October 11th, 2021|
California has the highest annual number of fatal crashes in the United States, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As the most populous state in the country, California had more than 27 million registered license holders in 2019.
Car accidents are more common in high volume traffic, and even minor collisions can cause pain and soreness. Due to the shock and adrenaline after a car crash, it can take days, weeks, or even months to notice the full extent of your injuries.
For health and insurance reasons, you should seek medical attention immediately after an accident. If untreated injuries continue to cause pain and discomfort, you may find it difficult to claim injury compensation from an insurer without adequate documentation by a medical professional.
To avoid the common pitfalls of post-accident legal disputes and ensure you receive sufficient medical compensation for your injuries, hire the experienced California personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers.
Dealing with Soreness After an Accident
Car accident injuries vary in severity. However, collisions between vehicles create a significant impact even at low speeds, so a certain amount of soreness is expected. Depending on the extent of your injuries, pain can last for several months and may even lead to chronic conditions, such as post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
Factors such as your position in the car, the speed of the vehicles involved, the size of your car, whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt, and whether the airbags deployed can influence the level of trauma you experience. Only a medical professional can advise how to treat your injuries and how long you should feel sore.
If you continue to feel discomfort after the recovery period outlined by your doctor, it may mean you have undiagnosed or more serious long-term injuries.
● Delayed Pain
Delayed pain is very common following car accidents. This is usually due to shock or a specific type of injury. While adrenaline can help your body react to danger and minimize immediate pain, it may also make it difficult to detect injury right away. This is very dangerous because undetected injuries can worsen quickly.
Symptoms of concussion, traumatic brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries may not become apparent for several days after an accident. Your doctor may prescribe tests to assess your injuries, including body scans, X-rays, motion tests, or an MRI.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical assistance:
- Neck pain or discomfort when you move or turn your head.
- Persistent back pain or discomfort when you twist, turn, or crouch.
- Dizzy spells or blurred vision.
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in any area of the body.
Depending on your test results, your doctor may recommend medication, surgery, or physical therapy.
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Torn ligaments or muscles
- Cuts or lacerations
- Internal bleeding
What to Do After an Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, safety should be your priority. Whether you think you’ve sustained injuries or not, undergo a medical assessment as soon as possible. A medical report is critical if you wish to make an insurance claim.
The next step should be to contact our law firm. California abides by at-fault insurance laws for auto accidents. This means the person deemed responsible for the accident is liable to pay damages to cover the medical costs and property damage sustained by the other parties involved, depending on the percentage of fault.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our car accident attorneys can help you build a strong case in an auto accident claim. We work to ensure our clients collect medical payments to cover the necessary medical costs incurred by you and anyone else in your car at the time of the accident. We file all the required paperwork and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so you can concentrate on healing.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Injuries from an accident can be devastating, particularly if they cause long-term discomfort. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping our clients receive the compensation they deserve, including medical bills, loss of income, and non-economic loss. No matter the extent of your injuries, you shouldn’t have to pay for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
We are proud to offer the “No Fee Guarantee,” which promises you don’t have to pay if you don’t win a settlement. Contact our law firm for a free, no-obligation consultation and begin your healing journey today.
October 4th, 2021|
Each state has different laws for resolving accident and insurance disputes. For auto accidents, states have either no-fault or at-fault insurance laws. California is an at-fault state, which means the driver deemed responsible for the accident is liable for paying the costs of potential injuries and property damage sustained by other parties.
To receive compensation, you must be able to prove liability in your case. If you’re involved in an auto accident in California, contact California personal injury lawyers, Berg Injury Lawyers, as soon as possible to ensure you file before the statute of limitation expires and to help preserve any evidence that can be used to establish fault in your case.
Difference Between At-Fault and No-Fault Law
Understanding the difference between no-fault and at-fault laws can help you choose the right level of insurance coverage to cover damage or injury in an auto accident and can help you know what to expect if your case goes to trial.
● How At-Fault Laws Work
In an at-fault state, the party responsible for causing the auto accident, along with their insurance company, pays for the sustained injuries and damage in relation to their degree of fault.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can claim compensation from the at-fault party. However, you must be able to prove liability before you’re entitled to receive any compensation.
