Are Drivers Who Eat and Drink While Driving Negligent?

by Staff | January 24th, 2022

California law expressly prohibits the use of cell phones while driving, but no law prevents eating or drinking while behind the wheel. Although it’s not illegal, consuming food and beverages and causing an accident can constitute negligence.

Our California car accident lawyers can help you recover medical expenses and other losses after a vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver.

The Dangers of Eating While Driving

Every driver owes a duty of care to others on the road, including passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. It is the responsibility of all drivers to follow the law and maintain control of their speed and cars. The California Department of Motor Vehicles also recognizes three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Distracted driving occurs when someone eats while driving in the following situations.

  • Manual distraction: One or both hands are absent from the steering wheel while eating and drinking. It is very dangerous for drivers to eat while driving, even if just for a moment, whether they are opening a snack or adding a straw to a soft drink.
  • Visual distraction: You take your eyes off the road to focus on your food. The traffic speed may change, or a car may sneak into your blind spot while you’re glancing away to pick up food or a drink.
  • Cognitive distraction: This is when eating takes precedence over driving in terms of your mental focus. If you aren’t aware of the surrounding traffic as you eat and drink, your reaction times will slow, and you might have an accident.

How Common Are Car Accidents Because of Eating While Driving?

CDC statistics indicate that distracted driving kills 8 people in the United States every day. The number of accidents caused by distracted drivers reached about 400,000 in 2018. The following statistics illustrate the dangers of driving while eating and drinking, which can cause an accident:

  • A 2021 survey from The Zebra found that 52.5% of respondents admitted to eating while driving.
  • In the same survey, they found the risk of a crash increased eight times when reaching for an object and three times when eating or drinking.
  • If drivers are distracted by something else, they might suffer from the “hangover effect.” This phenomenon is a mental distraction that endures for up to 27 seconds after the original distracting event, even at a red light or stop sign.
  • The number of people killed by distracted drivers in car accidents nationally between 2012 and 2019 was approximately 26,000.

You Can Prevent Eating and Driving Accidents

The risks of driving while eating are incredibly high, putting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk. Avoid eating while driving by practicing the following tips:

●     Stop at a rest stop or restaurant

Try to eat a meal before leaving your house. If you need to eat food while en route, stop at a rest stop or a local restaurant before returning to your vehicle. By eating off the road, you can focus on driving.

●     Don’t eat inside your car

Avoid the temptation to eat in your car and instead dine outside in a parking lot or inside a restaurant. Getting off the road for a quick snack and eating outside of your car may save a life, including your own.

●     Ask someone else to drive

A long journey can make it difficult to stop for food and rest. You may find that hunger strikes as you drive along the road with no rest stops in sight. You can ask another passenger to drive for you temporarily. Use the downtime to eat and rest.

●     Drink beverages in small containers

Invest in a slim container with a lid that is easy to open with one hand. Compact and lightweight containers are easier to handle while keeping your eyes on the road.

A California Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case

Even when you’re cautious, other drivers’ distractions, such as eating, drinking, or texting while driving, can lead to an accident. A distracted driving accident lawsuit can be complicated, and proving the driver’s negligence often requires a resourceful attorney.

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone you believe was eating and drinking while driving, Berg Injury Lawyers can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We are happy to set up a no-obligation, complimentary consultation to learn more about your case.

Can You File a Police Report Days After an Accident?

by Staff | January 17th, 2022

If you are involved in a car accident in California, it is important to seek medical attention, contact your insurance company, and report the incident to the proper authorities as soon as possible after the collision.

But what happens if you don’t file a police report after your car crash? Learn the legal requirements of reporting car accidents in California and why reporting as soon as possible is the best course of action.

Reporting Requirements

There are several reporting requirements in California regarding the reporting of car accidents. Basic requirements cover minimum and maximum reporting times to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and police or highway patrol.

●     Minimum reporting time

There is no minimum amount of time you need to wait to report an accident. Unless you are seriously injured and unable to contact authorities, your best option is to call the police immediately following your accident.

●     Reporting to police

In California, you must contact the police within 24 hours if your accident resulted in injury or death to anyone involved. Even if there are no obvious personal injuries or casualties, it is important to report the accident to the police within this time frame to protect your rights in case you or the other party experiences personal injury symptoms days after the event.

