Auto Accident

What Happens if an Unlicensed Driver Hits You in California?

by Staff | April 5th, 2024

In California, all drivers must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle. However, not all drivers follow the law, and those who drive without a valid license are more likely to cause accidents.

According to a study conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, unlicensed drivers are almost three times more likely to cause a fatal crash than licensed drivers. Unlicensed drivers are just as likely to be at fault in a car accident with serious injuries.


Often, unlicensed drivers are also uninsured or underinsured, which means that although they may have insurance, they don’t carry sufficient coverage to pay for the injuries they inflict. Many unlicensed drivers don’t have their licenses for a good reason. They may have been careless before, resulting in a suspended or revoked license.

You should not have to pay for the pain and suffering someone else caused. There are ways to recover damages if an uninsured or underinsured driver has injured you. Skilled car accident lawyers like the team at Berg Injury Lawyers may be able to help. If the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured, you can pursue a lawsuit for economic and non-economic damages.

There is no cap on damages in California for car accident lawsuits. You can seek a settlement amount that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and non-quantifiable losses like pain and suffering.

The Role of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

You can prepare for the unexpected, especially when it involves drivers who lack proper insurance, by purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UMC/UIM). This type of protection offers coverage when the other driver is at fault but does not have adequate liability insurance, if any at all. Understanding how UMC/UIM works is essential for every driver in the Golden State.

In California, insurers are required to offer you UMC/UIM coverage, but it’s your choice whether to accept or to decline it. If you decide it’s not for you, you’ll need to sign a waiver acknowledging you turned down the coverage.

Here’s what UMC/UIM can cover:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): This kicks in if you or passengers in your vehicle are injured in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have liability insurance. Its limits are the same as your own liability coverage, ensuring that the financial burden of medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering don’t fall entirely on you.
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM): Even if an at-fault driver has liability insurance, it might not be enough to cover all the damages incurred. UIM coverage can bridge the shortfall, ensuring that your injuries don’t lead to a personal financial crisis simply because the at-fault driver carried too little insurance.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): If your vehicle is damaged in an accident where an uninsured driver is at fault, UMPD covers repair costs up to $3,500. This is especially important if you don’t have collision coverage, though it only pays out if the uninsured driver is identified.

While nobody likes to think about the possibility of an accident, being prepared for one is key to navigating the aftermath without additional stress. Before you decline this coverage, consider the costs of a potential accident with an unlicensed and uninsured or underinsured driver.


There are steps you can take if you’re involved in a collision with an unlicensed driver in California. Following this process after an accident can reduce the burden of medical expenses and stress you experience due to the driver’s negligence by bettering your chances of receiving compensation.

  1. Contact authorities. Immediately after the accident, remain at the scene and call the police to report the accident. A police report of the accident is crucial to recover damages for your injuries or property loss.
  2. Exchange insurance information with the other driver. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured in addition to being unlicensed, your lawyer can help you file an insurance claim or a legal claim against the negligent driver.
  3. Seek medical care. A motor vehicle accident can leave drivers and their passengers with lasting injuries, even if the injuries are not immediately apparent. In the minutes and hours after a car accident, adrenaline can often mask the signs of injury.
    Go to your doctor or nearest emergency room for a thorough examination and keep all your medical records. Documentation of your injuries immediately after the accident and your subsequent treatment history is essential to getting full compensation for your claims.
  4. Contact an attorney. Get expert help from car accident lawyers who can guide you through the legal process. When you’ve been the victim of an unlicensed driver’s negligence, the last thing you need is the hassle of dealing with complicated insurance claim processes or navigating the court system on your own.

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows exactly what to do to get you the best settlement or judgment for your claims. A consultation is free and can start you on the path to recovery.


Even if the other driver was unlicensed, you still need to prove your claim to obtain compensation for any injuries you sustained. To receive a settlement payout for your injuries, you’ll need to demonstrate that:

  • The other driver’s negligence partly caused the accident.
  • The accident caused you or a passenger serious physical harm.

Working with an attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers is a great way to get the support you need when building your case against an unlicensed driver.


If an unlicensed driver in California has injured you, you need to focus on your recovery instead of worrying about how to pay medical bills and take care of your family. Leave your fight for fair compensation to the car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers.

We have four decades of experience helping victims recover settlements to pay off medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other hardships resulting from car accidents. We can answer your questions and help you get the compensation you deserve without the stress of navigating the legal system on your own. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

Originally published January 3, 2022.

Dealing With Renal Trauma After a Car Accident

by Staff | February 13th, 2024

Car crashes lead to serious injuries and fatalities every year. In the first half of 2023, 19,515 people died on the roads in the U.S. according to estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to the National Safety Council, around 5.4 million people seek medical attention for injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents every year. In 2020 the average claim for injuries for those involved in crashes was more than $20,235, due partially to increasing medical costs.

Among the serious injuries caused by car accidents is renal trauma. The results of these injuries can be life-threatening or life-altering, such as internal bleeding, kidney failure, and lifelong medical treatment.


