Auto Accident

Are California Safety Laws Too Lax for Teen Drivers?

by Staff Blogger | April 6th, 2020

Is California law too lax on teen drivers?

California drivers know that our state’s traffic laws are some of the strictest in the nation. However, some safety groups, such as the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety (AHAS), say that when it comes to teen drivers, our laws might not go far enough.

AHAS evaluates laws concerning distracted driving, seat belt usage, and teen drivers to determine their effectiveness at reducing accidents. Though California scores well overall, it falters when it comes to teen driving laws.

Why Does California Fall Short on Teen Driving Laws?

Though California currently bans first-year drivers from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., AHAS suggests that the ban should begin an hour earlier and include drivers up to the age of 18. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 40% of crashes involving teens (as both drivers and passengers) happen between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

California also bans first-year drivers from transporting passengers under the age of 20 unless they’re traveling with a licensed parent, driving instructor, or driver age 25 or over. AHAS suggests that California extend that restriction to include drivers up to the age of 18.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research suggests that fatality rates for teen drivers increased by 45% when their passengers are other teens. The fatality risk increases even more (56%) for occupants of vehicles that are involved in crashes with teen drivers. For each additional teen passenger that a teen driver transports, the greater the risk of a crash.

Understanding the Risks Young Drivers Face

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, who are three times more likely than drivers age 20 and over to be in a fatal crash.

AHAS’s push to broaden the scope of these bans is a much-needed effort, and it’s backed by research; a 2017 National Household Travel Survey found that the crash-per-mile rate for 16-year-old drivers is 1.5 times greater than it is for 18- and 19-year-old drivers.

Studies consistently show that teen drivers engage in riskier behavior than older drivers. For example, teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and follow vehicles too closely. They’re also less likely to wear seat belts.

California’s Teen Driving Laws Get Some Things Right

Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from cell phone use of any kind when behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, even with hands-free functionality. Because younger drivers are more likely to engage in distracting activities while driving, laws that restrict mobile device use of any kind could save lives.

Critics of these laws cite a study showing that, despite stricter laws in California regarding mobile device usage by drivers, the rate of drivers using their phones behind the wheel actually increased the following year. But advocates insist that laws take time to make an impact, and they often reference California’s seat belt laws to make their point.

When the state announced its seat belt requirement in 1985, seat belt use increased from about 20% to 40%. By 1997, compliance had risen to about 88%. By 2016, compliance rates reached approximately 97%.

Preventing Teen Driver Crashes Requires More Than Just Laws

Studies show that parents have many ways to keep teen drivers safe, and it starts with setting a good example. A 2018 study found that approximately half of parents driving with children in their vehicles talked on their cell phones, while one-third read text messages in front of their children while driving.

Parents also expect their children to respond when they call, even when their teens are driving. Research suggests that more than half of teens who talk on their phones while driving talked to a parent, compared to 46% who talk to friends.

A parent’s presence inside the vehicle is enough to make a difference; AAA found that when a teen driver is accompanied by someone age 35 or older, their fatality risk decreases by 8%.

If You’re Injured in a Crash, Contact Berg Injury Lawyers

Berg Injury Lawyers represents injured people throughout Northern California to help get them the compensation they deserve. We know how quickly things can go from bad to worse when you’ve been injured by a reckless or distracted driver, so consider contacting an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident.

If you need legal assistance, we’re here to help. Contact the California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free case review.

Pros and Cons of New Vehicle Technology

by Staff Blogger | February 10th, 2020

When you read an article about self-driving cars or interactive dashboards, what do you feel? Do automated vehicles fill you with dread, or are you excitedly anticipating the day when you can get in your car and have it drive itself?

As a law firm that pays close attention to road and vehicle safety, we know that these advances will present both good and bad consequences for all of us.

In other words, there are pros and cons of new vehicle technology, which we should all consider as we cruise into this brave new world. Before we dive into the potential downsides of emerging technologies, let’s focus on the perks.

Pro – A Safer Commute

More than 35,000 people die in vehicle crashes every year in the United States. For each of those deaths, even more motorists are involved in nonfatal crashes that often result in injuries. The biggest upside of improved vehicle technology is the potential to reduce the number of overall crashes.

This is exactly what the U.S. Department of Transportation and countless road safety advocates are hoping automated systems will accomplish. Officials also hope that automation will bring less traffic and improved fuel efficiency in vehicles.

Pro – A Better Experience for Motorists

From smart displays on windshields to brain wave technology that helps drivers avoid crashes, new vehicles could offer features we can’t even imagine. Many of these innovations might dramatically improve our experience behind the wheel and, in some cases, improve our health.

