Auto Accident

How Much Can Someone Sue for After a Car Accident in California?

by Staff Blogger | October 3rd, 2022

If you’re in a car accident resulting in injuries, you may incur medical bills and repair costs for your vehicle. You may also have to take time off work to recover, leading to lost wages and financial struggles.

If the at-fault driver causes you injuries or property damage in California, you may be able to sue for damages. The amount you receive depends on various factors, such as the cost of your medical treatment and the emotional distress the accident caused.

Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand how much you can sue for after your accident and how to maximize compensation.

Types of Damages in a Car Accident Claim

California law allows injured parties to recover economic damages for out-of-pocket expenses and bills. These damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Job loss
  • Repair or replacement costs
  • Household help expenses

Non-economic damages may also be recoverable for personal hardships resulting from your injuries. A few of the damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of consortium
  • Humiliation and injury to reputation

Average Car Accident Settlement Amount

The Insurance Information Institute reported that car liability claims for property damage averaged $3,841 in 2018. Liability claims for bodily injuries cost an average of $15,785.

Factors That Affect the Amount of Car Accident Settlements

Several factors determine the amount of your car accident compensation. They include:

  • The at-fault driver’s insurance coverage for injuries and property damage
  • The severity of your injuries and if they required extensive medical treatment
  • Psychological treatment for pain and suffering you received after the accident
  • Damage to your vehicle, such as a cracked windshield, personal property damaged inside the car
  • The length of time you were out of work and the amount of lost income suffered during your recovery

How Car Accident Settlements Are Calculated

The insurance company and your legal team calculate your car accident settlement. Both parties examine the following elements to come to a reasonable amount:

  • Expenses associated with car or property damage
  • Ongoing medical expenses, including medical bills, prescriptions, and physical therapy
  • Future medical bills based on your medical records and your doctor’s treatment plan
  • Pain and suffering calculated using your medical records and personal statements
  • Amount of lost wages and future loss wages based on your income tax returns and pay stubs before the accident

The insurance company is typically the first to calculate a settlement. They will offer you a starting amount you can accept or refuse. If the insurer tries to give you a low offer, your lawyer can help you negotiate for a higher settlement based on the circumstances of your accident.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement?

Negotiating a fair car accident settlement between your attorney and the other driver’s insurance company can take several months to over a year. A 2015 study from The National Center for State Courts found that settling a case took an average of 478 days. The time to settle your claim can vary based on your insurer’s investigation of your injury claim and calculation of your settlement.

Steps to Take to Prove You Are Not at Fault

The auto insurance company may try to reduce your settlement by saying you are partially or fully at fault for the accident. California follows pure comparative negligence to determine liability for each party involved in an accident. Your percentage of fault can reduce your damages. For instance, if you are 20% responsible for the collision, you may see a 20% reduction in the damages you receive.

The following steps are crucial in gathering evidence to reduce your liability for the accident:

  • Contact the police to report the accident so that they can record the circumstances and help determine liability
  • Document the accident scene, including vehicle damage, accident debris, traffic lights, and the weather
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
  • Get the contact information for witnesses who can give details about the accident
  • Avoid talking about the case with anyone other than a lawyer, and avoid posting on social media
  • Hire an attorney to obtain witness testimony and additional evidence like dash cam videos and surveillance footage

Discuss Your Case with a California Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident, the car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have over 40 years of experience and can help you get fair compensation. We can evaluate your case in a free initial consultation.

Contact us today to book a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, and let us help you get started on your case.

Can You File a Personal Injury Claim if You Weren’t Wearing a Seatbelt in a Crash?

by Staff Blogger | September 26th, 2022

Using a seatbelt helps you stay secure in your vehicle and reduces injuries. Seatbelts saved an estimated 14,995 lives in 2017, and an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved if seatbelts had been used. In California, seatbelts are not only legally required but not wearing them can incur a fine of $162 for adults.

You can still file a personal injury claim if you were not wearing your seatbelt during a crash and suffered injuries. However, the insurance company may attempt to reduce or deny your compensation because you failed to wear a seatbelt.

An experienced San Francisco car accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can advise you of your legal rights to compensation and develop a legal strategy for your defense.

What is California’s Seatbelt Law?

California’s seatbelt law states that no driver can operate a vehicle on a highway unless everyone over 16 wears seatbelts. A highway can be any place maintained by the government that is open to the public for vehicular use. This definition includes streets, meaning all drivers and passengers must wear their seatbelts while using their vehicles.

The seatbelt law requires that the seatbelt must go around the waist. If the vehicle has shoulder straps, they should be over the shoulders. It also requires vehicle owners to keep seatbelts in good working condition, including straps, webbing, buckle, latch plate, pillar loop, and retractor.

