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Los Angeles Pothole Accident Attorney | Filing CalTrans, LA, and Court Claims

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Date Modified: October 22, 2023

When Potholes Cause Accidents

A deep rut, or widened gap in asphalt, known as a pothole.The top three biggest safety problems on our roadways in 2018 were:

  1. Speeding and Aggressive Driving.
  2. Distracted Driving because of Texting.
  3. Bad Road Surfaces.

Compared to 2017, most motorists are much less likely to say “Speeding and Aggressive Driving” presents safety problems. However, vehicle operators and road users are more likely to mention “Bad Road Surfaces,” including potholes, depressions, and ruts, as a road safety concern. In the United States, potholes can be found on almost every federal, state, municipal, or country road.

These holes in the pavement occur for various reasons and reoccur in some areas, no matter how often they are fixed. Regions with successive snow, heavy rains, or storms often have many potholes. As the air temperature changes, the liquids in the street’s fissures and cracks sink, expand, and contract, loosening the cracked asphalt.

Ultimately, heavy autos like big rigs and delivery vehicles, for example, speed along the process of breaking off loose chunks of the road, creating a concave pit called a “pothole.” Potholes vary in size and shape and in the damage they can cause. The road is already bumpy enough in the City of Angels without navigating these landmines. Due to government cuts and a slow economy, fixing potholes in Los Angeles has become far less of a priority.

The problem with ignoring potholes and repairing these road creators is the damage they can do when a car, motorcycle, or truck hits them. They create a danger of damage to the vehicle and potential accidents, causing bodily harm. Damage to car tires and vehicle suspensions is always a threat presented by potholes. But this pales compared to the harm it would cause a motorcyclist with a tire blowout from unmarked or diverted road areas with potholes.

There is no good excuse, whether due to the current roadway budget or another reason, since not maintaining the streets creates a hazard for drivers.

What Are Some Hazards Potholes Create?

First responders assist spinal cord injury car accident victim spun out on the slick, wet road surface off the LA Freeway.These holes in the roadway can become deep over time and pose a danger of damaging vehicles that hit them, knocking out the alignment, or damaging the tire, and they can be responsible for collisions. Collisions happen for two reasons: the driver who swerves to miss the creator on the pavement risks hitting a vehicle in another lane or a stationary object.

The second reason is that the driver that hits it can lose control momentarily, which can mean over-correcting and colliding with another vehicle or hitting a stationary object such as a parked car or electrical power pole. Sometimes, these potholes are obscured. Motorcycles are at particular risk from the potholes and the road dust, dirt, and debris kicked up by eroded chunks of the asphalt thorofare. Sometimes, especially after a heavy rain, these holes are filled in. Suppose a motorcycle falls into one of these hidden holes. In that case, the rider risks severe road rash and friction burns, hydroplaning, and getting trapped underneath another vehicle sharing the roads.

Every roadway can have potholes, which means if an accident happens because of road damage, the vehicle may be going slow, or speed can be involved. There can be severe damage, injuries, and fatalities in a collision that is not due to driver error or distraction and can involve more than one vehicle.

How Do I File A Claim For Pothole Damage In Los Angeles?

Many people don’t think they can file a legal claim because of a nuisance like a pothole. Moreover, as discussed below, sometimes people get killed due to a deep rut or road hole in the street. Now, it’s up to the survivors to hire a lawyer and sue for wrongful death compensation after a collision, which is possible to do after an accident. But as you are grieving after the wrongful death of such a close family member, it remains essential to consult an attorney with emotional objectivity who has experience bringing lawsuits against government entities as soon as possible.

1149 S Broadway 4th floor, Los Angeles, CA 90015This is because sometimes state, local, and federal laws will apply. All of that can be confusing, and there will also be a different statute of limitations to file the claim in this type of accident. To recover compensation for lost money on contracts, wages, hospital expenses, and physical therapy.

Plus, you will need money for your pain and suffering. After all, it could be lifelong and require us to hire experts like life care planners to put a dollar amount on your injuries. Moreover, in this type of mishap, having a legal advocate with experience with these types of cases will be more than helpful in getting that huge payout most customers seek.

Here’s how to report a pothole or file a claim for damage if your car gets damaged driving over a pothole:

Call 3-1-1 (or 213-473-3231 outside the Los Angeles area) or use the app to report a pothole

In cities other than L.A., call: Beverly Hills: (310) 285-2467 Culver City: (310) 253.6420: (310) 458-2252 or (310) 458-8505

If your car is damaged from a pothole, take pictures of your vehicle and the pothole, then fill out and submit a claim form with the city to be reimbursed.

Check out these tips for having your claim approved. (Source). You can also do it online and upload pictures using the pothole request form here.

Can I Make A California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”) Claim Directly?

