Auto Accident

Will Insurance Companies Pay for Drunk Driving Accidents?

by Staff Blogger | January 23rd, 2023

A drunk driving accident can lead to severe injuries and damage to vehicles and property. The cost of medical bills and repair or replacement costs for vehicles after crashes can be thousands of dollars, leaving accident victims burdened with overwhelming expenses during an already stressful time.

Filing a drunk driving accident claim against the negligent driver’s insurance can help you receive compensation to pay for accident-related expenses. However, insurance companies will typically do everything possible to avoid paying you a fair settlement for your injuries.

Read on to learn the factors that insurance companies in California consider when paying a settlement for a drunk driving accident. Contact the California drunk driving injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to help you seek compensation to cover your financial losses.

What Does California Law Say?

In California, it’s against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol. The law states that anyone with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher if they are over 21 years old or a BAC of 0.01% if they are under 21 cannot legally get behind the wheel.

California also has laws on driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs and medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. If a police officer suspects a driver to be under the influence of a substance, they can conduct sobriety tests and potentially put them under arrest.

However, for insurance purposes, drunk drivers are not automatically considered at fault for damages in a car accident. For example, an intoxicated driver may be involved in an accident they did not cause.

A drunk driver may be stopped at a red light when another vehicle fails to stop and rear-ends them. In this case, the drunk driver has not caused the crash, so their insurance does not need to pay to cover the other driver’s damages, even though they were driving drunk.

Drunk Driving and Liability in California

If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, even if they were charged with a crime, they may not be responsible for damages resulting from the accident. Legally, the driver may still face jail time, fines, or loss of driving privileges, but insurance companies don’t automatically fault the drunk driver when determining liability for a settlement.

California uses the pure comparative negligence doctrine to assign fault in an auto accident. Pure comparative negligence works by assigning responsibility to drivers involved in an accident. Pure comparative negligence allows anyone to receive damages, even if they are 99% at fault for the damages.

If you file for damages in a drunk driving incident, California insurance companies will examine the factors of the case to determine a level of fault to all parties. For example, they may look at blood-alcohol level tests, camera footage, police reports, or receipts from nearby bars to decide if the driver was drunk and if their actions caused the collision.

Based on the insurance company’s conclusion, they may take the following actions:

  • If the drunk driver wasn’t at fault: The insurance company will argue that the drunk driver was not at fault, and therefore, does not need to cover the cost of a claim even though the driver will face criminal charges for driving while intoxicated.
  • If a drunk driver was only partially responsible: The insurance of both parties involved in the crash may make payments in this case. For example, a drunk driver ran a red light, but the other driver was texting while driving and hit the drunk driver’s car.
  • The drunk driver was at fault: If a drunk driver is at fault in an accident, their insurance will most likely cover your claim because they did not intentionally cause damage or injury. However, depending on the case’s specifics, the drunk driver’s insurance may deny the claim based on illegal activity voiding their policy.

In this case, you may need to seek help from an attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers to help gather evidence, navigate the insurance claims process, and pursue a settlement.

Get Legal Help When Filing a Claim

If you or someone you know were in a car accident, you might not be guaranteed compensation from the drunk driver’s car insurance company. A lawyer specializing in personal injury resulting from drunk driving accidents can help ensure you have the money to pay for your medical bills.

California Drunk Driving Injury Attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the insurance claim process or file a lawsuit against the guilty party to help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to get you back on your feet.

Our knowledge and experience in car accidents and personal injury cases can win you a fair settlement so you can focus on recovery.

Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.

Are Back Injuries Caused by Car Accidents Difficult to Prove in a Claim?

by Staff Blogger | January 16th, 2023

If your back was injured in an automobile accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and lowered quality of life. However, these injuries can be challenging to prove liability, and insurance companies fight hard to avoid paying you what you are due.

The California auto accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and getting back injury victims the compensation they deserve.

How Common Are Back Injuries in Car Accidents?

Roughly 4.4 million Americans are injured in car accidents yearly, resulting in $380 million in medical costs. According to the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, there were 15,379 traffic accidents resulting in injuries in the state in 2020.

Back injuries are some of the most common injuries in car crashes because they can happen in any type of crash, even minor fender benders. Nationwide, there are roughly 869,000 cervical spine injuries due to automobile accidents. The lumbosacral spine region was the most commonly injured portion of the back in car accidents, along with other spinal disk and column injuries.

What Makes Back Injuries Difficult to Prove?

Back injuries can result from various activities, including manual labor, existing muscle imbalances, sitting in chairs with improper lumbar support, sleeping on the wrong mattress, and minor slips and falls.

Insurance companies may try to claim that your back pain is due to another, different injury or cause. They may state that your back pain existed before your car accident, that it is a result of an injury after your accident, or that it is due to a different health issue you may have. They may even claim you are overstating the severity of the pain.