What Is the Impact of Not Wearing a Seatbelt on Your Liability?

The insurance company’s claims adjuster will investigate the details of the accident and the severity of your injuries, so they can decide whether to offer a settlement. Unfortunately, failing to wear a seatbelt may prevent you from attaining the full compensation you deserve.

You can work with a car accident attorney who can evaluate your case and offer legal options, including taking it to court. Having a skilled lawyer on your side is essential because the insurance company may use a legal theory known as the seatbelt defense to reduce the damages in your settlement.

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

The seatbelt defense, also known as the “affirmative defense” under California court instructions, is based on the presumption that you should have been wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash. As a result, although you were not responsible for the accident, your failure to wear a seatbelt contributed to your injuries. Just like other drivers have a legal responsibility not to harm others around them, you also have a responsibility to not put yourself in harm’s way.

A jury will assess your negligence in causing your injuries by determining:

  • The availability of a working seatbelt.
  • If a reasonable person could have used the seatbelt in your situation.
  • Your failure to wear a seatbelt.
  • If your injuries could have been less severe if you had worn your seatbelt.

Protect Your Legal Right to Financial Compensation

If the insurance company is successful in their defense, the jury can determine how much you can get in damages. The state of California relies on pure comparative fault, meaning that each party is liable for their percentage of fault in the accident, which is subtracted from their potential compensation. For instance, if you were deemed 10% at fault for your injuries, you may only recover $90,000 of $100,000.

An experienced lawyer can challenge the seatbelt defense from the insurance company. They can prove that not wearing a seatbelt wouldn’t have reduced the severity of your injuries. Your lawyer can also determine whether you would have suffered any different injuries if you had worn your seatbelt, such as bruising, abrasions, intra-abdominal injuries, and vertebral fractures.

The police report and the medical diagnoses for your injuries can show the severity of your injuries and your need for compensation. Testimonies from medical and safety experts can also help your lawyer distinguish between the injuries you sustained in the crash and the injuries you might have avoided if you had worn a seatbelt. If so, this could be used to reduce your fault in the accident against another party who was responsible for causing the crash.

Rely on the Car Accident Attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers

Although you may not have worn a seatbelt during a crash, you still have a legal right to compensation for your injuries in California. Trust Berg Injury Lawyers to advocate for your interests throughout the legal process of filing a claim. Contact our law office today for a free consultation of your case and let us help you with your personal injury claim.

Can Over-the-Counter Meds Cause Impaired Driving?

by Staff Blogger | September 19th, 2022

Driving while using over-the-counter (OTC) medications is a common occurrence. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recorded that 13% of daytime drivers tested positive for prescription or OTC medication in 2018. Drivers often mistakenly consider the effects of OTC medication harmless when it comes to driving ability. However, a 2020 study showed that those who used OTC sleep medications were 41.9% more likely to get into a car accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident that you suspect was caused by another driver’s OTC medication use, it is crucial to understand how OTC medication impairs driving and seek help from a qualified attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers today.

How Over-the-Counter Meds Can Impair Driving

After taking an OTC medication, some people experience side effects, which are mild to moderate adverse reactions caused by the medication. Some side effects are uncomfortable, but others are not always obvious.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, common medication side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Clumsiness, impaired coordination
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Restlessness

Even mild side effects of OTC medication use can have dangerous or devastating consequences when behind the wheel. In 2015, 90,000 of all reported car accidents in the U.S. involved a tired or drowsy driver. 33,000 of those crashes caused serious injuries.

What Over-the-Counter Meds Cause Impairment?

Many OTC medications can cause side effects that impair driving, posing a risk on the road. Common OTC medications that can cause difficulty driving include:

  • Antihistamines (e.g., Benadryl, Allegra)
  • Cold or cough medication
  • Sleep aids (e.g., Melatonin, Valerian)
  • Antidiarrheal medications
  • Anti-nausea or motion sickness medications (e.g., Dramamine)
  • Caffeine pills
  • Diet pills
  • CBD products

A medication’s most common side effects are typically listed on the packaging or a leaflet inside the box. Every medication has different side effects; some side effects last longer than others or become more severe if the drug is taken alongside other medications or alcohol.

If an OTC medication can have hazardous side effects, it will contain a warning on the label, leaflet, and packaging. The label may say to avoid operating heavy machinery, which includes driving a car: cars are considered a form of heavy machinery, and driving could put you and others at risk.

Can I Be Sued for Driving on Over-the-Counter Drugs?

You can be sued for driving while under the influence of OTC drugs. Every U.S. state, including California, includes OTC medication in their DUI laws. If you experience side effects from OTC medication and get into a collision. As a result, you are still considered at fault, and the injured party can file suit against you for injury or damages.

