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How Well Do You Know California’s Vehicle Mirror Laws?

by Staff | June 27th, 2022

Mirrors are a critical element in any motor vehicle. They allow the driver to see at multiple angles behind them without turning their head from the road. Mirrors also enable drivers to pay proper attention to the car’s surroundings.

Without functional mirrors, driving any type of vehicle is hazardous. For this reason, it is critical to keep your mirrors in good shape and compliant with all local laws. Learn about car mirror safety, California’s vehicle mirror laws, and how compliance helps keep you and others safe on the road.

California Legislation on Vehicle Mirrors

Division 12, Chapter 4 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) contains all relevant laws and regulations regarding mirror usage on motor vehicles in the state.

According to CVC 26709, all motor vehicles must feature two or more rearview mirrors. One of the two mirrors must be on the driver’s side. The second mirror can be located anywhere else, but it must provide the driver with a clear view of the vehicle’s rear. Both mirrors must allow the driver to see clearly for at least 200 feet.

All motorcycles must feature at least one rearview mirror.

Vehicles with obstructed rear views

A few exceptions to these general guidelines exist, primarily for buses, trolley coaches, and vehicles towing other vehicles. Exceptions also pertain to automobiles with an obstructed rear view without passengers, such as vehicles with no rear windshield.

These vehicles are still legally required to have at least two mirrors. They must feature at least one side-mounted rearview mirror on each side of the vehicle per CVC 26709(b).

Autonomous vehicles

California vehicle mirror legislation does not apply to autonomous vehicles if the human driver inside cannot physically operate the vehicle. The CVC 38750 defines an autonomous vehicle as any vehicle “equipped with autonomous technology” meeting the SAE Driving Automation Level 3, 4, or 5 specifications.

For example, a remote-controlled construction vehicle with no cockpit for human operators would be exempt from the mirror laws. In contrast, a regular passenger car with self-driving modes would not.

Is it Legal to Hang Objects from the Rearview Mirror?

California does not legally allow you to hang decorative items, air fresheners, pendants, face masks, and other objects onto the interior rearview mirror. The experienced California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers recommend playing it safe and removing these items when driving in the Golden State.

The CVC 26708 (2) explicitly forbids obstructing the driver’s view through the side window or windshield. Although hanging objects from your rearview mirror may not necessarily obstruct your view of the rear, a law enforcement officer may consider it an obstruction of your clear view through the windshield, potentially resulting in a ticket.

What Are the Consequences of Violating California Mirror Laws?

Breaking the California Vehicle Code’s rearview mirror provisions is a minor infraction. The typical punishment is a small fine; however, different jurisdictions can add additional fees and penalties.

A mirror law fine is referred to as a non-parking infraction, which stipulates that you have 20 days to pay the fine, starting from the date of issuance of your penalty assessment mail. Failure to pay on time results in late fees, including a 50% upcharge of your original penalty. For example, if you received a $185 fine, not paying within 20 days increases the amount owed to $277.50.

If you were injured in an accident involving a vehicle with improperly placed or missing mirrors, contact the attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to handle your case. We can examine the circumstances of your accident to determine if the mirror infraction caused the accident and help you seek compensation for any injuries or damages you suffered due to the driver’s negligence.

Get Legal Help for Your Car Accident Injuries

If you are injured in an auto accident, we will use our more than 40 years of legal experience to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. Don’t take on the insurance company alone, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation.


Who Is Considered at Fault for Backover Accidents?

by Staff | June 20th, 2022

Parking lot and driveway accidents often involve cars backing over pedestrians or cyclists. These accidents can cause devastating injuries and require costly medical procedures and lengthy recovery times for victims.

Learn who is considered at fault for backover accidents and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you seek fair compensation for injuries you sustained in a backover incident.

Understanding Backover Accidents

Walking and biking on city streets and parking lots puts you at risk of being hit by a car backing out of a driveway or parking spot. All cars, trucks, and SUVs have blind spots that drivers sometimes forget to check, and larger vehicles have even bigger blind spots.

Not all vehicles have backup cameras or sensors to warn the driver of someone behind their vehicle, and sometimes these safety devices malfunction.

Passenger vehicles cause 95% of backover injuries and 78% of backover fatalities. Large passenger vehicles like pickups, vans, and utility vehicles caused approximately 44% of backover fatalities between 2002 and 2006, while cars caused about 54% of injuries.

Larger passenger vehicles weigh more and are more likely to cause death than cars and smaller vehicles striking at the same force.

Children under the age of 5 and adults over 70 are at the highest risk of injury or death caused by a backover crash. Young children are harder to see and don’t understand boundaries, and older people can’t move quickly and are more prone to injury.

