November 21st, 2023|
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, many people travel to see their loved ones. With all the extra congestion on the roads, it’s important to be extra cautious to prevent accidents. In the event of an accident, be sure to consult with an injury lawyer in Sacramento. An experienced attorney can provide valuable assistance and help navigating the legal process.
Preparing for the Rental Car Experience
Having all the information you need for a pleasant rental car experience is important as it will help you understand your rights and obligations as a renter. Staying informed can also help you avoid unforeseen costs.
Check the rental vehicle carefully for any defects or damages before you leave. Capture photos/videos of the vehicle’s condition as evidence in case of later disputes. Remember to check the car’s horn, lights, and wipers to ensure they work properly.
Safe Driving Practices
Safe driving practices are crucial to avoiding accidents and ensuring safe travel. The following safe driving practices can be especially helpful:
- Keep a secure following distance.
- Buckle up and reduce speed.
- Take breaks.
- Follow all traffic laws.
- Do not drink and drive.
Thanksgiving traffic can often be very chaotic, but you can maneuver it successfully and safely if you plan and take the proper precautions. To get through traffic, consider these suggestions:
Prepare Your Vehicle
Your car should be in top condition and thoroughly inspected before undertaking a long journey. Check the fluid levels, including windshield washer fluid, oil, automatic transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Stop at a gas station on your way out to ensure you have a full tank. Use this opportunity to check your tire pressure levels as well.
Select Different Driving Days
The days leading up to, and just after, Thanksgiving are among the busiest driving days of the year. This is particularly true on the Wednesday before and Sunday after the holiday. Save yourself from dealing with congestion on the roads by leaving on Monday or Tuesday and returning either a day early on Saturday or a day late on Monday. By then, traffic will have more or less returned to normal.
Locate an Alternate Route
Your usual route may be much more congested than expected, especially if you drive during peak Thanksgiving travel times. Have a backup route in case the traffic becomes overwhelming.
Technology will save you a lot of hassle, whether by using a GPS device, built-in satellite navigation in your car, or Google Maps on your phone. Traffic jams, roadblocks, mistaken turns, and other unexpected detours can add significant time to your journey, especially if you can’t adjust your route quickly.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Late November is a challenging time to drive in many parts of the country. It falls between the transitional seasons of autumn and winter, making weather conditions more hazardous. Prepare for rain, snow, sleet, hail, ice patches, puddles, and many other road hazards.
Monitor the weather forecast for your trip a few hours before and after. Staying educated will allow you to make better judgments and more confidently handle these difficult conditions. Remember to check the weather prediction for each destination you choose to visit. Stay abreast of current weather conditions by utilizing a service such as Morecast that allows you to check conditions along your travel route and/or listening to the local weather channel on the radio occasionally while driving.
Parking and Security
Finding parking and security concerns can exacerbate the stress of travelling during Thanksgiving., Lock your rental car when not in use, and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight. Allow additional time for security checkpoints and plan ahead for parking. Check availability and book online at the best rates with the airport app or real-time parking map. Remember to emphasize safety and security when traveling for Thanksgiving.
What Should You Do if You Get into an Accident With a Rental Car During Thanksgiving?
An accident is the last thing you want to experience in a rented car on Thanksgiving. However, it is critical to be prepared if the unexpected occurs by seeking legal advice from a Sacramento accident lawyer. Here’s what you should do if you ever find yourself in such a situation:
Examine the Situation
Check to see if anyone is hurt, make sure everyone is safe, and dial 911 right away if someone is injured. Move to a safe area and notify the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.
Assemble Proof and Information
Contact and insurance information should be exchanged with any other drivers involved in the accident. Obtain a copy of the accident report, the responding police officer’s name, badge number, contact information, and the accident case number. To document the accident scene and damage, take photos.
Report to Your Rental Company
Call the rental company to inform them that you’ve been involved in an accident and find out what they expect you to do with the car—whether that means taking it somewhere or having it towed. Remember to note the customer service representative’s name, phone number, time, and date.
Consult an Injury Lawyer
Confer with a lawyer if you need assistance with any legal matters. By hiring an experienced accident attorney, Sacramento residents are guaranteed assistance with understanding their options and navigating the legal system.
Have you or anyone you know been involved in a rental car accident this Thanksgiving and are you considering filing a lawsuit? Contact us and get a comprehensive guide tailored to your situation.
November 21st, 2023|
Personal Injury Lawyers in Modesto
After an auto accident, comments like, “You should have seen me.” or “You came out of nowhere!” are commonly heard, beginning the inevitable blame game between two drivers after a blind spot accident.
Blind spots are areas around a vehicle that are invisible to the driver on both side and rearview mirrors. If a driver makes a move without first checking that these spots are clear, they may collide with another motorist or pedestrian.
A driver’s inability to see other road users does not automatically absolve them of blame. However, determining fault in these types of accidents can often be tricky.