When to Avoid Driving After Taking Over-the-Counter Drugs

It isn’t always possible to judge your driving ability under the influence of OTC drugs. You may not recognize your level of impairment, putting you at greater risk of a car accident. Instead, watch for early signals that you or a loved one may not be in a position to drive.

Some signs that you shouldn’t drive include:

  • Yawning excessively
  • Trouble staying awake; “dozing off” periodically
  • Reacting slowly
  • Forgetting things easily
  • Difficulty concentrating on things around you
  • Losing focus or “zoning out” often
  • Poor coordination

If you show these symptoms, finding an alternative to driving is the safest choice. Ask somebody else to drive you, rideshare with Uber or Lyft, order delivery instead of going out, or wait to drive until the medication has worn off. Driving under the influence of OTC drugs can lead to a car accident and a costly lawsuit.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been in a car accident and aren’t sure what the next steps are, you’re not alone. When over-the-counter or prescription drugs may have been at fault, it’s important to seek help from a qualified legal defense team.

Our California car crash lawyers team can provide legal counsel, closely review your case and help you get the defense or payout you deserve. Contact us today to set up a private free consultation.

The Risk Drivers Face as They Age

by Staff Blogger | September 12th, 2022

Older adults face more risks on the road than younger drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 13% of deadly car crashes in 2020 involved drivers aged 65 or older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these crashes place all involved parties at risk but are far more fatal for drivers over 70.

Many variables place older drivers at risk of an accident, including reduced mental and physical abilities. Read on to learn the risks older drivers face on the road and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help if your loved one suffers injuries in an auto accident.

How Age Affects Driving Ability

Everyone’s physical and mental abilities decrease with age, impacting their driving skills in various ways. Age-related driving issues include:

Decreased Physical Ability

Older adults often experience joint and muscle stiffness, arthritis, or other mobility conditions that make moving difficult or painful. These impairments can make it hard to turn the steering wheel or hit the brakes in time, potentially leading to a collision.

Many older adults also have vision problems. Vision issues can cause trouble seeing at night, eye pain when exposed to bright light (such as oncoming headlights or sun glare off the windshield), and difficulty reading road signs. If elderly drivers overlook stop signs or other vehicles, they can cause serious harm to themselves and others in a car accident.

Reduced Cognitive Ability

Mental and cognitive functions decline in older adults, making certain aspects of driving difficult or dangerous. Dementia is a term for the general cognitive decline of aging persons and can contribute to worsening driving in elderly adults.

For instance, an older driver with dementia may fail to fully take in their surroundings and collide with another car while attempting to change lanes. They may also become lost and distressed on streets that used to be familiar to them.

Medical Conditions and Medication

Various medical conditions and medications can impair driving ability. If an aging driver has a medical condition like sleep apnea, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, they are more likely to cause a collision due to impaired functioning.

Likewise, taking medication that causes difficulty moving, seeing, or reacting can increase a driver’s chances of causing or being involved in an accident. Any medication that cautions not to “operate heavy machinery” after taking, means your loved one should not be driving while the medication is in effect. 

Recognizing Signs a Loved One Should No Longer Drive

Some older adults cannot safely operate a vehicle. According to the National Institute of Aging, older adults should be monitored or kept off the road if you notice:

  • They receive more tickets, dents in the car, or get into more car accidents.
  • They frequently become lost, even in familiar areas.
  • They show reluctance or anxiety around driving.
  • They have dementia, profound loss of sight, or another condition or disability that makes driving dangerous.

Protecting Aging Loved Ones Behind the Wheel

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that between 1997 and 2020, the fatality rate for drivers over 70 had declined by 22%. This may be attributed to increased awareness of the danger of letting elderly drivers with physical or cognitive impairments drive. It’s important to continue protecting aging loved ones who continue driving after age 65.

Car Adaptations and Habit Adjustments

For older adults with physical disabilities who can otherwise drive safely, consider adapting their car for their condition. For instance, if they have pain in their legs or feet, they can install devices allowing them to control the pedals by hand.

Other aging drivers can change their driving habits. For example, a driver with vision problems may opt to drive only during the day, limiting exposure to disorienting headlights that make an accident more likely.

Talking to Your Loved One About Not Driving

If you believe your loved one shouldn’t drive any longer, discussing their driving safety is crucial. Although there’s no one right way to approach the topic with your loved one, consider the following tips for the conversation:

  • Show empathy. It’s difficult for older adults to give up driving because they may feel like they are losing independence. Show them you understand their feelings and offer potential solutions that support their independence in other ways.
  • Use “I” language. Avoid using “you” language, as it can cause feelings of shame for an elderly driver. Instead, use “I” phrases such as, “I’m worried that it might not be safe for you to drive at night,” rather than, “You’re driving recklessly at night.”
  • Find solutions. Many older adults are reliant on driving for their daily and social needs. Work with them so they can still meet these needs, like finding carpools or transit services.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents involving an elderly driver are immensely stressful. Our California car crash lawyers understand the complexity of car accident lawsuits and can provide the legal advice and protection you need for your elderly loved one.