Renal trauma is when an exterior force injures a kidney. Although the kidneys are well protected by the ribcage and back muscles, damage to them may be caused by either blunt or penetrating trauma.

Blunt trauma is an impact that doesn’t break the skin but still causes damage to the kidney. Penetrating trauma is where the damage is caused by the object passing through the skin and entering the body.

Any kind of renal trauma may prevent a kidney from working correctly and carries the potential to be serious.

The kidney’s main purpose is to act as the body’s filter. It keeps us healthy by:

  • Regulating blood pressure and red blood cells counts
  • Removing waste through our urine
  • Maintaining fluid balance
  • Maintaining electrolyte levels

When the kidneys are damaged, these functions may be compromised, causing the body serious problems. In some cases, the accident victim may require dialysis.


The kidney is the most common injured organ in serious trauma cases. Renal blunt trauma may be caused in car accidents by an impact with any part of the vehicle’s interior, such as door handles or controls.

It may also occur when the body is jolted after being propelled forward quickly. Children are particularly vulnerable to this type of injury in a car crash.

Penetrating trauma may be caused by an object entering the body. This can be a part of the accident victim’s car, the other driver’s car, or another piece of debris involved in the crash.

Renal injuries are categorized on a 5-grade scale. Minor injuries such as bruising are grade 1. Grade 5 is the most serious, such as where the kidney is no longer connected to the body’s blood supply.


Suffering renal trauma can have an impact on your overall health. Possible symptoms of renal trauma include:

  • Painful bruising to the abdomen
  • Internal bleeding
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness, or fainting
  • Severe pain in the abdomen, made worse with movement

Treatment for minor renal injuries might include hospital rest until there is no blood in the urine. After leaving the hospital, the accident victim will have to stay alert for continued bleeding and high blood pressure.

Surgery is sometimes necessary when there’s a significant blood loss or the kidney is badly damaged. If the damage is too severe and the surgeon cannot save the kidney, they may opt to remove it.

The cost of kidney injury treatment in hospitals is substantial. A report by the Society of Hospital Medicine in 2017 found that acute kidney injury patients’ hospital costs were greater than those with heart attacks and were comparable with patients suffering from pancreatitis or strokes.

Medical costs incurred by rental trauma are a difficult financial burden at a very distressing time.


If you were injured in an auto accident, you need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim for compensation. The information you need includes:

  • Photographs of the accident site, your injuries, and damage to the vehicles
  • The names and contact information of independent witnesses
  • The other driver’s insurance details, license number, name, and address
  • Notify your insurance company
  • Medical records from your doctor

If you have been seriously injured in the accident, you may be unable to collect this evidence yourself. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can gather this vital information on your behalf.


Serious injuries like renal trauma can cause severe and ongoing financial problems for accident victims. You need California car accident lawyers to protect your legal rights so you can receive the long-term healthcare you require without worrying about how to pay for it.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to arrange a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. With our No Fee Guarantee®, you don’t pay any legal fees unless you win your case. Learn how we can help you recover the damages you are entitled to for your injuries.

Originally published December 27, 2021.

Who Is it at Fault for a Lane-Change Collision?

by Staff | January 16th, 2024

Determining liability is not always straightforward in a lane-change collision. You’ll need to know which California laws apply to unsafe lane changes. You must also understand what factors are at play when establishing liability for a collision during a lane change.

One of our experienced California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you determine fault in your case after a serious lane-change car accident so you can receive a fair settlement for your losses.

What are California’s Laws for Unsafe Lane Changes?

California vehicle law prohibits drivers from making unsafe lane changes. According to this law, drivers can move left to right or turn from the main roadway when it’s safe to do so and after signaling their intentions to other cars. Drivers are required to signal at least 100 feet before turning left or right.

No driver can suddenly stop or reduce the speed of their vehicle without first giving a signal. If a driver cannot use the turn signals in their vehicle, they should use the appropriate hand signals to indicate when they are changing lanes left or right or when they are stopping or decelerating the speed of their vehicle.

What Causes a Lane-Change Collision?

A collision might occur if a driver underestimates the space between two vehicles. If the driver fails to merge properly on a roadway after stopping or yielding, they can collide with another vehicle.

A lane-change collision can also be caused by:

  • Merging too slowly onto a lane compared to ongoing traffic
  • Speeding up to make a lane change
  • Changing lanes without signaling
  • Crossing multiple lanes at once
  • Bypassing other traffic to change lanes
  • Not checking side mirrors before merging
  • Changing lanes without checking blind spots
  • Low visibility from weather conditions like fog or heavy rain

Other situations can hold a driver liable for a lane-change collision. According to the Insurance Information Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these factors play a role in fatal collisions:

  • Driving over the posted speed limits
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Refusal to yield right of way
  • Inability to stay in the proper lane
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving

How Are Drivers Found to Be at-Fault for Lane-Change Collisions?