With the insight of a personal injury attorney, car accident injury victims can successfully navigate the legal system. This article discusses when such accidents are likely to occur, how to prevent them, and who is to blame.
Blind spot accidents can happen at any time. However, certain circumstances can exacerbate the risks.
Even experienced drivers who are always aware of their blind spots can lose focus if they are tired or allow themselves to get distracted. Distracted drivers may react more slowly if they are texting or are too tired to concentrate.
Many blind spot accidents occur when one or more vehicles are changing lanes.
Intersections are likely candidates for blind spot accidents. Motorists may not see pedestrians or other drivers as they pass through junctions, causing accidents or injuries.
As a rule, motorists should wait until the road is clear before merging onto a highway. Bumping into cars moving at highway speeds can be fatal.
Reversing out of a driveway without checking blind spots can be a catastrophic mistake if a pedestrian happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Such accidents can cause severe injuries or even death.
The bigger the vehicle, the more blind spots. Truck drivers have more blind spots than passenger vehicles. As a result, trucks are more likely to cause blind spot accidents than any other vehicles.
Let’s now consider what actions you can take to minimize these accidents.
Being mindful of other drivers and pedestrians can help prevent accidents by keeping motorists alert.
Adjust your rearview and side mirrors.
Before releasing the brake, ensure that you adjust your mirrors. The rearview mirror should frame your rear window. You should be able to see the handles of both back doors in your side mirrors.
Know your blind spots and stay alert.
No matter how well drivers adjust their mirrors, there may still be spots around the vehicle that allow cars, trucks, and motorcycles to disappear from sight. It’s crucial that every driver is aware of their vehicle’s particular hard-to-see areas and that they remain conscious of the risks carelessness can bring.
Yielding to right-of-way.
If another driver is passing on the road you are trying to join, that other driver has the right-of-way. Adjoining motorists must stop and wait until it is safe to proceed.
Look over your shoulder.
It helps to physically turn your head to check that your blind spot is clear.
Use signal lights.
Always use the signal indicators on your vehicle to notify other road users that you plan to turn at an upcoming intersection, change lanes, or merge.
Give vehicles in other lanes enough warning before making a move.
Motorists should give ample time for others to slow down, stop, or take another action that can prevent blind spot accidents.
Keep other vehicle’s blind spots in mind.
Aside from checking their blind spots, motorists should also consider the blind spots of other vehicles. For example, you’ll want to avoid overtaking a large truck and lingering in any possible blind spots, such as right in front of the truck. Truck drivers have an elevated perspective and cannot see anything several feet ahead of them. They may accelerate and crash into your car if they can’t see you.
Even if you are driving cautiously, blind spot accidents can still happen. Determining fault can take time and effort. Personal injury attorneys in Modesto can assist victims with proving responsibility and claiming damages.
When assigning fault, insurance adjusters typically consider the following questions:
- Who did not have the right of way?
The vehicle that joins a road without yielding to the right of way bears fault for the accident.
- Which driver was changing lanes?
A driver cannot excuse their negligence regarding blind spots. They must use all possible means (including the over-the-shoulder glance) to ensure it’s safe before changing lanes.
- Did either driver make a move without checking their blind spot?
If a motorist decides to speed, swerve, or turn without first checking that their blind spot is clear, they may be responsible for causing the accident.
- Does the injured party share blame for the accident, and can they still claim damages?
Sometimes, both vehicles involved in a blind spot accident may share the blame. For example, one driver may fail to check for clearance, while the other may fail to see the danger because they were texting. In such cases, California’s pure comparative negligence rule allows both parties to receive compensation, weighted proportionally to their degree of responsibility for causing the accident.
Sometimes, reconstructing the accident scene is the best way to determine fault. It’s essential to have the help of a personal injury lawyer in Modesto when assessing a shared fault scenario.
Blind spot accidents are avoidable. But when they happen, victims may receive compensation for their losses if they can prove negligence on the part of the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers office in Modesto for guidance with every step in the claims process. Accident victims can take advantage of our No Fee Guarantee® and contact us for a free consultation.
November 13th, 2023|
Self-driving cars, once a dream of futuristic sci-fi, are now cruising our streets, reshaping our daily commutes. For road users, they give the hope of enhanced safety and efficiency, and may transform the way we think about transportation.
Despite their advanced sensors and AI capabilities, self-driving cars are not immune to accidents. In 2022, six fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles and five crashes resulted in serious injuries.
When you’re injured in a self-driving car accident, you can file for compensation–but how do you know who is at fault when nobody is behind the wheel? Our California car accident attorneys can review the evidence to determine who is at fault and help you seek fair compensation.
Liability depends on factors such as the vehicle’s autonomy level, the driver’s actions, and the manufacturer’s knowledge of defects or safety issues. For an autonomous vehicle collision, the blame could fall on any of the following parties:
- Manufacturer. The onus might fall on the manufacturer if a vehicle’s internal systems or hardware are flawed, leading to a collision. Companies producing autonomous vehicles must uphold rigorous safety standards and quality inspections to avoid accidents.