Get in touch with Berg Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation regarding your elderly loved one’s accident to learn how to proceed with their case.

Signs Someone Suffered a Brain Injury in a Crash

by Staff Blogger | September 7th, 2022

Car crashes can result in closed-head injuries—injuries to the brain but not the skull—making them hard to diagnose. However, without visible evidence of damage, victims themselves can make the mistake of trying to move on with their lives without seeking a thorough medical check.

Being able to recognize brain-injury symptoms can help you learn when to seek medical help after an accident, and secure the necessary compensation to avoid financial strain while you rehabilitate.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of brain damage that occurs when the head is suddenly and violently hit. The severity of a TBI depends on several factors, including the force of the impact, the injury’s location, and the victim’s age and overall health.

Although brain injury is often associated with blows to the head during sports or car accidents, it can also occur due to falls, gunshots, or other trauma. Treatment for TBIs usually depends on the severity of the injury and may include measures like extended rest, pain medications, or surgery.

In severe cases, patients may require long-term rehabilitation to regain their ability to speak, walk, and eat.

What Are the Signs of a Brain Injury After a Car Crash?

Unless the brain is severely damaged in a car crash, it can often be challenging to diagnose a brain injury. This is because some symptoms may be attributed to other conditions, such as psychiatric disorders, while other brain injury effects only show up days or weeks after the initial injury. 

The gradual onset of symptoms makes it challenging for medical professionals to diagnose the injury properly. This can create obstacles when trying to recover compensation from insurance companies or the people at fault.

Immediate Symptoms

The most common and immediate signs of a brain injury include:

  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Clear discharge (cerebrospinal fluid) from the ears and nose

However, more serious brain injuries can also result in convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and even coma.

Long-Term Symptoms

More severe brain injury symptoms can develop over time, making them difficult to tie to the initial accident. These symptoms can affect the victim’s ability to perform basic tasks, both at work and at home. Long-term symptoms include:

  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Problems with coordination and balance

In some cases, a brain injury can lead to frequent seizures, hearing loss, and vision problems. The exact nature and severity of symptoms vary depending on the extent of the injury. However, even mild brain injury can cause lasting problems.

Why You Need a Doctor and an Attorney To Prove Your Case

Many people think that if they have a brain injury resulting from a car crash, they can automatically receive compensation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Establishing a connection between the collision you were in and the injury you suffered is critical to receiving monetary compensation.

This can be difficult to do without the help of a doctor and an attorney. A doctor can document the extent of your injuries, how they occurred, and their impact on your ability to function.

One of the most challenging aspects of diagnosing a brain injury is that no single test or set of symptoms can definitively confirm the presence of a brain injury. Instead, diagnosis typically relies on a combination of medical imaging, cognitive testing, and patient self-reporting. This can make it difficult to obtain an accurate picture of the extent of an injury, particularly in the early stages. Determining the extent of the injury is important for calculating how much compensation will be needed.

Additionally, brain injuries can often lead to subtle changes in cognitive or emotional functioning that may not be immediately apparent to the individual or those around them. As a result, a victim’s diminished ability to perform at their job or their increasing symptom intensity may not be immediately attributable to the car crash.

Getting the help of a competent neurologist and an experienced personal injury attorney can vastly increase your chances of proving the connection between an accident and your injury.

Tests for Diagnosing a TBI

A computed tomography (CT) scan is one of the most common tests for diagnosing brain injuries. This test uses X-rays to create detailed images of the brain. CT scans can help doctors identify bleeding, fractures, bruising, fluid build-up, and other damage to the brain.

Another common test for identifying brain injuries is an MRI. This test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed brain and brain stem images.

Doctors may also use a PET scan. This test uses a special dye and a low-dose radioactive tracer to create images of the brain. PET scans can help doctors identify areas of the brain that are not functioning properly.

In addition to these tests, doctors may perform neurological exams, including memory, vision, balance, and coordination tests.

Seek Assistance From a Knowledgeable Attorney

Having a skilled attorney by your side is essential when filing a brain-injury claim. The California brain injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you collect medical and police reports, witness statements, and other necessary documentation to help build an indisputable claim regarding your brain injury.

If you or a family member is a crash victim experiencing signs of a brain injury, get in touch with our legal team to get the full legal and medical support you need.

Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a no-obligation, free initial consultation regarding your brain injury.

Can You File a Lawsuit Against an Undocumented Driver?

by Staff | August 15th, 2022

If you have been in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have proper documentation, you may wonder about your next legal steps. Filing a lawsuit against an undocumented driver is an available legal option when you’ve suffered injuries and vehicle damage. However, you may also file a claim with your insurance company to recover compensation.