Back injuries are complex, and the other driver’s insurance company can claim that the car accident was only one of several causes or that only a minor injury resulting from the accident was then made worse by an unrelated activity or injury later. Back injuries often take years to heal, if they heal at all, so they could also claim that it is an old injury that predates your accident.

The insurance company will try everything possible to avoid paying you what you deserve. With legal representation from Berg Injury Lawyers, your skilled attorney can help you prove your case and get the compensation you deserve. We can gather evidence to support your medical claim and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement on your behalf.

What Steps Can You Take to Strengthen a Claim?

If you have a back injury resulting from an automobile accident, there are steps you can take to strengthen your claim. In any potential legal case, you must prove:

  • Your accident was caused by the negligence of another driver
  • Your back injuries are a direct result of the accident
  • The financial damages you deserve are a result of your back injuries

Successful back injury legal cases require two types of proof, evidence from the accident and medical evidence that backs up your health claims.

Accident evidence should include:

  • Any possible physical evidence from the scene, including any debris on the road
  • Witness testimony
  • Police reports or other investigations of the accident
  • Pictures of the damage, crash scene, skid marks, and road conditions
  • Any possible video footage from CCTV cameras or dashcams

For medical evidence, visit your doctor immediately after an accident and receive a complete exam. Schedule an X-ray, MRI, and CAT scans to show the physical condition of your back, particularly when compared with any scans taken before your injury. Ask your doctor for a report detailing the damage and its effects on your body.

It is also essential to prepare a detailed report of how your injuries affect your life, including:

  • Calculation of any wages lost
  • Detailed tabulation of all associated medical expenses
  • Estimate of future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering losses quantified into a dollar amount
  • An affidavit detailing your pain and how it has impacted your life
  • Personal testimony in journal entries or from friends or family that can attest to the changes in your personality or physical capabilities

This information, along with the assistance of the car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers, can help you present a case that will be difficult for an insurance company to refute.

Our team will work with you to depose witnesses, take your sworn statements, help confirm your expense calculations, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.

Get Compensation for Your Back Injury with Berg Injury Lawyers

If you suffered a back injury in a California auto accident, you can seek compensation with the help of Berg Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys have worked hard for clients for more than 40 years to get them the compensation they deserve when a negligent driver causes a life-changing injury.

Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation regarding your auto accident case. We can review your medical records and the circumstances of the accident to help ensure you get the maximum compensation so you can rebuild your life.

Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

by Staff Blogger | January 5th, 2023

Self-driving cars represent a new age in the auto industry. Along with implementing smart technologies like traffic sensors in major cities like Sacramento, vehicle manufacturers are creating self-driving cars to change the roadways for drivers.

The federal Department of Transportation has mapped safety standards and plans for integrating autonomous vehicles on American roads. Self-driving cars could create employment opportunities for two million people with disabilities and save the healthcare system $19 billion annually in healthcare costs of missed appointments.

However, no amount of technological advancement can put an end to all risks associated with driving. The California DMV has received 533 reports of accidents involving autonomous vehicles from manufacturers during test runs as of December 2022.

If you are involved in a self-driving vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, determining liability for this type of accident can be challenging. Learn more about liability in self-driving car collisions and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you with your case.

How Self-Driving Cars Work

Self-driving cars rely on automated safety features to detect surrounding objects, cars, and other vehicles. These features include cameras and sensors to operate and navigate on highways and roads.

Map Building

Cameras and Light Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology scan the car’s surroundings when out on the road. The vehicle’s computer builds a map of its surroundings and places the car within the map, allowing the technology to plan a route for the vehicle to travel.

Path Planning

Path planning allows driverless cars to find routes that are as safe and fast as possible while maneuvering in traffic. They start with a long-range plan and then generate short-range plans that can change as the trip progresses.

Obstacle Avoidance

A self-driving vehicle’s map includes all visible and predicted obstacles it may face. Machine learning enables them to identify specific objects such as motorcycles and bicycles and avoid them accordingly.

Other self-driving vehicles can communicate with each other over a wireless connection to see if hidden objects are ahead. When one vehicle encounters an obstacle, it warns the other cars so they can avoid it.

The self-driving car may become dangerous if it cannot detect hazards effectively and efficiently. Sensor degradation and failure can cause detection errors, confuse the car’s computer, and make driving dangerous. A human driver may need to take over if the car’s systems fail during the trip. If this occurs, it may complicate identifying who was at fault in a car accident.

Who is Liable if Autopilot Crashes?

Self-driving car accident liability can fall on the human driver or the self-driving vehicle manufacturer. Responsibility depends on whether the car’s auto-pilot system was turned on during the accident.