- Human operator. In vehicles that aren’t fully self-driving, the person in the driver’s position might still bear responsibility. There are instances where they are expected to step in, and either failing to act or intervening incorrectly can make them liable.
- Software developer. The brain behind the car’s decision-making is its software. If a glitch or oversight in the programming leads to an incident, the developer or the company that produced the software might be held responsible.
- Infrastructure providers. The environment in which the car operates is just as critical. If the car faces challenges due to substandard road conditions or unsuitable traffic systems, entities responsible for maintaining the infrastructure might be accountable.
The vehicle’s autonomy level is critical to self-driving car crash liability. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) classifies self-driving vehicles into six levels, ranging from Level 0 (no automation) to Level 5 (full automation). Each level represents a different degree of human and machine control over the vehicle:
- Level 0 – no automation. Human drivers are in complete control, and there is no automated assistance.
- Level 1 – driver assistance. Basic features like adaptive cruise control are automated, but the driver remains primarily responsible.
- Level 2 – partial automation. The vehicle can control steering and acceleration simultaneously, but the driver must monitor and be ready to take control at any moment.
- Level 3 – conditional automation. The vehicle can handle most aspects of driving but may require the driver to intervene when prompted.
- Level 4 – high automation. Vehicles can handle all driving tasks under most conditions, but humans can still take over if needed.
- Level 5 – full automation. No human intervention is required; the vehicle can operate in all conditions autonomously.
As self-driving cars become more prevalent, legal frameworks regarding liability are evolving. Courts and legislators are proactively addressing the issues these vehicles present. Key developments in this area include:
- Legal precedent. In many cases, standard legal precedents remain whether or not the vehicle has a human operator. For instance, in California’s at-fault insurance system, whoever caused the damages is considered liable and must pay for the damages. This can mean a personal injury or product liability claim, depending on fault.
- Legislative initiatives. Various jurisdictions are considering or implementing legislation specific to autonomous vehicles. These laws often outline liability provisions, safety standards, and insurance requirements tailored to the unique characteristics of self-driving cars.
Autonomous vehicles are now part of our daily lives, altering how we perceive responsibility in car accidents. If you’ve been injured in a self-driving car collision, consult with an experienced attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers.
We know California’s laws on autonomous vehicles and will advocate on your behalf, gathering evidence to support your claim and holding the responsible parties accountable.
Contact us today to discuss your case and pursue the compensation you deserve.
October 16th, 2023|
California’s coastal highways are nothing short of breathtaking. Stretching along the Pacific Ocean, they offer some of the most spectacular views in the world. From the iconic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to the scenic Route 101, these roads are integral to the California experience.
However, navigating these highways can be dangerous. Heavy traffic, unexpected sharp curves, unpredictable weather, and looming cliffs make driving in these areas treacherous, especially at night.
Understanding how to travel safely on California’s coastal roads can help prevent accidents and maintain the integrity of the natural landscape. If you suffer injuries in a vehicle collision, our California car accident lawyers can explain your legal options and help you seek compensation.
Every year, multiple accidents happen on California’s coastal highway. For example, The Hollywood Reporter found that between 2012 and 2022, there were 49 fatalities on a 21-mile stretch of the PCH in Malibu alone.
Counties with coastal areas experienced a high number of accidents, resulting in fatalities and injuries in 2020. The California Office of Traffic Safety reports the following statistics for popular coastal areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Orange County:
|County||Total Fatal and Injury Accidents||Alcohol Involved||Speed Related||Nighttime Accidents (9:00 p.m. to 2:59 a.m.)|
Accidents on coastal highways happen for many reasons. Crashes on these scenic roads are often due to driver negligence, such as:
- Distracted driving. While panoramic ocean views are mesmerizing, they can pull a driver’s focus away from immediate hazards, leading to delayed reactions or missed signs.
- Speeding. Drivers often speed on open stretches of road on coastal highways. However, these roads’ unpredictable curves and winding nature make speeding hazardous.
- Impaired driving. Coastal routes, often dotted with nightlife spots and eateries, mean some drivers operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol. This impairment hinders judgment, reflexes, and driving capability, escalating the risk of collisions.
- Adverse weather conditions. Proximity to the ocean means sudden fog banks or unexpected rain showers, altering road conditions in a heartbeat. This can lead to reduced visibility and slippery surfaces, demanding greater caution from drivers.
When driving on the California coast, you can help prevent an accident by operating your vehicle safely and being aware of others on the road. The following tips can help you stay safe and reduce your risk of involvement in a car crash:
- Obey speed limits. Follow posted speed limits, as they can change abruptly on California’s coastal highways. Excessive speed is a common cause of accidents, and strict enforcement ensures road safety.