Is the Driver Backing Up Always at Fault?

Drivers can prevent most backover injuries and deaths. Intoxication, distraction, and drowsiness prevent drivers from focusing on their surroundings as they back out of parking spots and driveways. Sometimes drivers forget to change gears or confuse the pedals, especially new drivers.

In some cases, multiple people may be liable for your accident. For example, poorly designed parking garages that make visibility difficult or parking lots or driveways with overgrown trees and shrubs limiting the sidewalks’ visibility can place liability on the driver and the property owner or maintenance company.

California uses pure comparative fault for civil cases. Comparative fault means that the court assigns a percentage of fault based on the actions of both parties in the accident. If your actions contributed to your injuries, the court will decide your percentage of fault and reduce your damages by that amount. For example, if you were wearing dark clothes to jog or riding your bike without lights at night, the jury may assign you 15% fault and the negligent party 85% fault. If your total damages are $50,000, you’ll only receive $42,500.

Injuries Common in Backing Up Car Accidents

Backing-up accidents can cause severe injuries and death. Some common injuries include:

Broken bones

Doctors can repair simple fractures in a few weeks with the application of a cast, but more complicated breaks may require surgery. Complications from surgery can lead to systemic infection or amputation.

Soft tissue injury

Damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons takes a long time to heal and affects mobility. Some injuries require surgery.

Organ damage

Bruises, lacerations, and blood clots cause organs to lose functionality. Some organs can be repaired or safely removed,  but others require a transplant or medical care for the rest of your life.

Lacerations

Major cuts result in blood loss and require glue or stitches to close. You may be left with a nasty scar or limited movement due to scarring.

Head or spinal injury

Your head striking the vehicle or the ground can cause traumatic brain injury and cervical spine injuries. Your spine may be damaged if the car runs over your body, causing permanent paralysis and disability.

These injuries involve hefty medical bills, intense pain, and a long recovery process. You may need ongoing treatment like rehab, successive surgeries, or physical therapy. Some of these injuries are permanent and require a significant lifestyle change. Some require modifications to your home or vehicle.

Hiring a personal injury attorney to prove the at-fault driver’s negligence before you speak to the driver’s insurance company ensures you have the best chance of receiving fair compensation.

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

Get a Free Case Review

If you have been injured or lost a loved one to a backover accident, contact the California car accident lawyers with Berg Injury Lawyers to get a free case review. Our team will review the details of your accident to determine what occurred and who is at fault. We can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and take them to court if necessary to ensure you receive a fair settlement.

After a backover accident, you need a skilled, reputable accident lawyer who can fight for your rights and help you win your case. We have years of experience handling backover accident claims, and we use that experience to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free case review to get started on your case and begin rebuilding your life.


A Survival Guide for Driving on the Freeway in California

by Staff | June 13th, 2022

California traffic can be crazy, and driving on the freeway may seem overwhelming if you’re a new driver or usually drive in another state. Traveling at high speeds or in congested traffic increases your risk of being involved in an accident.

You should follow all driving safety rules, like always wearing seat belts. Learn some other essential tips to make your drive on California’s freeways less intimidating.

Emergency Preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies decreases your anxiety if an emergency arises. Having a first aid kit, tools to fix a minor breakdown, and a way to contact your roadside assistance service takes care of many freeway problems.

First-aid kit

Your vehicle’s first-aid kit should contain items specific to you and your passengers, including pressure bandages and gauze to stop bleeding, pain reliever medications, antibiotic medication, and antihistamines.

Breakdown kit

Include tools to change a flat tire and make minor repairs like a jack and socket wrench and jumper cables in case your battery goes flat. You should also include flares or reflective markers and a Hi-Vis vest to increase other drivers’ ability to see you.

Roadside assistance phone number

If you have roadside assistance service through your insurance or a credit card, make sure you have the number programmed in your phone and that your phone is charged.

In the event of an emergency on the freeway, try to make it to an exit or rest area before exiting your vehicle. If this isn’t possible, pull off to the right side of the road, as far from lanes of traffic as you can, especially if you have a flat driver-side tire.

If you need help with a situation but don’t have roadside assistance, dial 511 and say “freeway assist” when prompted.

Rules of the Road

Responsible drivers know all the laws that apply to the roads that they drive on. These rules cover everything from speed to which lane you should use.

Keep right

The law requires slower vehicles to keep to the right-hand lanes. That means you should only change lanes to pass a slower vehicle in front of you. If you are in the left-hand lane and a car approaches you from behind, move to the right-hand lane to let them pass.