In a lane-change collision, the court will examine various evidence to determine who is at fault. This can be determined in multiple ways, including:

  • Witness testimony
  • Dashcam video footage
  • Black box or electronic data recording of the car’s speed and brakes at the time of the accident
  • Data of text messages or calls made by the driver while driving
  • Pictures of the damage to vehicles and the scene of the accident
  • Police report that includes all the details of the accident, including the road and weather conditions
  • Test results for alcohol, drugs, or blood
  • Traffic camera footage

What About California’s Negligence Laws?

Liability issues often complicate lane-change accidents. Even though the other driver may share some blame for the accident, the court may also examine your role in the accident based on evidence. You might be held liable if the other car changed lanes in front of you while you were texting.

This type of situation falls under the comparative negligence rule in California. If the court finds you were partially at fault for the accident, your share of fault will reduce the settlement amount. Furthermore, if a driver violates a statute, they are presumed to be “negligent per se” under California law. If a driver makes an unsafe lane change, they are negligent per se since the act violates a California vehicle law.

Contact the Accident Attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers

Talk with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you get answers to your questions about fault and damages after a collision caused by changing lanes. A car accident lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can investigate the facts of your case and work to protect your rights while helping you increase your chances for financial compensation.

Contact our legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We can evaluate your case and let you know the best course of action in the future to ensure that you get the best outcome possible.

Originally published November 15, 2021.

California School Bus Driver Requirements

by Staff Blogger | December 19th, 2023

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Ensuring the safety of children on school buses needs to be a collaborative effort. While bus drivers undertake extensive training, parents and schools also play a critical role. Here are some ways all parties involved can help improve safety:

Effective Communication

Parents and schools should maintain open communication channels with bus drivers. This includes sharing up-to-date information about child passengers’ health issues, emergency contacts, bullying or behavioral problems, and any specific needs that may affect the children’s safety on the bus.

Safety Drills and Awareness Programs

Parents should participate in school-organized safety drills to understand how their children are expected to respond in emergency situations. Schools can also organize awareness programs for parents to cover strategies to keep children safe on and around buses and bus stops.

Distribution of Safety Protocols

Parents and schools need to be familiar with the safety protocols in place for boarding, riding, and exiting the school bus, including emergency evacuation procedures and seat belt use (if available). Schools should make sure written guidelines are distributed to reinforce the information shared during drills and awareness programs.

Teaching Children About Safe Behavior

Parents play a crucial role in teaching children about safe behavior on the bus, such as staying seated, not distracting the driver, and keeping aisles clear. Parents should reinforce to their children the importance of following bus rules and respecting the authority of the bus driver and any onboard monitors.

Holding Negligent Drivers Legally Accountable

Parents should report any incidents of negligence or unsafe driving to the school and relevant authorities immediately. In cases where a bus accident is caused by the negligence of the bus driver or another motorist and children are hurt, it’s important to hold those responsible legally accountable.

After an accident, parents may need to consult legal professionals to understand the steps necessary for legal recourse.


Traffic accidents involving a school bus can be especially devastating and complicated. Berg Injury Lawyers has over 40 years of experience providing injury victims with expert representation in a court of law. Contact one of our qualified California car accident lawyers today and schedule a free initial consultation.

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

Originally published February 21, 2022.

Off-Road Vehicle Accidents in California’s Deserts: A Personal Injury Perspective

by Staff Blogger | December 18th, 2023

Off-road activities in California in regions like the Rasor Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area are gaining popularity among residents and tourists. These adventurous activities provide a thrilling opportunity to discover the state’s unique terrains.

However, off-roading can be risky, leading to serious injuries. A national report found that there were 526,900 emergency room visits due to off-highway vehicles between 2016-2020 and 2,211 deaths between 2016-2018.

If you’re hurt in an off-roading crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Our California off-roading accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you determine if another party is at fault for your injuries and help you seek a fair settlement.

Risks of Off-Roading

Off-roading in California is an exhilarating experience, given its range of terrains. However, this varied landscape introduces specific challenges for riders and passengers. Among the potential dangers to be cautious of are:

  • Unpredictable weather. Desert regions can experience extreme temperature fluctuations and flash floods, making off-road conditions treacherous.
  • Rough terrain. The diverse landscape of California, with its loose gravel, deep sand, and steep inclines, is challenging, even for experienced drivers.
  • Collisions with stationary objects. Dense forests and rugged trails often hide obstacles like trees, posts, and large rocks, increasing the collision risk.
  • Inadequate safety gear. Many off-roaders underestimate the need for full protective gear, exposing skin and vital areas to potential harm from contact with the ground or objects like rocks and trees.
  • Vehicle collisions. Off-roading trails can be narrow and winding, and with limited visibility, it’s easy to come across another vehicle unexpectedly.
  • Passenger injuries. Uneven and bumpy trails can result in sudden jolts, where unsecured passengers risk being thrown around inside the vehicle.
  • Failure to mark hazards. Trails might have hidden drop-offs or sudden ditches that are not always clearly marked, catching drivers off guard.
  • Negligence of fellow off-roaders. Some drivers can be overconfident or careless, taking risks that endanger others on the trail.
  • Faulty vehicle equipment. Off-roading vehicles made with subpar components, like tires, brakes, or steering, can be dangerous. If these parts fail on off-road trails, they can cause serious injuries.

