Can You File a Personal Injury Claim if You Weren’t Wearing a Seatbelt in a Crash?

by Staff Blogger | September 26th, 2022

Using a seatbelt helps you stay secure in your vehicle and reduces injuries. Seatbelts saved an estimated 14,995 lives in 2017, and an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved if seatbelts had been used. In California, seatbelts are not only legally required but not wearing them can incur a fine of $162 for adults.

You can still file a personal injury claim if you were not wearing your seatbelt during a crash and suffered injuries. However, the insurance company may attempt to reduce or deny your compensation because you failed to wear a seatbelt.

An experienced San Francisco car accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can advise you of your legal rights to compensation and develop a legal strategy for your defense.

What is California’s Seatbelt Law?

California’s seatbelt law states that no driver can operate a vehicle on a highway unless everyone over 16 wears seatbelts. A highway can be any place maintained by the government that is open to the public for vehicular use. This definition includes streets, meaning all drivers and passengers must wear their seatbelts while using their vehicles.

The seatbelt law requires that the seatbelt must go around the waist. If the vehicle has shoulder straps, they should be over the shoulders. It also requires vehicle owners to keep seatbelts in good working condition, including straps, webbing, buckle, latch plate, pillar loop, and retractor.

What Is the Impact of Not Wearing a Seatbelt on Your Liability?

The insurance company’s claims adjuster will investigate the details of the accident and the severity of your injuries, so they can decide whether to offer a settlement. Unfortunately, failing to wear a seatbelt may prevent you from attaining the full compensation you deserve.

You can work with a car accident attorney who can evaluate your case and offer legal options, including taking it to court. Having a skilled lawyer on your side is essential because the insurance company may use a legal theory known as the seatbelt defense to reduce the damages in your settlement.

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

The seatbelt defense, also known as the “affirmative defense” under California court instructions, is based on the presumption that you should have been wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash. As a result, although you were not responsible for the accident, your failure to wear a seatbelt contributed to your injuries. Just like other drivers have a legal responsibility not to harm others around them, you also have a responsibility to not put yourself in harm’s way.

A jury will assess your negligence in causing your injuries by determining:

  • The availability of a working seatbelt.
  • If a reasonable person could have used the seatbelt in your situation.
  • Your failure to wear a seatbelt.
  • If your injuries could have been less severe if you had worn your seatbelt.

Protect Your Legal Right to Financial Compensation

If the insurance company is successful in their defense, the jury can determine how much you can get in damages. The state of California relies on pure comparative fault, meaning that each party is liable for their percentage of fault in the accident, which is subtracted from their potential compensation. For instance, if you were deemed 10% at fault for your injuries, you may only recover $90,000 of $100,000.

An experienced lawyer can challenge the seatbelt defense from the insurance company. They can prove that not wearing a seatbelt wouldn’t have reduced the severity of your injuries. Your lawyer can also determine whether you would have suffered any different injuries if you had worn your seatbelt, such as bruising, abrasions, intra-abdominal injuries, and vertebral fractures.

The police report and the medical diagnoses for your injuries can show the severity of your injuries and your need for compensation. Testimonies from medical and safety experts can also help your lawyer distinguish between the injuries you sustained in the crash and the injuries you might have avoided if you had worn a seatbelt. If so, this could be used to reduce your fault in the accident against another party who was responsible for causing the crash.

Rely on the Car Accident Attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers

Although you may not have worn a seatbelt during a crash, you still have a legal right to compensation for your injuries in California. Trust Berg Injury Lawyers to advocate for your interests throughout the legal process of filing a claim. Contact our law office today for a free consultation of your case and let us help you with your personal injury claim.

Can Over-the-Counter Meds Cause Impaired Driving?

by Staff Blogger | September 19th, 2022

Driving while using over-the-counter (OTC) medications is a common occurrence. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recorded that 13% of daytime drivers tested positive for prescription or OTC medication in 2018. Drivers often mistakenly consider the effects of OTC medication harmless when it comes to driving ability. However, a 2020 study showed that those who used OTC sleep medications were 41.9% more likely to get into a car accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident that you suspect was caused by another driver’s OTC medication use, it is crucial to understand how OTC medication impairs driving and seek help from a qualified attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers today.

How Over-the-Counter Meds Can Impair Driving

After taking an OTC medication, some people experience side effects, which are mild to moderate adverse reactions caused by the medication. Some side effects are uncomfortable, but others are not always obvious.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, common medication side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Clumsiness, impaired coordination
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Restlessness

Even mild side effects of OTC medication use can have dangerous or devastating consequences when behind the wheel. In 2015, 90,000 of all reported car accidents in the U.S. involved a tired or drowsy driver. 33,000 of those crashes caused serious injuries.