Human Driver

California’s Vehicle Code 38750 requires self-driving cars to have safety alert systems to warn drivers of computer failures. The driver must regain complete control over the car’s brakes, acceleration, and steering wheel if a computer failure occurs. A driver who doesn’t take control during an emergency can be held responsible for the accident.

Auto Manufacturer

Since driverless vehicles use computers and cameras to plan routes, computing factors can contribute to defects in these vehicles. Computing problems can include:

  • Software bugs
  • System failures
  • Inability to warn the operator to take over the vehicle

Product liability laws in California hold those who design, manufacture or sell defective products strictly responsible for any injuries. Vehicle manufacturers must consider collision safety when designing and building their products. Therefore, vehicle manufacturers are liable for damages caused by manufacturing or design defects.

The Question of Venue to File Your Lawsuit

The appropriate court or venue can be an issue in filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. You can file in any judicial district where the crash happened or where the other party lives. However, venue issues can arise if the other party is an out-of-state corporation, such as an auto manufacturer.

You can work with the California auto accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers to help you with your lawsuit against the auto manufacturing company. We can help you establish the manufacturer’s minimum contacts, such as having an in-state physical location or accepting online orders in-state.

A state court must find these contacts sufficient to assert personal jurisdiction and allow you to sue the company in California. If your damages are at least $75,000, we can help you transfer your case to federal court.

Start Your Case with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Proving liability in a self-driving car accident can be complex with the assistance of an accomplished car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers. We understand California’s self-driving vehicle laws and can help you build a claim against the driver and/or the manufacturer who caused your injuries.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our lawyers.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Car Accident Claim in California?

by Staff Blogger | December 19th, 2022

A bad car accident can upend your life. When you’re facing the cost of car repairs, medical treatment for your injuries, and challenges of daily life, handling time restrictions on making a car insurance claim can feel like an overwhelming task. Some people get help from an auto accident attorney to help with the process and ensure they file a claim in time.

It can be difficult to keep up with claims and filing deadlines after a car accident. Learn how long you have to file a claim after a car accident and how Berg Injury Lawyers can assist with the process.

The Car-Accident Claim Process

When you’ve been in a car accident in California, you must file a claim with your car insurance company immediately, per California law. Some insurance policies have a deadline for filing, so it’s essential to check your policy details.

After filing with your insurance, your insurance company will reach out to you to ask about the circumstances of the accident and assess your damages. While your insurance company will usually work with an adjuster and your repair shop to determine the cost of damages to your car, they won’t take the initiative to investigate other damages.

Damages to anything other than your car, like medical expenses, will need to be documented so you can give them to your insurance company. There may also be deadlines for filing these documents, which will be listed in your insurance policy.

Per the California Department of Insurance, most insurance companies must:

  • Advise you of your policy benefits, coverage, provisions, and time limits.
  • Acknowledge, begin investigating, and correspond with you regarding your claim within 15 days.
  • Accept or deny the claim within 40 days of receiving the proof of claim document.
  • Offer a fair settlement, payable within 30 days of reaching an agreement.

California is an at-fault insurance state, so your insurance and the other driver’s insurance will determine who is most responsible for the accident. The driver considered not at fault will receive monetary compensation for their damages, while the other driver will not receive payment.

What Insurance Companies Will Try to Do

Car insurance companies are often reluctant to cover the damages you’re owed. To try and get out of compensating you, they may deliberately undervalue your car, claim you were at fault for the accident, or refuse to cover medical bills or wages you were unable to earn due to the accident.

Unethical insurance companies may even resort to bad faith tactics like deliberately delaying your claim, causing you to miss a deadline, and then denying your claim because the deadline has passed.

If you’re facing challenging negotiations with the insurance company, get in touch with a Sacramento car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can review your case and determine whether you’ll need to file a claim in court.

Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney if You’ve Been Injured

Handling the aftermath of a car accident is stressful, even in the best of times. Being badly injured in a car accident makes it significantly harder to keep on top of filing deadlines and necessary paperwork. Hiring a car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can give you peace of mind and ensure you file a well-supported compensation claim.

Berg Injury Lawyers has a team of experienced car accident attorneys who can help you through the claims process and ensure you file on schedule. If the other driver or their insurance company is unwilling to pay you what you’re owed, we will be prepared to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Let a lawyer handle the legal aftermath of your car accident so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. Contact us today for a free consultation and get started on your claim.

Who Determines Fault in an Auto Accident in California?

by Staff Blogger | December 5th, 2022

In California, determining liability is integral to the personal injury claim process. In the event of an accident, the driver who is at fault is responsible for all financial losses.

However, some drivers who sustain severe injuries may need to fully understand who determines fault and the evidence required to prove the other party’s liability. When you hire a California auto accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers, they can help you determine liability and how it may affect your case after a car crash.