For example, vehicle technology could not only get better in diagnosing problems with vehicles, but also diagnosing the health of drivers. Ford is currently developing technology that monitors a driver’s heart health through sensors placed in the seats of its vehicles.

Con ­– The Growing Pains of New Technologies

Over the years, manufacturers have made safety features available that were anything but safe. For example, seatbelts and airbags are some of the most basic but useful features in vehicles. However, several incarnations of the technologies have posed a threat to vehicle occupants. The latest examples of potential dangers include Takata airbags that could cause shrapnel injuries when deployed and allegations of Honda seatbelt defects.

Automation is likely to become integrated into our vehicles slowly as cars edge toward being fully autonomous. During this transition, we will need to learn how to operate new semi-autonomous systems. That could present an entirely new learning curve for drivers. So far, manufacturers and safety officials don’t seem to know who will be responsible for educating buyers on how to operate semi-autonomous vehicles safely.

Con – Smart Cars are Vulnerable to Hackers

An increasingly digital world has made our lives easier in many ways. But we are also more vulnerable to fraud and hackers. As our vehicles become more reliant on technology, they too are susceptible to hackers.

Cybersecurity concerns prompted a 2015 recall involving 1.4 million vehicles after researchers discovered that it was possible to disable vehicles’ brakes and steering capabilities while they were on the highway. Hackers have already found ways to access the information of drivers and even shut down some engines remotely.

Understanding Your Rights as a Consumer

You likely have your own list of pros and cons of new vehicle technology. If you’re skeptical of automakers’ capacity to address some of our biggest road safety challenges, we understand your reservations. Manufacturers often make mistakes that have serious consequences for all of us.

Consider some of the fatal defects in vehicles over the past few decades. From GM’s faulty ignition switches to Takata’s defective airbags to the top-heavy design of Ford’s Bronco II, manufacturers haven’t always inspired hope in car buyers.

When a defective product harms a consumer, the consumer have the right to hold the manufacturer accountable through product liability claims. These claims don’t just offer consumers a pathway to compensation; they also make the market safer for others who might purchase potentially dangerous products.

Schedule a Free Case Assessment with Berg Injury Lawyers

The good news is that you have the right to hold a manufacturer accountable if they sell you a product that causes you harm. If you have been sold a defective vehicle or vehicle part, we encourage you to contact the team at Berg Injury Lawyers.

Our California defective product lawyers have years of experience handling these claims. We believe that unless consumers take a stand against negligent manufacturers, companies will continue to sell dangerous products to buyers. Don’t pay the price for a manufacturer’s mistakes.

We know you might have questions you want answered about your legal options, which is why we offer free consultations. Fill out our online contact form today to get started with a case evaluation.

Stay Safe on Super Bowl Sunday

by Staff Blogger | January 27th, 2020

Whether or not you’re a football fan, Super Bowl Sunday is always a big event on social calendars around California. And unfortunately, it’s also one of the worst days of the year for motor vehicle accidents. Between drunk, fatigued, and distracted drivers, your risk of being hurt is far higher than usual on Super Bowl Sunday.

According to a 2013 study conducted by the Automobile Club of Southern California measuring traffic accidents over the course of 10 years, there is an average of 75% more alcohol-related crashes on Super Bowl Sunday than on all the other Sundays in January and February. And that number is only growing. The same organization conducted a similar study back in 2004 found a 41% increase in alcohol-related crashes on Game Day.

That’s why the team at Berg Injury Lawyers put together these tips. They’re useful for anyone attending a Super Bowl party this year, whether it’s at the home of a friend, family member, or coworker, or at a bar or restaurant.

Tips for Super Bowl Party Hosts

Car accidents aren’t the only potential danger awaiting partygoers. If you are planning on having friends and neighbors over to watch the Big Game, follow these tips to protect your guests, and protect yourself from liability if someone gets hurt.

  • Make sure the path to and from your door is clearly lit and free of ice and snow. This will prevent guests from slipping or tripping.
  • Take everyone’s keys at the door. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, but it can be hard to follow that rule when some of your guests make an Irish exit and leave without saying goodbye.
  • Politely make sure each guest knows how they are getting home. If at the end of the night it looks like a guest may be unsafe to drive, have alternate arrangements ready. That might mean calling a cab or allowing them to stay until it’s safe for them to drive home.
  • Make sure non-alcoholic drink options are available, and never serve alcohol to an underage guest. If an underage guest has alcohol at your home and gets into an accident driving home, you could be liable.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter to allow everyone time to sober up. This is also a good time to bring out coffee and dessert.
  • Be aware of any food allergies your guests might have. Some food allergies are airborne, meaning the person does not have to eat or touch the food but only needs to be in the same room to experience symptoms.
  • Always clean your knives and cutting boards between each step when preparing food to avoid contamination.
  • Cook all meat to the proper internal temperature. Don’t leave food sitting at room temperature for more than two hours, even if that means ferrying it back and forth between the table and the fridge or oven.
  • If you are a pet owner, keep your dog in another room throughout the party. Even if your dog is normally friendly, you may not know how they will react to a large number of unfamiliar people in their territory or unexpected loud noises like the cheers at a touchdown.

