Auto Accident


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.


Will New Traffic Sensors in Sacramento Actually Save Lives?

by Staff | April 18th, 2022

Like any city, Sacramento has roads that are more treacherous than others. A one-mile stretch of El Camino Avenue saw 143 crashes over a seven-year period.

This is part of the reason why the Sacramento Department of Transportation is installing dilemma zone detection sensors. These sensors help drivers make safer driving decisions when approaching an intersection to help reduce accidents that cause severe injuries and deaths.

Other cities in the U.S. have experimented with smart traffic control sensors with positive results, so they will likely also reduce fatal crashes in Sacramento. These sensors are a step toward achieving Sacramento’s goal of zero traffic deaths by 2027. Unfortunately, these sensors do little to address drivers who neglect their responsibility to drive with care for others.

When motorists drive negligently and cause serious accidents, they are liable for the damages they cause. If you have sustained an injury or a loved one has been killed in an automobile crash, contact our Sacramento car accident lawyers. You do not have to suffer financially because of someone else’s dangerous and irresponsible driving.

What Makes Sacramento’s Roads Dangerous?

While any road can be made dangerous by an irresponsible driver, speed is a major cause of accidents. The most dangerous roads have higher speed limits or encourage drivers to speed. Along with speeding, left and right turns in an intersection contribute to accident risk. Sacramento’s most dangerous roads combine these factors.

79% of serious crashes occur on only 14% of Sacramento’s roads. The highest number of serious and fatal accidents in Sacramento occur in the following corridors:

  • El Camino Ave between Del Paso Blvd and Steelhead Creek
  • Marysville Blvd between North Ave to Arcade Blvd
  • Florin Rd from 24th Street to Munson Way
  • South Stockton Blvd between Patterson Way and McMahon Drive
  • The section of Broadway and Stockton Blvd between MLK Jr. Blvd to 13th Ave

Speeds that result in pedestrian fatalities are considered dangerously high speeds. Pedestrians die 5% of the time when struck by a car going 20 miles per hour. That increases to 40% for vehicles at 30 mph. Cars traveling at 50 mph are 100% likely to cause a fatal accident if they strike a pedestrian. This shows that going above the speed limit and roads with a higher speed limit are a considerable danger to pedestrians.

The danger of high speeds combined with the fact that 78% of collisions occur in intersections is why Sacramento is opting for dilemma zone detection sensors and other intersection-related crash countermeasures.

How Sensors and Countermeasures May Help

The sensors attempt to reduce crashes by evaluating how fast cars are approaching an intersection. The sensors then decide how long to keep the traffic light in its yellow phase. When a traffic light is yellow, cars a certain distance from it are in the dilemma zone where drivers are unsure whether to stop or speed through the light. The sensors quickly turn the light from yellow to red to help drivers make a safe decision.

These sensors are shown to be most effective when 40% or less of the cars entering the intersection are turning. It is also most effective when trucks frequent an intersection, and the approaching speed limit is 45 mph or above. Some Sacramento roads will likely be safer because of the sensors, but other safety measures are necessary to achieve zero fatalities.

Other safety measures that Sacramento is considering include narrowing roads to reduce vehicle speed, pedestrian crossing only traffic signals, and speed limit reductions.

When Are Drivers Liable for Accidents?

The unfortunate fact is that all the safety measures in the world will not make an irresponsible driver safe. Drivers are responsible for exercising care for other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

That means they need to follow the laws of the road and drive as a reasonable person would, considering the road’s circumstances. When a driver fails to do this and causes an accident, they are deemed negligent.

Negligent drivers are liable for the costs associated with injuries, deaths, and other physical damages resulting from accidents. That means if you or a loved one was in an accident with a negligent driver and have medical bills, funeral costs, or need a new car, then the negligent driver may have to cover those costs.

If you think negligence was involved in your accident, contact an auto accident lawyer at our law firm. They work with you to get the financial compensation you deserve from insurance companies and the negligent driver.

What to do if You Are in an Accident

If you are the victim of someone else’s irresponsible driving, contact Berg Injury Lawyers. We will guide you through this uncertain time by collecting all the essential documentation to negotiate with insurance companies for the fair compensation you’re due.