What Is an At-Fault/No-Fault State?

Many states require that drivers carry auto insurance, but car insurance laws vary depending on the liability situation. Car insurance laws around the country include no-fault and at-fault types of coverage.

No-Fault States

No-fault states require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) and liability coverage. After an accident, all drivers are responsible for filing their insurance claims with their auto insurers, regardless of fault.

These states only allow drivers to sue for compensation and pain and suffering if their injuries and losses meet a specific threshold. For instance, a no-fault state with verbal thresholds enables injured drivers to sue when they meet the criteria for severe physical injuries.

Drivers with medical expenses that exceed statutory amounts can sue another driver in no-fault states with monetary thresholds.

At-Fault States

At-fault states require the driver who caused the accident to compensate the injured driver for their injuries and property damage. The injured driver can file an insurance claim under their property damage and bodily liability insurance coverage with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

However, the coverage only pays up to the auto policy’s limits. Injured drivers may sue at-fault drivers for additional compensation if their medical expenses and property damages exceed the limits.

Is California a No-Fault State?

California is not a no-fault state. It is an at-fault state that requires drivers to be liable for their actions in car accidents with substantial evidence. California drivers must carry liability insurance that follows the state insurance laws in case of an accident:

  • $5,000 for property damage
  • $15,000 for physical injuries or death of one party
  • $30,000 for bodily injuries or fatalities of multiple parties

When determining liability in a collision, the state follows pure comparative negligence, allowing shared fault between involved parties. Whether and how much compensation a person receives depends on how much responsibility they have for the accident.

As a result, the other driver may recover a portion of the damages, even if their liability exceeds yours. For example, if a jury finds you 30% at fault for an accident and the other driver 70% at fault, you only receive 70% of your damages.

The Process of Determining Fault

Following a car accident, insurance companies will look at the evidence and facts of the accident to determine the degree of fault. During the claims process, their adjusters look at the police report, investigate the accident scene, and evaluate medical records to determine a settlement offer.

Multiple factors can affect your case, such as where your crash occurred and what type of accident it was. For example, it may be difficult to determine who had the right of way in an accident occurring at a busy intersection. If there were no witnesses to the accident, the police officer may decide that you’re liable for the accident even though the other driver is at fault.

A California auto accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can investigate your case and help you prove fault. They understand the types of evidence needed to substantiate your compensation claim.  

How You Can Help Your Lawyer Prove Liability in a Car Accident

Your lawyer needs evidence to minimize your fault for the accident. Here are a few pieces of evidence you can obtain with your lawyer:

Eyewitness Statements

Ask pedestrians and passersby for their contact information and permission to get a statement. A statement from a credible witness may prove the at-fault driver caused the accident.

Surveillance Footage

Check if nearby homes and businesses have cameras pointed at the collision site. Many homes and businesses have surveillance cameras to monitor their properties.

Dashboard Cameras

Some passenger vehicles and commercial trucks have dashboard cameras facing the front and back of traffic. See if other drivers’ cars have a dashboard camera and ask them if they can lend their footage for your lawyer’s investigation.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Help You with Your Case

California’s at-fault insurance system lets you prove liability and pursue compensation against the other driver. If you want to maximize your compensation, an experienced auto accident attorney can answer your questions and help you navigate the insurance claim process.

Contact our law office for a free consultation and learn how we can use evidence to determine liability for your claim.

How Long Until I Get My Car Accident Check?

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2022

Even a minor car accident can leave you shaken, but a serious car accident can cause significant stress and financial strain. A car accident settlement can offer hope to families tight on money. Settlement checks provide coverage for medical bills, car repairs, or the replacement of a totaled car. However, even after your claim is settled, receiving your car accident check can take weeks or even longer.

Learn about the process of a car accident settlement in California and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you claim your rightfully earned money.

Why Is it Taking So Long To Get My Car Accident Check?

When filing a straightforward car accident claim in California, car insurance companies only have 85 days to settle your claim, 15 days to respond, 40 days to accept or deny the claim, and 30 days to pay out your claim. However, this process is often delayed, and the claim can last for several months or years.

Sometimes settlements are delayed by internal procedures, like signing paperwork. In more contentious cases, the delay may result from negotiations or deliberations between your attorney and the insurance company. For instance, the settlement may be delayed if your insurance company has trouble determining who is at fault for the car accident.

Settlements can also be delayed for your benefit. For example, if you or a loved one were severely injured in a car accident, it may be months or even years before you fully recover.

Rather than settle your claim early and risk the settlement not covering your medical bills, your personal injury attorney can delay the settlement until you fully recover and have a better idea of your medical costs.

The Car Accident Settlement Process

Negotiating a car accident settlement can be a long, drawn-out process. If you’re confused about how the settlement process works, a car accident lawyer in Sacramento can walk you through each step.