Make safe lane changes

When changing lanes, always use your turn signals so other drivers know what to expect from you. Only change to the lane next to you instead of switching multiple lanes. Never speed up to change lanes or cut anyone off. Never change lanes over a solid line. Always check each blind spot before changing lanes.

Follow the speed limit

The speed limit on most freeways in California is 65 mph, but it is 70 mph in some areas. Driver speeds are monitored from airplanes and helicopters that radio patrol cars and, in some regions, by cameras.

Driving faster than the speed limit or weather conditions allow increases your chances of causing an accident. Speeding also increases the time and distance it takes to stop your vehicle. If someone stops short in front of you, you are more likely to hit them while speeding.

Speeding increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle while swerving to avoid a road hazard, for example. Highway speeds make correcting mistakes more difficult and reduce your margin for error, and exceeding the speed limit magnifies the problem.

Avoid distractions

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in California, accounting for 8.7% of traffic deaths in 2019. California outlawed talking on a cell phone to combat the problem unless the driver uses a hands-free device. Texting while driving is strictly prohibited.

Other distractions that you should eliminate or minimize include eating, changing radio stations, and applying makeup. Distractions can impair your response time more than driving under the influence of alcohol.

A 2008 Research Transport Laboratory study found that drivers talking on a handsfree or handheld device had relative reaction times of 26.5% and 45.9% higher than non-distracted drivers, compared with just 12.4% of drivers at the legal alcohol limit.

Routes and Traffic

Planning your trip helps prevent anxiety about freeway driving. You should know the number and road name of the exit you need to take and pay attention to road signs on your route. Keep a road atlas in your car or use a good cell phone mapping app if you miss your exit or road construction causes a detour.

Planning your trip to avoid congested traffic reduces your risk of being in an accident. Avoid rush hour or times when sporting events or concerts are close to ending. If you can’t avoid times when you expect congested traffic, allow for extra time to get to your destination.

Even when you do everything right, accidents still happen. Hiring a personal injury attorney will protect your rights.

Get a Free Consultation if You’ve Been Involved in a Car Accident

If you’ve been injured in a freeway crash caused by another driver, contact the California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation. We will fight for your right to be compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.


Here Are the Top Three Reasons Fatal Crashes Happen in Oakland

by Staff | June 6th, 2022

Two crashes happen every week that cause severe or fatal injuries in Oakland, and 75% of them occur at intersections. People walking, biking, or taking public transportation make up 50% of severely or fatally injured accident victims but less than 30% of commuters.

In Oakland, just a few streets account for 60% of all traffic fatalities in the city, with most high-injury corridors being located in Chinatown. These high-risk streets are predominantly located in areas populated by communities disproportionately affected by traffic accidents, including elderly citizens.

Most fatal accidents wouldn’t happen if not for the negligent, reckless, or careless behavior of drivers. If you’ve lost a loved one in a deadly crash in Oakland caused by a driver’s negligent actions, contact Berg Injury Lawyers to find out how we can help you get maximum compensation for your loss.

Causes of Fatal Accidents

Multiple factors lead to fatal motor vehicle accidents, but three occur most often in Oakland. Speeding, intersections, and failure to yield to pedestrians most frequently contribute to deadly collisions.

Speeding

Speeding is the most common moving violation in Oakland. Many residents cite a lack of officers to enforce traffic laws has led to an increase in speeding vehicles.

Excessive speed contributes to just over 25% of fatal accidents. Nine out of ten pedestrians can survive being hit by a car traveling 10 mph. Only one-half survive if the car is traveling 30 mph, and that figure drops to one-tenth at 50 mph.

Intersections

Approximately 75% of all fatal traffic accidents occur at intersections. Speeding, drivers running red lights, and left-hand turns increase the danger of intersections, particularly those with traffic signals. A driver making a left turn is four times more likely to kill someone than a driver making a right turn.

Broadside crashes at intersections with stop lights cause 20% of crashes resulting in severe or fatal injuries. Usually, this happens because a driver fails to notice a red light or is traveling too fast to stop in time.

Failure to Yield to Pedestrians

Failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk causes over one-third of pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries. Driver distraction, excess speed, and left-hand turns can all play a role in these accidents. Sober drivers kill three-quarters of cyclists, but those drivers are often inattentive, speeding, or negligent in some other way.

Fatal crashes have other causes, but these three are the most frequent. Sustaining severe injuries or losing a family member in a car accident takes a massive toll on your family. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you focus on healing.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve been injured or lost a family member in a fatal Oakland car crash, hiring a lawyer can help maximize your compensation so you get the settlement you deserve.

Getting legal representation before you speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company ensures you don’t say anything that can be held against you later.