We’re Here to Help After Super Bowl Injuries

Big events like the Super Bowl offer many opportunities for injuries to occur. Injuries might come in the form of car accidents, slips, falls, dog bites, or any other unexpected event. Knowing how they happen and how to prevent them is the best way to protect yourself from liability and injury. But when others are less careful than you, you may still end up injured due to someone else’s negligence. When that happens, we want to help.

Contact the team at Berg Injury Lawyers today for help getting the compensation you deserve after your accident. We will gather evidence proving you were not at fault for your injury. We’ll also calculate how much you may be owed. We’ll factor in your medical bills and all other injury-related damages, including emotional harm or lost income.

Our track record of success helping injured victims get full compensation spans decades, and we’re ready to put our experience to work for you and your loved ones. Contact us today for a free case review.

Everything You Need to Know about Road Rage

by Staff Blogger | January 20th, 2020

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we spend a lot of time helping people who were hurt in crashes caused by negligent drivers. Most of the time, that negligence occurs in the form of speeding, driving while impaired, driving while distracted, running red lights and stop signs, or following other vehicles too closely. And while those drivers can and should be held liable for the damage and injuries they caused, they likely didn’t intentionally set out to harm others.

However, there’s another common driving behavior that occasionally results in crashes that can have a more intentional and even malicious undertone: road rage. Everyone experiences frustration and sometimes even anger when stuck in traffic or after being cut off on the highway, but road rage is a completely different phenomenon. People who experience road rage may lose control of their emotions and their behavior, causing them to act aggressively and potentially harm others through traffic accidents.

How to Spot and Handle Road Rage in Others

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that road rage incidents are on the rise in America. The number of deaths related to road rage increased from 80 in 2006 to 467 in 2015—an increase of nearly 500 percent. Knowing how to spot the signs of road rage in other drivers won’t just help you avoid a crash, but it could also save your life.

The next time you’re driving, keep an eye out for drivers who exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Speeding—Drivers who are angry often take out their aggression by increasing their speed, often significantly over the posted speed limits for the roads they’re on. If you encounter a speeding driver, change lanes and move out of the way as soon as you can do so safely.
  • Tailgating—Whether they’re angry over a perceived slight, or they’re impatient and angry, drivers experiencing road rage may tailgate others. Never slam on your brakes when you’re being tailgated. Instead, change lanes and allow the other driver to pass.
  • Honking—People experiencing road rage often want others to be aware of their anger and frustration. One of the easiest ways to do that is by honking their horns. If someone is frequently honking or holding down their horn, they may be about to act aggressively and should be avoided.
  • Staring/gesturing—When the objects of their frustration are nearby, drivers with road rage may stare or gesture at them, hoping to get a response or incite a reaction. Never respond to a driver who is attempting to antagonize you. Instead, continue looking straight ahead.

Tips for Defusing Road Rage in Yourself

Road rage isn’t always extreme cases of aggression. It can also be defined as taking unnecessary risks due to frustration and anger, both of which are common emotions for drivers to experience from time to time. Keep a cool and calm head in even the most trying traffic situations by following these tips:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination—Running late is one of the most common causes of bad decisions behind the wheel, including speeding, following too closely, and running red lights.
  • Get plenty of sleep—Being sleep-deprived is a major source of accidents on its own, but it can also make you more prone to impatience and even road rage. If you feel sleepy, take a nap before heading out on the road.
  • Listen to soothing music—The music you listen to have can have a major effect on your mood and your behavior. Calm, relaxing, and easygoing music with between 60 and 80 beats per minute is more conducive to safe driving than up tempo or aggressive music.

We Help Road Rage Victims Get the Money They Deserve

When we build claims for innocent victims of auto accidents, one of the first things we do is find evidence that the other driver was negligent. Drivers who let their anger, impatience, and frustration get the best of them aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities to drive safely, and that’s why they can be held liable for any injury-related expenses they cause.

If you or someone you love was hurt because of an aggressive driver, we want to help you get maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Successfully building a case that road rage or other negligent behaviors led to your crash requires years of experience, but we have a track record of compensation won for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.