  • Agreeing on a Settlement

The defendant’s insurance company and your attorney must first negotiate a settlement. Depending on the facts of the case and how much you and your attorney want to settle for, this process can take several weeks or months. Your attorney will also confirm that you are okay with the settlement offer before officially settling the claim.

  • Funds Placed in Escrow

Once you settle with your insurance company, the funds don’t go directly to you. Instead, your attorney will place them in a trust and hold your settlement in escrow. This ensures that you can’t simply take money from any third party who might be owed part of your settlement.

  • Deduction of Relevant Fees

In the aftermath of a car accident, you may owe quite a bit of money to third parties. This can include medical liens to your healthcare providers, expert witness fees, private investigator fees, police report expenses, court filing fees, and your attorney’s contingency fee. If you owe child support, the government can also place a lien on your settlement.

Before you receive your settlement, you will likely be informed of how much any third party will take.

  • Release of the Remaining Earnings

After your attorney has taken all relevant fees from your settlement, the remaining funds will be given to you. At this point, the money belongs to you.

What to Do if You Don’t Receive Your Check

The process of receiving your settlement check can be lengthy, and there often isn’t a way to speed it up; you may simply have to be patient.

There may be several reasons why your settlement check is delayed, including the following:

  • You agreed to a structured settlement that disburses tax-free payments in smaller increments over time.
  • Your settlement is more than six figures which can take longer for the insurance company to process and the bank to verify the legitimacy of the check.
  • Your attorney is still negotiating outstanding liens.
  • Weekends and holidays can affect the timeframe because check processing is placed on hold when the banks are closed.

However, if you’ve been waiting on your settlement check for more than six weeks, it may be time to talk to your attorney to find out why it is delayed. Although there are some exceptions, most settlement checks in California are disbursed in about six weeks. 

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and want to discuss how long it takes to receive a settlement, contact us today for a free case review. Berg Injury Lawyers has been helping car accident victims in California maximize their settlements since 1981.

Bicycle Safety: How to Not Get Hit by Cars

by Staff Blogger | November 14th, 2022

Commuting by bike is a great way to reduce vehicle emissions while staying in shape. However, it’s common for cyclists and drivers to have trouble sharing the road. In 2021, an estimated 7,639 bicyclists were injured or killed by traffic accidents in the state.

If you want to enjoy riding your bike more often, don’t let the fear of car accidents stop you. Learn about bike safety tips in California with Berg Injury Lawyers.

How Safe is it to Bicycle in California?

While California has made an effort to improve cyclist safety, there is a significant risk of accidents when riding on the road. In 2020, 3.4% of the state’s fatal crashes involved cyclists. The threat to cyclists is more significant in some counties: Los Angeles County saw around 15,000 bicycle crashes between 2017 and 2021, while Sacramento County saw 2,319 crashes.

Cyclists have far less protection than vehicle occupants, leaving them at greater risk of injury or death in a crash. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation if you’re injured in a bike accident.

Tips to Avoid Getting Hit by Cars

A collision between a cyclist and a car can leave you seriously injured at best and prove fatal at worst. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting into a crash.

  • Wear a Helmet and Reflective Gear

In California, you’re legally required to attach reflectors to your bike. At a minimum, you must have white or yellow reflectors on the side and the front and back of your pedals, a headlight on the front of your bike, and a red reflector on the back. Some people also attach reflectors to their tires or a red light to the back of their bike.

While these requirements are meant for night biking, reflective gear catches and reflects light at any time of day, making you more visible on the road. You can also attach reflective gear to your clothing and helmet to further increase your visibility to drivers.

  • Stay Aware

Failing to pay attention to the road can increase your risk of being struck by a car. The California Vehicle Code outlaws riding your bike while wearing a headset, headphones, or anything limiting your ability to hear what’s happening around you. While there are no laws against cell phone use while biking, distracted biking is just as dangerous as distracted driving.

Similarly, avoid biking under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substances make it difficult to remain aware of your surroundings and react quickly, and it’s outlawed in California.

  • Use Bike Lanes When Possible

Bike lanes are specifically designed to accommodate people on bicycles. Some bike lanes have posts installed between the bike lane and the street, providing extra protection against vehicle collisions. If the road contains a bike lane, use it.

If there is no designated bike lane, ride on the right-hand side of the road. Although California law does not expressly prohibit using your bike on the sidewalk, try to avoid it; if the sidewalk ends unexpectedly, you could be forced into the road.