- Avoid distractions. Focus on the road; don’t use your phone, adjust the radio, or engage in distractions. Coastal highways require full attention due to twists, turns, and potential hazards like landslides or boulders.
- Use headlights in low visibility. Use your headlights during adverse conditions to improve your view of the road and help other drivers see you. In fog, turn on low-beam lights instead of high-beam to increase visibility for you and other road users.
- Stay alert to curves. Pay attention to road signs warning of upcoming turns. Reduce your speed before entering a curve to maintain control of your vehicle.
- Follow local traffic regulations. Familiarize yourself with California’s traffic rules, including right of way, lane passing, and yielding to emergency vehicles. Complying with these regulations promotes smooth traffic flow and prevents accidents.
- Obey DUI laws. California has strict DUI laws. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs — not only is it illegal, it can cause serious harm to you, your passengers, and others on the road. Designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation if you plan to drink.
California’s coastal highways offer more than just picturesque landscapes; they showcase California’s natural beauty. Driving responsibly and exercising caution helps protect all road users and preserve these routes for new generations.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we protect your rights when an irresponsible driver causes harm. If you suffer injuries due to another’s negligence, our legal team can work to settle your case and help get you the best results possible, as quickly as possible.
Contact us today for a free consultation where we can review your case and help you start a vehicle accident claim.
October 9th, 2023|
The arrival of self-driving cars on Alameda’s roads is exciting and groundbreaking, with the hopes of making commutes safer and more efficient. However, this technological leap also ushers in challenges for legal systems. As responsibility shifts from human drivers to autonomous algorithms in the event of an accident, questions of liability become more difficult.
If you’re injured in a self-driving car collision, our Alameda self-driving car lawyers can help you navigate this challenging landscape and seek compensation from the liable party.
Accidents involving self-driving cars are often the result of technological glitches, human intervention, and interactions with traditional vehicles.
- Technological failures. While highly advanced, self-driving cars can still suffer technical malfunctions. Errors in sensors, cameras, or radar systems may disrupt their accurate interpretation of the environment. This can lead to incorrect decisions, misreading road conditions, and unexpected behaviors contributing to accidents.
- Human intervention challenges. Changing from self- and human-driving modes in these vehicles can be difficult. Accidents can happen if the person behind the wheel isn’t paying attention or ready to take over. This is especially true if the self-driving system encounters challenging scenarios or misinterprets situations.
- Interactions with conventional vehicles. Mixing self-driving cars with regular cars on the road can create unexpected challenges. Drivers may struggle to predict the actions of automated systems, leading to accidents. Similarly, self-driving cars may not always be programmed to anticipate the less predictable maneuvers of drivers, such as sudden lane changes or stopping.
- Software bugs. The intricate software used for self-driving technology is complex. Software bugs can impact decision-making processes and sensor data interpretation, potentially leading to accidents.
- Environmental influences. Self-driving cars rely heavily on sensors for perception. Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog, coupled with rapidly changing environments, can compromise sensor accuracy and pose challenges in interpreting the surroundings.
With the shift from human drivers to autonomous systems, determining liability in an accident can be complicated, affecting the outcome of potential legal claims for victims. Possible liable parties in self-driving car accidents include:
- Manufacturers. The companies developing and producing self-driving vehicles are responsible for ensuring the technology’s safety and reliability. The manufacturer might be held liable if a vehicle’s design or manufacturing process flaw contributes to an accident.
- Software developers. The software and algorithms that enable self-driving cars to navigate the roads play a critical role in their safe operation. If software glitches or errors lead to accidents, the developers may face liability for their role in creating the flawed technology.
- Car owners. Despite its autonomous capabilities, car owners still have responsibilities related to vehicle maintenance, ensuring sensors and systems are functioning correctly. Negligence in maintaining the vehicle’s autonomous features might shift liability to the owner.
- Regulatory bodies. The evolving legal complexities around self-driving cars can also impact liability. If regulatory bodies fail to establish clear guidelines or standards for self-driving technology, they might share liability for accidents resulting from inadequate oversight.
- Infrastructure providers. Entities responsible for road infrastructure and technology, such as communication networks, GPS systems, and traffic management, could be held partially liable if deficiencies in these systems contribute to accidents involving self-driving cars.
If you’re involved in a self-driving car accident, an attorney with experience in this emerging field can be invaluable. Our car accident lawyers can navigate the layers of law and technology surrounding self-driving cars to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries after a crash.
Here’s how our attorneys can help:
- Product liability claims. We can assess whether the car’s manufacturer or software developer is liable for the accident if a malfunction occurs due to defective performance or design. We can help you file a product liability claim to seek damages for lost wages, medical bills, and emotional distress.
- Expert analysis. Our team can work closely with experts to analyze the car’s data and understand its behavior leading to the accident. We can also use specialists to recreate the accident scenario, providing a clearer picture of who or what was at fault.
- Data retrieval. We can retrieve vital information stored in the car’s systems and have it analyzed by experts to establish the circumstances of the accident.