Liability Issues for Off-Roading Accidents

If you suffer severe injuries in an off-roading accident, you may incur costly medical bills and lose out on wages during your recovery. In off-roading accidents between 2016 and 2020 in the U.S., 19% of accident victims were hospitalized for their injuries.

If your injuries were due to another’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages. In off-roading accidents, the following parties may be responsible:

  • Off-road vehicle drivers. Every off-roader has a responsibility to drive safely, prioritizing the well-being of themselves, their passengers, and fellow adventurers. If they engage in negligent behaviors, such as speeding on narrow paths or driving while under the influence, and cause injury to others, they can be held liable.
  • Equipment manufacturers. Faulty gear or vehicle components can lead to accidents. If an equipment malfunction is due to a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer could be held accountable.
  • Property owners. If the off-roading trail is on private property and there are unmarked hazards or unsafe conditions, the property owner may be liable.
  • Event organizers. In organized off-roading events, if adequate safety measures were not implemented or participants were not adequately briefed, the organizers could be at fault.
  • Vehicle maintenance companies. If a vehicle recently underwent maintenance and a crucial part failed due to poor service, the maintenance provider might be held responsible.
  • Government entities. In cases where public lands or trails lacked proper signage and maintenance or had other hazardous conditions, a government body might be liable.

Safety Measures for Off-Roading

Safety should always be a priority when engaging in off-road activities. Consider the following measures to reduce potential hazards:

  • Vehicle inspection. Regularly check your vehicle for any maintenance issues, ensuring brakes, tires, and lights are in optimal condition.
  • Use safety gear. Always wear protective equipment such as helmets, gloves, and appropriate clothing. Helmets are required for riding ATVs in California.
  • Drive within your skill level. Only attempt overly challenging terrain or maneuvers with the necessary experience or training.
  • Stay within designed speed limits. In California, off-road vehicles must travel under 15 mph on main roads in parks and within 50 feet of campsites or where people or animals are concentrated.
  • Stay on designated trails. Avoid creating new paths or driving on unmarked terrain to reduce environmental impact and the risk of unknown hazards.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Driving in an off-road vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in California. Do not consume alcohol or take any illicit or prescription drugs before getting on an off-roader.
  • Attend off-roading courses. Training sessions can offer invaluable skills and techniques for various terrains and situations.
  • Use a spotter. When navigating challenging obstacles, having someone outside the vehicle guiding you can help prevent an accident.
  • Keep communication tools. Carry a radio or satellite phone, especially in areas with poor cell reception.

Seek Legal Counsel After an Off-Roading Incident

If you’re hurt in an off-roading accident due to another’s actions, you need legal counsel to help you get compensation. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we understand the complexities of off-road accident claims and are dedicated to ensuring victims receive the settlement they deserve.

We have experience with all areas of personal injury law, including driver negligence and property liability issues. Contact us today for a free consultation where we can review your case.

California’s Cannabis Laws, Impaired Driving, and Liability: A Guide

by Staff Blogger | December 11th, 2023

California has made it legal for residents to use cannabis both medicinally and recreationally. But that doesn’t mean you can light up and hit the road. Every driver in California should be aware of how driving under the influence of cannabis can affect their responsibility if there’s an accident.

How California Law Treats Cannabis

California led the nation when it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. It wasn’t until two decades later, in 2016, when California voters approved Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. However, with legalization comes a regulatory framework that includes:

  • Purchase and possession limits. You can legally buy and possess 28.5 grams or less of cannabis flower and a maximum of 8 grams of cannabis extracts if you’re over 21. However, buying cannabis from unlicensed dispensaries or individuals is not permitted.
  • Consumption. While it’s legal for adults to consume cannabis on private property, public consumption remains prohibited. This includes parks, sidewalks, business areas, and anywhere tobacco smoking is not allowed.
  • Home growth. Individuals 21 and older can cultivate up to six plants at home as long as the plants are out of public view.
  • Transportation. While transporting cannabis in a vehicle, you must keep it in a sealed container. If it’s open, it should be stored in the trunk. This is similar to open container laws for alcohol.

Cannabis and DUIs in California

When it comes to impaired driving, the law doesn’t differentiate between alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or cannabis. Driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis is illegal. But unlike alcohol, where a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the legal threshold, cannabis impairment isn’t as straightforward.

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis is a serious offense in California. It can lead to criminal charges, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and liability if you’re involved in a crash. Here’s an overview of California’s rules regarding driving after using cannabis:

  • Impairment standards. There’s no established legal limit for THC. Instead, officers assess impairment based on field sobriety tests, behavior, and other observable factors like eye movement and reaction time.
  • DUI tests. If an officer suspects a driver is under the influence of cannabis, they may request a blood test. Refusal can lead to suspension of a driver’s license.
  • Legal consequences. A DUI conviction involving cannabis can have severe repercussions. This includes fines, mandatory DUI school attendance, probation, and potential jail time.