Work with a California car accident attorney when you decide how to proceed after getting into an accident with an undocumented driver. They can investigate the accident and the undocumented driver to help you determine your legal options.

Determining if an Injury Claim Against an Undocumented Driver is Required

In California, undocumented people are allowed to have driver’s licenses, and therefore should have auto insurance coverage. If you suffered injuries in a collision with an undocumented person, your attorney can investigate to see if the undocumented driver has the required auto insurance coverage. This can help you decide on your next legal steps.

If the undocumented driver carries the appropriate auto insurance, you can file a claim with their insurance company seeking a settlement. Otherwise, if the undocumented driver responsible for the accident has no way of paying for damages, you can turn to your insurance company for financial compensation.

Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim

California law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage as part of the auto insurance policy. You can only submit a claim for the uninsured motorist coverage if you opted under your insurance policy. This type of insurance protects you against accidents caused by drivers who lack proper insurance coverage. It covers bodily injuries up to the limits of your liability insurance.

Uninsured motorist insurance includes coverage for property damage, up to $3,500 when the other driver has been identified. Property damage coverage may not be available under your uninsured motorist policy if you have separate comprehensive and collision coverage.

Your lawyer can present relevant evidence, such as photos or videos showing physical contact between you and the other vehicle, to help you file an uninsured motorist claim. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence, and an experienced lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you do this while protecting your rights to pursue compensation.

Filing a Claim for Physical Damage

Most California lenders require comprehensive and collision coverage when you lease or finance a car. Often, comprehensive coverage is bundled with collision coverage. Collision insurance covers damage caused by accidents involving other vehicles, people, or objects.

The compensation offered by the collision and comprehensive coverage are based on your policy’s limits and your car’s market value. It may not be a good idea to choose this coverage if the value of your car is low.

When to File a Lawsuit for Damages Against an Undocumented Driver

If the undocumented driver has enough assets to cover your accident’s damages, you can file a lawsuit against them. As part of the initial investigation into your accident, a lawyer can search the driver’s assets to determine if they are in reasonable financial standing. With this information, your lawyer can determine the chances of you receiving compensation by filing your lawsuit.

Your lawyer may conduct an asset search for unreported assets, business entities hiding assets, and other sources of income. They can also determine if any personal property exists, such as real estate, under the driver’s name.

Along with evidence of your medical bills, loss of wages, and medical records regarding the loss of future earning capacity, your lawyer can put together a lawsuit for compensation against the undocumented driver.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

You can also sue when a loved one dies in an accident caused by an undocumented driver. You and your lawyer need to prove that the negligent party committed a driving error, like going over the speed limit and that this lack of care caused your loved one’s passing.

A loved one’s death must have caused your family economic or non-economic losses, like lost wages and the loss of companionship. If you have suffered a loss, your lawyer knows how to calculate your damages and will fight for maximum compensation for you and your family on behalf of your deceased loved one.

Enlist the Help of a Car Accident Attorney Today

Legal issues relating to accidents involving undocumented immigrants are complex. When a car accident involves an undocumented driver, it is best to seek ‌the assistance of California car accident lawyers from Berg Injury Lawyers to help you assess your legal options and file a claim with the appropriate entity.

Contact us today to talk with one of our lawyers in a free case evaluation so we can review the circumstances of your accident and help you seek compensation.

Should the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit Be Lowered? Here’s the Argument for Stricter Laws

by Staff | August 8th, 2022

Even mild alcohol consumption by motorists can potentially prove fatal for drivers and passengers on the road. Stricter laws can save thousands of lives and prevent debilitating injuries to innocent commuters.

At the law firm of Berg Injury Lawyers, a team of knowledgeable attorneys with a proven track record in DUI lawsuits can fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol on a Driver?

Alcohol consumption can have a variety of effects on a driver. These include:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired coordination

These effects can make it difficult for a driver to operate a vehicle safely. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving accidents account for 30% of all traffic fatalities in the United States.

If you plan to drink, it is essential to designate a sober driver. Ride-sharing services and other public modes of transportation can also provide viable options for those intending to consume alcohol. Otherwise, drunk drivers place themselves and others at risk of severe injury or death.

The Argument Against Stricter BAC Limits

In recent years, there has been a push for lower legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limits. At the same time, there is also an argument by some against stricter BAC laws. Proponents of keeping current BAC limits note that alcohol impairment begins well before the legal limit of 0.08%. The implication is that even if the BAC limit is lowered, many drivers on the road will still be impaired.

In addition, there is a concern that stricter BAC limits could lead to more false positives, as even a small amount of alcohol can put some people over the limit. This could lead to innocent people being pulled over and arrested for DUI, even if they are not impaired.