- Technological vs. human error. We can help determine whether the fault lies with the vehicle’s technology or human intervention, a critical factor in the outcome of your case. If a technological flaw is to blame, the legal strategy may involve negotiating with the manufacturer or software developer’s insurance company for a fair settlement based on product liability.
If human error was the cause, we may focus on acts of negligence, such as speeding or disobeying traffic laws. Each scenario requires a different approach to legal representation, emphasizing the need for an attorney qualified in this area.
Navigating the complexities of self-driving car accident cases requires a blend of technological understanding, legal skills, and strategic advocacy. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our Alameda self-driving car lawyers have the expertise to guide you through these complicated legal challenges.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options if you’ve been involved in a collision with a self-driving car.
October 2nd, 2023|
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a severe offense in California because it can result in catastrophic consequences, including injuries, fatalities, and property damage. California’s stringent DUI laws serve as a deterrent and influence accident claims, often complicating the path to compensation for victims.
A California car accident attorney can help you understand and navigate the DUI laws and help you receive maximum compensation after a DUI-related accident.
California takes a zero-tolerance approach to DUI, and the illegality of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is vigorously enforced. A DUI conviction can result in substantial fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense and whether it’s a first-time or repeat offense.
Section 23152 of California’s vehicle code states the following:
- 23152(a)(e)(f) makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.
- 23152(b) specifies that driving with a BAC over .08% is illegal.
- 23152(c) makes driving while addicted to any drug illegal unless the driver is participating in an approved treatment program for narcotics.
- 23152(d) states that it is illegal to drive a passenger-for-hire vehicle with a BAC of over .04%.
California Statute 23153 focuses on unlawful behavior related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the behavior causes bodily injury to someone other than the driver.
- 23153(a)(e)(g). These sections make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both while violating traffic laws or neglecting duty of care to other people on the road. It applies when these actions result in bodily injury to another person.
- 23153(c). This section states that there is no need to prove a driver violated a specific section of the code to show negligence.
The penalties for breaking these DUI laws are severe. Under Section 23566(a)-(e), repeat offenders of DUI causing injury or great bodily harm face increasingly severe penalties. These can include:
- A prison term of up to 4 years, fines up to $5,000, and revocation of their driver’s license and privileges if they have 2 or more violations in 10 years.
- The same penalties apply if the person is convicted of four or more DUI violations in 10 years. However, they will receive an extra 3 years in state prison.
- They will be designated as a habitual traffic offender for 3 years post-conviction.
- If serving time in state prison, they must participate in a drug or alcohol program.
If a person is convicted of a DUI causing injury under Section 23153 and they have a separate conviction for specific driving offenses within the last 10 years, they face additional penalties. These include imprisonment in state prison or county jail for a minimum of 120 days to a maximum of one year and a fine ranging from $390 to $5,000.
The individual’s driving privileges will be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The court will also require them to surrender their driver’s license.
DUI incidents in California can have grave consequences for victims, leaving behind a trail of devastating outcomes, such as:
- Physical and emotional trauma. DUI accidents often cause severe physical injuries to victims, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can cause long-term pain, disability, and emotional trauma for victims and their families.
- Fatalities. Impaired driving can lead to tragic fatalities. Innocent lives are lost because of the reckless actions of impaired drivers, leaving grieving families to cope with the loss.
- Property damage. Vehicles and other property can be extensively damaged, adding financial stress to the emotional toll.
- Financial burden. Victims of DUI accidents face substantial financial obligations. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing treatment expenses can quickly accumulate, burdening victims and their families.
- Lost income. Injuries sustained in DUI accidents can lead to extended periods of work. Lost wages and reduced earning capacity further contribute to the financial strain experienced by victims.
- Emotional distress. The emotional impact of a DUI accident can be overwhelming. Victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional distress.
Navigating the aftermath of an accident with an impaired driver is complex. California’s DUI laws can affect the type of compensation you may be eligible for and how your attorney may approach your case.
- Liability and Compensation
In California, a DUI is considered a form of negligence per se, automatically establishing liability on the part of the impaired driver. This can make it easier for victims to claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional suffering.
However, a DUI violation doesn’t necessarily guarantee full compensation, especially when dealing with insurance companies.
California is an at-fault state, which means the other driver’s insurance company is liable for covering your damages. Insurance companies may attempt to minimize payouts or find reasons to deny claims, so having evidence of the driver’s DUI conviction can support your case and improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
- Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies may be hesitant to fully compensate victims in DUI-related accidents, particularly if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy doesn’t adequately cover the damages. They may also attempt to reduce their liability by arguing contributory negligence on the victim’s part.
- Punitive Damages
One unique aspect of DUI-related accident claims in California is the potential for punitive damages. These are above and beyond the compensatory damages and are designed to deter reckless behavior. Courts are more inclined to award punitive damages in DUI cases as a warning to society about the consequences of driving while impaired.
