounds might be minor or serious. The following are typical examples:

  • Car frame damage
  • Blowouts and twisted wheels
  • Broken windshields and windows
  • Dents and scratches
  • Head injuries
  • Fractures and Abrasions
  • Damage to eyesight
  • Hearing loss
  • Amputation and disfiguration
  • Persistent psychological harm
  • Death

How to file a claim for losses and injuries with Caltrans

Before bringing a lawsuit against a government body like Caltrans, you must first make a claim. If your claim is for $10,000 or less and involves physical injury, property damage, or the wrongful death of a loved one that you feel was caused by Caltrans, you may submit it directly to the agency.

However, you must submit a claim to the Government Claims Program if your claim exceeds $10,000 or involves a different agency or department in California. Through this program, you can formally request compensation for your losses and resolve your claim without having to initiate a lawsuit. However, before you pursue these claims, it might be best to hire an experienced lawyer for your case.

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Claim Against Caltrans?

In California, you have six months to file your case if you intend to submit a claim with a government agency and the incident resulted in personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death. This term is extended to one year if the occurrence leads to a breach of contract, damage to real property, or equitable estoppel.

In some circumstances, you might be allowed to submit a late claim; however, these files are restricted, and the time restriction for submitting a late claim is one year from the date of the injury. If you don’t submit these claims by the deadlines, you’ll probably be barred from pursuing the compensation for the loss.

Final Words

You must work quickly to ensure that you have solid legal arguments demonstrating responsibility and damages within the proper time limitations. But after such tragic incidents, gathering proof and putting up a defense is probably the last thing you want to do. Make sure you are not managing this legal battle alone and hire a skilled personal injury attorney to take on your case.

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