If one or both parties aren’t satisfied with the payouts or liability distribution, they can file a lawsuit or dispute the claim. The at-fault driver is liable for damages related to medical expenses, loss of income, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium or companionship.
● How No-Fault Laws Work
For auto accidents in a no-fault state, drivers must make claims through their insurance policies, whether or not they’re at fault. No-fault states require drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their policy.
Neither party needs to prove who is at fault since both insurance companies cover the costs of their client’s medical expenses. Property damage laws can vary between states, with some states requiring drivers to submit a separate claim if their vehicle is significantly damaged during an accident.
While no-fault laws eliminate lengthy disputes and claims, insurance coverage is typically expensive.
California: An At-Fault State
If you’re involved in an auto accident in California, you’re entitled to file a claim against the responsible party for the injuries and damage they caused, provided you can prove liability. However, according to California law, all drivers must have liability insurance that adheres to the state’s minimum requirements despite being an at-fault state.
- $5,000 coverage for property damage.
- $15,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of one individual.
- $30,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of multiple individuals.
California uses pure comparative negligence for car accidents. This means that responsibility can be shared when determining who is at fault. So, you may be entitled to receive compensation for injuries and damages even if you are partially at fault for a car accident.
This system is beneficial for both plaintiffs and defendants. Even if the plaintiff’s degree of fault exceeds the defendant’s, they can still recover a percentage of the damages awarded. For example, if a jury determines that the plaintiff is 80% at fault and the defendant is 20% at fault, then the defendant only pays 20% of the damages amount to the plaintiff.
Insurance companies determine the degree of fault based on the available proof. The more evidence you have regarding accident liability, the more likely you will collect a higher amount of compensation. Some forms of proof include photographs and videos of the accident scene, copies of medical and police reports, eyewitness accounts, driver and vehicle information, and receipts for medical and property costs.
What to Do If You’re Involved in an Accident in California
If you are involved in an auto accident in California, the state’s at-fault insurance laws protect you no matter the degree of fault assigned to you. However, to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and any damage to your vehicle, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the complex California legal system.
The car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help gather the evidence to determine liability in your case and represent you in court. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
August 30th, 2021|
If you live or work in the Bay Area, you know the reality of being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 minutes or even longer and are familiar with the chronic congestion choking the area. The drive from San Jose to Mountain View can take more than 2 hours instead of 20 minutes door-to-door due to gridlock.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, freeway congestion has increased by more than 80% since 2010. Besides using public transit options like Amtrak, BART, and Caltrain, there are several other simple ways to deal with the brutal Bay Area traffic congestion.
1. Plan Your Driving Routes
Whether you prefer to drive to work or your job involves driving, you know that the worst time to be on the highway is during rush hour. Peak traffic usually occurs on weekdays in the mornings between 7:00 to 9:00 AM and in the evenings from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
Instead of taking the usual route and joining the traffic jams, take advantage of free phone applications such as Waze to plan your routes. While these apps often send you on the scenic route, they can guide you through different roads and streets to get you to work or back home faster than you would on the main road. Make sure you set your destination in these apps before driving to avoid being distracted.
If possible, avoid peak hours and the worst of the rush hour traffic for a shorter and less stressful commute.
2. Keep an Eye on 511 Alerts
You may have seen blue signs advising commuters and motorists to call 511 for travel information. The 511 service also has a website that provides real-time alerts and a live map informing you of any traffic updates, jams, construction work, and plenty of other information, making it an invaluable tool for planning your route.
3. Consider Biking to Work
If your commute is less than 10 miles, a bicycle may be a faster, healthier, and more economical mode of transport. According to the latest statistics, the average commute time in California has exceeded 30 minutes since 2019.
On average, a bike can achieve a commuting speed of around 12 mph. With more fitness and experience, it is possible to reach speeds of 15 to 18 mph, so you should cycle 5 miles in about 15-20 minutes. Even inexperienced cyclists can bike 1 mile in 6 minutes, which is 10 mph.