- Legal Complexities
Navigating the legal aftermath of a DUI-related accident can be complex for victims. Factors like impaired driver’s blood alcohol level, the timing of chemical tests, and whether drugs were involved can all complicate establishing fault and seeking compensation.
If you’ve been a victim of a DUI-related accident, consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney experienced in DUI-related claims is crucial. They can help you understand your rights, the damages you can claim, and how to deal with insurance companies.
California’s DUI laws are some of the strictest in the country, a reflection of the devastating impact DUI-related accidents can have. These laws determine criminal charges and influence accident claims, affecting liability, compensation, and insurance coverage.
Our experienced California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers will fight for your rights, communicate with insurers, and help you secure fair compensation. But don’t just take our word for it. Browse our client testimonials to get to know us and learn how we can help you.
Contact us at any time to arrange your free consultation. We can review your case and help you determine your next legal steps.
September 21st, 2023|
Originally published March 1, 2021.
Unmarked crosswalks are very common throughout California. With the absence of pedestrian traffic signals, drivers and pedestrians both might be confused about who has the right of way. Fortunately the law is very clear on the matter: the pedestrian has right-of-way and cars must yield to them. But situations vary, and unmarked crosswalks can make things more complicated in the event of an injury or pedestrian accident involving a vehicle. Read on to learn more about the complexities of such cases, and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you if you’re injured at a crosswalk.
WHAT IS AN UNMARKED CROSSWALK?
An unmarked crosswalk is the extension of a sidewalk, trail, or any other pedestrian pathway through a vehicular road. They’re located exclusively at intersections. In other words, an unmarked crosswalk is anywhere a marked crosswalk could be but does not feature painted lines or a “walk” signal.
If there are no sidewalks or pedestrian pathways near the intersection, then there is no unmarked crosswalk either, and those looking to cross should find another, more appropriate intersection to do so. However, the rules for pedestrians using an unmarked crosswalk and for crossing a street where there is no unmarked crosswalk are the same.
If you find yourself at an unmarked crosswalk as a pedestrian, you must check to make sure that stepping into the unmarked crosswalk won’t put you in the way of oncoming traffic , creating a safety risk for both you and any drivers. For example, if you walk up to a crosswalk and there are nearby vehicles rapidly approaching and not stopped at a traffic signal or far away, it’s best to wait or find a different route. However, once you start crossing the road, drivers should yield the right of way to you, the pedestrian.
UNMARKED CROSSWALKS AND PEDESTRIAN COLLISIONS
California law states that a pedestrian has a “duty of using due care for his or her safety.” That means they can’t walk into oncoming traffic. By that same logic, if a pedestrian enters the unmarked crosswalk safely, giving approaching vehicles plenty of time and distance to stop, and they’re still hit, the pedestrian may be able to hold the offending driver responsible for any injuries suffered.
Of course, determining fault isn’t always simple in cases involving a pedestrian collision. Drivers often assert, rightly or wrongly, that they weren’t at fault for the crash. In such an instance, witnesses to the collision can be valuable resources for injured pedestrians who need to prove a driver’s fault when seeking compensation. Street cameras can also help establish liability in pedestrian collision cases.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WERE INJURED AT AN UNMARKED CROSSWALK
If you’ve been injured at an unmarked crosswalk by a negligent driver, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for the costs of your injury. It’s essential you also seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the injury. At this stage, take care to collect as much information about the accident and injury as possible: medical records, witnesses’s contact information, security camera footage, police reports, etc.
In the hours, days, or weeks following your injury, you might be contacted by a representative of the driver’s insurance company. They’ll want you to give them a statement on the record. It’s important that you turn down the representative’s request for a statement.
Insurance companies often attempt to offer lowball settlements to injured people. It’s possible the offer an insurer makes you will be nowhere near enough to cover the many costs you face due to the actions of the at-fault driver.
Instead, consider contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine how much you’re owed and deal with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for the compensation you deserve.
BERG INJURY LAWYERS CAN HELP YOU
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California car accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for the maximum amount of compensation our clients deserve. We offer free consultations to help you explore your legal options. Contact our team today to get started on your case.
August 21st, 2023|
If you are involved in a personal injury accident, such as a car crash or slip-and-fall, you’ll need to speak with an insurance adjuster when filing your claim. The role of these professionals is to investigate and settle claims on behalf of the other party’s insurance company.
Knowing the dos and don’ts of interacting with insurance adjusters helps protect your rights during the claims process. This knowledge ensures that you avoid making statements or taking actions that may hurt your case while cooperating with the adjuster.
An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster, is an insurance industry professional working on behalf of an insurance company. They investigate insurance claims, assess damages, injuries, and legal liabilities, then negotiate with the other parties to reach an appropriate settlement.
Adjusters use live phone calls to gauge your knowledge of the injury claims process. Although the insurance adjuster may sound and act like they’re on your side, it’s important to remember they work for the other party’s insurance company. They primarily put their employer’s interests ahead of yours and will seek to settle for the lowest acceptable amount.