●     Reporting to the California DMV

The California DMV requires that any accident in which a person is killed or injured or the damage exceeds $1,000 to be reported. To avoid penalties, you must download the SR-1 form from their website and submit it within 10 days of the accident. 

Consequences of Not Reporting an Auto Accident

Failure to report an auto accident to the police and DMV within the required time frame can result in monetary fines, license suspension, and criminal charges. Not reporting can also affect your ability to win compensation for any injuries you suffered in the accident.

Administrative Consequences

When you do not report the accident to the California DMV, you are likely to receive administrative consequences such as fines or the revocation of your driver’s license.

Criminal Charges

If you fail to report your car accident through the right channels, the state may consider it a hit-and-run crash. Hit-and-run accidents that result in property damage are classified as misdemeanors, but hit-and-run accidents in which there is an injury or fatality are felonies in California.

Loss of Compensatory Benefits

Not reporting your accident through the proper channels can also result in your future inability to receive insurance benefits or pursue compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The longer you wait to report your accident, the harder it is to verify the facts of the accident.

Without reporting the accident, you also run the risk of the other party claiming that you were at fault. They may claim that it was a hit-and-run, which could result in higher penalties for you if you cannot prove what actually happened when the accident occurred.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, take the following actions to protect your legal rights and avoid incurring penalties for failing to report.

  1. Seek medical attention. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep all records and reports.
  2. Contact the police or California Highway Patrol. Obtain a copy of the incident report.
  3. Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
  4. Seek legal representation from a team of skilled California car accident lawyers to protect your legal rights.
  5. Work with your attorney to collect evidence such as pictures, reports, and testimonies.
  6. Avoid speaking about the accident with others, including on social media platforms. Allow your legal team to communicate with the other party’s insurance company and lawyer.

Schedule a Case Review for Your Vehicle Collision Case

If you are involved in a vehicle collision in California, it is important to take the right steps following the incident to avoid legal penalties and protect your rights.

Following an auto accident, your best course of action is to report the incident to the police and California DMV, seek medical care, contact your insurance company, and obtain legal representation.

To find out your legal options, contact Berg Injury Lawyers. Our experienced team of car accident attorneys will review your case and advise you on your next steps. Call our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.

5 Signs Your Car is Totaled

by Staff | January 10th, 2022

When your car sustains damage in an accident, you’ll need to determine whether it’s a total loss. A totaled car is damaged beyond repair, affecting how you’ll handle claims with your insurance company. If the collision that damages your car also results in injuries, you should hire an attorney to fight for compensation on your behalf.

Our California car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights when dealing with your insurance company and pursue damages from a negligent driver if you are injured in a crash.

If your vehicle is wrecked in an accident that injures you, an insurance company adjuster determines if your vehicle is a total loss. There are five signs that your vehicle is a total loss to your insurance company.

1.    Repairing Your Car is Not Safe

Insurance companies consider vehicles that have been entirely wrecked, destroyed, or damaged beyond repair as total losses. You may have a totaled car with exterior damage such as dents, scratches, and even broken windows.

You may also have interior damage to computer components, such as steering angle sensors, airbag control, and the park assist, making the vehicle undrivable.

2.    State Laws Define Your Car as a Total Loss

According to California laws, a total loss is a wrecked vehicle whose repairs would cost more than the actual cash value of the car. A total loss is also a wrecked vehicle deemed uneconomical to repair by the insurance company.

Based on these laws, an adjuster can use the total loss formula (TLF) when determining the total loss of your car: Cost of repairs + salvage value ≥ actual cash value.

The factors that go into calculating the loss include:

  • Cost to repair: The cost of repairing the vehicle and bringing it back to full functionality. The adjuster determines if the cost of repairing your car is higher or lower than its actual monetary value.
  • Salvage value of the vehicle: Your vehicle’s salvage value will vary based on the extent of the damage. A car with extensive damage may not have much value apart from what the insurance company can collect for scrap metal. Less damaged cars may have more value since some parts are recoverable.
  • Actual cash value (ACV): Your car’s ACV is calculated according to its age, mileage, general condition, and features.