What Over-the-Counter Meds Cause Impairment?

Many OTC medications can cause side effects that impair driving, posing a risk on the road. Common OTC medications that can cause difficulty driving include:

  • Antihistamines (e.g., Benadryl, Allegra)
  • Cold or cough medication
  • Sleep aids (e.g., Melatonin, Valerian)
  • Antidiarrheal medications
  • Anti-nausea or motion sickness medications (e.g., Dramamine)
  • Caffeine pills
  • Diet pills
  • CBD products

A medication’s most common side effects are typically listed on the packaging or a leaflet inside the box. Every medication has different side effects; some side effects last longer than others or become more severe if the drug is taken alongside other medications or alcohol.

If an OTC medication can have hazardous side effects, it will contain a warning on the label, leaflet, and packaging. The label may say to avoid operating heavy machinery, which includes driving a car: cars are considered a form of heavy machinery, and driving could put you and others at risk.

Can I Be Sued for Driving on Over-the-Counter Drugs?

You can be sued for driving while under the influence of OTC drugs. Every U.S. state, including California, includes OTC medication in their DUI laws. If you experience side effects from OTC medication and get into a collision. As a result, you are still considered at fault, and the injured party can file suit against you for injury or damages.

When to Avoid Driving After Taking Over-the-Counter Drugs

It isn’t always possible to judge your driving ability under the influence of OTC drugs. You may not recognize your level of impairment, putting you at greater risk of a car accident. Instead, watch for early signals that you or a loved one may not be in a position to drive.

Some signs that you shouldn’t drive include:

  • Yawning excessively
  • Trouble staying awake; “dozing off” periodically
  • Reacting slowly
  • Forgetting things easily
  • Difficulty concentrating on things around you
  • Losing focus or “zoning out” often
  • Poor coordination

If you show these symptoms, finding an alternative to driving is the safest choice. Ask somebody else to drive you, rideshare with Uber or Lyft, order delivery instead of going out, or wait to drive until the medication has worn off. Driving under the influence of OTC drugs can lead to a car accident and a costly lawsuit.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been in a car accident and aren’t sure what the next steps are, you’re not alone. When over-the-counter or prescription drugs may have been at fault, it’s important to seek help from a qualified legal defense team.

Our California car crash lawyers team can provide legal counsel, closely review your case and help you get the defense or payout you deserve. Contact us today to set up a private free consultation.

The Risk Drivers Face as They Age

by Staff Blogger | September 12th, 2022

Older adults face more risks on the road than younger drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 13% of deadly car crashes in 2020 involved drivers aged 65 or older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these crashes place all involved parties at risk but are far more fatal for drivers over 70.

Many variables place older drivers at risk of an accident, including reduced mental and physical abilities. Read on to learn the risks older drivers face on the road and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help if your loved one suffers injuries in an auto accident.

How Age Affects Driving Ability

Everyone’s physical and mental abilities decrease with age, impacting their driving skills in various ways. Age-related driving issues include:

Decreased Physical Ability

Older adults often experience joint and muscle stiffness, arthritis, or other mobility conditions that make moving difficult or painful. These impairments can make it hard to turn the steering wheel or hit the brakes in time, potentially leading to a collision.

Many older adults also have vision problems. Vision issues can cause trouble seeing at night, eye pain when exposed to bright light (such as oncoming headlights or sun glare off the windshield), and difficulty reading road signs. If elderly drivers overlook stop signs or other vehicles, they can cause serious harm to themselves and others in a car accident.

Reduced Cognitive Ability

Mental and cognitive functions decline in older adults, making certain aspects of driving difficult or dangerous. Dementia is a term for the general cognitive decline of aging persons and can contribute to worsening driving in elderly adults.

For instance, an older driver with dementia may fail to fully take in their surroundings and collide with another car while attempting to change lanes. They may also become lost and distressed on streets that used to be familiar to them.

Medical Conditions and Medication

Various medical conditions and medications can impair driving ability. If an aging driver has a medical condition like sleep apnea, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, they are more likely to cause a collision due to impaired functioning.

Likewise, taking medication that causes difficulty moving, seeing, or reacting can increase a driver’s chances of causing or being involved in an accident. Any medication that cautions not to “operate heavy machinery” after taking, means your loved one should not be driving while the medication is in effect. 

Recognizing Signs a Loved One Should No Longer Drive

Some older adults cannot safely operate a vehicle. According to the National Institute of Aging, older adults should be monitored or kept off the road if you notice:

  • They receive more tickets, dents in the car, or get into more car accidents.
  • They frequently become lost, even in familiar areas.
  • They show reluctance or anxiety around driving.
  • They have dementia, profound loss of sight, or another condition or disability that makes driving dangerous.