4. Use the HOV Lane
The Bay Area carpool lane system, known as High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, is the most effective in California and one of the best nationwide, significantly reducing commute times and increasing average speeds by up to 15 mph.
If you don’t already have a coworker or a neighbor you can ride with, you can still use applications such as Merge or Waze Carpool to match with a carpool partner and enjoy commuting on the HOV lane.
5. Green Vehicle Advantages
You may already be familiar with the carpool lanes on the highway and the rules surrounding their use, but did you know that hybrids and electric vehicles can use the carpool lane even with no passengers?
As long as your car has the correct DMV sticker (green, white, or red), you can enjoy the benefits of driving on the carpool lane even when you’re on your own.
6. When All Else Fails
Sometimes, there’s just no avoiding being stuck in traffic in your car, no matter what you do. In those situations, you can still make the best of the time in your vehicle.
Use the opportunity to listen to your favorite music, check out a podcast, or enjoy an audiobook, so you are less stressed and frustrated by the mind-numbing traffic.
Remember that a significant percentage of traffic accidents happen during rush hour. This is often due to drivers speeding through yellow lights, merging lanes, road rage, motorcycles lane splitting, or distracted driving.
Should the worst happen, get the help of our San Francisco car accident lawyers; they are the most qualified to represent you and help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and lost income.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
If you are involved in an auto accident, contact our car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have more than 40 years of experience representing victims and helping them win the settlements they deserve.
July 26th, 2021|
Every year, hundreds of people are killed by drivers running a red light. In 2017, the annual death toll reached a 10-year high, with 939 Americans losing their lives in red-light running crashes. These impatient drivers also injure thousands of people every year.
Stop on Red Week is a national campaign to help save lives by educating drivers about the dangers of red-light running. This year, the movement is more critical than ever.
After spending a year working from home, many drivers are returning to a daily commute. However, the roads they are driving may be more dangerous post-pandemic. Last year, the U.S. saw an 8% increase in motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries. The increase is even more shocking since the number of miles driven dropped by 13%. If the trend continues, each mile driven poses more risk for daily commuters.
The reduction in driving miles may have additional consequences. Your muscle memory and reflexive skills may have weakened from underuse during the pandemic. Drivers feel more stress and anxiety about traffic conditions because they are relatively unfamiliar with these situations now. As everyone readjusts to frequent driving, their skills will return. However, the adjustment period will increase the risks of the road in the short term.
Increased Speed Limits
It’s not just you; everyone is driving faster now. In the last year, the California state highway patrol doubled the number of citations issued for speeding over 100 mph.
Speeding is happening on local roads, too, not just highways. Road surveys have led to increased speed limits in many cities. This is because California used the 85th percentile method. State engineers measure the speeds of driving over a stretch of road, then base the speed limit on the rate that 85% of the vehicles are traveling.
Traffic Intersection Dangers
Intersection crashes are incredibly dangerous. They account for more than half of accident fatalities and injuries, even though intersection crashes only account for 35% of reported accidents. Red-light running and other risky behaviors lead to increased accident risk at intersections.
Some intersections are more dangerous than others. Trees and buildings may obstruct your line of sight, and speed limit changes may lead to driving too fast for the conditions of the road. Drivers may also turn to distracting devices while stopped and fail to return to full attention at the change of the light.
Additionally, drivers at intersections need to look for more than just other cars. Pedestrians and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable when involved in a traffic collision.
In 2018, pedestrians or bicyclists were involved in 28% of intersection accident fatalities.
Stopping on Red
Installing a traffic signal improves the safety of intersections, reducing the number of traffic accident injuries and fatalities. However, intersections with traffic signals still account for thousands of deaths every year, and red-light running causes about 25% of them.
Most drivers recognize red-light running as hazardous driving behavior. A traffic safety survey showed that 85% of drivers view the practice as very dangerous. Shockingly, nearly 33% of those drivers have run a red light in the last 30 days.
Red light running is primarily the result of distracted or aggressive driving. Many drivers choose to run a red light when they could stop safely. This may be because they feel they are unlikely to be punished for the infraction. Just under half of the drivers surveyed felt police would pull them over for running a red light.