Car accident attorneys have experience investigating accidents, reconstructing accident scenes, and gathering evidence, including police reports and witness interviews. They can focus on negotiating with the insurance company while your family focuses on grieving and healing. 

While most claims are resolved at the negotiation stage, if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can take the case to court, calling on expert witnesses in medicine and finance to convince jurors that you deserve fair compensation.

You should receive enough to cover medical bills, burial costs, lost income, and the intangible loss of not having your family member around anymore. If your injuries impact your ability to live your life as you did before the accident, you should receive compensation for that, too.

Get a Free Consultation

If you’ve been impacted by a severe injury or fatal accident, contact one of the Oakland car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers for your free initial consultation today.

We have been helping accident victims in Northern California get fair compensation since 1981. Our lawyers are experienced, skilled and won’t back down even with the most aggressive push back from insurance companies. We know you are entitled to more than the insurance company wants to offer, and we know how to help you fight to get it.


What Are California’s Right-of-Way Laws?

by Staff | May 30th, 2022

Right-of-way laws keep drivers and pedestrians safe on the roads. These rules outline who has the right-of-way in various circumstances to prevent car accidents and ensure everyone understands their responsibility when driving or walking on the street.

Familiarizing yourself with California’s right-of-way laws can help you avoid accidents and identify when someone else isn’t following the rules. If you are injured in an accident caused by a right-of-way-violation, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries with the help of a car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers.

Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws

In California, pedestrians always have the right-of-way. This includes skaters, skateboarders, and people using wheelchairs. If you are injured as a pedestrian due to a right-of-way violation, you can work with a personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers to seek compensation.

Crosswalks

California law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians when they are in or entering a crosswalk. Drivers must keep the pedestrians’ path clear and allow five feet between their vehicle and the crosswalk.

Sidewalks

Drivers must also yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks. When entering or exiting driveways or alleys, drivers must ensure the area is clear of pedestrians. They must look for people walking behind or in front of their vehicles before entering or exiting the area.

Driver Right-of-Way Laws

There are several right-of-way laws to help keep motorists safe on the road. These include rules about traffic signals, yellow and red lights, and traffic signs.

Traffic Signals

Functioning traffic signals and signs make the proper right-of-way clear to all drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must follow traffic signals and yield the right-of-way as dictated by the appropriate traffic signal color or direction, such as a turn arrow.

Flashing yellow light

A flashing yellow light calls on drivers to move with caution through the intersection. Drivers should slow down and observe cross streets when approaching a flashing yellow light.

Flashing red light

Flashing red lights are equivalent to a stop sign. Drivers need to stop at the intersection and yield to the traffic on the intersecting road.

Traffic signal is out of order

If the traffic signal isn’t working, you should treat the intersection as if each direction has stop signs. When multiple vehicles arrive at the intersection simultaneously, every driver yields the right-of-way to the vehicle to their right.

Traffic signs

Two signs determine which driver must yield the right-of-way to others. When approaching a yield sign, drivers must reduce their speed, use caution, and allow vehicles on the intersecting road the right-of-way.

A stop sign requires drivers to stop their vehicles completely and allow the cars on the intersecting road to pass. If multiple vehicles approach an intersection with a four-way stop simultaneously, the vehicle to the right maintains the right-of-way after coming to a complete stop.

Driving Maneuver Right-of-Way Laws

Right-of-way laws direct drivers on maneuvering when making left-hand turns or entering and exiting roundabouts. They also direct drivers’ actions in parking lots and yielding right-of-way on mountainous roads.

Making a left-hand turn

Drivers making a left-hand turn at an intersection with a traffic signal must wait for the light to turn green. The driver must yield the right-of-way to any oncoming traffic before making the turn if there is no left-turn arrow light.

However, they should wait for it to turn green if there is a left-turn light. If a driver intends to make a U-turn, they must yield the right-of-way to vehicles turning right in front of them.

Roundabouts

When approaching a roundabout and preparing to enter, drivers must yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the roundabout. Once in the roundabout, drivers do not need to allow other vehicles into the roundabout. Allowing vehicles to enter the circle while in a roundabout can confuse other drivers and increase the chance of an accident.

Parking lots

In California, the driver who is in the flow of traffic is the one with the right-of-way. You have the right-of-way over drivers pulling out of feeder lanes and parking spots if you are in the main lane. Feeder lanes have the right-of-way over cars pulling out of parking spaces.

Right-of-way laws on mountain roads

Mountain roads present different circumstances to be aware of when driving in California. If a driver meets an oncoming vehicle where neither car can pass on a steep roadway, the vehicle facing downhill must yield the right-of-way.

If the road is too narrow, the downward-facing car needs to reverse so that the other may pass.