Protecting Aging Loved Ones Behind the Wheel

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that between 1997 and 2020, the fatality rate for drivers over 70 had declined by 22%. This may be attributed to increased awareness of the danger of letting elderly drivers with physical or cognitive impairments drive. It’s important to continue protecting aging loved ones who continue driving after age 65.

Car Adaptations and Habit Adjustments

For older adults with physical disabilities who can otherwise drive safely, consider adapting their car for their condition. For instance, if they have pain in their legs or feet, they can install devices allowing them to control the pedals by hand.

Other aging drivers can change their driving habits. For example, a driver with vision problems may opt to drive only during the day, limiting exposure to disorienting headlights that make an accident more likely.

Talking to Your Loved One About Not Driving

If you believe your loved one shouldn’t drive any longer, discussing their driving safety is crucial. Although there’s no one right way to approach the topic with your loved one, consider the following tips for the conversation:

  • Show empathy. It’s difficult for older adults to give up driving because they may feel like they are losing independence. Show them you understand their feelings and offer potential solutions that support their independence in other ways.
  • Use “I” language. Avoid using “you” language, as it can cause feelings of shame for an elderly driver. Instead, use “I” phrases such as, “I’m worried that it might not be safe for you to drive at night,” rather than, “You’re driving recklessly at night.”
  • Find solutions. Many older adults are reliant on driving for their daily and social needs. Work with them so they can still meet these needs, like finding carpools or transit services.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents involving an elderly driver are immensely stressful. Our California car crash lawyers understand the complexity of car accident lawsuits and can provide the legal advice and protection you need for your elderly loved one.

Get in touch with Berg Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation regarding your elderly loved one’s accident to learn how to proceed with their case.

Signs Someone Suffered a Brain Injury in a Crash

by Staff Blogger | September 7th, 2022

Car crashes can result in closed-head injuries—injuries to the brain but not the skull—making them hard to diagnose. However, without visible evidence of damage, victims themselves can make the mistake of trying to move on with their lives without seeking a thorough medical check.

Being able to recognize brain-injury symptoms can help you learn when to seek medical help after an accident, and secure the necessary compensation to avoid financial strain while you rehabilitate.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of brain damage that occurs when the head is suddenly and violently hit. The severity of a TBI depends on several factors, including the force of the impact, the injury’s location, and the victim’s age and overall health.

Although brain injury is often associated with blows to the head during sports or car accidents, it can also occur due to falls, gunshots, or other trauma. Treatment for TBIs usually depends on the severity of the injury and may include measures like extended rest, pain medications, or surgery.

In severe cases, patients may require long-term rehabilitation to regain their ability to speak, walk, and eat.

What Are the Signs of a Brain Injury After a Car Crash?

Unless the brain is severely damaged in a car crash, it can often be challenging to diagnose a brain injury. This is because some symptoms may be attributed to other conditions, such as psychiatric disorders, while other brain injury effects only show up days or weeks after the initial injury. 

The gradual onset of symptoms makes it challenging for medical professionals to diagnose the injury properly. This can create obstacles when trying to recover compensation from insurance companies or the people at fault.

Immediate Symptoms

The most common and immediate signs of a brain injury include:

  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Clear discharge (cerebrospinal fluid) from the ears and nose

However, more serious brain injuries can also result in convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and even coma.

Long-Term Symptoms

More severe brain injury symptoms can develop over time, making them difficult to tie to the initial accident. These symptoms can affect the victim’s ability to perform basic tasks, both at work and at home. Long-term symptoms include:

  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Problems with coordination and balance

In some cases, a brain injury can lead to frequent seizures, hearing loss, and vision problems. The exact nature and severity of symptoms vary depending on the extent of the injury. However, even mild brain injury can cause lasting problems.

Why You Need a Doctor and an Attorney To Prove Your Case

Many people think that if they have a brain injury resulting from a car crash, they can automatically receive compensation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Establishing a connection between the collision you were in and the injury you suffered is critical to receiving monetary compensation.

This can be difficult to do without the help of a doctor and an attorney. A doctor can document the extent of your injuries, how they occurred, and their impact on your ability to function.

One of the most challenging aspects of diagnosing a brain injury is that no single test or set of symptoms can definitively confirm the presence of a brain injury. Instead, diagnosis typically relies on a combination of medical imaging, cognitive testing, and patient self-reporting. This can make it difficult to obtain an accurate picture of the extent of an injury, particularly in the early stages. Determining the extent of the injury is important for calculating how much compensation will be needed.

Additionally, brain injuries can often lead to subtle changes in cognitive or emotional functioning that may not be immediately apparent to the individual or those around them. As a result, a victim’s diminished ability to perform at their job or their increasing symptom intensity may not be immediately attributable to the car crash.