Our experienced legal team can help you fight to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and the pain and suffering caused by your accident. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to learn more about how we can help you in a free consultation.


Can a Car Accident Cause a Stroke?

by Staff | April 11th, 2022

Most people associate car accidents with common injuries, such as broken bones, whiplash injuries, and bruising. However, strokes can also happen during a car crash. 

If you suffered a stroke because of a car accident, our California car accident lawyers can evaluate your case and help you file a compensation claim. 

What Are the Causes of a Stroke After a Car Accident?

High blood pressure, blood clots, and physical trauma can cause strokes. Traumatic brain and neck injuries can increase the risk of stroke for people under the age of 50.

A person who has had a head or neck injury is three times more likely to experience an ischemic stroke, a stroke occurring because of a blockage or clot in the blood vessels within the brain. 

A car accident can increase the risk of a stroke in several ways. The following injuries may trigger a stroke:

  • Whiplash: This injury happens when the body accelerates or decelerates in an accident. The neck whips back and forth upon impact, tearing soft tissues and arteries in the neck. Having this injury increases the risk of an ischemic stroke because of the ‌reduction in oxygen to the brain.
  • Brain hemorrhages: Head trauma from a car accident may cause a brain hemorrhage, increasing the risk of a stroke. The blood pools in the brain tissue, creating a mass called a hematoma. 

The hematoma can put pressure on the brain, minimizing blood flow to the brain and killing brain cells. Cerebral hemorrhages cause 13% of all strokes in the U.S. and are the second leading cause of stroke.

If the arteries are already constricted because of a pre-existing vascular condition, they may not supply enough blood to the brain. This situation might result in a stroke being triggered by a car accident, even when there is no physical trauma.

Delayed on-set strokes after a car accident

Sometimes, strokes can happen months or years after a car accident. Symptoms of tears in the arteries may not show up until three months after the accident, increasing the risk of stroke.

The risk of a stroke is typically greater for four months after a traumatic brain injury, but it can last up to five years. Getting immediate medical attention after an accident is always important to check out for any potential risk of a stroke.     

Can I Get Compensation for a Stroke?

If a stroke is caused by an accident, it can create complex coverage issues under the insurance company’s disability policies. The coverage question becomes whether the stroke or the accident was the efficient proximate cause of the disability. This means the cause must have been the most influential factor in creating the stroke. 

An insurance company must investigate the accident and determine whether there is coverage for the claim. The stroke exclusion may be determined by the circumstances of the accident, your age, and your health risks for a stroke.

Since negotiating with an insurance company takes skill and knowledge of California’s insurance laws, it’s best to get legal help collecting strong evidence and building a strong claim.

How can I prove the connection between the accident and my stroke?

All your medical records, including doctor’s notes and invoices from your treatments, can help connect your stroke to the accident. Emergency room records, medical tests, and written statements from friends and family can attest to the diminished quality of life you suffered after your stroke.

Attorneys can use their resources to collaborate with medical expert witnesses to investigate the cause of the stroke. Your lawyer can work tirelessly to achieve maximum compensation from the insurance company by using medical testimonies and records from your treatments to link the stroke to the accident.

Find Out if You Can Get Compensation for a Stroke in a Car Accident

If you suffer a stroke due to a car accident, attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can work on your case. We will evaluate your claim and advise you on your legal options, including how to move forward with a lawsuit. Call our law office to schedule your free case consultation today


Why Is Making a Left Turn So Deadly in San Francisco?

by Staff | April 4th, 2022

There are few driving situations as complicated as a left turn, especially an unprotected left turn. Drivers need to make sure they have enough time to turn before oncoming traffic arrives, deal with honking cars behind them, be aware of civilians and bikes on crosswalks, and execute a safe left turn.

The complications of a left turn make it one of the most dangerous aspects of driving, especially in heavily congested cities like San Francisco. 40% of fatal traffic accidents occurred when a car took a left-hand turn and struck a pedestrian. While some blame for these accidents can be attributed to intersection design, negligent driving is also a common cause.