The insurance company considers a total loss when the sum of the cost of repairs and the salvage value of the vehicle exceeds or is less than the actual cash value of the vehicle. For instance, if you hit a large truck with your car, the cost to repair could be $16,000, and the car has a salvage value of $0. Under the TLF, they considered your car totaled since it only has an ACV of $10,000.

3.    The Repairs Are More Than the Car’s Value

Using the Kelley Blue Book to determine the ACV of your car, the insurance adjuster will find similar models of cars in your area and compare them to other cars in your class. They may place a low value on your car’s condition prior to the accident, which can cause your insurance to declare the total loss of your car. When the vehicle’s value is already significantly depreciated, even minor repairs can cause it to be viewed as a total loss.

4.    You Have an Older Car

Your insurance adjuster will also value your car based on its age before the accident. After the first year of ownership, the value of a new car drops by over 20%. It then continues to depreciate by 10% or more every year after that. After five years, the car may be worth less than half of what you bought it for originally.

If an older car is severely damaged and has a low trade-in and resale value according to Kelley Blue Book, many insurance companies will consider it a total loss. Because of its age, it is likely going to need repairs that could exceed its worth.

5.    Your Car Needs More Repairs Than Originally Discovered

Insurance companies may find it difficult to determine the extent of the damage to your car once they assess the initial damage before auto repair shops begin repairing it. If the auto repair shop discovers more damage, such as damage to the vehicle’s undercarriage, they can file a supplement with the insurance company.

When determining if they should declare a vehicle a total loss, some insurance companies consider supplements and how they affect repair costs. The insurance company can also define a car as a total loss even if the repair expenses are less than its ACV.

If you want to repair your car on your own and you were denied a supplement to help repair your vehicle, you’ll have to contend with your insurance provider. A car accident attorney can help you negotiate for a better evaluation of your vehicle’s value and the repairs your vehicle may need.

Speak to One of Our Experienced Lawyers

Before deciding whether to have your vehicle fixed after an accident or declare it a total loss, you should consult an auto accident lawyer. Your attorney can also help you pursue compensation for any injuries you sustained in the accident that damaged your vehicle.

Find out whether you can pursue economic and non-economic damages by filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver; talk to one of our lawyers today.

Contact attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation. Our No Fee Guarantee ensures you do not pay any fees until you win your case.

What Happens if an Unlicensed Driver Hits You in California?

by Staff | January 3rd, 2022

In California, all drivers must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle. However, not all drivers follow the law, and those who drive without a valid license are more likely to cause accidents.

According to a study conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, unlicensed drivers are almost three times more likely to cause a fatal crash than licensed drivers. Unlicensed drivers are just as likely to be at fault in a car accident with serious injuries.

What if the Unlicensed Driver is Also Uninsured?

Often, unlicensed drivers are also uninsured or underinsured, which means that although they may have insurance, they don’t carry sufficient coverage to pay for the injuries they inflict. Many unlicensed drivers don’t have their licenses for a good reason. They may have been careless before, resulting in a suspended or revoked license.

You should not have to pay for the pain and suffering someone else caused. There are ways to recover damages if an uninsured or underinsured driver has injured you. Skilled attorneys like the team at Berg Injury Lawyers may be able to help. If the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured, you can pursue a lawsuit for economic and non-economic damages.

There is no cap on damages in California for car accident lawsuits. You can seek a settlement amount that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and non-quantifiable losses like pain and suffering.

Steps to Take Following a California Auto Accident

There are steps you can take if you’re involved in a collision with an unlicensed driver in California. Following this process after an accident can reduce the burden of medical expenses and stress you experience due to the driver’s negligence by bettering your chances of receiving compensation.

  1. Contact authorities. Immediately after the accident, remain at the scene and call the police to report the accident. A police report of the accident is crucial to recover damages for your injuries or property loss.
  1. Exchange insurance information with the other driver. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured in addition to being unlicensed, your lawyer can help you file an insurance claim or a legal claim against the negligent driver.
  1. Seek medical care. A motor vehicle accident can leave drivers and their passengers with lasting injuries, even if the injuries are not immediately apparent. In the minutes and hours after a car accident, adrenaline can often mask the signs of injury.

Go to your doctor or nearest emergency room for a thorough examination and keep all your medical records. Documentation of your injuries immediately after the accident and your subsequent treatment history is essential to getting full compensation for your claims.