If your offense involves both drugs and alcohol, you may also be required to have an interlock ignition device on your vehicle. The penalties can be even more severe for repeat offenders or those involved in accidents causing injuries.

  • Insurance ramifications. A cannabis-related DUI can lead to an increase in car insurance premiums or policy cancellation.
  • Civil liability. If you cause an accident while under the influence of cannabis and the other driver is injured, you may be liable for their damages. This can include paying for their medical bills, missed wages, rehabilitative care, and psychological harm.

Legal Options for Those Injured by Drivers Under the Influence of Cannabis

If you get hurt in a crash with a driver using cannabis, it’s important to know your legal options for recovering a settlement. Our California personal injury lawyers can help you seek compensation for your injuries through the following actions:

  • Injury claims. We can help you get a settlement from the driver who caused the accident to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, emotional pain, property damage, and long-term care needs.
  • Proving responsibility. We can gather evidence, including police reports, eyewitness accounts, drug test results, traffic camera footage, medical records, and accident reconstruction reports to support your case.
  • Uninsured motorists’ insurance. We can look at your car insurance for uninsured or underinsured coverages and help you claim compensation from your policy if the impaired driver is underinsured or has no insurance.
  • Comparative negligence. California operates under pure comparative negligence. This means both parties can seek damages in an accident, winning compensation based on their percentage of fault. We’ll work to build a strong case on your behalf to show the other party was responsible, maximizing your compensation.

Get the Settlement You Deserve After a Cannabis-Involved Accident

California’s DUI laws make it illegal to use cannabis and get behind the wheel. If an irresponsible driver’s actions caused you or someone you love harm, you deserve compensation.

It’s vital to work with a skilled California car accident attorney to help you file your claim after a crash with a driver under the influence of marijuana. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our legal team can protect your rights, help you submit a well-supported claim, and advocate for a fair settlement.

Understanding California’s Prop 213 for Uninsured Drivers

by Staff Blogger | December 4th, 2023

In California, Proposition 213 is critical legislation for uninsured drivers. This law was enacted in 1996 to address uninsured motorists and insurance fraud. It limits what you can claim in a car accident if you don’t have insurance. Specifically, Prop 213 says you can’t seek compensation for emotional pain or suffering after a crash, even if you are not at fault.

If you’re involved in a collision and don’t have insurance, speak with a California car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers. We can help you understand how Prop 213 affects your potential settlement and protect your interests. 

What is Prop 213?

Prop 213 is a California law that affects what you can claim in a vehicle collision. It tightens the rules around uninsured drivers and those convicted of certain driving offenses.

In California, all drivers must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover damages if they cause a car accident. If you don’t have insurance, Prop 213 sets clear boundaries on what damages you can receive if you are a crash victim.

Under the statute, you’re ineligible for non-material compensation if:

  • You were driving illegally under the state’s DUI laws (CVC 23152 and CVC 23153)  and were convicted
  • If you owned the involved car but didn’t have insurance
  • If you were driving and couldn’t prove you had the necessary financial coverage like insurance

Technically, the statute doesn’t stop you from seeking non-economic damages like emotional pain or suffering. However, it clarifies that insurance companies don’t have to pay for these types of losses if you fall under the conditions specified by the law.

How Does Prop 213 Affect Uninsured Drivers?

Understanding California’s Prop 213 is crucial for anyone driving without insurance in the state. This law has far-reaching implications, especially when it comes to what you can claim if you suffer serious injuries in a car accident.

  • Limits on claims. Under Prop 213, if you’re uninsured and involved in an accident, you’re restricted to claiming only economic damages like medical bills and car repairs.

For example, you’re uninsured and get rear-ended at a stoplight. Usually, the other driver is at fault, which would allow you to claim damages, including emotional distress. Under Prop 213, however, you can only seek a payout for monetary damage to your car and medical expenses.

  • No-fault exclusion. Prop 213 applies even if the other driver is entirely at fault. For example, another driver runs a red light and hits you, causing lasting emotional distress.

If you had insurance, you could claim non-economic damages against the person who hit you since they are liable under California’s at-fault insurance laws. Under Prop 213, you cannot claim these damages even though you didn’t cause the accident.

  • Comparative negligence. If both parties share some fault in the accident under the state’s pure comparative negligence doctrine, Prop 213 restrictions still apply to you.

For example, you and another driver are partially to blame for a crash. Even if you’re 10% at fault, you can’t claim non-economic damages, which reduces your overall compensation.