Prevent Winter Driving Disasters with These Maintenance Tips

by Staff Blogger | January 13th, 2020

Winter can be harsh on roads and on your vehicle, even in Northern California. Although our winters aren’t as cold and icy as they are in other parts of the country, it’s still important to make sure your vehicle is properly winterized and ready for the impacting of dropping temperatures.

In addition to helping you avoid inconvenient and potentially dangerous vehicle breakdowns, proper car maintenance can also reduce your risks of being involved in an accident. Use the tips in our infographic below to ensure your vehicle remains in tip-top shape throughout the winter and well into spring.

Avoid These Common Vehicle-Related Winter Mistakes

Now that you’ve learned what you should do to reduce your risks of experiencing a breakdown or a crash this winter, it’s time for a quick rundown of things to never do. The following mistakes are common, and they can result in serious damage to your vehicle and even dangerous accidents:

  • Don’t defrost your windshield with hot water—Nothing melts ice as quickly as a bucket full of scalding hot water, but dumping one on your vehicle’s windshield will clear your wallet even faster. Hot water on frozen glass can mean a cracked windshield and an expensive repair.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid potholes—Potholes can be seriously damaging to your vehicle. In some cases, they can even total cars, trucks, and SUVs. But most potholes don’t cause much, if any, damage, and swerving to avoid one can increase your chances of colliding with another vehicle.
  • Don’t clear only a small porthole in your windshield—If your windshield ices over, make sure you clear it completely. Doing so can be time-consuming and might make you late for work, but driving with most of your visibility blocked can be extremely dangerous.
  • Don’t leave home without checking the weather—Winter storms are often predicted several days out. Being on the interstate or highway many miles from home when roads suddenly become slick from freezing rain can be dangerous, and you may end up trapped for several hours.
  • Don’t leave your fuel tank sitting more than half-empty. Condensation can collect in a half-empty fuel tank, and if it freezes it can damage your fuel lines.

Other important tips include packing emergency gear in your trunk, including blankets, clothing, water, and non-perishable snacks, and making sure others know your route and when you plan on arriving in case disaster strikes along the way.

We Help Auto Accident Victims Get Compensation All Year Long

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our auto accident attorneys know that winter weather can make roads much more dangerous, even in California. But we also know that crashes can occur at any time and place, whether it’s the dead of winter or the middle of summer. That’s why our legal team is ready to jump into action to help victims get the money they deserve after accidents that weren’t their fault.

If you or someone you love was hurt because of a negligent driver, we want to get you the compensation you deserve. Speeding, driving while intoxicated, driving while distracted, or even driving with a windshield full of ice and snow are all careless behaviors, and when those behaviors result in crashes, we think drivers should be held accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation. We want to put our experience to work for you.

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim

by Staff Blogger | January 6th, 2020

Many of us enjoy staying in touch with friends and family and engaging with like-minded people through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, to name just a few. If you aren’t on them all, odds are you use at least one.

We love sharing major events in our lives on social media, good or bad, and a serious injury definitely counts as one. However, if you have filed or are thinking about filing a personal injury claim to recoup your medical expenses after an accident, your social media posts could seriously harm your chances of getting the money you need.

Social media posts are considered part of the public record, even if your accounts are set to private, and the insurance company’s lawyers don’t need a warrant to access them. To put it another way, anything you share can and may be used against you by the insurance company when reviewing your claim or in a civil lawsuit.

Your Posts

Statements Minimizing Your Injuries

A status update to the people who care about you saying something as simple as “I was in a crash but I am okay,” or “I’m just glad it wasn’t worse” could be taken out of context to argue that your injuries are not as severe or painful as they actually are.

Accidental Admissions of Fault

Posts along the lines of “I didn’t see them coming” or “I didn’t have time to stop” could be used by the defense to argue that the accident was your fault for not paying attention to your surroundings or not taking reasonable corrective measures.

Posts that Contradict Your Compensation Claim

Accidents, especially car accidents, are confusing and stressful, and everyone’s memory is fallible. If you accidentally post something that differs from how you described the crash in the police report or in your compensation claim, the defense will use it against you.


When you’ve been injured and your life disrupted, you have every reason to be angry, especially when your injury is due to someone else being negligent. However, ranting about your injury or the responsible party online could hurt your claim. The defense could argue you are not injured and are only filing for spite or revenge.

Oversharing About Your Life

As strange as it seems, even posts that have nothing to do with your accident could hurt your chances of getting compensation. For example, posts about stressful or upsetting recent events in your life, such as a break-up, could cause the defense to argue that your emotional state at the time caused your crash.

Your Photos

Photos that Misrepresent Your Physical Health

Photos that appear to depict you doing activities that your injuries should prevent, even if you were not participating in the activity, or if the photo was taken before your accident and only posted later, could be used to argue your injuries are being exaggerated.