Drunk Driving Statistics

Despite the argument for maintaining BAC levels at their current percentages, the drunk driving statistics paint a grim picture.

The 11,654 drunk driving fatalities reported in the United States for 2020 correspond to an average of one person dying every 45 minutes from this preventable cause. A 14% increase in the 2019 drunk driving fatalities presents a worrying trend that regulators and concerned citizens believe requires attention.

While the total number of injuries from alcohol-related car accidents is harder to put a number on, the $52 billion in damages and injuries that result annually indicates the scope of the problem. From traumatic brain injury and burns to amputations and paralysis, the severity of injuries from drunk driving accidents cannot be overlooked.

What the Research Shows

The NHTSA estimates that lowering the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .08 to .05 would save approximately 500 lives per year in the United States. The estimate is partly based on Utah’s implementation of a .05 BAC limit and its resulting reduction in DUI-related fatalities.

Proponents of stricter DUI laws argue that this is a necessary measure to make our roads safer. They point to statistics showing that drivers with a BAC of .05 are seven times more likely to be involved in a crash than sober drivers.

Additionally, lowering the BAC limit would make it easier for police to catch drunk drivers and deter people from driving after drinking.

What Happens After a Drunk Driving Accident?

After seeking medical attention and contacting law enforcement authorities, the first thing you should do post-collision is contact a personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer will be able to assess your case and advise you on the best course of action.

You may need to file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver. This can be done through their insurance company or directly through the courts.

If pursuing compensation for your injuries requires litigation, your attorney can gather all relevant medical records and evidence to prove your claim. Cell phone records can be requested via subpoena in the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit if they are deemed relevant to the case.

Even when telecom providers don’t keep the contents of text messages, data about the timing of texts or calls can help provide insights into the cause of a crash.

It’s important to remember that drunk driving accidents are serious, and you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.

Drunk driving accident victims in California can contact the skilled Sacramento car accident lawyers at Berg Injury. Call our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your case today.

The Most Common Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Injury Claims

by Staff | August 3rd, 2022

injuries can cost you thousands in medical bills and lost wages, with little to no respite offered by insurance companies that you might file a personal injury claim with.

These profit-driven insurance companies stay in business by denying or reducing settlements. They cite various reasons to justify their decision and hope you don’t question their reasoning.

Met with physical pain, hefty medical bills, and denied insurance claims, it is natural to feel helpless and frustrated, but you shouldn’t have to deal with it all on your own. The experienced San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers specialize in injury claims and can help you fight for the compensation you truly deserve. 

A crucial part of building a strong case is understanding why your insurance company might deny your injury claim ahead of time.

The Accident and Injuries Are Your Fault

Since California is an at-fault state, insurance companies decide who is to blame for the accident. They do so by considering police reports, witness statements, photos, and videos of the accident scene. The insurance company of the individual at fault then compensates the victim with a monetary settlement.

The insurance company can deny your auto accident claim if evidence shows you violated a traffic rule, such as speeding or drunk driving, and causing the accident. If you are liable for the accident, it may affect the amount of compensation you receive.

California’s pure comparative negligence means your settlement is reduced by the percentage of fault you hold. So, for example, if the insurance company can prove you are 60% at fault for the accident, you will only receive 40% of your settlement.

You Aren’t Really Injured

Insurance companies can deny claims for injuries by claiming that no injuries were caused during the accident. They might use evidence from your social media accounts and personal life to prove that you did not suffer injuries or that they are less severe than you claim.

If you post a photo on social media of yourself enjoying a party after claiming compensation for your injuries, the insurance company may use the image against you to deny your claim. Your social media accounts can also track your location, proving you were active after the accident to the insurance company.

A Pre-Existing Condition Caused Your Injury

Insurance companies can also deny injury claims because of pre-existing health conditions. They might argue that your injury is not caused by the car accident but is instead a result of a health problem, that you were already struggling with prior to the accident.

For example, your insurance company may attribute the crippling pain in your knee joint to arthritis instead of the trauma caused by the accident.


Your Injury Was Not Caused By the Car Accident

Insurance companies sometimes also deny claims by simply stating that the car accident did not cause your injury. If you suffer an injury such as a torn rotator cuff, they might argue that repetitive motions and heavy lifting from your job caused the injury. If the car insurance company does not have evidence connecting your injury to the car accident, you will not receive compensation for the injury.

Your Injury Was Avoidable

Insurance companies often cite failure to mitigate or avoid the injury as reason enough to deny you your rightful insurance claim. They may argue that you could have reasonably avoided the accident or prevented the injury by taking some necessary steps, making you responsible for the injury and hence ineligible for any compensation.