Exceptions to Prop 213

While imposing strict limits on uninsured drivers, Prop 213 does have some exceptions, including:

  • Passenger exception. Prop 213 does not apply to passengers, acknowledging their lack of control over the vehicle’s insurance status. Passengers of uninsured drivers can receive full compensation for injuries sustained in an accident as long as they are not the owner of the vehicle.
  • Intoxication. If you’re uninsured and get hit by someone driving under the influence, you can still claim non-economic damages as long as the other driver is convicted. This exception allows for more leeway in what you can claim when the other party is breaking the law by driving impaired.
  • Company-owned vehicles. If you’re driving a company car and your employer didn’t insure it, you can still claim damages for pain and suffering.
  • Innocent spouse. If you’re married and your spouse didn’t get insurance without your knowledge, you’re not barred from claiming non-economic damages.
  • Private property accidents. If the accident happens on private property, Prop 213’s restrictions on damages don’t apply. This means you can claim emotional pain and suffering even if you’re uninsured.
  • Borrowing an uninsured car. If you have your own insurance but borrow a car that’s not insured, you can still claim pain and suffering damages. This recognizes that you did your part by having insurance, even if the car you borrowed did not.

Challenges and Considerations for Accident Victims

While navigating the complexities of Proposition 213 and its exceptions, there are several things that California drivers may want to consider.

  • Seek legal counsel. To ensure you are receiving the compensation you rightfully deserve, seek legal counsel to understand your rights. The experienced California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the law and pursue any exceptions that may apply.
  • Gather evidence. Gather evidence like medical records, photos, witness testimony, and police reports after your crash. This can support your claim for economic damages or non-economic compensation if you qualify for an exception under Prop 213.
  • Plan for financial repercussions. Proposition 213 limits your potential compensation, which may result in additional financial stress. While you can get help with medical bills, you may need to consider low-cost or free alternatives to cope with the emotional consequences of your accident.
  • Be aware of future insurability. Getting into an accident under Prop 213 could make your future insurance more expensive or harder to get. Your best option is to obtain insurance before a collision to avoid long-term consequences.

Protect Your Right to Compensation

If you’re injured in an accident that’s not your fault, you deserve compensation. Although Prop 213 may limit what you’re entitled to in California, working with a qualified attorney can help maximize your compensation.

Our legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers knows how to handle insurance claims involving uninsured drivers. We can investigate the accident to determine if you are exempt from Prop 213’s restrictions or help you get the maximum compensation allowed based on your insurance status.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Let us protect your interests and work to get you a fair settlement.

How Can I Safely Navigate Thanksgiving Rental Car Use to Avoid Accidents and Address Common Issues? 

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2023

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, many people travel to see their loved ones.  With all the extra congestion on the roads, it’s important to be extra cautious to prevent accidents. In the event of an accident, be sure to consult with an injury lawyer in Sacramento. An experienced attorney can provide valuable assistance and help navigating the legal process.

Preparing for the Rental Car Experience

Having all the information you need for a pleasant rental car experience is important as it will help you understand your rights and obligations as a renter. Staying informed can also help you avoid unforeseen costs.

Check the rental vehicle carefully for any defects or damages before you leave. Capture photos/videos of the vehicle’s condition as evidence in case of later disputes. Remember to check the car’s horn, lights, and wipers to ensure they work properly.

Safe Driving Practices

Safe driving practices are crucial to avoiding accidents and ensuring safe travel. The following safe driving practices can be especially helpful:

  • Keep a secure following distance.
  • Buckle up and reduce speed.
  • Take breaks.
  • Follow all traffic laws.
  • Do not drink and drive.

Navigating Traffic

Thanksgiving traffic can often be very chaotic, but you can maneuver it successfully and safely if you plan and take the proper precautions. To get through traffic, consider these suggestions:

Prepare Your Vehicle

Your car should be in top condition and thoroughly inspected before undertaking a long journey. Check the fluid levels, including windshield washer fluid, oil, automatic transmission fluid, and brake fluid.  Stop at a gas station on your way out to ensure you have a full tank. Use this opportunity to check your tire pressure levels as well.

Select Different Driving Days

The days leading up to, and just after, Thanksgiving are among the busiest driving days of the year. This is particularly true on the Wednesday before and Sunday after the holiday. Save yourself from dealing with congestion on the roads by leaving on Monday or Tuesday and returning either a day early on Saturday or a day late on Monday. By then, traffic will have more or less returned to normal.

Locate an Alternate Route

Your usual route may be much more congested than expected, especially if you drive during peak Thanksgiving travel times. Have a backup route in case the traffic becomes overwhelming.


Technology will save you a lot of hassle, whether by using a GPS device, built-in satellite navigation in your car, or Google Maps on your phone. Traffic jams, roadblocks, mistaken turns, and other unexpected detours can add significant time to your journey, especially if you can’t adjust your route quickly.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Late November is a challenging time to drive in many parts of the country. It falls between the transitional seasons of autumn and winter, making weather conditions more hazardous. Prepare for rain, snow, sleet, hail, ice patches, puddles, and many other road hazards.

Monitor the weather forecast for your trip a few hours before and after. Staying educated will allow you to make better judgments and more confidently handle these difficult conditions.  Remember to check the weather prediction for each destination you choose to visit. Stay abreast of current weather conditions by utilizing a service such as Morecast  that allows you to check conditions along your travel route and/or listening to the local weather channel on the radio occasionally while driving.