You must cooperate with an insurance adjuster to advance your compensation claim and achieve a fair settlement. The following tips can help you know what to do when speaking with an adjuster from your own or a third-party’s insurer. If you are represented by legal counsel, be sure to check with your attorney prior to speaking with the adjuster.
Document all your interactions with the insurance adjuster. This includes writing summaries of phone calls or in-person conversations and keeping copies of all letters, emails, and other documents.
Answer all questions the adjuster asks truthfully and without exaggeration. Avoid lying or speculating about who is at fault for your injuries. If you can’t answer a question, ask for clarification, or simply respond, “I don’t know.”
Answer the adjuster’s questions clearly and concisely. Don’t say anything that could be considered admitting fault, such as “I’m sorry,” and don’t downplay your injuries by saying something like “I feel fine today.”
Inaccuracies and exaggerated statements can hurt your credibility and be used against you to reduce or deny your claim. Avoid volunteering information or over-sharing; limit your answers to the adjuster’s questions.
Cooperating with an insurance adjuster’s requests for documentation or evidence is crucial to processing your claim successfully. The adjuster needs to assess the legitimacy and extent of your claim, and the only way to do this accurately is through proper documentation.
Don’t wait for a call from the insurance adjuster before contacting a lawyer. Seeking the help of experienced California personal injury attorneys can help you prepare for the conversation, navigate the claims process, and ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
The statements you make to an insurance adjuster can affect the outcome of your claim. Consider the following tips for speaking with adjusters to help you avoid making a mistake that could keep you from receiving the settlement you deserve:
The adjuster may request you make a statement on record. Insurance companies may use the recordings to twist your statements and reduce or deny your claim. California is a two-party consent state, so you are not required to accept making a statement on record. Always refuse if asked and direct the adjuster to speak with your attorney, especially if speaking with another party’s insurance company.
Never accept the insurance adjuster’s first offer. It is likely too low to cover your expenses and damages. While an insurance adjuster is a professional, they operate in the insurance company’s best interests.
They may use tactics such as offering a low settlement or claiming that you won’t receive compensation if you don’t settle. They may also ask a question repeatedly to see if you change your statement to use it against your claim. You should approach any conversations with an adjuster cautiously, ideally with the guidance of your attorney.
Always speak to your lawyer before signing or agreeing to any offer or signing releases or waivers. If the adjuster provides you with documents to sign, share them with your lawyer, who can help you understand their implications for your claim.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our team understands the confusion victims may feel after a life-altering accident, especially when dealing with insurance company adjusters.
If you were hurt in a car accident, slip-and-fall, or another type of personal injury incident, our attorneys can step in during the claims process to help you navigate communications with the insurance company.
We can help you protect your rights, submit strong evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement for your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
August 17th, 2023|
Originally published October 4, 2021.
Each state has different laws for resolving accident and insurance disputes. For auto accidents, states have either “no-fault” or “at-fault” insurance laws. California is an at-fault state, which means the driver deemed responsible for the accident is liable for paying the costs of potential injuries and property damage sustained by other parties.
To receive compensation, you must be able to prove liability in your case. If you’re involved in an auto accident in California, contact the California personal injury lawyers, Berg Injury Lawyers, as soon as possible. Acting quickly can help preserve any evidence that can be used to establish fault in your case, and protect your rights to compensation.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AT-FAULT AND NO-FAULT LAW
Understanding the difference between no-fault and at-fault laws can help you choose the right level of insurance coverage to cover damage or injury in an auto accident and can help you know what to expect if your case goes to trial.
HOW AT-FAULT LAWS WORK
In an at-fault state, the party responsible for causing the auto accident, along with their insurance company, pays for the sustained injuries and damage in relation to their degree of fault.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can claim compensation from the at-fault party. However, you must be able to prove liability before you’re entitled to receive any compensation.
If one or both parties aren’t satisfied with the payouts or liability distribution, they can file a lawsuit or dispute the claim. The at-fault driver is liable for damages related to medical expenses, loss of income, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium or companionship.
HOW NO-FAULT LAWS WORK
For auto accidents in a no-fault state, drivers must make claims through their insurance policies, whether or not they’re at fault. No-fault states require drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their policy.
Neither party needs to prove who is at fault since both insurance companies cover the costs of their client’s medical expenses. Property damage laws can vary between states, with some states requiring drivers to submit a separate claim if their vehicle is significantly damaged during an accident.
While no-fault laws eliminate lengthy disputes and claims, insurance coverage is typically expensive.
CALIFORNIA: AN AT-FAULT STATE
If you’re involved in an auto accident in California, you’re entitled to file a claim against the responsible party for the injuries and damage they caused, provided you can prove liability. However, according to California law, all drivers must have liability insurance that adheres to the state’s minimum requirements despite being an at-fault state.