Photos that Misrepresent Your Emotional Health

Unfortunately, even photos of you looking happy and smiling (and who doesn’t smile when being photographed?) could be used as evidence your accident wasn’t as traumatic as it really was.

Your Friends and Family

It’s not just your own photos you should be wary of. If you are tagged in a photo by a friend that appears to show you happy and healthy, this could also be used as evidence against you.

Furthermore, if you post about your accident, and a friend jokingly replies with a statement like, “I told you to get off your phone!”, even if you and your friend both understand it’s a joke, the insurance company or court may not. And if they believe you contributed to your own accident by not paying attention to the road or speeding, it could hurt or ruin your chances of getting compensation altogether.

Your Online Activity

Avoiding all mention of your accident online isn’t a guarantee that the insurance company won’t be able to manipulate what you post, either. If you are trying to get compensation for the pain and emotional distress your injuries caused, but you continue to post as normal, the defense may try to argue that this proves that your injury didn’t seriously affect your life or mental health.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

The best way to ensure that your social media habits don’t accidentally harm your claim is to not use social media at all until after your claim is resolved. However, these steps can help protect you if you do continue to post.

  1. Set all your social media accounts to private.
  2. If possible, adjust your settings to prevent other users from being able to share your posts or to post comments on your accounts.
  3. Do not accept any new friend requests, especially from people you don’t know, while your claim is ongoing.
  4. Speak privately with friends and family and request they do not post anything about you, or especially your accident, until your claim is resolved.
  5. Avoid mentioning your settlement even after your claim is resolved. If your settlement involves a confidentiality agreement, posting about it could result in your settlement being revoked.

Hurt in a Car Accident? Call Berg Injury Lawyers.

If you were injured in a car accident, you need to contact the team at Berg Injury Lawyers right away. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies, and we know all the shady tricks they like to pull. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.

Winter Driving Tips

by Staff Blogger | December 30th, 2019

Although San Francisco and the Bay Area rarely experience freezing temperatures, winter weather and its impact on roadways can still be a concern for people living throughout Northern California. Whether you’re driving through some of the mountainous regions of the state this winter, or you’re taking a road trip to stay with friends and family for the holidays, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with winter driving and the best ways to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.

Inclement weather is one of the most common causes of auto accidents, and the accumulation of snow and especially black ice on roadways means less traction for tires and increased distances required for slowing down and stopping. The combination of those effects makes it easier for drivers to lose control of their vehicles and skid, spin out, or be unable to stop in time before colliding with vehicles in front of them.

Be Cautious and Safe This Winter

At Berg Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to help injured drivers and their passengers get compensation after crashes, but we know that the best course of action is to prevent crashes altogether. You can stay safer and do your part in making roadways less dangerous this winter by following these steps:

Modern advances in vehicle safety technology, such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, all-wheel drive, stability control, and innovations in winter tire design have made cars, trucks, and SUVs safer to drive in winter weather. However, those safety features shouldn’t be taken for granted, and it’s important to always drive cautiously when there’s a chance that roadways may contain snow or ice.

What Are Your Options If You’re Hurt in a Crash Caused by Snow or Ice?

Although winter weather makes roadways more dangerous, it doesn’t mean that accidents are a foregone conclusion. Like most auto accidents, winter crashes are often due to one primary factor: driver error. When other motorists fail to take into consideration the road conditions, visibility, and the effect freezing temperatures have on their vehicles, they put themselves and other motorists like you in danger. In addition, dangerous road conditions may be caused by negligent governmental bodies, whether it’s at the city, state, or even federal level, when they fail to clear roads.

And just like any other type of crash, our California auto accident lawyers are here to help injured victims get the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love was hurt in a winter crash that was caused by a driver who didn’t take the necessary precautions, or a governmental body responsible for road maintenance and safety who failed to do their duty, you may be eligible to get compensation for expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Why Call Berg Injury Lawyers After a Car Accident?

After an accident that wasn’t your fault, you need compensation for what you’ve gone through, but you may be unable to pursue it on your own—especially if you’re seriously injured, hospitalized, or have a long path to recovery. In addition, the insurance company will start building its case against you from day one in hopes of reducing or denying your claim. One misstep during the often months-long claims process could jeopardize your claim.

When you get our legal team on your side, you won’t have to worry about the insurance company’s phone calls, trying to collect evidence that proves you weren’t at fault, or making a statement that can be used against you by the insurance adjuster. We’ll handle everything from the moment you hire us until the moment you get your check. You’ve been through enough already—now you deserve a chance to recover and spend time with your family. Contact us today for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through, and we know how to help.