Parking and Security

Finding parking and security concerns can exacerbate the stress of travelling during Thanksgiving., Lock your rental car when not in use, and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight. Allow additional time for security checkpoints and plan ahead for parking. Check availability and book online at the best rates with the airport app or real-time parking map. Remember to emphasize safety and security when traveling for Thanksgiving.

What Should You Do if You Get into an Accident With a Rental Car During Thanksgiving?

An accident is the last thing you want to experience in a rented car on Thanksgiving. However, it is critical to be prepared if the unexpected occurs by seeking legal advice from a Sacramento accident lawyer. Here’s what you should do if you ever find yourself in such a situation:

Examine the Situation

Check to see if anyone is hurt, make sure everyone is safe, and dial 911 right away if someone is injured. Move to a safe area and notify the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.

Assemble Proof and Information

Contact and insurance information should be exchanged with any other drivers involved in the accident.  Obtain a copy of the accident report, the responding police officer’s name, badge number, contact information, and the accident case number. To document the accident scene and damage, take photos.

Report to Your Rental Company

Call the rental company to inform them that you’ve been involved in an accident and find out what they expect you to do with the car—whether that means taking it somewhere or having it towed. Remember to note the customer service representative’s name, phone number, time, and date.

Consult an Injury Lawyer

Confer with a lawyer if you need assistance with any legal matters. By hiring an experienced accident attorney, Sacramento residents are guaranteed assistance with understanding their options and navigating the legal system.

Have you or anyone you know been involved in a rental car accident this Thanksgiving and are you considering filing a lawsuit? Contact us and get a comprehensive guide tailored to your situation. 

How is Fault Determined in a Blind Spot Accident?

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2023

Personal Injury Lawyers in Modesto

After an auto accident, comments like, “You should have seen me.” or “You came out of nowhere!” are commonly heard, beginning the inevitable blame game between two drivers after a blind spot accident.

Blind spots are areas around a vehicle that are invisible to the driver on both side and rearview mirrors. If a driver makes a move without first checking that these spots are clear, they may collide with another motorist or pedestrian.

A driver’s inability to see other road users does not automatically absolve them of blame. However, determining fault in these types of accidents can often be tricky.

With the insight of a personal injury attorney, car accident injury victims can successfully navigate the legal system. This article discusses when such accidents are likely to occur, how to prevent them, and who is to blame.

When is a Blind Spot Accident Likely to Happen?

Blind spot accidents can happen at any time. However, certain circumstances can exacerbate the risks.

Distracted or fatigued driving

Even experienced drivers who are always aware of their blind spots can lose focus if they are tired or allow themselves to get distracted. Distracted drivers may react more slowly if they are texting or are too tired to concentrate.

Changing lanes

Many blind spot accidents occur when one or more vehicles are changing lanes.


Intersections are likely candidates for blind spot accidents. Motorists may not see pedestrians or other drivers as they pass through junctions, causing accidents or injuries.

Merging onto highways

As a rule, motorists should wait until the road is clear before merging onto a highway. Bumping into cars moving at highway speeds can be fatal.

Backing up

Reversing out of a driveway without checking blind spots can be a catastrophic mistake if a pedestrian happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Such accidents can cause severe injuries or even death.

Driving large vehicles

The bigger the vehicle, the more blind spots. Truck drivers have more blind spots than passenger vehicles. As a result, trucks are more likely to cause blind spot accidents than any other vehicles.

Let’s now consider what actions you can take to minimize these accidents.

How to Prevent Blind Spot Accidents

Being mindful of other drivers and pedestrians can help prevent accidents by keeping motorists alert.

Adjust your rearview and side mirrors.

Before releasing the brake, ensure that you adjust your mirrors. The rearview mirror should frame your rear window. You should be able to see the handles of both back doors in your side mirrors.

Know your blind spots and stay alert.

No matter how well drivers adjust their mirrors, there may still be spots around the vehicle that allow cars, trucks, and motorcycles to disappear from sight. It’s crucial that every driver is aware of their vehicle’s particular hard-to-see areas and that they remain conscious of the risks carelessness can bring.

Yielding to right-of-way.

If another driver is passing on the road you are trying to join, that other driver has the right-of-way. Adjoining motorists must stop and wait until it is safe to proceed.

Look over your shoulder.

It helps to physically turn your head to check that your blind spot is clear.

Use signal lights.

Always use the signal indicators on your vehicle to notify other road users that you plan to turn at an upcoming intersection, change lanes, or merge.

Give vehicles in other lanes enough warning before making a move.

Motorists should give ample time for others to slow down, stop, or take another action that can prevent blind spot accidents.

Keep other vehicle’s blind spots in mind.

Aside from checking their blind spots, motorists should also consider the blind spots of other vehicles. For example, you’ll want to avoid overtaking a large truck and lingering in any possible blind spots, such as right in front of the truck. Truck drivers have an elevated perspective and cannot see anything several feet ahead of them. They may accelerate and crash into your car if they can’t see you.