You can do more to increase intersection safety than simply stopping at red lights. Stop on Red week is the perfect time to get involved with local and national lawmakers regarding road safety.
One way to support intersection safety is by campaigning for improved enforcement of red lights. Red-light cameras can reduce crash rates by 21% and fatalities by 14%. When installed at appropriate locations, red-light cameras save lives.
You can also spread the word on the shocking statistics related to red-light crashes. The National Coalition for Safer Roads has social media posts that you can share on your accounts to increase awareness. The more people know about the dangerous and real-life consequences of red-light running, the more likely they are to stop safely.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Arrange Your Free Consultation
If you know firsthand the damage that red-light running causes, don’t suffer alone. The skilled San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve after your accident. Contact us today for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.
July 19th, 2021|
In an unexpected turn of events, the 2020 pandemic and accompanying quarantine that kept drivers off the road has contributed to a rise in road accidents. Many of these accidents resulted in severe injury or death for the parties involved.
California is taking new measures to tackle the dramatic increase in road deaths and protect citizens as they get back out on the road after lockdown. Learn about these prevention measures and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you in the event of a car accident.
What Caused an Increase in Road Deaths?
In 2020, California went into lockdown. Pre-pandemic, congested traffic conditions forced motorists to slow down and be alert to issues on the road. Once the quarantine order took effect, the majority of drivers stayed home, leaving roads virtually empty. Consequently, this lack of traffic led to motorists driving at higher-than-average speeds and becoming less attuned to road conditions that they would typically pay attention to. This phenomenon has resulted in a 14% increase in fatality rates for car accidents nationwide.
How is California Approaching the Problem?
California lawmakers are working on ways to lessen the number of deaths in car accidents. Although there are many proposals in the pipeline, there are three standout solutions that may be enacted in the coming year that address the problem of dangerous speeding on California’s roads.
1. Speed Limit Changes
In California, speed limits are set by agencies using Engineering and Traffic surveys (E&Ts). One of the most common ways of establishing a speed limit is by using the 85th percentile speed. This is when the speed limit is set at whatever rate 85% of traffic is moving at.
Lawmakers want to change this rule, allow municipalities more freedom to set speed limits, and require the E&Ts to consider areas that have formerly been overlooked, such as work zones, school zones, and areas where seniors or other vulnerable populations use the roadway.
2. Installing Speed Cameras
Currently, California has a ban on automated speed enforcement. Automated speed enforcement usually takes the form of speed cameras. Lawmakers are looking into removing this ban and piloting speed camera programs in areas that pose the most significant risk to drivers and pedestrians. This includes putting cameras on dangerous streets and in school and work zones.
3. Harsher Consequences for Speeding
During the first year of the pandemic, highway patrol officers issued 31,600 tickets for drivers going over 100 mph, almost double the pre-pandemic number of citations. California police departments continue to crack down on dangerous speeding by issuing higher fines in greater volume to deter drivers from being reckless.
Common Injuries That Result From Speed-Induced Car Crashes
Speeding is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents. Even if you survive a collision caused by speeding, you are much more likely to have serious, life-altering injuries. The types of injuries that are commonly sustained in speed-induced car accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Permanent disfiguration
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
The consequences of any car accident can be dire, but when speeding is a factor, the probability of severe, long-lasting injury increases exponentially.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, seek the help of a California car accident attorney. An experienced lawyer can aid you in seeking compensation for your injuries, so you don’t have to worry about paying medical bills while trying to heal.
Due to changing traffic laws brought on by the post-pandemic rise in traffic deaths, it is important to reach out to an attorney with knowledge about the evolving legal landscape surrounding car accidents. This can help ensure you don’t foot the bills for an accident caused by a speeding driver.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a car accident, contact the legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Set up a free consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys to review your case and determine the best course of legal action. We will fight for your rights and help you navigate California’s complex traffic laws, allowing you to receive the compensation you are entitled to.