- $5,000 coverage for property damage.
- $15,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of one individual.
- $30,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of multiple individuals.
California uses pure comparative negligence for car accidents. This means that responsibility can be shared when determining who is at fault. So, you may be entitled to receive compensation for injuries and damages even if you are partially at fault for a car accident.
This system is beneficial for both plaintiffs and defendants. Even if the plaintiff’s degree of fault exceeds the defendant’s, they can still recover a percentage of the damages awarded. For example, if a jury determines that the plaintiff is 80% at fault and the defendant is 20% at fault, then the defendant only pays 20% of the damages amount to the plaintiff.
The more evidence you have regarding the other party’s fault, the more likely you are to collect a higher amount of compensation. Some forms of evidence you should make sure to collect include:
- photographs and videos of the accident scene
- copies of medical and police reports
- eyewitness accounts
- driver and vehicle information for all involved vehicles
- receipts for medical and property costs
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT IN CALIFORNIA
If you are involved in an auto accident in California, the state’s at-fault insurance laws protect you even if you are partially at fault. However, to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and any damage to your vehicle, you need an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney to navigate the complex California legal system.
The car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help gather the evidence to determine liability in your case and represent you in court. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
July 24th, 2023|
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft provide Californians with a convenient way to travel across the state. However, since 2011, ride-share drivers have been involved in an increasing number of accidents and fatalities, with around a 3% annual increase.
These accidents are often due to collisions with other vehicles, single-car accidents due to driver negligence, and incidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. Uber’s latest safety report found that 94% of accidents between 2019 and 2020 resulted from negligent behavior by third-party drivers, such as speeding or intoxicated driving.
Understanding potential liability in a ride-share accident can help you know your rights and obtain compensation if you’re injured in a crash.
Liability in ride-share accidents can be complex. These incidents often involve multiple parties, including ride-share drivers, the ride-share company, third-party vehicles, and passengers.
- Ride-share drivers: The driver operating the vehicle at the time of the accident may bear responsibility for the collision if they violated traffic laws or drove recklessly. However, their liability may depend on their active status at the time of the incident:
- If the driver was driving on their own time and was not signed into the Uber or Lyft app, you could receive compensation based on the limits of their personal auto insurance policy.
- If the driver is available for ride requests when the incident occurs, you can obtain compensation from the ride-share company. Uber and Lyft provide commercial liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage under these circumstances.
- An active ride-share driver in transit or on the way to pick up a passenger will be covered for $1 million by the ride-sharing platform.
- Ride-share companies: Companies like Uber and Lyft may also share liability, as they have a duty to ensure the safety of their passengers. Driver training, background checks, and maintenance of their fleet may contribute to their liability.
- Third-party vehicles: In some cases, another vehicle not associated with the ride-share service may have been involved in the accident. You can file a claim against a third-party driver if their actions or negligence led to the collision.
- Passengers: Passengers may have contributed to the accident by distracting the driver, not wearing seatbelts, or engaging in other unsafe behaviors. Depending on the circumstances, they may share partial liability.
If you sustain injuries from a negligent Uber or Lyft driver, your California car accident attorney with Berg Injury Lawyers can help you determine liability and seek a settlement from the responsible party.
Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft fall under the classification of transportation network companies (TNCs) in California. Ride-share drivers and their companies are also subject to specific periods for liability in case of car accidents under state law. These periods include:
- Period 1: The driver enters driver mode and accepts a ride request during this period. The ride-share company’s liability insurance covers $50,000 per physical injury, $100,000 per accident, and $30,000 for property damage during this period.
- Period 2: The ride-sharing company provides a minimum of $1 million in commercial liability during this period.
- Period 3: The $1 million commercial liability coverage continues when the driver picks up a passenger. It ends as soon as the passenger leaves the vehicle.
Understanding these nuances can help your lawyer establish liability and pursue legal action on your behalf. They can use these California guidelines to help you know how to sue a rideshare company after a crash if the driver’s actions led to your injuries.
If you are injured in a rideshare accident, contact emergency services immediately. Then, take the following steps to document the incident and protect your rights to compensation:
- Document the Scene
Gather evidence, such as photos and videos of the accident site and witness statements. Obtain the contact and insurance details of the driver since ride-share drivers must have both personal and commercial insurance.
- Seek Medical Treatment
Some injuries, like whiplash, may not manifest immediately after an accident. Schedule a visit with your doctor to assess and document any hidden injuries. Your medical records can support your insurance claim and help your lawyer connect your injuries with the accident.
- Report the Incident to the Ride-Share Company
Inform the ride-share company about the accident as soon as possible. You must complete a claim form for Uber or Lyft, so they can begin reviewing your claim and award you compensation under their liability policies.
A California car accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you receive fair compensation if you are involved in a ride-share accident. Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of ride-sharing accidents and can negotiate with ride-share companies or third-party driver insurers on your behalf. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.