  1. Contact an attorney. Get expert help from California car accident lawyers who can guide you through the legal process. When you’ve been the victim of an unlicensed driver’s negligence, the last thing you need is the hassle of dealing with complicated insurance claim processes or navigating the court system on your own.

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows exactly what to do to get you the best settlement or judgment for your claims. A consultation is free and can start you on the path to recovery.

Determine Whether You Have a Claim

Even if the other driver was unlicensed, you still need to prove your claim to obtain compensation for any injuries you sustained. To receive a settlement payout for your injuries, you’ll need to demonstrate that:

  • The other driver’s negligence partly caused the accident
  • The accident caused you or a passenger serious physical harm

Working with an attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers is a great way to get the support you need when building your case against an unlicensed driver.

Let Experienced Lawyers Handle Your Case

If an unlicensed driver in California has injured you, you need to focus on your recovery instead of worrying about how to pay medical bills and take care of your family. Leave your fight for fair compensation to the car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers.

We have four decades of experience helping victims recover settlements to pay off medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other hardships resulting from car accidents. We can answer your questions and help you get the compensation you deserve without the stress of navigating the legal system on your own. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

Dealing With Renal Trauma After a Car Accident

by Staff | December 27th, 2021

Car crashes lead to serious injuries and fatalities every year. In the first half of 2021, 20,160 people died on the roads in the US.

According to a Forbes report, over 2 million people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year. In 2010 the average claim for injuries for those involved in crashes was over $23,000, due partially to increasing medical costs.

Among the serious injuries caused by car accidents is renal trauma. The results of these injuries can be life-threatening or life-altering, such as internal bleeding, kidney failure, and lifelong medical treatment.

What Is Renal Trauma?

Simply defined, renal trauma is when an exterior force injures a kidney. Although the kidneys are well protected by the ribcage and back muscles, damage may be caused by either blunt or penetrating trauma.

Blunt trauma is an impact that doesn’t break the skin but still causes damage to the kidney. Penetrating trauma is where the damage is caused by the object passing through the skin and entering the body.

Any kind of renal trauma may prevent a kidney from working correctly and carries the potential to be serious.

The kidney’s main purpose is to act as the body’s filter. It keeps us healthy by:

  • Regulating blood pressure and red blood cells counts
  • Removing waste through our urine
  • Maintaining fluid balance
  • Maintaining electrolyte levels

When the kidneys are damaged, these functions may be compromised, causing the body serious problems. In some cases, the accident victim may require dialysis.

How Does Renal Trauma Happen in a Car Crash?

The kidney is the most common injured urinary tract organ in serious trauma cases. Renal blunt trauma may be caused in car accidents by an impact with any part of the vehicle’s interior, such as door handles or controls.

It may also occur when the body is jolted after being propelled forward quickly. Children are particularly vulnerable to this type of injury in a car crash.

Penetrating trauma may be caused by an object entering the body. This can be a part of the accident victim’s car, the other driver’s car, or another piece of debris involved in the crash.

Renal injuries are categorized on a 5-grade scale. Minor injuries such as bruising are grade 1. Grade 5 is the most serious, such as where the kidney is no longer connected to the body’s blood supply.

How Serious Are the Effects of Renal Trauma?

Suffering renal trauma can have an impact on your overall health. Possible symptoms of renal trauma include:

  • Painful bruising to the abdomen
  • Internal bleeding
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness, or fainting
  • Severe pain in the abdomen, made worse with movement

Treatment for minor renal injuries might include hospital rest until there is no blood in the urine. After leaving the hospital, the accident victim will have to stay alert for continued bleeding and high blood pressure.

Surgery is sometimes necessary when there’s a significant blood loss or the kidney is badly damaged. If the damage is too severe and the surgeon cannot save the kidney, they may opt to remove it.

The cost of kidney injury treatment in hospitals is substantial. A report by the Society of Hospital Medicine in 2017 found that acute kidney injury patients’ hospital costs were greater than those with heart attacks and were comparable with patients suffering from pancreatitis or strokes.

Medical costs incurred by rental trauma are a difficult financial burden at a very distressing time.