The same argument can ‌reduce, if not completely deny, your settlement. If the insurance company thinks you are equally responsible for the injury, your settlement could be negatively affected.

Injury Claim Denied: Now What?

Even though a claim denial can be prevented by building a strong case, a denied injury claim is common and does not mark the end of your settlement journey. You can work with your legal team to persist in pursuing your claim with more aggressive tactics.

Your attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can negotiate with the insurance company, providing proof of your injuries and how their client was at fault for the accident. If the insurance company won’t make a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can threaten legal action and take the case to court.

Many insurance companies end up paying out a fair settlement to avoid costly litigation, so working with a lawyer who understands this element can help you get maximum compensation.

Schedule Your Free Case Review

If you suffer injuries in a car accident in California and face a denied claim, contact Berg Injury lawyers to help you reverse the decision and get a fair settlement. We will fight on your behalf and ensure you know your legal options.

Book a free consultation with our skilled car accident lawyers for a free case review to get started on your settlement.

Who Is Considered Liable for an E-Scooter Accident?

by Staff | July 18th, 2022

Electric scooters or e-scooters offer an environmentally friendly option for traveling in congested urban areas. With a 48% increase in electric scooter traffic in one year in San Francisco, people should know what to expect if they get in an accident while on their electric scooter.

Determining liability in an e-scooter accident can be complicated because there may be several at-fault parties. If a scooter collision caused your injuries, having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side can improve the outcome of your case.

The car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can evaluate your case during a free case review and advise you of your next steps.  

How Common Are E-Scooter Accident Injuries?

San Francisco saw a 58% increase in scooter collisions from 2020 to 2021. E-scooters represent 6% of crashes in the city. Most crashes occur when a vehicle hits the scooter broadside at an intersection. Doctors see most injuries to the head and face because most riders don’t use protective gear.

Crashes with motor vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, damage to internal organs, and broken bones.

A University of California San Francisco study found a 365% increase in hospital admissions from scooter-related injuries between 2014 and 2018. Almost one-third of these patients experienced head trauma, more than double the rate for bicycle accidents, and researchers believe these figures under-report the true scope of the issue.

Determining Liability in an E-Scooter Accident

Several parties can potentially be liable for an e-scooter accident and the resulting injuries and damages. These include:

Motor vehicle drivers

Drivers can cause motor vehicle accidents by using smartphone devices, talking with passengers, or adjusting the radio or climate control. Fatigued drivers might struggle to stay awake, limiting their ability to concentrate on the road and decreasing their reaction times.

In traffic, aggressive drivers often overlook smaller vehicles like e-scooters. Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s vision, decision-making skills, and reaction time, increasing the risk of a car accident.

E-scooter manufacturer or rental company

The scooter manufacturer might be held responsible for the accident if one of their scooter parts or software caused it.  If the rental company knew about these defects and failed to correct them, they can be held liable for injuries caused by the defects.

If injuries are caused by faulty equipment and loose handlebars, the e-scooter rental company can be held liable. If there was a mechanical failure with the scooter, the manufacturer may be liable in a product liability case due to defective equipment.

Commercial property owner

It is the responsibility of the commercial property owner to maintain their properties and keep them safe. If an accident occurs because of debris and hazards, the property owner may be held liable for the injuries.

What to Do if Injured in an E-Scooter Accident

If you have been injured while you were on your e-scooter, ‌follow these steps to protect your rights to compensation. 

1.     Get medical attention

If you and the other driver suffered injuries, call 911 to ask for emergency services. Immediate medical attention is not only for your well-being, but you will need your medical records to connect your injuries to the accident and the liable party.

2.     Report the accident to the police

Tell the responding police officer the details of the e-scooter accident, including how and when it started. Do not speculate about who is liable for the accident or give incriminating statements. The officer can write a police report for you to use as evidence for your insurance claim.

3.     Gather evidence

If possible, take photos and videos of any damage caused by the accident. Find out the other driver’s insurance information and their vehicle’s license plate number. Gather contact information from any witnesses who were present at the scene.

4.     Contact a personal injury lawyer

Getting the help of experienced California car accident lawyers from Berg Injury Lawyers will ensure you have the best chance of winning your case. Your lawyer can investigate the crash, review your medical records, and interview witnesses to determine liability. They can then calculate a fair settlement and negotiate with the insurance company.

Get Compensated for Your Injuries

If you suffer injuries in an accident while on your e-scooter, the car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get the financial compensation you deserve. Our legal team can work with you to achieve the best possible financial outcome with the insurance company. Contact us today to schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

When Car Accidents Cause Miscarriages, What Legal Options Do Mothers Have?

by Staff | July 4th, 2022

States don’t include pregnancy status in their accident report databases, but researchers estimate 92,500 car accident-related injuries to pregnant people every year in the U.S. These accidents cause more miscarriages than any other source of trauma.