How to Keep Your Kids Entertained on Long Car Trips

by Staff Blogger | December 23rd, 2019

Whether you are taking a roadtrip for vacation, or are visiting family for the holidays, traveling with small children can often be frustrating, especially when you need to keep your eyes on the road and be ready to react to bad drivers at any moment. Being distracted by cries of “I’m bored”, “are we there yet?”, or “my sibling won’t stop poking me” are the last thing you need while driving!

The team at Berg Injury Lawyers know how that can be, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to keeping your kids entertained on your next car trip.

Must-Pack Items

Consider this your checklist when you next pack for a long car ride.

  • Kid-friendly books and/or activity books, or a kid-friendly electronic device such a tablet, portable DVD player, MP3 player with headphones, or other child-friendly electronic device, with the charger or spare batteries
  • Healthy snacks that won’t make a hard-to-clean mess if they spill
  • A lap desk—cookie sheets make a cheap and easy alternative that most people already have at home
  • Toys small enough to easily play with while seated, but large enough not to fall and become lost underneath the seats
  • Paper towels, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer to clean up messes
  • Garbage bags
  • A travel pillow
  • A disposable camera, which kids can use to take pictures out the window

Tips for Traveling with Kids

These tips are parent-tested and approved.

  • Get your kid involved in packing: allow each child to select for themselves at least one item (toy, game, or book) to bring along.
  • Make sure children requiring car seats are secured and fastened in. A study from 2015 found a startling 95% of parents make a mistake when installing a car seat, and a cranky child may be motivated to escape from their seat while their parents’ eyes are on the road.
  • Depending on how many children you have, and if any are old enough to sit up front, consider having one parent sit in the back to make it easier to get face-to-face time with the children.
  • If your child is prone to motion sickness, consider kid-friendly audiobooks rather than books or screen-time. Many libraries offer audiobooks for check-out, and several apps allow library-card holders to download audiobooks to their phones or tablets for free.
  • Plan your stopping points for lunch and bathroom breaks ahead of time, and remember that you will need to stop more frequently with small children. Plan to stop for a bathroom break around 20-30 minutes after a meal stop.
  • Consider making “snack jewelry” by looping circular snacks, such as cheerios, pretzels, or candy, onto a piece of string and allow your kid to snack at their leisure.
  • Reward good behavior by portioning out a new snack or toy every hour, instead of making all of them available at the start of the trip.
  • Avoid the “are we there yet?” with a trip tracker. Print out a map of your route and at each stopping point or major landmark (such as a state border), have your child place a sticker on the map so they can see for themselves how far they’ve gone, and how far they have left to go.

Conversation Games You Can Play Without Paper or Pens

When you don’t have toys or activity books, or when your kids lose interest, everyone can have fun with these games that don’t require any pieces or materials, just players.

20 Questions

One player thinks up an object, but does not tell the other players what it is. The other players can ask up to 20 yes-or-no questions to try to guess what the mystery object is. Examples of questions could be, “Is it smaller than a person? Is it an animal?” and so on.

Guess the Word

One player can trace a short word on the arm, back, or palm of another player using only their finger, and the player being written on must guess what that word is by the shape of the letters as they are being traced.

The Alphabet Game

Each player must find every letter of the alphabet on road signs, store signs, billboards, and so on (license plates cannot be used). However, they must be found in order. For example, if a player spots the letter ‘x’ before they’ve found a ‘w’ and every letter before it, it cannot be used. The first player to spot every letter of the alphabet wins.

License Plate Abbreviations

Players must come up with what the random letters found on a license plate of a passing car stand for. For example, a license plate that reads “TSD” might be imagined to stand for “The Silly Dog”. Whichever player comes up with the most amusing answer wins.

Alphabet Categories

After selecting a category, (ex: food, animals, cartoon characters, etc.) players take turns coming up with one answer for each letter of the alphabet, in order, that fits the category. For example, if the category is food, answers might be apple, banana, cake, and so on.

The Picnic Game

Players take turns describing what food items they are bringing to a picnic, with each player adding one additional item starting with the next letter of the alphabet. The longer the game goes on, the longer the list grows, and the more items each player must remember. For example, the first player must remember “apples”, the second player must remember “apples and bananas”, the third player must remember “apples, bananas, and cake”, and so on.

A, My Name is Anne

Players take turns moving through the alphabet and filling in the phrases, “My name is”, “I come from”, and “I have a suitcase full of” with words that start with that letter of the alphabet. For example, the first player might say, “My name is Anne, I come from Alabama, and I have a suitcase full of apples,” while the second player might say, “My name is Bert, I come from Bermuda, and I have a suitcase full of bananas.”