Getting the help of a competent neurologist and an experienced personal injury attorney can vastly increase your chances of proving the connection between an accident and your injury.

Tests for Diagnosing a TBI

A computed tomography (CT) scan is one of the most common tests for diagnosing brain injuries. This test uses X-rays to create detailed images of the brain. CT scans can help doctors identify bleeding, fractures, bruising, fluid build-up, and other damage to the brain.

Another common test for identifying brain injuries is an MRI. This test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed brain and brain stem images.

Doctors may also use a PET scan. This test uses a special dye and a low-dose radioactive tracer to create images of the brain. PET scans can help doctors identify areas of the brain that are not functioning properly.

In addition to these tests, doctors may perform neurological exams, including memory, vision, balance, and coordination tests.

Seek Assistance From a Knowledgeable Attorney

Having a skilled attorney by your side is essential when filing a brain-injury claim. The California brain injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you collect medical and police reports, witness statements, and other necessary documentation to help build an indisputable claim regarding your brain injury.

If you or a family member is a crash victim experiencing signs of a brain injury, get in touch with our legal team to get the full legal and medical support you need.

Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a no-obligation, free initial consultation regarding your brain injury.

How Long Does a Sacramento Personal Injury Case Take?

by Staff Blogger | September 6th, 2022

Sacramento personal injury laws allow compensation to individuals involved in automobile accidents, slip-and-fall, dog bites, or any other accident caused by a party at fault. However, several factors impact the amount or how soon the plaintiff receives the compensation.

Some factors can be influenced by the plaintiff or their personal injury attorney, while others are beyond their control. Understanding these factors can help reduce the compensation waiting time. If the actions of another party injure you or your loved one, Berg Injury Lawyers could help hasten the compensation process. Contacting a personal injury attorney could also increase your chances of getting maximum compensation.      

Factors That Affect the Timeline of Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

Accidents or actions that lead to personal injury claims lead to different injuries. The severity of injuries in a head-on car accident may differ from a slip and fall. Although the cause of the accident may not matter, the severity of the injuries does. Some injuries take longer than others to heal, and the time taken to achieve maximum medical improvement impacts the compensation timeline. The plaintiff or their lawyer cannot influence the doctor’s report.

Once a doctor ascertains the plaintiff has reached maximum medical improvement, they will not require further medical procedures in relation to the accident. An MMI report at this time allows for the computation of compensation amount since the cost of medical treatment is a factor in a personal injury lawsuit. Even where the plaintiff calculates the value within a reasonable time, they may have to wait for other parties in the lawsuit to recover. The delay in submission of medical bills and MMI reports, therefore, delays compensation.

Although MMI reports delay the compensation, temptations for quick settlements should be discouraged. One never knows what medical complications may arise from the injuries. A little wait could help the plaintiff get their compensation in full.

The Value of Your Claim

Insurance companies are always willing to settle small claims promptly. However, when the claim reaches tens of thousands, the insurance company may put up a spirited negotiation to reduce the amount. These negotiations may take months to conclude.

Although plaintiffs may start the negotiation early, insurance companies do not take them seriously before they file a lawsuit. After filing the suit, the respondent has 30 to 60 days to file their response. California laws also allow the respondent 30 to 45 more days to file their response. Filing the lawsuit and getting a response could take months. When the hearing finally begins, it can take several months.

Whether You Go to Trial or Decide On an Alternative Dispute Resolution

An aggrieved party can settle a personal injury claim through a trial or use alternative dispute resolution channels. The route taken affects the compensation timeline by shortening or prolonging it. Using the alternative dispute resolution route significantly reduces the waiting time. It can take 9 to 18 months to settle a compensation claim through the alternative dispute resolution channel.

If, on the other hand, the plaintiff chooses to go to court, they should expect to wait longer. Filing the dispute and getting a response takes several months, while the first appearance at the trial court happens after a year. The negotiations may take another year or longer, depending on the case.

The waiting time may also depend on the cooperation of the other parties. If the defendant is cooperative, the waiting time reduces significantly.

Should You Settle Early to Save Time?

Once the plaintiff seeks medical treatment, insurance companies are likely to make compensation offers. In most cases, the insurance company offers compensation that is way below what the plaintiff deserves. The insurance companies understand the complexity of filing a lawsuit and the waiting and hope the plaintiff will accept the offer to save time. This tactic is known as a lowball offer.

A plaintiff should not accept the lowball offer. They should reject the first and the second offer and make the defendant believe they are willing to stop at nothing but their rightful amount. However, the plaintiff should seek the opinion of a Sacramento personal injury lawyer on whether to reject a given offer. Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience in personal injury claims and can help the plaintiff make an informed decision.

The Documentation Process Takes Time

Documenting different pieces of evidence takes time. The plaintiff may have to visit their employers to calculate lost wages or wait for an MMI report. The cooperation of the parties involved also impacts the documentation time.