Obtaining Compensation for a Right-of-Way Accident

When another driver fails to follow these right-of-way regulations, they can cause severe injuries to other drivers. If you’ve been injured in a right-of-way violation accident, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to help you pursue a fair settlement for your injuries.

A skilled attorney can help you navigate California’s right-of-way laws and pure comparative fault doctrine. This doctrine awards damages based on the percentage of negligence, so having an experienced legal team can help you prove the other driver had a high percentage of fault to maximize your settlement.

Seek Legal Counsel with Berg Injury Lawyers

If you get into an accident where the other driver violated the right-of-way laws, you have the right to seek compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact the experienced California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers to boost your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation today.


How Do California’s Traffic Safety Laws Compare to Other States?

by Staff | May 23rd, 2022

Safety on American roads is a critical issue in California and across the United States. Every state uses driving regulations to maintain traffic safety. A 2020 policy brief on state driving regulations reports an average of 135,000 of them per state. According to the brief, California has the most rules in the entire country, with 395,608 laws on the books.

Among these regulations are traffic safety laws that all drivers in California must follow. Residents of California should take comfort in knowing their state has been ranked one of the top five states in the nation for its road safety regulations. Let’s find out how California compares to the rest of the nation regarding traffic safety.

Alcohol and Drug-Impaired Driving Laws

There has been a gradual reduction in accident and fatality rates caused by drunk driving since the 1980s, but millions of people still drive intoxicated every year.

California’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws are among the toughest in the country, with penalties including probation, jail time, fines, and treatment. A first-time DUI conviction could result in a six-month jail term and fines of up to $1,000. You can also have your driving privileges suspended or revoked by the DMV.

The state of California also has an ignition interlock device (IID) pilot program for repeat DUI offenders, which may be required depending on how many prior DUI convictions they have.  

Using a Cellphone While Driving Laws

Twenty-four states, including California, ban all drivers from using their hand-held smartphones while driving. Hands-free mode or voice commands are the only way to use the smartphone. Using a cell phone for any reason while driving is illegal for any driver under 18.

Almost all states have fines for first-time convictions of using a cell phone while driving. When caught by law enforcement and found guilty for the first time, a first-time offender can be fined up to $162. As of 2021, if a driver is convicted of a second offense within 36 months of the first offense, they receive a point on their driving record.

Seat Belt Laws

In California, seat belt laws apply to all drivers and passengers aged 16 and over in all seats. All children aged 7 and under must be in a car seat or booster seat. California’s seat belt laws are primary, meaning if the drivers or passengers are not wearing seat belts, law enforcement can pull them over and issue a ticket.

Studies have shown that laws significantly increase the use of seat belts, especially with primary enforcement laws being more effective in urban and rural settings than secondary enforcement laws. Under secondary belt laws, police can only issue a citation if the driver had a previous infraction.

In 2019, 92% of front-seat occupants buckled up in states with primary enforcement laws, compared to 86.2% in states with secondary enforcement. As a testament to the widespread use of seatbelts in motor vehicles, 93% of Californian adults wear seatbelts, compared to 87% of the rest of the country.

Motorcycle Safety Laws

California is one of 18 states with universal helmet usage for all drivers and passengers. Helmets must be tested and approved under U.S. Department of Transportation compliance regulations. Helmets are required for motorcyclists and their passengers and those who drive motor-driven cycles and motorized bicycles.

California is the only state to allow motorcycle riders to drive between moving and parked vehicles, called lane splitting. This law lets motorcyclists drive between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including streets, highways, and roads. However, California issued safety tips for all drivers for lane-splitting, including drivers of passenger vehicles, to avoid blind spots and watch out for others on the road. 

Get Professional Help from an Attorney

If you suffered personal injuries in a car accident in California, you’ll need the help of skilled California car accident lawyers to seek compensation. The car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers understand the impact of California driving regulations on drivers and car accident victims.

We can help you pursue a fair settlement from a negligent driver to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, or emotional distress resulting from your accident. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.


Is Eating While Driving Considered Distracted Driving?

by Staff | May 16th, 2022

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes in the United States and in California. There are an average of almost 3,500 motor vehicle deaths in the Golden State every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15% of injuries and 9% of fatal crashes involved distracted driving in 2019.

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident affected by a distracted driver, reach out to the experienced California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers. 

What Is Distracted Driving?

Phones are always at our sides in the smartphone era, even when driving. While smartphone use is a major concern for the NHTSA, it is not the only problem. Distracted driving is an umbrella term that involves more than just phone use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes distracted driving as anything that may take a driver’s attention away from operating their vehicle. Distraction is broken into three categories:

  1. Visual: a distraction that takes your eyes away from the road.
  2. Manual: a distraction that requires you to remove your hands from the wheel.
  3. Cognitive: anything that takes your mind off operating the vehicle.