Team Storytelling

Each player takes turns supplying one sentence of a story, forcing players to stretch their imagination when another player takes the story in a new direction.

The Counting Game

Players taking turns counting, with the goal being to count up to 20. The first player says “one,” and then another player must say “two” and another “three” and so on, but players do not have to respond in a particular order. However, if more than one player responds at the same time, all players must start over from “one”, and if more than five seconds pass without any player responding, all players must start over from “one.”

Download Our Free Activity Book

If you are looking for more ways to keep your kids entertained in the car, the team at Berg Injury Lawyers has prepared a fun, free activity book. Download this book, print it out before your trip, and enjoy! Our book includes:

  • Coloring pages
  • Word searches
  • Mad libs
  • Mazes
  • Tic-tac-toe

After a Car Accident, Call Berg Injury Lawyers

Car accidents have the potential to be devastating, whether they occur on a roadtrip while you’re hundreds of miles from home, or on your daily commute. If you or someone you love were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we want to help you. When you trust the experienced California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers, we’ll work hard to build a claim that proves your accident wasn’t your fault and get you the compensation you need to try to get your life back to normal.

How to Gift a Car

by Staff Blogger | December 16th, 2019

The holiday season typically brings cooler temperatures, Christmas carols, and…car commercials. The holidays mean deals on new cars, and most car commercials feature shiny new models with big red gift bows on the roof.

Most of us won’t be gifting the latest model from the dealership to a loved one this holiday season, but there are several reasons why you might want to gift a car to a friend or family member. For example, you may want to gift your old car to a young family member who recently got their license, or to help out a friend in need who may be struggling financially.

Steps to Gifting a Car

The most important step to gifting a car is having a frank discussion with the person who will be receiving the car before you do anything else. You may want the gift to be a surprise, but there is a very important reason why it should not be. Gifting a car is very generous, but the cost to buy a car is not the only expense associated with car ownership.

If the person you are gifting the car to is unable to afford the cost of:

  • gas,
  • auto insurance,
  • maintenance and repairs,
  • annual registration,
  • and other fees,

and if you are not prepared or able to also cover these expenses yourself, then gifting a car may not be the right choice at this point in time.

If you are gifting a car you already own:

First, you need to legally own the car. If you are still making payments on the car you want to gift, you will need to finish paying off the lien before you can gift the car, because the financial institution you took out the loan from is technically still the legal owner.

Not sure if you are the legal owner or not? Check the vehicle’s title, which you should have received from the loan company after paying off the lien. If you can’t locate your title document, you can request an additional one from your local DMV after paying a replacement fee.

Next, you will need to transfer the title. The person gifting the car will need to fill out the seller’s portion of the transfer section of the title, and the person receiving the car will need to fill out the buyer’s portion. In California, you will need to:

  • Sign the title
  • If lienholders are listed on the title, they will need to sign as well
  • Fill in the odometer reading (if the car is less than 10 years old)
  • Where the title asks for sales price, fill in “gift”
  • Provide proof of smog certification (UNLESS you are giving the car to a family member or if the car is less than four years old and not diesel-powered)
  • Complete a Statement of Use Tax Exemption form
  • Complete a Statement of Facts form (UNLESS you are giving the car to a family member)
  • Inform the DMV within 10 days of signing over ownership
  • Have the gift recipient take the title to the DMV to register the vehicle in their name and pay the $15 title transfer fee.

If you are buying a new/used car as a gift:

If you are buying a car to gift, you will have four main options.

  1. Purchase the vehicle outright and follow the steps outlined above.
  2. Take out a loan in your own name but register the title under both your name and the gift recipient’s.
  3. Bring the gift recipient with you to the dealership and co-sign a loan.
  4. Bring the gift recipient with you to the dealership, gift the down payment and have the gift recipient finance the vehicle themselves.

What if the Person I Want to Gift My Car to Doesn’t Have Insurance?

The person receiving the car will not be able to register the car in their name or legally drive the car without insurance. They will need to purchase insurance to receive the gifted car.

What if the Person I Want to Gift My Car to Lives in Another State?

Title-transfer requirements vary state to state. Check the requirements for the state that the gift recipient lives in, because those are the ones you will need to follow.

Does Gifting a Car Affect Taxes?

In most cases, no.

A federal gift tax does exist. This is a tax on a gift-giver, based on the monetary value of the gift. This tax exists to prevent people from avoiding federal estate tax by giving away their money and property before they die. But this also means it only applies to large sums of money.

2019 tax code states that an individual can gift a car (or any other property) up to $15,000 in value, or up to $30,000 in value if jointly gifted with a spouse, without needing to pay gift tax, and without the recipient having to pay income tax on the gift.