July 12th, 2021|
The Safety Stop Bill (AB 122) aims to make intersections safer for California cyclists by letting them treat stop signs as yield signs. When a bicyclist gets to a stop sign, and there are other vehicles, they must yield and give the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection. If there aren’t other vehicles, they do not have to come to a complete stop.
Among bicyclists, this is already a common courtesy. Many of them support it, including police officers and bicycle-related associations. While not everyone is for it, this proposed law protects everyone on the streets, including drivers.
An Explanation of the Safety Stop
Safety stops are known as the “Idaho stop” because Idaho was the first state to have this bicycle law passed in 1982, which some other states have already assumed. Idaho’s law allows cyclists to treat stop signs as a yield sign and red lights as a stop sign. The broader adoption of this policy is a first step toward recognizing that cyclists use the roads differently from vehicle drivers and adjusting traffic laws accordingly.
Benefits of Implementing this Law in California
For cyclists, this proposed law can make sharing the road with other bicyclists and vehicles safer.
● Align Laws With Other States
Aside from Idaho, Delaware, Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, and Oregon also have similar traffic laws. Utah and North Dakota have recently passed similar safety stop laws as did Oklahoma.
Some of these states have already seen significant changes in bicycle safety as a result. For example, Delaware saw a 23% decrease in bicyclist injuries. California will join other states in policing bicycles on the streets and making the roads a safer place for cyclists.
● Boosts Safety for Bicyclists
According to a 2010 DePaul study, most bicyclists slow down and pass stop signs instead of stopping entirely, with only 1 out of 50 bicyclists coming to a complete stop. Safety laws like Idaho’s yield law led to a 14.5% decrease in bicycle injuries a year after introduction.
Rolling through a stop sign makes the journey easier for cyclists than completely stopping and regaining momentum. For the sake of safety, using stop signs as yield signs benefits cyclists.
● Protects Drivers
Many car accidents occur at intersections because of confusion among drivers and bicyclists. Drivers do not always come to a full stop, and bicyclists move at a momentum where they cannot always stop on time at an intersection. Sometimes, drivers do not see bicyclists before they make a turn at an intersection. As a result, drivers regard bicyclists as disrespectful of the law.
If the Safety Stop law passes, drivers can fully understand that bicyclists must yield to other vehicles and wait until their turn. The law gives bicyclists a head start, making themselves visible to other drivers, preventing crashes if a driver needs to turn in the same direction as the bicyclist.
The Safety Stop Law is Safer for Drivers and Bicyclists
Approximately 70% of bicyclists who rode through stop signs did so for safety reasons, as reported in a recent study. The study also found that drivers more often break the traffic safety law.
Drivers will have to learn to adapt to the new law and better recognize bicyclists on the streets. Transportation is changing as a society pivots more toward walking and bicycling rather than a heavy reliance on vehicles. Legalizing the Safety Stop law will make intersections safer for bicyclists and drivers in California.
A Local Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Until the law passes, California still requires bicyclists to come to a complete stop and follow the same rules of the road as drivers. If you are injured in a car or bicycle accident in California, you need an experienced attorney in your corner. A car accident can result in serious injuries, incurring medical expenses, and wages lost for time off work. The consequences may be especially severe for a cyclist involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. California car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights following a collision. With four decades of experience, Berg Injury Lawyers are skilled in many related practice areas, including car accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury cases. Contact us today to request a no-obligation, free consultation.
July 5th, 2021|
In March 2020, governments worldwide instigated nationwide lockdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People stayed home, traffic lessened, and there were fewer cars on the roads. The National Highway Safety Administration reported traffic deaths decreased by 2% in the first six months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. After June 2020, the data showed a significant shift.
As traffic volumes decreased, the deaths per mile increased by 31%. Although staying home kept many people safe, the pandemic created unexpected dangers for people on the roads.
6 Surprising Ways Covid Made U.S. Drivers More Dangerous
The statewide lockdowns eased traffic in the early months of 2020. The open roads and the emotional state of drivers during the height of the pandemic influenced how people drove, making some drivers reckless.
