Seguin, TX asked in Car Accidents and Personal Injury for California

Q: I was involved in a single vehicle accident in California where I had fallen asleep at the wheel.

After falling asleep at the wheel the road turned left and I continued straight going off the road and crashed into a 2ft tall stump. Broke my back in 3 location and fractured my leg. The stump I hit was located 18ft from the roadway in the r.o.w. (design standards state min 30ft) it did not have any warning signs, it had been cut nearly a month before my crash and the stump was left and lastly the stump was on the outside of a turn at the bottom of a hill and defined as a "safe recovery zone" by CalTrans where NO obstructions should be anywhere in the safe recovery zone. Am I able to file a claim against CalTrans?

What if I tested positive for meth at the hospital? Will this affect my claim.

1 Lawyer Answer
Patrick William Steinfeld
Patrick William Steinfeld
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Coronado, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Assuming the facts stated in your question are correct you may have a claim against CalTrans. It is foreseeable that a driver may fall asleep or lose control of their car and crash into a stump that is in violation of their own standards. So that may create some liability on the part of CalTrans.

However, there is a significant difference between falling asleep and being under the influence of Meth. Because the argument becomes that you assumed the risk of injury to yourself and other motorists by driving under the influence of meth. If you were not under the influence of Meth you would not have lost control of your vehicle.

The bottom line is... how would a jury view this accident? Meth is a major hurdle to overcome.

William John Light agrees with this answer

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