What to Do If You’re Injured in an Accident

If you sustain injuries in an auto accident you need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim for compensation. The information you need includes:

  • Photographs of the accident site, your injuries, and damage to the vehicles
  • The names and contact information of independent witnesses
  • The other driver’s insurance details, license number, name, and address
  • Notify your insurance company
  • However minor your injuries may seem, visit your doctor as soon as possible so there’s an official medical history

If you have been seriously injured in the accident you may be unable to collect this evidence yourself. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can gather this vital information on your behalf.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Injuries

Serious injuries like renal trauma can cause severe and ongoing financial problems for accident victims. You need California car accident lawyers to protect your legal rights so you can receive the long-term healthcare you require without worrying about how to pay for it.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to arrange a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. With our NO fee Guarantee, you don’t pay any legal fees unless you win your case. Learn how we can help you recover the damages you are entitled to for your injuries.

Getting Compensation for Facial Nerve Damage

by Staff | December 20th, 2021

Facial nerve damage is a serious problem that can lead to disfigurement. If you’ve suffered facial nerve damage, it’s important to understand how much compensation you may get from the person or party responsible for your injury.

Many factors need consideration when calculating the total cost of compensation associated with facial nerve injury claims. These could include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for any pain and suffering caused by this injury.

What Causes Facial Nerve Damage?

Several factors can damage or injure your facial nerves.

  • Car accidents
  • Falls
  • Head trauma
  • Birth trauma for babies with the usage of forceps or during a difficult childbirth
  • Medical and surgical errors involving the delicate parts of the face

Sometimes, damaged facial nerves may regain function following an auto accident or partial laceration. However, with severe nerve damage, it may be impossible to restore facial muscle function.

Factors in Determining Compensation for Facial Nerve Damage

There are three primary factors in determining compensation for facial nerve damage. Based on these areas, an attorney can advise you on how much your case may be worth.

●     The severity of the injury

It is necessary to see a doctor for a diagnosis of facial nerve damage. This may entail diagnosing facial trauma or testing the facial nerves. The doctor can examine your face and check the symmetry of the muscles of the facial expression. They may require you to show how high you can raise your eyebrows, smile, close your eyes, and wrinkle your nose during your appointment.

CT and MRI imaging can pinpoint the site of an injury. The Seddon and Sunderland Classification can help the doctor label the five degrees of injury. It is almost always possible to recover from a first-degree injury, whereas a fifth-degree injury has little chance of recovery.

Doctors can measure a muscle’s responsiveness with electrical tests from electromyography or EMG tests. They can also use electroneuronography or ENoG when they apply skin electrodes on either side of your face. These electrodes send electrical pulses to measure the health of your facial nerves. If the muscle function is less than 10%, surgical compression may be necessary.

●     Medications and physical therapy

With the right medications and physical therapy, most facial nerve damage goes away within 2 to 4 weeks, and complete recovery can occur within 6 months. Your doctor may prescribe oral steroids to reduce swelling. Antiviral medications can also fight infections caused by inflammation in the facial nerve. If you cannot blink because of facial nerve damage, eye drops can help relieve dry eye symptoms.

A physical therapist can help people regain the ability to move their facial muscles with slow, small movements. According to one study, this therapy can be used with other treatments administered by a doctor, such as targeted botulinum toxin injections.

●     Surgical costs

If medical treatments are not enough to help with facial nerve damage, your doctor may require you to undergo one of these surgical procedures:

  • Decompression: This is performed to relieve the nerve compressed by a skull fracture, blood clot, or swelling. It involves drilling the bone canal surrounding the facial nerve to expose the nerve. After that, the surgeon cuts the sheath of the facial nerve to ease the pressure caused by blood clots or swelling.
  • End to end anastomosis: The doctor will sew the two ends together when a person’s facial nerve is cut. This surgery is only performed when they are millimeters apart.
  • Nerve grafts or cable grafts: A nerve graft can be performed if an end-to-end anastomosis isn’t possible because of the severity of the cut in the facial nerve. This procedure requires grafting a nerve from the thigh or the lower leg.
  • Plastic surgery operations: These are typically used in situations of facial nerve injury that have been present for a long time. Some people who have long-term facial nerve damage may require facelift surgery or muscle transfers. These procedures improve facial mobility and symmetry.

