Visitor Question

Freeway rear-end accident due to dangerous lane construction…

Submitted By: Kaitlin (West Covina, CA)

I was rear ended on the freeway while in the lane that becomes the entrance to another freeway. Next to this lane is an entrance/exit type lane. Many cars in this lane are constantly driving very fast so they don’t miss the entrance because the lane exits.

Drivers are always cutting people off and driving very recklessly. The lane that they have to merge into is always stopped because of high traffic volumes on the freeway, and this lane also is the only lane that leads into the other freeway’s entrance.

While I was in this lane waiting to get on the other freeway, in stop and go traffic, a car coming on the entrance/exit lane tried to merge. Traffic was stopped. The driver did not see that traffic had stopped while they tried to merge, and they rear ended and totaled my car.

The fact that I have seen so many accidents on these two lanes makes me wonder if there is a possibility of filing a claim with those who are in charge of the freeway planning in my area. I was stopped when the incident happened and this area is extremely dangerous for drivers.

Is this a road quality/design issue? Can a claim be filed against the state for allowing this dangerous road condition to continue? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kaitlin,

Government entities are protected from civil lawsuits under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Sovereign Immunity is a very old legal doctrine which basically means government entities, like the State of California, are immune from claims and lawsuits for personal injuries and property damage.

In your case, the immunity would extend to claims for injuries sustained while traveling on California roadways when a poor road design, condition, pothole or other impediment are cited by the complainant as the cause of the damage. In some instances, government entities can choose to waive Sovereign Immunity and agree to pay specific claims.

The State of California Department of Transportation can decide when to waive immunity and pay damage claims. In fact, they have a site you can go to to find information about filing damage claims under $10,000.

To read an excellent article on Dangerous Conditions of Public Property in California read, “An Outline For Investigating Liability, Defenses & Immunities For Actions Against Public Entities In State Court”

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 16, 2016

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