Eating and drinking are common types of distracted driving, as they fall under the three categories of distraction. It presents a severe risk for California drivers. Eating behind the wheel or any other distracted driving behavior can be considered negligence if it results in a car crash.

Distracted Driving Laws in California

While there are no laws that specifically state you can’t eat while driving in California, it may still result in punishment. If a highway patrol officer determines that someone is driving dangerously or out of control while eating, they could be pulled over and receive a ticket. However, if distracted driving is the primary cause of an accident, they can face harsher consequences.

Comparative negligence

California recognizes a tort rule for distributing damages after an auto accident involving two parties. Under pure comparative negligence laws, you can recover compensation for damages in an accident even if you were partially responsible. However, the compensation you’re entitled to depends on your degree of fault.

For example, a driver who is distracted while eating may run a red light and collide with your car in an intersection. If the accident happened when you were traveling over the posted speed limit, you could be found partially at fault for the crash. While the distracted driver is still mostly at fault and responsible for damages, you may not receive total compensation since you were speeding.

Comparative negligence is practiced by judges and juries in California courts and by insurance adjusters. In any car accident claim, the insurance company is likely to use its resources to determine liability. Many claims’ settlements are determined using comparative negligence.

Determining fault

Determining fault and proving negligence after a car accident can be challenging. In any auto accident claim, the plaintiff must prove that the at-fault driver breached their duty to operate their car safely and that their actions were the primary cause of the accident. They must also show that the accident directly caused monetary losses, such as injuries, medical expenses, and loss of income.

Our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers rely on our legal experience to build well-founded auto accident cases. We gather all relevant information and conduct our own interviews and investigations to help give you the chance at recovering maximum compensation. We encourage all car accident clients to take the following steps if they’re involved in a crash:

  • Call the police and file an accident report
  • Schedule a medical appointment to professionally assess your injuries
  • Photograph and video the evidence
  • Don’t admit fault or apologize
  • Record the contact details for those involved (including witnesses), license plate numbers, and insurance details
  • Write a first-hand account of the incident
  • Schedule a case evaluation with Berg Injury Lawyers

California does not have a cap for economic or non-economic damages in an auto-insurance accident. However, if a driver does not have minimum insurance liability, they cannot recover non-economic damages, such as emotional distress.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers After a Distracted Driving Accident

If you’re a victim of a distracted driver accident, avoid taking on the legal case alone. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our experienced team has successfully navigated car accident cases for over 40 years. Get in touch for a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your claim.


Learn the Top 5 Causes of Collisions in San Francisco

by Staff | May 9th, 2022

San Francisco has one of the lowest fatality rates of any county in the Bay Area. In terms of fatality rates per mile traveled, however, it is one of the most dangerous regions in the area. According to the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA), many collisions can be attributed to these five common causes.

1.    Speeding

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 1,059

Excessive speeding significantly impacts a driver’s reaction time, control over their vehicle, and the amount of time needed to stop. Speeding will likely result in a driver failing to slow down and react to road obstructions, traffic changes, and other incidents. Speeding was a contributing factor to 26% of fatal traffic accidents in California in 2019.

A speeding violation can result in a one-point violation under California law. A driver found guilty of speeding can face various fines, including a fine of $500 if they exceed 100 miles per hour.

2.    Violation of the Pedestrian Right of Way at a Crosswalk

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 157

Pedestrians have the right of way when using a marked or unmarked crosswalk in California. A driver has a duty of care to slow down and take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of pedestrians as they cross the crosswalks.

According to a 2020 study, only 28% of drivers nationwide yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Failing to yield to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks is a traffic violation of California law. Those found guilty of violating this law might be subject to a $241 fine and one point on their driver’s license.

3.    Not Stopping at Red Lights

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 600

Drivers in California must stop at red signals and may turn right at circular red lights. Those on one-way streets can only turn left onto another one-way street with a steady circular red signal. They must stop completely at a red arrow signal.

In 2019, a study found those who run red lights were young men with a ‌history of accidents or convictions of driving under the influence. Those who run red lights are also more likely to be speeding or drunk at the time of the crash. 

It is illegal for a driver to breach an intersection after the signal light has turned red. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will place one point on the driving record of any driver who runs a red light or makes an illegal turn.

Running a red light will also result in a fine of $481, while an illegal turn made at a red light results in a $241 fine. You can also have your license suspended if you receive 4 points in violations within ‌12 months, 6 within ‌24 months, or 8 within ‌36 months.