Since the number of cars on the road was lower during the COVID-19 pandemic, vast stretches of highways and streets were empty. The lockdowns also removed more risk-averse drivers who previously contributed to safer streets.
With fewer cars on the road, more people began speeding, putting other drivers, pedestrians, and themselves in danger. Many police departments around the country decreased the number of police officers patrolling the streets because of the lockdowns and for their safety. The reduced police presence and less traffic made for a deadly combination.
● Impaired Driving
Lockdowns disrupted many people’s daily lives and routines. According to public health officials, some people began using drugs and drinking more alcohol to cope with stress, boredom, and anxiety.
64.7% of fatal car accidents involved at least one drug in the victims’ systems. Around the country, alcohol and drugs were contributing factors to an increase in car accidents.
● Distracted Driving
Lengthy lockdowns made people more likely to be distracted while driving. After not driving for several months, it takes time to get back into defensive driving habits.
● Pedestrian Accidents
In 2020, the U.S. saw 2,957 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, roughly a 20% increase from 2019. This number is particularly troubling when you consider there were far fewer drivers on the streets in 2020.
● Increase in Aggressive Driving
The stress, anxiety, and depression from the COVID-19 pandemic can affect drivers’ mental state, leading to increased aggressive driving and disrespect for other drivers and pedestrians on the road. With more aggressive driving, there is an increased possibility of accidents and injuries.
● Fewer People Wearing Seatbelts
22,215 vehicle occupants were killed in 2019 U.S. car accidents, and of those, 47% were not wearing a seatbelt. It’s evident that seatbelts save lives, but unfortunately, in 2020, fewer drivers in the U.S. buckled up, potentially contributing to increased fatality rates.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, between March 17, 2020, and July 18, 2020, 40.8% of drivers drove unbelted, compared to just 24.6% the previous quarter.
How to Stay Safe on the Streets During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide decreases and vaccination rates steadily increase, it’s inevitable that more drivers return to the roads. After long periods of inactivity, boredom, and staying home, some drivers may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors on the road.
Take steps to protect yourself and your family when driving by being wary of other drives on the road. You can drive defensively by anticipating the moves of other drivers and being aware of your surroundings at all times. Be on the lookout for drivers who speed, weave between lanes, or run red lights and stop signs.
Despite your best efforts, accidents can still occur due to negligence by another driver. If you’re injured in a collision due to a driver’s reckless actions, our San Francisco car accident lawyers can help you file a claim for compensation.
Work With an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney
Many people have lost their lives during the pandemic, and tragically some of these losses are due to vehicle accidents. If you are involved in an auto accident, our car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can provide you with a no-cost review of your case so that you can hold a reckless driver accountable and fight for the compensation you deserve.
June 14th, 2021|
Because California is such a large, populous state, the number of vehicles on the roads increases the likelihood of being involved in a car crash. There were 3,316 fatal car accidents in California in 2019. However, most motor accidents are not fatal. One of the most common non-lethal types of car accidents is a rear-end crash.
Many people assume that because the car behind usually initiates contact with the leading vehicle, they are automatically at fault. While the rear driver is usually the liable party in rear-end collisions, there are some exceptions. With the adoption of comparative negligence in California law, there is always a chance that the lead driver is liable to some degree.
In any auto accident, the key to resolving fault is to determine negligence. In California, rear-end accidents fall under the rebuttable presumption that the second car holds liability for the accident. This means that while it’s likely to be the fault of the car behind, this presumption must be clarified before negligence is concretely determined.
Role of Negligence in Car Accidents
All drivers have a duty of care for other road users. To prove negligence in an accident, you must demonstrate how one driver’s breach of duty led to the accident. Breaches of duty that can lead to car accidents include:
- Failure to stop in a reasonable amount of time
- Driving at an unsafe speed in relation to speed limits and road conditions
- Inability to control your vehicle
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Not using indicator signals
- Trailing a car at an unsafe distance
To receive compensation for a rear-end collision, drivers must prove that the opposing driver breached their duty, which caused the accident. You must also show that you sustained damages to your body or vehicle as a result of the incident.