Specific Issues With Your Case May Arise

While issues like whether to accept offers from the insurance company are within the plaintiff’s control, others are not. For instance, some injuries are diagnosed way after the accident. In such cases, the defendants may claim they did not result from the accident. Identification of the party at fault may also consume a lot of time. Any other unforeseen issues may increase the settlement time.

Patience Is Your Best Friend

For a plaintiff to get what they deserve in a Sacramento personal injury case, they should invest in patience. Patience means they will wait for their MMI, reject lowball offers, and invest their time in documentation. Even when the compensation process takes too long, the plaintiff will eventually get the compensation they deserve.

When To Contact A Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

Filing a compensation claim in Sacramento can be long and tedious. However, contacting a personal injury attorney can help simplify the process. While the time to complete the compensation process varies from case to case, the attorney takes the negotiation burden from the plaintiff. This gives the plaintiff enough time to recuperate. When dealing with a personal injury Sacramento residents are advised to contact a lawyer immediately after the accident may also hasten the compensation process.

Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we understand the complexity of personal injury cases can prolong the compensation process. Although the waiting time depends on several factors, our experienced lawyers will do everything to speed up the process. Contact us at (866) 904-2014 or fill out our free form to speak with our legal team. 

Settlement vs. Trial: Which is Most Likely in a Car Accident Claim?

by Staff | August 29th, 2022

Dealing with debilitating injuries is the most taxing part of being in a car accident. However, filing a personal injury claim for compensation often initiates a complicated legal process that can also prove stressful for many accident victims, causing them to put their lives on hold.

Hiring a skilled personal injury attorney with a proven track record can relieve your legal burden, allowing you the time and funds you need to recover from your injuries. If you or a loved one have been in a car collision in California, contacting Berg Injury Lawyers can give you peace of mind and ensure that you seek maximum compensation for your damages.

How Many Personal Injury Claims Go to Trial?

Approximately 5% of personal injury cases go to trial, with the remaining 95% settling out of court. Of the cases that go to trial, nearly 90% end in a loss for the plaintiff, with just 10% receiving damages. These statistics suggest ‌that it is far more likely that if you file a personal injury claim, it will be settled out of court rather than going to trial.

Reasons to Settle Your Personal Injury Case

Most car accident claims settle out of court due to the claims process. After a car accident, your attorney will help you file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. They will send a demand letter, asking for a specific amount of compensation that the insurance company can accept or reject.

If your legal team offers the insurance company strong evidence supporting your claim, such as detailed medical bills, photos, videos, or police reports, the company may agree to your demand and settle. If the insurance company rejects your initial demand, your lawyer may negotiate until both parties agree on a reasonable settlement amount.

Why Your Case Might Go to Trial

Your legal team may advise you to take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to pay you a fair amount. Although only a small number of car accident cases make it to trial, those that go on to win are often awarded greater damages. Going to trial allows you to pursue maximum compensatory damages for your injuries.

However, personal injury trials can take months or years to reach a resolution and require detailed preparation from your attorneys. Additionally, if you take your case to trial, a jury will likely decide your damages. California uses pure comparative negligence, which assigns a percentage of fault to each party. If the other side convinces the jury that you are highly responsible for the accident, you will only receive a portion of your settlement.

Hiring an Attorney Increases Your Chance of Recovering Adequate Compensation

Hiring a personal injury attorney ensures you maximize the amount of compensation you receive for all your damages. Your attorney can build a strong claim with relevant evidence and an assessment of your total damages. The attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to help you obtain a fair settlement.

A lawyer can use a winning legal strategy to convince the insurance company to offer adequate compensation. This includes offering indisputable evidence that their client caused the accident and that you have suffered serious injuries because of their actions. For example, they may provide witness statements, video of the accident, or medical reports that describe the lasting consequences of your injuries.

The insurance company is more likely to compensate you adequately if they deem that you and your lawyer are serious about taking your case to court. Insurance companies prefer to settle in most cases because of the high cost and effort of litigation, including hiring expert witnesses, calling accident witnesses, and preparing testimonies and evidence.

Your lawyer can use this to your advantage in negotiating your settlement to get you the maximum amount possible.

When the insurance company refuses to settle, having an attorney by your side can increase your chances of gaining a favorable verdict with the jury. The lawyer can prepare your case and argue on your behalf to ensure the jury awards you with the maximum compensation you deserve to achieve justice for your case.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Injury Claim

Whether you settle or if your case goes before a judge and jury, the California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can ensure that your case receives the attention it deserves. We can assess your claim and discuss your legal options, including filing a lawsuit.

Call our law firm today to schedule a free evaluation with one of our lawyers to discuss your case‌.