If you or a loved one was involved in a traffic accident, you might be due compensation for the injuries or wrongful death. San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you recover the financial losses associated with your injuries or a loved one’s death.

What Makes Left Turns Dangerous?

San Francisco is one of the most congested cities in the world, which places considerable stress on the intersections in the city. More cars on the roads mean less time to execute safe left turns, more aggressive driving tendencies, and ultimately more dangerous situations for pedestrians.

The stress caused by these congestion-related factors increases the chance of aggressive driving. Aggressive driving includes speeding, cutting off other vehicles, and cutting corners in left turns.

The design of cars adds to the danger of left turns by blocking the driver’s view of the crosswalk. The A-pillar, which is located on the driver’s side, connects the roof to the vehicle’s hood and holds the windshield in place. While a 90-degree left turn will reposition the crosswalk into the driver’s full view, when a driver cuts the corner, the A-pillar blocks their view of the crosswalk.

How to Safely Turn Left

The first step in executing a safe left turn is being free of distractions. Do not attempt left turns while on the phone or when other preventable distractions are present. The next step is to assess the intersection. Check for the light, oncoming traffic, cyclists approaching from behind, and pedestrians. Keep your wheels pointed forward because if you wait to turn with angled wheels, a rear-end accident will send you into oncoming traffic.

You should only turn when you have enough time to go 5 mph through the intersection. Make a 90-degree turn in the middle of the intersection and slowly drive through the crosswalk to give yourself the time to make adjustments.

Stay Safe as a Pedestrian

Pedestrians are the most at-risk population at left-turn intersections, with elderly pedestrians being even more vulnerable. To keep yourself safe, watch for cars in an intersection planning to turn left, do not cross until you make eye contact with drivers, and wear bright clothing.

While these practices reduce the likelihood of a car hitting you, sometimes a driver’s negligence makes it impossible to avoid an accident and serious injury.

When Is a Driver Liable for a Left Turn Accident?

In California, all drivers are responsible for exercising a reasonable amount of care to avoid injuring others. This means that drivers must follow the road laws and drive safely and responsibly.

California law states that vehicles turning left yield to oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Failing to do so, especially by aggressively cutting the left turn corner, is a breach of the driver’s responsibility to others. Negligent drivers are liable for the injuries they cause.

What to Do if a Driver Turning Left injures You

If you sustain injuries or a loved one suffers a wrongful death due to a driver’s negligence, you likely have grounds for a lawsuit. When possible, take photos of the accident scene and retain all documentation proving your medical expenses, doctor’s appointments, and time off work while recovering.

When a loved one is wrongfully killed, recovering damages can help cover the cost of burial and funeral expenses while providing financial support during a challenging time.

Contact an attorney in California to discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we can help you build a case against the negligent party and support you through the process of filing your claim. Call us today to request a free, no-obligation consultation.


Who is Responsible for Crashes That Occur on Easements?

by Staff | March 21st, 2022

Accidents on easements, such as on public access roads, may be challenging to figure out since multiple parties could be liable for your injuries. When you are injured on an easement, you might not understand your rights or if you can hold them accountable for the losses you suffer. Our California car accident lawyers can help you through the legal process if your accident occurred on an easement.

What Is an Easement?

A property easement is when the title to a piece of land grants someone other than the owner the right to use it for a specific purpose. It can go to anyone, including a nearby landowner, a private company, a government agency, or a utility company.

If a property backs onto a major street, part of the land may have an easement for public access. Granting an easement to a utility company to oversee the location of a power line on a property is another common situation. 

Who Is Liable for an Accident?

An easement agreement between the original property owner and the easement rights holder identifies the liable party. Any of the parties listed in the easement agreement may be held responsible for your damages.

If the negligent party has breached their duty of care, they may be held responsible for injuries you suffer as a result. Duty of care refers to keeping a property reasonably safe and free of risks or hazards. Negligence is the failure to fulfill this duty, regardless of whether it is careless or intentional.

You should always have an experienced lawyer obtain any documents related to the easement property.  An attorney can review the agreement and analyze the wording regarding liability between the property owner and easement rights holder. Easements may be the responsibility of multiple parties or just one party.