Get Compensation for Your Facial Nerve Injury

Depending on the severity of the injuries you sustained and the impact on your job and daily routine, your personal injury claim may be worth a lot of money. During your recovery from your operation, you may have lost income due to time off work. You may also experience non-quantifiable challenges like pain and suffering due to a long recovery from your facial nerve injury.

If you or a loved one are suffering from a facial nerve injury because of an accident that wasn’t your fault, your San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you. We can estimate the costs of your ongoing medical care and loss of wages to determine compensation. Call us today to schedule your confidential, free consultation and find out how you can move forward with recovery from your injury.

Should You Be Following the 3-Second Rule While Driving?

by Staff | December 13th, 2021

Driving a car presents many possible risks; 38,800 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the US in 2019. Most of these accidents were caused by driver error.

This means that by following a few rules while driving, you can decrease your risk of harming yourself and others. One rule that’s simple to follow and helps reduce your chances of rear-ending someone else’s vehicle is the 3-second rule.

What Is the 3-Second Rule?

Many crashes are caused by drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front. Without sufficient space between vehicles, they cannot stop in time if the car in front brakes suddenly.

The 3-second rule advises you to keep a distance of three car lengths between you and the car in front. This has also been described as the distance you could travel in three seconds at an average speed. Maintaining this space between cars is a simple and proven way to avoid rear-end collisions.

Measuring the Distance

Calculating the distance you need between the car in front and your vehicle is relatively easy. Pick a stationary object by the road, such as a tree or traffic sign; once the car in front of you reaches that object, begin counting and note how long it takes you to pass the same object. If you reach the object before you have slowly counted to three, you are too close to the vehicle ahead of you.

This method will give you an idea of a safe following distance and leaves plenty of time to stop if the car in front suddenly brakes.

Driving too close to another vehicle is dangerous and causes many avoidable accidents. It is known as tailgating and is considered an aggressive type of driving that puts both vehicles’ occupants at much greater risk of a rear-end crash.

Are There People Who Should Be Given More Space?

The California Driver Handbook advises drivers to increase their following distances and give more space to drivers who present greater potential danger. These drivers and people include:

  • Drivers whose view of you is obstructed
  • Drivers who may be forced into your lane to avoid an obstruction, such as a pedestrian or bicyclist on the shoulder
  • Drivers who are backing out into your lane
  • Distracted people like delivery drivers, construction workers, or drivers talking on their phones
  • Drivers who slow down for no apparent reason (they may be searching for a house number, presenting a distraction)

When to Leave a Greater Following Distance

The 3-second rule adequately deals with daylight and good weather conditions. However, at night or when the weather conditions deteriorate, greater distances between vehicles will be necessary.

Inclement weather like rain or snow leads to worse visibility and slippery road conditions. These factors increase the risk of accidents, making it prudent to double the 3-second rule to a 6-second following distance.

Fog makes driving conditions hazardous because it is challenging to see what is in front of you. When you encounter heavy fog, it is appropriate to triple the time between you and the vehicle ahead to 9 seconds. This allows plenty of room for stopping despite the lack of visibility.

Other Safety Measures

When conditions are bad, or visibility is poor, you should drive slowly and use low beams or fog lights. You need to ensure other drivers can see you and you have plenty of room to stop.

If the visibility gets too bad, you should stop in a well-lit area and wait for conditions to improve. If you are towing a trailer or driving an RV, your required stopping distance may be greater due to the vehicle’s weight. Adjust the space between you and the vehicle ahead accordingly.

Exceptions to the 3-Second Rule

The 3-second rule does not apply where the car in front is stationary due to being stopped at a stop sign or traffic light. There is no reason to leave large spaces between vehicles in these situations.

In stop-and-go traffic in town, it is difficult to judge a 3-second space. However, it is always wise to leave a big enough gap between the vehicles so that you can stop if the car in front brakes suddenly.

What to Do if You Sustain Injuries in an Accident

If you have been rear-ended by a driver not following the 3-second rule or tailgating, speak to the auto accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Our California car accident lawyers offer a free case consultation and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

We believe everyone deserves effective legal representation when injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence. That is why we offer a No Fee Guarantee, meaning we only get paid if you recover damages. Start your case now!