Common Damages in Cases Involving Chronic Pain

by Staff | August 22nd, 2022

Suffering from chronic pain caused by an accident can reduce your quality of life and leave you with long-lasting financial consequences. 20.4% of U.S. adults suffer from chronic pain, which leads to the inability to work or enjoy everyday activities.

You have the right to seek compensation if you suffer chronic pain due to a personal injury accident like a slip-and-fall, car collision, or motorcycle accident. However, chronic pain is considered non-economic damage, which can be harder to prove than measurable economic damages.

By working with a skilled personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers, you can seek maximum compensation for your injuries, including chronic pain’s lasting financial, physical, and emotional consequences.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is continuous pain that lasts for more than three months. This pain can be constant or intermittent and last for years after an initial injury. Chronic pain can happen anywhere in the body. Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults experience chronic pain.

Chronic pain interferes with daily life, the ability to work, eat, participate in physical or social activities, perform self-care, or care for others can be affected.  Chronic pain can lead to depression, anxiety, and sleep problems, making the pain worse. This creates a cycle that is difficult to break. Chronic pain is a significant medical condition that can require life-long treatment.

Examples of chronic pain include:

  • Arthritis/joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Fibromyalgia, or “all-over” muscle pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Pain resulting from injuries, medical conditions, or surgery

Chronic pain can result from health conditions, but it can also result from accident injuries. For example, a slip-and-fall can cause you to experience back or spinal cord injuries that result in chronic lower back pain. Also, whiplash in a car accident can leave you with life-long chronic neck and shoulder pain and headaches.

Non-Economic Damages for Chronic Pain

When you file a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages, your lawyer will likely ask for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the easiest to recover because they are factual, such as objective totals gathered from medical bills, lost wages, and other calculated expenses.

Non-economic damages are harder to prove and quantify. They refer to damages you can receive for issues like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Chronic pain is considered non-economic damage, making it difficult to prove during a trial case. 

At trial, you and your legal team must explain your pain and its effects. You must prove your claims with evidence, and a judge or jury must subjectively place a value on your claims.

Winning Non-Economic Damages

Proving subjective information is a difficult legal task and is best handled by a professional personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can prove subjective information by using medical records, photographs, videos, testimony, and other methods to convey how your life has been and will continue to be affected by chronic pain’s physical and emotional consequences.

An experienced lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you seek damages for all current and future medical treatment, income loss, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, your lawyer can also pursue punitive damages to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Hiring a lawyer can help maximize your compensation so you get the settlement you need for your injury and chronic pain.

Having legal representation before you answer questions from an employer, medical facility, or insurance company ensures you won’t say anything that can later be held against you.

Most claims are resolved at the negotiation stage with an insurance company; however, the negligent party’s insurance company may not offer you a fair settlement. If this happens, your lawyer can take the case to court, calling on expert witnesses to convince jurors that you deserve fair compensation.

Your lawyer can help you navigate California’s pure comparative fault doctrine, which awards damages based on the percentage of fault. Your lawyer will seek to prove the other party was 100% at fault for your injuries and resulting chronic pain. This maximizes your compensation and wins you damages to cover medical bills, lost income, and additional costs associated with treating and managing your pain.

Get a Free Consultation

If you suffer from chronic pain, you deserve compensation. Berg Injury Lawyers have been helping Northern California citizens get fair personal injury compensation since 1981.

Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers are experienced, skilled, and won’t back down, even with the most aggressive pushback. We know you are entitled to more than the insurance companies will offer, and we know how to help you fight to get it.

We have over 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases. Our attorneys know how to get you the best possible results and settle as quickly as possible. Get the compensation you deserve by contacting our personal injury lawyers today.

Can You File a Lawsuit Against an Undocumented Driver?

by Staff | August 15th, 2022

If you have been in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have proper documentation, you may wonder about your next legal steps. Filing a lawsuit against an undocumented driver is an available legal option when you’ve suffered injuries and vehicle damage. However, you may also file a claim with your insurance company to recover compensation.

Work with a California car accident attorney when you decide how to proceed after getting into an accident with an undocumented driver. They can investigate the accident and the undocumented driver to help you determine your legal options.

Determining if an Injury Claim Against an Undocumented Driver is Required

In California, undocumented people are allowed to have driver’s licenses, and therefore should have auto insurance coverage. If you suffered injuries in a collision with an undocumented person, your attorney can investigate to see if the undocumented driver has the required auto insurance coverage. This can help you decide on your next legal steps.

If the undocumented driver carries the appropriate auto insurance, you can file a claim with their insurance company seeking a settlement. Otherwise, if the undocumented driver responsible for the accident has no way of paying for damages, you can turn to your insurance company for financial compensation.

Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim

California law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage as part of the auto insurance policy. You can only submit a claim for the uninsured motorist coverage if you opted under your insurance policy. This type of insurance protects you against accidents caused by drivers who lack proper insurance coverage. It covers bodily injuries up to the limits of your liability insurance.

Uninsured motorist insurance includes coverage for property damage, up to $3,500 when the other driver has been identified. Property damage coverage may not be available under your uninsured motorist policy if you have separate comprehensive and collision coverage.

Your lawyer can present relevant evidence, such as photos or videos showing physical contact between you and the other vehicle, to help you file an uninsured motorist claim. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence, and an experienced lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you do this while protecting your rights to pursue compensation.

Filing a Claim for Physical Damage

Most California lenders require comprehensive and collision coverage when you lease or finance a car. Often, comprehensive coverage is bundled with collision coverage. Collision insurance covers damage caused by accidents involving other vehicles, people, or objects.

The compensation offered by the collision and comprehensive coverage are based on your policy’s limits and your car’s market value. It may not be a good idea to choose this coverage if the value of your car is low.

When to File a Lawsuit for Damages Against an Undocumented Driver

If the undocumented driver has enough assets to cover your accident’s damages, you can file a lawsuit against them. As part of the initial investigation into your accident, a lawyer can search the driver’s assets to determine if they are in reasonable financial standing. With this information, your lawyer can determine the chances of you receiving compensation by filing your lawsuit.

Your lawyer may conduct an asset search for unreported assets, business entities hiding assets, and other sources of income. They can also determine if any personal property exists, such as real estate, under the driver’s name.

Along with evidence of your medical bills, loss of wages, and medical records regarding the loss of future earning capacity, your lawyer can put together a lawsuit for compensation against the undocumented driver.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

You can also sue when a loved one dies in an accident caused by an undocumented driver. You and your lawyer need to prove that the negligent party committed a driving error, like going over the speed limit and that this lack of care caused your loved one’s passing.

A loved one’s death must have caused your family economic or non-economic losses, like lost wages and the loss of companionship. If you have suffered a loss, your lawyer knows how to calculate your damages and will fight for maximum compensation for you and your family on behalf of your deceased loved one.

Enlist the Help of a Car Accident Attorney Today

Legal issues relating to accidents involving undocumented immigrants are complex. When a car accident involves an undocumented driver, it is best to seek ‌the assistance of California car accident lawyers from Berg Injury Lawyers to help you assess your legal options and file a claim with the appropriate entity.

Contact us today to talk with one of our lawyers in a free case evaluation so we can review the circumstances of your accident and help you seek compensation.

Should the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit Be Lowered? Here’s the Argument for Stricter Laws

by Staff | August 8th, 2022

Even mild alcohol consumption by motorists can potentially prove fatal for drivers and passengers on the road. Stricter laws can save thousands of lives and prevent debilitating injuries to innocent commuters.

At the law firm of Berg Injury Lawyers, a team of knowledgeable attorneys with a proven track record in DUI lawsuits can fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol on a Driver?

Alcohol consumption can have a variety of effects on a driver. These include:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired coordination

These effects can make it difficult for a driver to operate a vehicle safely. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving accidents account for 30% of all traffic fatalities in the United States.

If you plan to drink, it is essential to designate a sober driver. Ride-sharing services and other public modes of transportation can also provide viable options for those intending to consume alcohol. Otherwise, drunk drivers place themselves and others at risk of severe injury or death.

The Argument Against Stricter BAC Limits

In recent years, there has been a push for lower legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limits. At the same time, there is also an argument by some against stricter BAC laws. Proponents of keeping current BAC limits note that alcohol impairment begins well before the legal limit of 0.08%. The implication is that even if the BAC limit is lowered, many drivers on the road will still be impaired.

In addition, there is a concern that stricter BAC limits could lead to more false positives, as even a small amount of alcohol can put some people over the limit. This could lead to innocent people being pulled over and arrested for DUI, even if they are not impaired.

Drunk Driving Statistics

Despite the argument for maintaining BAC levels at their current percentages, the drunk driving statistics paint a grim picture.

The 11,654 drunk driving fatalities reported in the United States for 2020 correspond to an average of one person dying every 45 minutes from this preventable cause. A 14% increase in the 2019 drunk driving fatalities presents a worrying trend that regulators and concerned citizens believe requires attention.

While the total number of injuries from alcohol-related car accidents is harder to put a number on, the $52 billion in damages and injuries that result annually indicates the scope of the problem. From traumatic brain injury and burns to amputations and paralysis, the severity of injuries from drunk driving accidents cannot be overlooked.

What the Research Shows

The NHTSA estimates that lowering the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .08 to .05 would save approximately 500 lives per year in the United States. The estimate is partly based on Utah’s implementation of a .05 BAC limit and its resulting reduction in DUI-related fatalities.