Who is Responsible for the Safety and Maintenance of an Easement?

Depending on the liability in the easement agreement, the original property owner may not be liable for accidents and maintenance on the land containing the easement. If the easement agreement addresses safety conditions for the easement property, that will also affect who is responsible. 

The party with the easement rights to use the land is responsible for safety and maintenance, including any accidents. For instance, the public utility company or local government must maintain the property if it uses the easement to access power lines and transformers on private property. It has a duty of care to trim trees, clean the areas around the power lines, and take steps to keep the land safe. If the public utility company creates dangerous conditions for anyone, they can be liable for damages.

Your lawyer may also find that in the easement agreement, the original property owner has the right to use the easement together with the easement rights holder. If the owner fails to correct safety hazards that led to your accident or doesn’t notify the easement rights holder about them, both the owner and easement rights holder may also be liable.

What Are Other Factors That Can Establish Liability for an Easement?

The details of the accident can also help determine liability for an easement. If you had an accident on a road owned by a private company due to hazardous road conditions, the evidence from the accident would determine the responsibility.

If the parties were negligent in creating the hazardous situation and neglected to correct any safety hazards, evidence aside from the easement agreement could hold them responsible. This evidence may include:

  • Photos and videos of dangerous road conditions such as fallen debris and cracks, and the lack of warning signs
  • Surveillance footage if there were any video cameras
  • Medical records and bills showing the progression and severity of your injuries
  • Any statements from nearby witnesses, if possible
  • Property records and the easement agreement

Let a California Car Accident Attorney Help You

Berg Injury Lawyers can help if you have been injured while on an easement. Despite California’s complex easement laws, we can help you find the liable party from the easement agreement and file your claim.

Learn more about accident liability on easements by scheduling a free consultation today.


Can a Car Accident Lead to Degenerative Disc Disease?

by Staff | March 7th, 2022

Due to the weight of motor vehicles and their speed, the impact they can cause is intense, resulting in serious injuries for drivers and passengers. Head, neck, and back injuries are common in car accidents and can affect those with pre-existing conditions such as degenerative disc disease.

If you have neck or back pain after a car accident, it may be related to this condition. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible and consult with one of our California car accident lawyers.

How Do Car Accidents Affect Degenerative Disc Disease?

The sudden impact at the back of your vehicle can move your body forward before your seatbelt snaps you back violently. If you experience an impact on another part of your vehicle, this can cause a violent jolt to the spine, damaging spinal discs and causing them to shift out of alignment.

Many people have a form of this injury before the accident, especially those over 40. The cartilage pads between bones in your spinal column can dry out during disc degeneration.

Tears and cracks can be a factor in worsening your condition. If your back injuries cause the spinal discs to degrade, they can result in chronic pain throughout your body and affect your quality of life.

How to Identify Degenerative Disc Disease

A doctor must first diagnose the condition before you can file a compensation claim for additional pain from your degenerative disc disease. If you experience the symptoms of degenerative disc disease, you can seek treatment. Some common symptoms include:

  • Mild to severe pain in the lower back, hips, and legs
  • Tingling and numbness in the arms or legs
  • Increased levels of pain while sitting, twisting, or lifting
  • Chronic pain lasting for weeks or months at a time

The doctor can check for signs of bone deterioration by using X-rays and determine the distance between the vertebrae. Diagnostic imaging can show whether a disc’s soft tissue compresses the spinal cord or a nerve.

Additionally, your doctor might use a reflex hammer to test your reflexes and touch your back so they can measure your neural function and pain levels. If you have little or no reaction, you have likely damaged or compressed nerves. They can also check to see if there is muscle weakness or shrinkage from degenerated discs in your spine.

Treating Degenerative Disc Disease

Your doctor may recommend non-invasive treatments for your degenerative disc disease, which include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medications, such as muscle relaxers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or steroids
  • Steroid injections to lessen inflammation and pain near your spinal nerves, disc, and joints
  • Radiofrequency neurotomy to burn sensory nerves and prevent pain signals from going to your brain with electric currents

Spinal decompression surgery can alleviate nerve pressure if you have persistent pain and weakness from this condition. These treatments can result in an increasing number of medical bills for which you can receive compensation.  