What Every California Driver Should Know About Parking Lot Right-of-Ways

by Staff | December 6th, 2021

Auto accidents can happen at any time and anywhere. Due to the busy nature of parking lots, minor accidents are quite common. There are over 50,000 accidents in parking lots and parking garages every year. This is usually because one or more drivers are not paying proper attention to what is happening around them.

In extremely busy parking lots with high volumes of pedestrians and other vehicles, it’s easy for drivers to become confused about who has the right of way.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in a parking lot, make sure you:

  • Take photographs of the scene, the position of the vehicles, and any injuries you have sustained.
  • Record the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any independent witnesses.
  • Get the other driver’s name, address, license number, and insurance details.
  • Visit your doctor as soon as possible and seek medical advice on any injuries, however minor they may seem.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident.

If you have suffered an injury in the accident, seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can safeguard your rights and pursue a compensation claim on your behalf.

What Are the Most Common Accidents in Parking Lots?

Fortunately, most of the parking lot accidents are at slow speed and tend to be minor incidents. The types of accidents that may occur in parking lots are:

  • Driving the wrong way down a lane
  • Backing out of a parking space without looking
  • Rear end collisions due to cars stopping suddenly
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Turning sharply in front of oncoming vehicles
  • Driving through a crosswalk or stop sign
  • Distracted driving due to looking for an open parking space rather than the road ahead

The chances of serious injuries increase when the accident occurs at high speeds or involves a pedestrian. A pedestrian involved in a collision with a vehicle may suffer a range of injuries from relatively minor to catastrophic, such as to the head or back.

Who Has the Right of Way?

In California, the default rule for parking lots is that the driver who is in the flow of traffic has the right of way. This means the driver traveling in the main lane has the right of way over individuals pulling out of parking spaces or feeder lanes. Feeder lanes have the right of way over vehicles backing out of a parking spot.

A driver exiting a parking space is responsible for stopping, checking for oncoming traffic, and pulling out of the space when they have sufficient time to do so safely.

At an uncontrolled intersection in a parking lot, the first car to arrive or stop at the intersection typically has the right of way. All parties should stop and then proceed slowly in the order from which they arrived at the intersection. If two drivers arrive at the same time, the driver on the left should yield to the driver on the right. Remember to use your turn signals even in a parking lot to communicate with other drivers.

Some parking lots have one-way lanes with directional arrows; for the safety of all drivers, it’s critical to pay attention to these markings and travel in the direction indicated.

If two drivers are vying for the same parking spot, a driver crossing a traffic lane must yield. Just like on the road, pedestrians have the right of way in parking lots. You must yield to pedestrians who are crossing in the parking area, especially at designated crosswalks. 

Will the Driver Be Liable?

In California, drivers who cause injuries through their negligence or any wrongful act may be held liable for damages they cause.

Drivers are expected to use reasonable care not to cause harm to others when operating a vehicle. If a driver causes an accident in a parking lot due to any of the following, they may have breached their legal duty of care:

  • Driving over the speed limit
  • Failing to look in their mirrors before backing out
  • Failing to yield the right of way

Can the Property Owner Be Liable?

In California, owners may be held liable for injuries caused by the dangerous conditions of their properties. A parking lot owner may be liable if they fail to maintain the lot to a safe standard.

This could include:

  • Failing to make necessary repairs
  • Failing to mark directions of travel in lanes
  • Failing to mark crosswalks for pedestrians
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Failing to provide sufficient staff or staff training

Contact a Car Accident Attorney at Our Law Firm Today

If you have suffered an injury in a parking lot due to another driver’s negligence or the parking lot’s owner, seek legal advice to protect your rights. You may be eligible for damages if another driver failed to yield the right of way, resulting in your injuries.

California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers offer a no-obligation, free attorney consultation and help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to. Contact our law firm today to get started.

Berg Injury Lawyers Is Representing the Montano Family After Fatal Crash

by Staff | December 3rd, 2021

A fatal crash that killed four members of a North Highland family has led to an outpouring of support and a tragic reminder of the perils of drunk driving. Berg Injury Lawyers is now representing the surviving family members and committed to getting justice on their behalf.

Brittany and Tony Montano, along with their three children—Marianna, Antonio Jr., and Julian—were traveling to the Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving vacation when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 80.

Four-year-old Julian was the sole survivor of the crash, though he suffered head trauma and multiple fractures.