Can I Get a Tax Deduction for Gifting My Car?

In most cases, no.

You can get a tax deduction if you gift it to a 501c(3) charity or to a religious organization, but not if you want to gift a car to an individual such as a friend or family member.

If you are gifting your old car to charity, you will also need to itemize your deductions, and you will need to fill out and submit Form 8283 with your tax return if the car is worth $500 or more.

When You Have Questions After a Car Accident, Contact the Team at Berg Injury Lawyers

One reason someone may need a car is because their old car has been wrecked in an accident. And when car accidents also cause injuries, they can leave victims struggling to pay their bills while they recover. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today.

Liability and Insurance in a Rental Car

by Staff Blogger | November 18th, 2019

There are endless reasons why you might need to rent a car. You might be traveling for business or on vacation and need a way to get around after you step off the plane. You may temporarily need more space or different features than your own car has, want to avoid adding additional mileage to your personal car on a road trip, or your own car may be in the shop.

Whatever the reason, road accidents are a risk every time you get behind the wheel of a car, even in a rental car.  However, getting compensation after an accident in a rental vehicle can be complicated.

What Makes Rental Car Accidents Different?

In any collision, the at-fault party has liability. However, the rental agreement you sign when you rent a car means you are responsible for any damage to the rental car, even if you were not at fault. This is why it’s so important to carefully inspect your rental vehicle for scratches and dents before leaving the lot.

After an accident caused by someone else, you will be required to pay your insurance deductible directly to the rental company, and then your insurance company will go after the at-fault party for the remainder.

Additionally, you may be responsible for paying “loss of use” fees for every day the rental vehicle is being repaired to compensate the rental company for the profit they’ve lost.

Finally, the rental company may not wait until the insurance matter is settled and charge you for the damages right away. If this happens, you will need to deal with the at-fault party’s insurance directly to get reimbursed.

What Steps to Take After an Accident in a Rental Car

Many of the initial steps you will need to take after an accident in a rental car are the same as those you would take immediately after a car accident in your own car.

Follow these steps after a car accident:

  1. Exchange contact information with the other driver.
  2. Take pictures of the scene of the accident.
  3. Make a police report.
  4. Notify your insurance provider.
  5. Seek medical attention.

However, unlike in most auto accidents, compensation could come from several sources, or none at all, and not all of your expenses may be covered. That’s why two additional steps must be added to the checklist.

  1. Notify your rental company.
  2. Contact a lawyer.

Determine What Type of Coverage You Have

There are three main sources of insurance coverage available for rental car accident claims.

  1. Your Personal Insurance: Nearly every state in the U.S. requires drivers to carry auto insurance in order to legally operate a vehicle, even if minimum coverage amounts vary. Most personal insurance policies will also cover accidents that take place in a rental car, but make sure to read the fine print. Some rentals may be excluded, such as exotics or trucks.
  2. Insurance Provided by Your Credit Card: Most major credit cards offer rental car insurance as a perk when you make the entire payment for the rental on the card. However, this is often collision insurance only, and won’t cover any medical expenses. Additionally, it may be secondary insurance, which means it only kicks in for what your personal insurance doesn’t pay, such as your deductible.
  3. Supplementary Insurance Provided by the Rental Company: When you rent a car, you will be offered additional insurance for purchase at the counter.

What Type of Coverage is Available from the Rental Company?

The most common type of supplementary insurance provided by the rental company is collision insurance, but there are four major types of insurance you can purchase at the time you make a rental.

  1. Collision Damage Waiver: This absolves the renter of responsibility for damage to or theft of the rental, except as the result of reckless driving or if the damage occurred while someone other than renter was driving.
  2. Liability Coverage: This covers property damage and medical expenses incurred by individuals other than the renter after a car accident in which the renter was at fault.
  3. Personal Accident Insurance: This covers medical expenses of the renter and any of the renter’s passengers.
  4. Personal Effects Coverage: This covers lost or damaged personal property kept in the rental vehicle.

What if I Was Hit By Someone Driving a Rental Car?

If you were hit by someone in a rental car, you will not be able to sue the rental company for any damage or medical expenses­­–federal law protects rental car companies from liability in situations like this.

Exchange information with the other driver and learn what insurance they may have. You may need to use your own insurance, through uninsured or underinsured coverage, to recover your medical expenses. A personal injury lawyer experienced with these types of cases will be best suited to help you learn what you need to do to get compensation.

Get Help Today

When there are multiple potential sources of compensation for an accident, filing a claim for your expenses after an accident that wasn’t your fault can be frustrating. Contact the car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation on your case.