Proving Fault in an Accident
To win a rear-end collision claim in California, you must prove that someone other than you was at fault. While it may be obvious whose fault the accident was, this must be indisputable in legal terms. For this reason, official proof is necessary to support your argument. Proving fault in an accident can be done using the following:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Photographic evidence
- Video evidence
- Vehicle damage
- State traffic laws
Cases When the Lead Driver Is at Fault
Due to the positioning of vehicles on the road, the fault of rear-end accidents is generally with the rear vehicle driver. It is much easier for the trailing car to break the duty of care, causing an accident. All it takes is a moment of distraction or driving too close to the vehicle ahead to cause a collision.
However, there are circumstances where the lead driver is at fault in a rear-end accident. Some of the most common causes include:
- The lead car reverses suddenly in a dangerous manner and without warning.
- The lead car stops suddenly, signaling to turn but then fails to make the turn.
- The lead car’s brake lights don’t work.
- The lead car has a flat tire but doesn’t pull over and fails to use the hazard warning lights.
- The lead car changes lanes dangerously, leading to a rear-end collision.
- The lead car stops suddenly without a reasonable cause.
As with rear-end collisions where the rear driver is at fault, you must provide adequate proof to show negligence on the part of the lead motorist.
California uses a pure comparative negligence system, meaning both parties can collect damages from a legal case as long as one person isn’t 100% negligent. However, you will receive less from your settlement if the court determines you hold part of the fault for the accident.
To successfully negotiate a motor accident claim in California, it’s essential to hire representation from a reputable lawyer, particularly if pure comparative negligence is involved.
Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we have a skilled team of experienced San Francisco car accident lawyers. We prioritize maximizing compensation for our clients and work to earn them reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages and earnings, pain and suffering, repairs and replacements, and more.
We’ve built a reputation as tough negotiators with insurance companies over the years, ensuring you won’t be taken advantage of. If you suffered an injury in a rear-end crash, don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule your free consultation.
June 7th, 2021|
Although California law requires every driver to have insurance, many drivers fail to comply. Whether they cannot afford the monthly rates, forget to renew their policy, or drive without a license, the result is the same. Having an accident with an uninsured motorist means you must file a claim with your insurance policy rather than theirs.
Many drivers worry that filing an uninsured motorist claim can increase their insurance rates. In California, legally, it cannot.
Too Many Uninsured Drivers on the Road
In 2019, 16.6% of California drivers didn’t have insurance. While not a majority, this high percentage makes it likely you’ll encounter an uninsured driver while on the road. If they hit you, their lack of insurance makes it difficult to get compensation.
If you have uninsured motorist insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company to pay for damages to your car and any injuries you sustain. Experienced California car accident lawyers can guide you through the process of filing a claim and can negotiate with your insurance company if you encounter problems.
Often, insurance companies take a long time processing claims or deny them for unjustifiable reasons. The team at Berg Injury Lawyers can ensure that you get the compensation you need from your insurance company as quickly as possible.
If you cause an accident and file a claim with your insurance company, that could cause your rates to go up. However, if someone else caused the accident, even if they are uninsured, Californians have protection against rising rates. Passed in 1988, Proposition 103 makes it illegal for insurance companies to raise your rates or drop you after filing an uninsured motorist claim.
However, many insurers have continued to do so illegally. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you avoid any illegal rate increases and expedite the claims process.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver
If your costs exceed the maximums of your policy, or you don’t hold uninsured motorist insurance, you may want to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve. However, many uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it. This means that although you may win your lawsuit, you won’t receive any money. Additionally, uninsured drivers face fines and possible jail time in California, so it could be challenging to receive your settlement from the driver.
Your lawyer may advise you to include third parties in your lawsuit as well, if possible. These parties may include people like other drivers involved in the crash or the car manufacturer if you believe a defect caused the accident.
The sooner you speak with a lawyer about your accident, the better. Personal injury lawsuits can also take months or years to go through court, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. While your legal team will endeavor to reach a settlement outside of court, they may need to go to trial if the insurance company or driver refuses to cooperate.