Research indicates that 1,500 to 3,000 fetal losses occur each year due to trauma from auto accidents. These estimates may not reflect the full scope of the problem due to the absence of reporting requirements and injuries sustained early in pregnancy.

Nothing is more heartbreaking and emotionally devastating than a miscarriage due to a preventable car crash. The terrible loss can result in emotional distress and mental anguish for the mother, which is usually the basis for a claim against the negligent party. Berg Injury Lawyers can help you file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party to recover restitution for your tragic loss.

How Car Accidents Cause Miscarriage

According to a 2014 study, pregnant women injured in car accidents require hospitalization more often than any other cause. Accidents can cause several injuries that lead to miscarriage, even if the mother seems okay.

  • Placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches partially or entirely from the uterus, hindering or severing blood flow to the fetus. This injury accounts for 60-70% of all miscarriages.
  • Premature rupture of the membranes happens when the water breaks before the baby’s due date. This injury dramatically increases the risk of infection and can lead to miscarriage.
  • Uterine rupture can cause hemorrhaging in the mother and fetus. It can lead to fetal loss if it occurs before the fetus can survive outside the uterus or if surgery doesn’t happen quickly enough.
  • Direct trauma to the fetus can cause fatal brain or internal organ injuries.
  • Maternal trauma can damage the mother and fetus’ shared systems, leading to miscarriage.

Every pregnant person should seek medical attention immediately after a motor vehicle accident because injuries to the placenta may not present symptoms right away. Many cases of miscarriage after an accident involve no observable harm to the mother.

If you’ve suffered a miscarriage caused by a car accident, trust the personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to help you get compensated for your loss.

Your Legal Options

If a reckless driver causes your accident, your lawyer may file a personal injury claim. California allows you to pursue compensatory damages for your injuries. You can seek non-economic damages for factors such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life. You can also seek economic damages for calculable expenses like medical bills and lost wages.

If the other car driver acted with malice, fraud, or oppression, for example, the driver was drunk; you may file for punitive damages. The state does not cap compensatory or punitive damages, except in medical malpractice cases.

Unfortunately, California does not allow you to file a wrongful death claim for the loss of your unborn child. The only exception may be if the accident induced labor and your child was born alive but subsequently died due to injuries received during the collision.

Why You Should Hire an Experienced Lawyer

An experienced car crash attorney can help you pursue maximum compensation for your car accident injuries. They can investigate your accident to determine the other driver’s percentage of fault and calculate a fair settlement for your injuries and the emotional fallout of the accident.

Investigate your accident

Your lawyer can investigate your accident to prove the other driver bears liability for your loss. This process includes reading accident reports, studying photographs of the scene, recreating the accident, interviewing witnesses, and looking at your medical records.

Calculate a fair settlement

Personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with attaching monetary figures to non-financial losses. They can use state guidelines to determine a fair amount and consider records of emotional distress, such as a journal where you discuss the emotional impact of the event or therapy receipts.

Negotiate your claim

Lawyers understand the tactics insurance companies use to deny claims. When you don’t have a lawyer, the insurance company may try to get you to make a statement, ask to see your medical records, or suggest you undergo an independent medical evaluation.

The company might also use a variety of excuses, such as requesting additional documents to delay a settlement with the hope you will give up or get you to settle for less than you deserve. Your lawyer can keep your case moving forward and negotiate for the best outcome on your behalf.

Try your case

If the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation, your lawyer can take the claim to court. Your legal team will prepare you to testify, cross-examine defense witnesses, and provide expert witnesses to substantiate your arguments.

Challenges to Your Claim

Cases in which a car accident causes a miscarriage present unique challenges. You need a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to help you win your case and hold the negligent driver responsible for their actions.

The defense may argue aggressively that their client did not cause your loss or that your loss doesn’t merit the damages you request. Some arguments that insurance companies or defense lawyers use include:

  • You have other children, so the loss doesn’t matter as much
  • You have a history of abortion or miscarriage
  • You didn’t know about the pregnancy until the accident
  • You don’t have a partner
  • You might have miscarried anyway

Your lawyer must prove that your accident caused your miscarriage to win a settlement. This typically requires a statement from your doctor and an expert medical witness asserting that your injuries accident-related caused the miscarriage. The statement must also agree that the miscarriage would not have happened if not for the accident.

Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help with Your Case

Car accidents cause more miscarriages than any other source of trauma in the U.S. The Oakland car accident lawyers with Berg Injury Lawyers understand the challenges these cases present and how to navigate them. If you lost a child or children due to a miscarriage after a car accident, our legal team will fight aggressively to protect your rights, even in the face of pushback from insurance companies, because you deserve justice and compensation. Contact us to schedule your free case review.