How to Prove Damages in a Car Accident From Degenerative Disc Disease

If you suffered from degenerative disc disease before your accident and your symptoms worsened, you can still seek compensation for the additional pain from the exacerbated symptoms. This is because you may only receive compensation for the harm resulting from the accident, not for injuries that occurred previously.

Keep a journal that demonstrates how the increased pain from your accident exacerbated your degenerative disc disease. This may include recording the difficulty of completing your daily tasks and the steps you have taken to lessen the pain.

Your medical bills from your treatments and surgeries, if applicable, can also show the extent of your pain and suffering.

A lawyer can work closely with your doctor and a medical expert to obtain your medical records, including your official diagnosis and any imaging results that show the difference from before the accident.

These documents highlight the harmful effects the driver’s negligence had on your body. A medical expert can discuss how the accident worsened your symptoms of degenerative disc disease.

Talk About Your Injury With California Auto Accident Attorneys

With an experienced lawyer by your side, you can take steps to build a strong case and find a way to recover fair compensation. To find out how to get started with your claim, book a free consultation with Berg Injury Lawyers today.


Is Jaywalking Legal in California?

by Staff Blogger | February 28th, 2022

Jaywalking is the act of crossing a road somewhere other than at a designated crosswalk. Jaywalking is illegal in California and can result in a fine of up to $250 for the guilty party. Even so, if you were hit by a vehicle while jaywalking, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

California’s comparative negligence laws and the road rules in the Vehicle Code combine to give those injured as a pedestrian legal recourse even if they were jaywalking. If you or someone you know was injured while jaywalking, contact a California car accident lawyer to determine if you are due compensation.

Who is at Fault?

Multiple considerations are necessary to determine fault when a vehicle hits a jaywalking pedestrian. Pedestrians must use due care when entering a road at a crosswalk and cannot stop unnecessarily while crossing. Pedestrians can be deemed negligent and partially at fault for an injury.

However, vehicles are not free of legal blame just because a pedestrian contributed to their own injuries. The California Vehicle Code holds that drivers have the duty to exercise due care for pedestrians when they are jaywalking. If they do not exercise due care, they may be classified as a negligent driver and liable to pay compensation for the pedestrian’s injury.

Comparative Negligence

California operates under the law of comparative negligence, which means that an injured party may recover damages from liable parties in accordance with their level of responsibility in the accident.

In the case of a jaywalking injury, if the court decides the jaywalker is 30% responsible for the injury while the driver is 70% responsible, the jaywalker can only recover 70% of the damages because of their percentage of fault.

How to Prove the Driver’s Negligence

If you were injured while jaywalking and believe it was at least partially the fault of a negligent driver, you may be due compensation for your injuries. To prove that the driver was negligent, you and your lawyer need to demonstrate three things.

The driver owed you a duty of care

The California Vehicle Code establishes that the operator of a vehicle owes a pedestrian due care. The mere fact that you are a pedestrian and that they are a driving a vehicle establishes that they owed you a duty of care.

The driver breached their duty of care

Drivers have a duty of care to act as a reasonable person would in the same situation to avoid harming others.  In the context of driving, this could mean that if a driver is on the phone and eating while driving, they are not acting as a reasonable person would and have breached their duty of care.

Evidence that the driver did not act as a reasonable person is essential to win a jaywalking injury case. Eyewitnesses, videos, and police reports are a few pieces of evidence that can help your case.

Contact California car accident lawyers as soon as possible after the accident to give yourself the best chance of collecting the essential evidence.

Experienced personal injury attorneys know what evidence proves a driver’s negligence. They can gather essential documents and interview witnesses while you recover from your injuries.

The driver caused your injuries

To prove a driver was negligent, you must show that the driver’s breach of duty caused your injury. Filing a police report of the accident and saving all medical records from the accident create a paper trail of critical evidence. Injuries can often be long-lasting, so getting written doctor’s opinions about the lasting effects of your injuries helps build your case.