4.    Running Stop Signs

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 870

All drivers must‌ come to a complete stop at stop signs, including those at intersections and railway crossings. However, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), stop signs do not lower traffic accidents in city blocks, as they can be blocked by vegetation and other obstructions. Using too many stop signs can cause drivers to be less aware of them.

This is evident in a 2003 study, where stop sign violations accounted for about 70% of crashes. A vehicle failing to stop at a stop sign will incur a $241 fine, while failing to come to a complete stop at a railroad crossing will incur a $481 penalty.

5.    Failure to Yield While Turning

Number of violation tickets issued in 2021 as of September, 2021: 1,347

All drivers are legally required to give the right-of-way to oncoming traffic until they can safely complete their turn. Drivers must comply with this law when making a left turn or a U-turn to the left when facing oncoming traffic.

Often, failing to yield while making a left turn is a misjudgment of the other drivers’ speed or distance, accounting for 5.5 % of all accidents at intersections. In California, they can face a fine of $367.

Take Legal Action with Help From Our Team

Even though driving is necessary for most Californians, it can be dangerous ‌due to others’ negligence. The San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you hold the at-fault party accountable. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident.


What Causes Jackknife Truck Accidents?

by Staff | May 4th, 2022

Jackknifing is a common type of trucking accident where the trailer of an articulated vehicle, such as a semi-truck, skids and spins toward the front. The trailer slides and pivots sharply, essentially folding over the vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California ranks second in the nation for fatal truck accidents. Commercial vehicles, like articulated trucks, are extremely heavy, often carrying up to 10,000 pounds or more of inventory and materials. The weight and size of these vehicles contribute to the severity of this type of crash.

During a jackknifing accident, the truck driver loses control of the vehicle. The trailer can swing across the road, causing multi-car collisions resulting in severe property damage, catastrophic injuries, and loss of life.

If you’re involved in a trucking accident from a jackknifing incident, it’s vital to hire the services of skilled California truck accident lawyers. Truck accident lawsuits are highly complex and require experienced attorneys to ensure you get maximum compensation.

What Causes Jackknifing Accidents?

Jackknifing can occur for several reasons. A semi-truck, also called a tractor-trailer, consists of two parts: the tractor (front), where the engine and cab are located, and the trailer, where the cargo is stored.

If the trailer skids away from the tractor, it can slide to form a 90-degree angle, often sending the truck sprawling across the road or even overturning. This type of accident is called jackknifing because the appearance resembles a pocketknife blade sliding into its handle.

Some of the leading causes of jackknifing accidents in California include:

How the cargo is loaded

Loading and unloading commercial vehicles is one of the most important factors for road safety. If the inventory isn’t secured correctly, it can alter the balance of the trailer. Shifting weight is extremely dangerous at higher speeds and when the truck turns. The momentum caused by shifting cargo can cause a skid, leading to jackknifing.

An empty trailer is just as dangerous as the weight of the cargo prevents the trailer from sliding around or shifting in high winds while holding it to the road. A semi-truck without cargo is at a greater risk of jackknifing. If workers don’t load the truck properly, they can be held legally responsible for an accident.

Braking

Tractor-trailers are built with multiple braking mechanisms, helping keep all vehicle parts under control. The drive axles, steering axles, and trailer axles must work in unison to ensure the truck stays balanced on the road.

Truck operators must be skilled drivers, capable of braking effectively in all weather conditions. If the driver brakes incorrectly or too aggressively, the axles can lock up, causing the truck to skid and jackknife. Newer truck drivers may not have the experience needed to safely brake the truck in unexpected conditions, causing an accident.

Road conditions

Hazardous road conditions are a leading cause of jackknifing. Rain, snow, and ice reduce traction on the road, making it difficult for trucks to get traction. Road spray, loose materials from engines, tire kickup, and materials from nearby land can also reduce grip and cause a skid.

With the national shortage of commercial truck drivers and the increased demand on shipping, trucking companies may encourage their truck operators to drive through adverse conditions to prevent delays. This raises the risk of truck accidents, including jackknifing.

Equipment failure

Commercial vehicles should be maintained meticulously, especially when carrying heavy loads over hundreds of miles. Braking and mechanical systems must undergo frequent inspections and maintenance to ensure trucks are safe and roadworthy.

If a driver or the trucking company fails to inspect their vehicles before operating or doesn’t follow routine maintenance, they can be held liable if an equipment failure causes an accident.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Rules and Regulations

The FMCSA outlines several guidelines to help keep motorists and truck drivers safe. For example, scheduling regulations prohibit drivers from working too many consecutive hours to prevent drowsiness. All trucks must be adequately maintained and loaded correctly.