Proponents of stricter DUI laws argue that this is a necessary measure to make our roads safer. They point to statistics showing that drivers with a BAC of .05 are seven times more likely to be involved in a crash than sober drivers.

Additionally, lowering the BAC limit would make it easier for police to catch drunk drivers and deter people from driving after drinking.

What Happens After a Drunk Driving Accident?

After seeking medical attention and contacting law enforcement authorities, the first thing you should do post-collision is contact a personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer will be able to assess your case and advise you on the best course of action.

You may need to file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver. This can be done through their insurance company or directly through the courts.

If pursuing compensation for your injuries requires litigation, your attorney can gather all relevant medical records and evidence to prove your claim. Cell phone records can be requested via subpoena in the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit if they are deemed relevant to the case.

Even when telecom providers don’t keep the contents of text messages, data about the timing of texts or calls can help provide insights into the cause of a crash.

It’s important to remember that drunk driving accidents are serious, and you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.

Drunk driving accident victims in California can contact the skilled Sacramento car accident lawyers at Berg Injury. Call our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your case today.

The Most Common Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Injury Claims

by Staff | August 3rd, 2022

injuries can cost you thousands in medical bills and lost wages, with little to no respite offered by insurance companies that you might file a personal injury claim with.

These profit-driven insurance companies stay in business by denying or reducing settlements. They cite various reasons to justify their decision and hope you don’t question their reasoning.

Met with physical pain, hefty medical bills, and denied insurance claims, it is natural to feel helpless and frustrated, but you shouldn’t have to deal with it all on your own. The experienced San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers specialize in injury claims and can help you fight for the compensation you truly deserve. 

A crucial part of building a strong case is understanding why your insurance company might deny your injury claim ahead of time.

The Accident and Injuries Are Your Fault

Since California is an at-fault state, insurance companies decide who is to blame for the accident. They do so by considering police reports, witness statements, photos, and videos of the accident scene. The insurance company of the individual at fault then compensates the victim with a monetary settlement.

The insurance company can deny your auto accident claim if evidence shows you violated a traffic rule, such as speeding or drunk driving, and causing the accident. If you are liable for the accident, it may affect the amount of compensation you receive.

California’s pure comparative negligence means your settlement is reduced by the percentage of fault you hold. So, for example, if the insurance company can prove you are 60% at fault for the accident, you will only receive 40% of your settlement.

You Aren’t Really Injured

Insurance companies can deny claims for injuries by claiming that no injuries were caused during the accident. They might use evidence from your social media accounts and personal life to prove that you did not suffer injuries or that they are less severe than you claim.

If you post a photo on social media of yourself enjoying a party after claiming compensation for your injuries, the insurance company may use the image against you to deny your claim. Your social media accounts can also track your location, proving you were active after the accident to the insurance company.

A Pre-Existing Condition Caused Your Injury

Insurance companies can also deny injury claims because of pre-existing health conditions. They might argue that your injury is not caused by the car accident but is instead a result of a health problem, that you were already struggling with prior to the accident.

For example, your insurance company may attribute the crippling pain in your knee joint to arthritis instead of the trauma caused by the accident.


Your Injury Was Not Caused By the Car Accident

Insurance companies sometimes also deny claims by simply stating that the car accident did not cause your injury. If you suffer an injury such as a torn rotator cuff, they might argue that repetitive motions and heavy lifting from your job caused the injury. If the car insurance company does not have evidence connecting your injury to the car accident, you will not receive compensation for the injury.

Your Injury Was Avoidable

Insurance companies often cite failure to mitigate or avoid the injury as reason enough to deny you your rightful insurance claim. They may argue that you could have reasonably avoided the accident or prevented the injury by taking some necessary steps, making you responsible for the injury and hence ineligible for any compensation.

The same argument can ‌reduce, if not completely deny, your settlement. If the insurance company thinks you are equally responsible for the injury, your settlement could be negatively affected.

Injury Claim Denied: Now What?

Even though a claim denial can be prevented by building a strong case, a denied injury claim is common and does not mark the end of your settlement journey. You can work with your legal team to persist in pursuing your claim with more aggressive tactics.

Your attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can negotiate with the insurance company, providing proof of your injuries and how their client was at fault for the accident. If the insurance company won’t make a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can threaten legal action and take the case to court.

Many insurance companies end up paying out a fair settlement to avoid costly litigation, so working with a lawyer who understands this element can help you get maximum compensation.

Schedule Your Free Case Review

If you suffer injuries in a car accident in California and face a denied claim, contact Berg Injury lawyers to help you reverse the decision and get a fair settlement. We will fight on your behalf and ensure you know your legal options.

Book a free consultation with our skilled car accident lawyers for a free case review to get started on your settlement.