Injuries can lead to lost wages and lost jobs. If this occurs, talk with your lawyer about compensation for these financial damages. Personal injury lawyers also know about the pain and suffering caused by others’ negligence, which represent another set of damages to consider.

Do not let a small mistake like jaywalking get in the way of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact a Lawyer Immediately

It is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a jaywalking injury. The evidence collection process is time-sensitive, and an experienced attorney can fight on your behalf while you focus on recovering.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation with a California car accident lawyer. With 40 years of experience, we are prepared to take on your case and help you fight for maximum compensation.


California School Bus Driver Requirements

by Staff Blogger | February 21st, 2022

With over 10,000 public schools in the Golden State, the California school transportation system is effectively the state’s largest mass transport network and one of the largest nationwide.

California schools operate over 24,000 buses and transport over 1.1 million students of all ages each day, presenting numerous opportunities for safe and qualified drivers.

If you’re a parent, you might be wondering what qualifications a person must possess before they can drive a bus full of schoolchildren. Let’s review the requirements to become a school bus driver in California and find out why their education and training are crucial to road safety.

Legal Requirements

Although the specific requirements to become a school bus driver in California may vary slightly between counties, all applicants must meet the following state requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old (however, due to CDL requirements, you effectively must be at least 21 to drive a school bus)
  • High school diploma
  • Medical examination certificate asserting the applicant’s good physical condition; must not suffer from Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent), epilepsy, seizure disorders, or unmedicated high blood pressure
  • Department of Justice fingerprint clearance
  • Valid driving license with a clean driving record
  • Clean criminal record
  • Clean alcohol and controlled substance test results

If you meet all these criteria, you may apply to obtain a California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The legal requirement to drive a school bus in California is an S Endorsement on your license.

Obtaining the coveted S on your license is challenging; you must already possess a CDL with a P endorsement, which allows you to drive a vehicle capable of carrying 16 or more passengers, such as standard commercial buses.

If you’re starting from scratch, here are the requirements you’ll need to pass:

  • Visit the local DMV and apply for a Commercial Instruction Permit
  • With your CIP in hand, apply for a Commercial Driver’s License Test, Class A or B
  • Once you have your CDL, apply for the Passenger Transport Test to obtain your P endorsement
  • If you possess a CDL with a P endorsement, you may apply for an S endorsement test.

Passing the S test and obtaining both the P and S endorsements means you are qualified to operate a school bus in California.

What Training Do School Bus Drivers Receive?

Although applicants must apply at a local school or education facility, all training and education materials are managed by the California Department of Education (CDE). The state mandates a minimum of 20 hours of classroom time and 20 hours of driving time.

California’s training requirements are among the strictest in the nation, placing a high degree of importance on safety and skillful driving. School bus operators must know all relevant laws, regulations, and rules.

A typical California school bus driver class schedule includes multiple elements. The first day is typically an orientation day, where applicants learn state and local laws. Then, they have an interview with the California Highway Patrol, education regarding school bus vehicle parts and components, safe vehicle loading and unloading, passenger management, and expected driver-student interactions.

Applicants also learn to conduct a vehicle inspection and systems check (tires, brakes, lights, steering, etc.), which is required before starting each workday. Most courses also include education on emergency procedures such as defensive driving techniques, emergency loading and unloading, and first aid.

Applicants will also learn how to manage field trips and special needs students and a short public relations module.

The final day is devoted to the exam, known as the CHP Rules and Regulations Test. Passing is critical to becoming a certified school bus driver.

Why Qualified School Bus Drivers are Essential

According to the NHTSA, school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road nationwide, approximately 70 times safer than a standard passenger car. Similarly, certified school bus drivers must pass rigorous tests proving they are in good physical and mental condition.

Although these requirements may seem stringent, they are instrumental to students’ safety. Most often, a qualified, properly trained school bus driver makes a difference on the road, making them one of the safest types of drivers nationwide.

Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer?

Berg Injury Lawyers has over 40 years of experience providing injury victims with expert representation in a court of law. If you were injured in a traffic accident, contact one of our qualified California car accident lawyers today and schedule a free initial consultation.

Our No Fee Guarantee ensures you do not pay any fees unless you win your case.