  • Use Hand Signals

Just as cars use turn signals to alert other drivers that they’re turning or changing lanes, bicyclists are expected to use hand signals to let drivers or cyclists know if they’re turning or stopping. Before you turn or stop, you should:

  • Signal a left turn by holding your left arm straight out.
  • Signal a right turn by holding your left arm out with your elbow bent, so the tips of your fingers point toward the sky.
  • Signal a stop by holding your left arm out and bending your elbow, so the tips of your fingers point toward the ground.
  • Be Cautious Around Intersections

Approximately 26% of fatal car accidents involving cyclists in 2020 in the United States occurred at an intersection. Always look before you cross the street, as sometimes drivers overlook pedestrians or cyclists when making a turn.

  • Stay Out of Car Blind Spots

Cars are bulky, making it challenging for drivers to see someone next to them or behind them. Ensure the driver can see you from their window or side or rearview mirrors.

  • Avoid Biking at Night

Darkness reduces visibility for drivers and bikers alike, and cyclists are easier to overlook due to their smaller size. Ride your bike during the day to ensure you aren’t obscured by darkness. If biking at night is unavoidable, wear lighter-colored clothing and make sure you have reflectors and a working headlight.

What to Do if You’re Hit by a Car While Cycling

Even if you take all proper precautions, you can still fall victim to a car accident when biking. If you’re struck by a car while riding your bike, ensure you:

  • Seek immediate medical attention. Cyclists have less protection against the impact of a car and are more likely to suffer serious injuries.
    • Call the police to report the accident. The police must file an accident report for all vehicle collisions, including ones with cyclists.
    • Gather contact information for witnesses. While cyclists have right-of-way, California is an at-fault state, so the driver who hit you may claim that you violated the rules of the road in an attempt to declare you “at fault” instead. Witnesses to the crash can confirm you were not at fault.
    • Get in touch with your insurance company. Many car insurance policies provide coverage to pedestrians and cyclists who are struck by a car.
    • Consult with a lawyer. A skilled personal injury lawyer can file a claim against the driver and obtain damages for your injuries.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, Berg Injury Lawyers is ready to review your case. Our law firm can help you earn the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today.

Can I Lose My House Due to an At-Fault Car Accident in California?

by Staff Blogger | October 31st, 2022

Your California auto insurance policy should cover injury claims filed by other drivers and passengers if you are at fault. However, your insurance may not fully cover injured victims’ medical and repair costs.

A judgment in a lawsuit could put your financial assets at risk, including your home, if an injured party sues you. Knowing your policy’s limits and protecting your economic well-being are essential to avoiding financial ruin from an auto accident lawsuit.

Speak with a car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers when facing liability in an accident to help you protect your assets and minimize damages.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

After a car crash, the first thing to do is ensure that all drivers and passengers are safe. Once that’s done, the following steps are crucial to protecting you and your financial future in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

  • Call the police and ask for emergency assistance to treat any injuries at the accident site.
  • Stay calm and never admit fault to drivers, passengers, witnesses, or police.
  • Answer any questions the police officer may have about the accident, so they can investigate the scene and determine who is at fault.
  • Exchange contact information, insurance policy numbers, and license plate numbers with other involved parties.
  • Report your accident to your auto insurance company.
  • Reach out to an auto accident lawyer.

What Happens if I’m at Fault in a Car Accident in California?

In California, the at-fault driver is legally required to pay for the damages that they cause in a car accident. After an accident, an injured victim can file a claim against you, seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

If your auto insurer determines you are at fault, it will pay a settlement to cover the victim’s injuries and property damage within your policy’s limits.

Does Insurance Cover Things That Are Your Fault?

California auto insurance policies require all drivers carry liability coverage for personal injuries and property damage. Your insurance company will pay the crash victim’s medical or vehicle repair expenses if the accident is your fault.

All auto insurance policies differ, but if you have the minimum amount required by state law, your insurance will pay the following amounts:

  • Up to $15,000 for death or injury to one person
  • Up to $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
  • Up to $5,000 in property damage

These amounts are the minimum allowed by California, so you may get insurance with higher limits for more protection. Alternatively, if you drive without insurance illegally, you put yourself at financial risk if you cause an accident.

What to Do if Someone Sues You for a Car Accident in California

You could face a lawsuit if the other driver or passenger’s damages exceed your insurance policy limits. A car accident lawyer can create a legal defense strategy to ensure your assets are protected.

You must also inform your insurance company about the lawsuit so they can reasonably defend you and settle the lawsuit. This protects you from further liability in case of a potential judgment.

How to Protect Assets After a Car Accident in California

Safeguarding your assets is essential following an accident to avoid having to pay personally. Additionally, it can improve your ability to negotiate a fair settlement with the other party.