Yes. If your automobile or motorcycle becomes damaged by a hole or a rut in the highways and roads they maintain, there is a way to make direct California compensation claims. But it’s a pain in the ass and not easy, even for a lawyer. Here’s how it works. When your total damages fail to exceed $10,000 in repair costs, an administrative procedure allows you to make a claim straight to Caltrans by filling out a simple, one-page document. But here’s the kicker: most experts agree that less than 10% of all pothole claims filed with Caltrans are honored. They will claim your case does not fall within the coverage guidelines. Hence, you will typically fail to qualify for reimbursement using this process.

One reason so many cases are glossed over is that the plaintiff has failed to meet its administrative burden in arguing negligence on the part of Caltrans. So we advise taking extensive notes and photographs and documenting everything, including medical and repair bills. Not only should you argue that the pothole or depression was caused directly by the pothole, but you must also argue, preferably with evidence, that Caltrans had notice and opportunity to patch, repair, or barricade the depression.

And go here to use Caltrans’ interactive map and pinning system to report your pothole accident. We happen to be Caltrans accident attorneys if you need additional information. So you can call us at (213) 596-9642.

If you can’t make it happen, you can always try suing in small claims court. However, you must still follow the steps laid out in the guidelines of the published administrative procedures. Most of the time, you must make a government claim and then sue in a Limited or Unlimited Jurisdiction Los Angeles County Courthouse.

What Are The Driving Directions From Caltrans Los Angeles to Ehline Law Firm Downtown Los Angeles?

District 7 – Los Angeles 100 South Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
100 South Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 897-3656

Caltrans District 7 Offices

5 min (1.0 mile)

via W 1st St and N Grand Ave

Fastest route, despite the usual traffic

California Department of Transportation (District 7).

Location address: 100 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

  • Head northeast on S Main St toward W 1st St
    358 ft
  • Turn left onto W 1st St 0.4 mi
  • Use the left two lanes to turn left onto S Grand Ave 0.5 mi
  • Turn right onto W 5th St
  • The destination will be on the right 279 ft.
  • Arrive at Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. 633 W 5th St #2890, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

How Long Can A Case Against The Government Take?

This is the government agency or agencies the lawsuit is filed against, and they can be slow, and with any suit, there are delays. Other issues can create problems, such as having medical and auto insurance that has paid some of the expenses caused by accident. The government will want to reimburse the claimant for the money they have already been paid, and if the pothole were only partially at fault for the cause of the accident, it would complicate the case.

What Are The Pothole Collision Statistics For Los Angeles County From 2017-2019?

Total Collisions: 442 real victims, ten killed, 587 injured. With 70 victims on the State Highway (15.8%), Ped 42 collisions (9.5%), Bike Collisions 37 (8.4%), and Motorcycle Collisions 57 (12.9%). The primary collision factor in 122 accidents totaled 27.85% of total crashes involving the road condition of deep holes and deep road ruts.

Total Collisions 442 Total Victims 10 Killed & 587 Injured State Highway 70 (15.8%) Ped Collisions 42 (9.5%) Bike Collisions 37 (8.4%) Motorcycle Collisions 57 (12.9%)

Collision Severity



1 – Fatal



2 – Injury (Severe)



3 – Injury (Other Visible)



4 – Injury (Complaint of Pain)



Los Angeles Office Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC 633 West 5th Street #2890 Los Angeles, CA 90071As you can see, with nine fatalities in Los Angeles related to road ruts and holes since 2017, this is a severe problem for bikers and other commuters. This is why having an experienced personal injury attorney with an intricate knowledge of government lawsuits and how they play out to obtain compensation successfully remains crucial.

On February 2, 2019, at 08:38 am, at Pacific Coast Highway and Ladeene Avenue in Torrance, California, a roadway pothole caused or contributed to a car accident hit and run with complaints of injuries. In this case, the road condition was listed as having holes or deep ruts. A less experienced personal injury attorney may have overlooked this in most injury cases.

But perhaps the City of Torrance or Caltrans has some fault here? What if they failed to repair or warn about the pothole, and it caused a car crash? For example, what if the defendant’s tire hits a pothole or depression hard? That impact could underinflate or blister a tire. If those tires were driven while underinflated from the damage, the car could go out of control and even hit a curb, a person on foot, or a parked car. Check your tire tread with the penny test after you run into a rut or pitted asphalt. Don’t assume the tire can handle such an impact. Next, considering there is no auto insurance to pay for the plaintiff’s injuries due to it being a hit-and-run, perhaps money can be had from the government.

But there are strict time deadlines, or you can lose your right to sue. Michael Ehline has years of experience in these types of cases. As a multiple Super Lawyers Rising Star and top-notch vehicle accident attorney, you are in good hands when seeking our advice. Below is the Google Map of the accident location. Take a look at the road. Does it still need repairs? Collision Details for: Case ID 8869937

Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, is available to answer any questions you may have so you can learn about your pothole-created accident. We encourage motorcyclists, in particular, to contact us at (213) 596-9642. Sleeping on your legal rights may waive your justice to seek and get money damages.

Ehline Law maintains locations and meeting places in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, and more. Most of all, our trustworthy and aggressive statewide law firm is here, always helping all types of injured plaintiffs in civil cases just like you.

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

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We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.