After the crash, thieves broke into the Montano home and stole irreplaceable family keepsakes, as was recently reported by Fox 40.

Showing Support for the Montano Family

Members of the North Highland community left flowers and candles on the Montano’s driveway. Surviving Montano family members expressed gratitude for the community’s ongoing support.

Anyone interested in contributing to the family’s GoFundMe page is highly encouraged to do so. The funds will be put toward Julian’s medical bills, as well as burial expenses for Tony, Brittany, Marianna, and Antonio Jr.

We’re Fighting for the Montano Family

Berg Injury Lawyers attorney Chelsea Monahan is representing the Montano family. As Chelsea told the media at a recent press conference, the Montano home robbery added insult to the immense suffering the family is already enduring. However, our team is fighting to obtain some measure of justice for these tragic deaths.

We hope that these tragic incidents serve as a reminder of the dangers of drunk driving. AAA reports that hundreds of people die each year from wrong-way crashes, and 60% of those crashes involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Berg Injury Lawyers has been serving the Bay Area since 1981. We’re committed to pursuing justice for victims of negligence. If you have any questions or would like to speak to our team, please contact us today.

5 Common Back Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents

by Staff | November 29th, 2021

The human body is not designed to absorb the force created when traveling in a car and abruptly stopping. Your back is particularly vulnerable to injury in a car crash. Although many back injuries may heal themselves, and others are treatable, some back injuries may negatively impact your quality of life, especially if they are catastrophic, like a spinal cord injury. 

Some back injuries worsen with time, while others may not be obvious right away. It is important you seek medical attention immediately following a car accident so a professional can assess you for any potential back problems.

If you’ve suffered a back injury in a car accident, experienced California car accident lawyers can help build your case and pursue compensation for damages. The state of California recognizes pure comparative negligence laws for car accidents, so you may be entitled to compensation even if you were partially at fault for a car accident.

Here is a list of five of the most common types of back injuries that occur in a car crash:

1.    Whiplash

Whiplash is perhaps the most common injury suffered in a car crash. It happens when the head and neck are propelled backward and forward with some force. This movement damages the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. However, the cervical spine is the primary area affected, which may cause long-lasting back pain.

2.    Fractures

The force of a car crash can fracture the vertebrae in the spine. A compression fracture occurs when pressure on the spine causes cracks in the vertebrae. In major accidents, the force of the collision may be sufficient for the fracture to damage the spinal cord.

3.    Soft Tissue Injuries

These types of injuries may not be severe but can include sprains, strains, and muscle and ligament tears. Soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful and may also cause tenderness and stiffness while the healing process occurs.

4.    Herniated Disc

A car accident causes the body to absorb a lot of force. This may lead to the supportive discs slipping out of place or rupturing. A herniated disc can cause severe pain if it comes into contact with the lumbar or cervical spine nerves. This may lead to lower back pain and tingling down the leg. Compression of nerves in the cervical spine causes neck and shoulder pain. It may also cause tingling down the arm or hand.

5.    Spinal Cord Injuries

This is by far the most serious type of back injury you could sustain from a car accident. If the spinal cord is bruised or damaged during an accident, it can lead to permanent injury or even paralysis. Immediate medical treatment is needed to prevent lasting harm.

Signs and Symptoms

After an accident, any type of back pain should be taken seriously. You should consult a doctor even if the back pain is only mild. Remember, sometimes, the symptoms will not be apparent for several hours after the accident or even the next day.

The type of back injury symptoms you may expect after a car accident are:

  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain running from the buttocks down the leg
  • Difficulty in walking or standing unaided

Claiming Compensation for Back Injuries

Back injuries may be relatively minor to extremely severe. Even low-speed collisions can cause painful and debilitating back pain. Back injuries profoundly affect your life and daily routine and may even prevent you from working. This may have a bad effect on your finances and quality of life.

You shouldn’t have to suffer financially due to a back injury caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault. If a car crash compromises your quality of life and finances, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, and even loss of companionship. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer at our law firm can explain the law to you and advise you on the best options for your circumstances.

Get the Legal Representation You Need With Berg Injury Lawyers

Berg Injury Lawyers have the experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal complexities to pursue your compensation claim. Contact us today for more information and a free consultation.