  • Identify any protected assets with a financial planner if the injured party wins a lawsuit. California’s homestead exemption can protect your home from collection up to a particular value. To qualify for this exemption, your home’s equity must be either $300,000 or equal to the countywide median sale price for a single home not exceeding $600,000.
  • Consider buying an umbrella policy in addition to your auto insurance liability coverage. For instance, a judgment could be $45,000, but your liability coverages are only $15,000 for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage under California insurance law. The umbrella policy can pay for the remaining difference of $25,000.
  • Your insurance company may request a financial affidavit showing your assets, income, expenses, and debts. This process helps the injured party decide if they should negotiate a fair settlement or pursue a lawsuit in court for judgment.

What Happens if You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit?

If you lose a car accident lawsuit, you may be forced to pay the injured victim’s settlements. The court may go after your personal assets, such as your savings accounts and personal property, if your liability coverage and financial resources are insufficient to satisfy the judgment.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was My Fault in California?

The car accident attorneys from Berg Injury Lawyers can protect your legal interests and financial assets if you are at fault for the accident. We can evaluate the facts of the accident to find out what happened in a free initial consultation. We can also advise you on dealing with your insurance company and any potential lawsuits from the accident.

Speak with one of our attorneys today to review your case and determine your options for protecting your assets. Schedule a consultation through our live chat app, by phone, or by online message.

Traumatic Brain Injury Associated with Auto Accidents in California

by Staff Blogger | October 24th, 2022

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious and potentially devastating consequence of a car accident. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that car accidents caused 24.5% of all TBI-related hospitalizations and 4.9% of male TBI-related deaths in 2017.

A TBI’s physical, financial, and emotional impact can be severe and long-lasting. If you or a loved one has suffered a disability from a TBI, contact Berg Injury Lawyers to find out your options for restitution.

What Happens to Your Brain in a Car Accident?

In a car accident, your car absorbs the kinetic energy from the other vehicle’s impact. The force of the movement may throw your head back and forth, side to side, or cause you to hit your head on the car interior. These movements cause your brain to move, shake, twist, or suffer injury inside your skull.

Depending on the severity of the crash, you can experience mild to severe injury to your brain. The injury can include bruising, bleeding, or permanent damage or death to your brain’s nerves and tissues.

What is a TBI After a Car Accident?

A TBI that occurs during an accident may not show immediate signs or symptoms. According to the CDC, signs of a mild concussion may not surface until several hours or days after the collision.

It’s also possible to experience secondary injury, where the initial damage to your brain causes further damage to develop. For example, due to the TBI, you may suffer brain swelling or bleeding, hypoxia (low oxygen in the brain), meningitis, or ischemia (lack of blood flow).

Common Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents

Most brain injuries sustained in car accidents are closed brain injuries, meaning the skull remains intact. TBIs commonly incurred in car accidents include:

  • Concussions: a general term for mild brain injury
  • Contusions: bruising of the brain tissue
  • Lacerations: the brain tissue or cerebral blood vessels shear or rip
  • Diffuse axonal injury: the nerve fibers inside the brain tear or rip

What are Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Since a TBI affects the brain, the condition shows many symptoms. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 75% of all TBIs are mild. However, even a mild TBI can have life-long effects such as:

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Confusion
  • Tinnitus (ears ringing)
  • Vision impairments
  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Moodiness or sudden changes in behavior
  • Impaired cognition (difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering events)
  • Loss of coordination

In more serious cases, someone with a TBI may:

  • Vomit
  • Experience seizures
  • Have unevenly dilated pupils
  • Have trouble speaking; slurring words
  • Feel weak or numb
  • Enter a coma

Regardless of symptoms or apparent severity, TBIs are considered a medical emergency and must be assessed by a doctor. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to lose consciousness to experience a TBI. Many people experience mild TBIs without losing consciousness.

What Kind of Doctor Can Diagnose Accident-Related Brain Injuries?

There is no doctor dedicated solely to diagnosing TBIs. Instead, someone with a TBI will likely be assessed by a team of doctors, including:

  • A general physician to assess your overall state
  • A neurologist to screen for cognitive impairment
  • A radiologist to perform a CT or MRI scan

After a car accident, it’s vital to see the right medical professionals for an accurate diagnosis. Not only can it help you get the treatment you need, but your diagnosis can also help you receive appropriate compensation for your potentially life-altering injury.

Can the Brain Heal from Traumatic Brain Injury?

Recovering from a TBI is complex; if a TBI damages or destroys your brain tissue, the harm is permanent. However, depending on the severity of the TBI, you may undergo rehabilitation to regain some normal functions.

Some TBIs have minimal impact on your ability to function and may be overcome with medical intervention. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the brain can potentially reroute information from areas of the brain affected by a TBI to other locations. In younger people, other brain tissues may compensate for injured tissue.

Even when someone experiences a mild TBI, rehabilitation is a slow process. It can take months or years for someone with a TBI to return to how they used to be, during which they might be unable to work.

A California car accident attorney can help you gain restitution for lost wages and the cost of your medical bills so you can work on recovery after an accident.