Unfortunately, not all trucking companies abide by these rules, increasing the risk of an accident. Tight schedules, monetary targets, and delivery demands mean that many organizations overlook certain safety aspects, contributing to trucking accidents.

What You Should Know if You’re Involved in a Crash

If you’re involved in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. The truck driver isn’t the only individual who can be held responsible. The trucking company, vehicle owner, engine parts manufacturer, and road safety authorities may also be at fault.

If any of these individuals or entities acted negligently and their actions were directly responsible for your injuries, you can file a truck accident lawsuit. This legal claim allows you to recover compensation from the responsible party, such as medical costs, vehicle damage, and loss of income.

The state of California recognizes a pure comparative fault law for auto accidents. This statute means that you’re entitled to damages according to your degree of fault in the incident. If the truck driver was 100% responsible for the crash, you may claim 100% of the damages, but if the truck driver was only 80% at fault, you will only receive 80% of your compensation.

Get Legal Help for Your Truck Accident Case

Many trucking companies have legal professionals dedicated to protecting their drivers and businesses. This makes it more challenging when building a case after an accident with a large truck. It’s critical you hire a qualified and experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to represent you and build your case. 

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our attorneys understand the devastating impact of a truck accident. We’ll work with you to determine your expenses and ensure your compensation factors in any changes to your quality of life.

Schedule your free consultation today to get started.


What Are Hedonic Damages—and Should You Include Them in Your Injury Claim?

by Staff | April 25th, 2022

Severe injuries lead to steep medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and significant pain and suffering. Part of the suffering associated with severe injuries is losing the ability to partake in life’s many joys. In the courts, hedonic damages are the name for an individual’s loss of enjoyment of life.

In California, hedonic damages can be recovered in a personal injury claim. If you suffered a severe injury that has taken the enjoyment out of your life, talk with California personal injury lawyers about how to get the compensation you deserve for hedonic damages.

What Injuries Can Cause Hedonic Damages?

Any injury that limits the ability of the injured to enjoy their life is causing hedonic damages. Injuries from car accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, burns from fires caused by defective products, and much more can all result in hedonic damages.

Hedonic damages in car accidents

Car accidents can lead to extremely severe injuries. Disabling physical injuries and brain injuries specifically can be a source of hedonic damage. Brain injuries can affect the injured person’s ability to move, eat, think, and feel certain emotions.

Disabling injuries like paralysis or injuries resulting in amputation limits people’s movement, which is vital for the enjoyment of life.

Hedonic damages in slips and falls

Brain injuries are common in slips and falls when the victim incurs trauma to the head on impact. Spinal cord injuries are also possible, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. These slip-and-fall injuries significantly limit the victim’s ability to enjoy their life like they once did.

Hedonic damages from burns

Severe burns can cause significant weakness in the burned region, movement-limiting muscle stiffness, and constant sleeping disruptions. The movement restrictions qualify some burn victims for disability compensation. They can also make it impossible for victims to participate in the joys of life due to embarrassment or low self-esteem, especially if the burns are on the face or other uncovered body parts. 

Chronic sleep issues result in anxiety, depression, and other enjoyment-reducing mood disorders. When a victim’s burns result from a fire caused by a defective product, they may be able to win compensation for their hedonic damages.

Hedonic Damages and Filing Your Claim

Getting compensation for hedonic damages is not a simple process because there is no obvious dollar amount associated with losing the enjoyment of life. Hedonic damages are also referred to as non-economic damages, meaning they have no direct financial impact on the victim, making them more challenging to prove.

In California, it is primarily up to the common sense of the jury to decide what amount of compensation is fair in hedonic damage cases.

Hedonic damages are in the same category as pain and suffering and other emotional damages. They are all equally difficult to prove because they are non-quantifiable.

Younger victims usually have a better chance of receiving hedonic damage compensation because their injuries bar them from doing what they enjoy for longer periods. 

How to Prove Hedonic Damages

Since hedonic damages have no monetary value, they require you to gather evidence to support your claim in other ways. A personal injury attorney can help you prove your loss of enjoyment of life to better your chance of winning compensation.

If you have recently been a victim of injury-causing hedonic damage, take detailed notes of all the activities you can no longer do. Also, keep a detailed schedule of events you would have attended if not for the injury. These are two kinds of evidence that may help support your case.

Talk with Your Attorney About Hedonic Damages

Hedonic damages are worth including in your personal injury claim as a part of your pain and suffering damages. The complicated nature of hedonic damages means you need an experienced personal injury lawyer with a track record of successfully winning both economic and non-economic damages in your type of injury claim.

The personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have over 40 years of experience and the resources to explore every possibility in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation and more information on recovering financial, emotional, and physical damages for your injury.