Even if you are driving cautiously, blind spot accidents can still happen. Determining fault can take time and effort. Personal injury attorneys in Modesto can assist victims with proving responsibility and claiming damages.

Who is at Fault?

When assigning fault, insurance adjusters typically consider the following questions:

  • Who did not have the right of way?

The vehicle that joins a road without yielding to the right of way bears fault for the accident.

  • Which driver was changing lanes?

A driver cannot excuse their negligence regarding blind spots. They must use all possible means (including the over-the-shoulder glance) to ensure it’s safe before changing lanes.

  • Did either driver make a move without checking their blind spot?

If a motorist decides to speed, swerve, or turn without first checking that their blind spot is clear, they may be responsible for causing the accident.

  • Does the injured party share blame for the accident, and can they still claim damages?

Sometimes, both vehicles involved in a blind spot accident may share the blame. For example, one driver may fail to check for clearance, while the other may fail to see the danger because they were texting. In such cases, California’s pure comparative negligence rule allows both parties to receive compensation, weighted proportionally to their degree of responsibility for causing the accident.

Sometimes, reconstructing the accident scene is the best way to determine fault. It’s essential to have the help of a personal injury lawyer in Modesto when assessing a shared fault scenario.

Blind spot accidents are avoidable. But when they happen, victims may receive compensation for their losses if they can prove negligence on the part of the other driver(s) involved in the accident.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers office in Modesto for guidance with every step in the claims process. Accident victims can take advantage of our No Fee Guarantee® and contact us for a free consultation.

Self-Driving Cars Are Here. How Does Liability Law Handle Them?

by Staff Blogger | November 13th, 2023

Self-driving cars, once a dream of futuristic sci-fi, are now cruising our streets, reshaping our daily commutes. For road users, they give the hope of enhanced safety and efficiency, and may transform the way we think about transportation.

Despite their advanced sensors and AI capabilities, self-driving cars are not immune to accidents. In 2022, six fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles and five crashes resulted in serious injuries.

When you’re injured in a self-driving car accident, you can file for compensation–but how do you know who is at fault when nobody is behind the wheel? Our California car accident attorneys can review the evidence to determine who is at fault and help you seek fair compensation.

Liability Factors Involving Self-Driving Technology

Liability depends on factors such as the vehicle’s autonomy level, the driver’s actions, and the manufacturer’s knowledge of defects or safety issues. For an autonomous vehicle collision, the blame could fall on any of the following parties:

  • Manufacturer. The onus might fall on the manufacturer if a vehicle’s internal systems or hardware are flawed, leading to a collision. Companies producing autonomous vehicles must uphold rigorous safety standards and quality inspections to avoid accidents.
  • Human operator. In vehicles that aren’t fully self-driving, the person in the driver’s position might still bear responsibility. There are instances where they are expected to step in, and either failing to act or intervening incorrectly can make them liable.
  • Software developer. The brain behind the car’s decision-making is its software. If a glitch or oversight in the programming leads to an incident, the developer or the company that produced the software might be held responsible.
  • Infrastructure providers. The environment in which the car operates is just as critical. If the car faces challenges due to substandard road conditions or unsuitable traffic systems, entities responsible for maintaining the infrastructure might be accountable.

Levels of Autonomy in Self-Driving Vehicles

The vehicle’s autonomy level is critical to self-driving car crash liability. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) classifies self-driving vehicles into six levels, ranging from Level 0 (no automation) to Level 5 (full automation). Each level represents a different degree of human and machine control over the vehicle:

  • Level 0 – no automation. Human drivers are in complete control, and there is no automated assistance.
  • Level 1 – driver assistance. Basic features like adaptive cruise control are automated, but the driver remains primarily responsible.
  • Level 2 – partial automation. The vehicle can control steering and acceleration simultaneously, but the driver must monitor and be ready to take control at any moment.
  • Level 3 – conditional automation. The vehicle can handle most aspects of driving but may require the driver to intervene when prompted.
  • Level 4 – high automation. Vehicles can handle all driving tasks under most conditions, but humans can still take over if needed.
  • Level 5 – full automation. No human intervention is required; the vehicle can operate in all conditions autonomously.

Evolving Nature of Liability Law

As self-driving cars become more prevalent, legal frameworks regarding liability are evolving. Courts and legislators are proactively addressing the issues these vehicles present. Key developments in this area include:

  • Legal precedent. In many cases, standard legal precedents remain whether or not the vehicle has a human operator. For instance, in California’s at-fault insurance system, whoever caused the damages is considered liable and must pay for the damages. This can mean a personal injury or product liability claim, depending on fault.         

Berg Injury Lawyers: Your Advocate in Self-Driving Car Accident Claims

Autonomous vehicles are now part of our daily lives, altering how we perceive responsibility in car accidents. If you’ve been injured in a self-driving car collision, consult with an experienced attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers.

We know California’s laws on autonomous vehicles and will advocate on your behalf, gathering evidence to support your claim and holding the responsible parties accountable.

Contact us today to discuss your case and pursue the compensation you deserve.