How Do You Prove a TBI?

If you pursue financial compensation for your TBI, you will need proof of the injury at trial. While medical imagery can detect more serious TBIs and complications, such as brain bleeds, mild TBIs may not have a visible impact on the brain.

If your TBI doesn’t appear on imaging scans, you may need to rely on medical records and the testimony of your medical providers to prove your injury to the court.

An experienced personal injury lawyer like our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can work with medical experts to help you document your TBI and prove its cause.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your TBI accident case. We can review your records and help you take the next legal step toward restitution from your injury collision.

What Happens if You Are At Fault in a Car Accident in California?

by Staff Blogger | October 17th, 2022

In a car accident, fault is applied to the person who caused the accident. They may have been driving recklessly, had a mechanical issue, or hydroplaned on a rainy day. Whatever caused the accident, the person at fault is responsible for reimbursing the other party’s expenses.

A car accident is a stressful and confusing event, even more so if you’re partially responsible. Discover what happens if you are at fault in a car accident in California and how the experienced team at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you reduce your liability.

How Does a No-Fault Accident Differ from an At-Fault Accident?

In a no-fault accident, neither party’s insurance is responsible for covering the costs of a car accident. Instead, both parties are reimbursed by their insurance companies, typically through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.

In an at-fault accident, the party deemed responsible for the collision is liable for covering the other party’s expenses, including medical bills and property damage. In an at-fault state, the negligent party’s insurance company agrees on a settlement with the injured party. Once paid, the claim is complete, and neither side can file another claim or lawsuit regarding the accident.

Who Pays for Car Damage in a No-Fault State?

Most PIP policies in no-fault states cover personal injury or liability costs, like medical bills, lost wages, or funeral expenses. However, PIP insurance does not pay for damage to property or vehicles. Instead, you must purchase separate car insurance, or uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, to cover potential damages to your vehicle.

Is California an At-Fault State for Car Accidents?

California is an at-fault state, so the party responsible for the car accident is liable for the other driver’s damages. For instance, if you total someone’s car and are determined to be at fault, your insurance will reimburse that person for the cost of their car and any related bills they received.

California requires motorists to purchase minimum liability insurance to cover these costs. According to the CA DMV, you must carry a policy with the following coverages:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

What Determines Fault in a Car Accident in California?

California determines fault according to the circumstances of the accident. Depending on your case, fault may be determined by the insurance company, a judge, or a jury. The state uses pure comparative negligence, a doctrine that allows one party to win damages even if they both bear liability for an accident and recover compensation.

For example, if the insurance company finds you 70% at fault for an accident, you can win damages, but they will be reduced by 70%. If the other party files a claim against you, your percentage of fault determines how much your insurance pays for the settlement.

Working with a skilled car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you prove the other party’s fault in the collision and minimize your liability.

Do Police Reports Determine Fault for a Car Accident?

Police reports alone do not determine fault for a car accident but can influence an insurance company or jury’s decision. Most insurers require them and use the information in the report to come to a settlement offer.

When determining fault, insurance companies evaluate multiple pieces of evidence, including the police report. The report is often the first official record of the accident, and the officer may include who they believe is at fault. However, police reports can be incorrect or incomplete, so insurance companies may not rely on them if other evidence doesn’t match the report.

How Does Insurance Decide Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident in California?

In California, car insurance companies review multiple pieces of evidence to determine who is at fault for a crash. This evidence can include:

  • The police report
  • Testimony from both parties and eyewitnesses
  • Damage to the vehicles
  • Relevant traffic tickets
  • Photos of the crash scene
  • Medical reports
  • Other evidence of the scene, e.g. damage to nearby structures

The insurance companies then decide who is at fault based on their review of the evidence. For example, if you rear-ended someone and two bystanders reported that you were using your phone, the evidence would point to you being at fault.

How Does Car Insurance Work When You Are At Fault?

California law requires liability insurance for all drivers. If insurance determines you’re at fault for the accident, your insurance will pay the other driver’s damages. Liability insurance only covers the other party’s damages, so your insurance will only cover your car and injuries if you have a collision coverage policy or Medical Payments Insurance, sometimes called MedPay.

Can I Be Taken to Court for a Car Accident?

Someone who suffered a serious injury, lost a loved one, or was unable to work because of an accident you caused can take you to court for restitution.

If you receive a summons, you must inform your insurance and contact a car accident lawyer to represent you in court.

Speak with Berg Injury Lawyers Today

If you were in an auto accident where you are partially at fault, contact an experienced auto accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers. We can review your case to determine your level of responsibility and help you reduce liability.

If you’re being taken to court, an experienced attorney can provide you with a strong defense against the opposing party to mitigate your percentage of fault. Schedule a free initial consultation with Berg Injury Lawyers today to discuss your case and determine your legal options.