Work With Berg Injury Lawyers
Even if you don’t need to file a lawsuit, having an experienced lawyer on your side when dealing with your insurance company can help streamline the process and ensure you get the total compensation you are entitled to.
It’s common for insurance companies to offer their customers low-ball settlements, hoping they will accept. Your lawyer can advise you on their offer and determine whether it’s enough to cover your costs. If your insurance company delays or reduces their offer, your lawyer can represent you in negotiations with them to maximize your compensation.
Call for a Free Consultation
With our No Fee Guarantee, you can trust the legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers. We won’t get paid unless you do, so you don’t need to worry about shelling out money when you’re already suffering after an accident.
Car accidents are stressful enough without the complication of an uninsured motorist. If you or a loved one is suffering after an accident with an uninsured driver, call Berg Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free consultation. We’ll review your case and determine what your next steps should be to get you the compensation you deserve.
May 31st, 2021|
Traffic accidents often lead to fatalities and can devastate a family in seconds. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), during the first nine months of 2020, traffic deaths across the country increased almost 5% over 2019 statistics.
In California, over 3,000 deaths occur each year due to traffic accidents, often resulting from someone else’s negligence and reckless driving. When this happens to one of your loved ones, seeking legal advice is necessary to determine whether you can file a claim to get the compensation you need to move forward with your life and hold the negligent party responsible for their actions.
Berg Injury Lawyers has been assisting car accident victims and their families since 1981, and we understand the California laws surrounding them. We know how to thoroughly review and evaluate your case and advise you of your options, negotiate with the insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf.
Negligent behaviors of others abound when sliding behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. As a result, too many fatalities occur. In California, these negligent behaviors range from excessive speeding to several forms of distracted driving.
Leading Causes of Traffic Deaths in California
While many causes can contribute to a traffic accident, there are several which stand out in California as the leading causes of traffic deaths.
Driving too fast for the roadway conditions or excessive speeding are leading causes of traffic fatalities across the country and California. The IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) reports that speeding results in more severe accidents, often leading to catastrophic occurrences.
At higher speeds, a driver’s reaction time reduces, as does their overall control of the vehicle. As speed increases, so does the force of impact, creating a hazardous situation for other drivers. Attempts to slow down or stop to avoid a crash are limited, which increases the risk of deadly injury to all involved.
Driving while impaired is widespread and often leads to severe accidents. Impairment can be caused by alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs and can prevent the driver from acting responsibly, leading to thousands of crashes each year.
Alcohol impairment means that a driver has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. According to compiled statistics by the Centers for Disease Control, every 50 minutes, a death in a motor vehicle crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurs in the United States.
Drug impairment, whether from legal or illegal drugs, also contributes to deadly accidents each year. Prescription medications often lead to drowsiness, affecting the driver’s ability to drive responsibly, while illegal drug impairment often reduces reaction time or causes loss of attention.
With the advancement of technology, people’s attention is pulled in all directions, and this often leads to drivers who attempt to multi-task behind the wheel.
Driver distraction encompasses various activities, and new technology is only one cause of distraction. Examples of activities leading to distraction include:
- Talking, texting, or internet browsing on a cell phone or other device
- Talking or arguing with other passengers in the vehicle
- Eating while driving
- Grooming while driving
- Distracted by other objects in the vehicle
While regulations exist to lower the number of distractions, it’s challenging to remove them entirely. For example, hands-free cell phones are helpful but don’t eliminate the overall distraction.
Failing to adhere to common traffic laws often leads to accidents. Two that top the list of common causes of traffic deaths are failure to yield the right-of-way and the inability to keep to the proper lane. Failing to obey traffic signals and signs also contributes to deadly crashes daily.
While doing your part to follow traffic laws, others may not show you and your loved ones the same courtesy. Always be on the lookout for those careless drivers and give yourself plenty of time and space to react to their negligent actions. When you cannot do so, and injury or death occurs, you need to consider all your options.
Though filing a legal claim with experienced California car accident attorneys won’t bring your loved one back to you, it can provide peace of mind by bringing those responsible to justice and compensation for you and your family.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Arrange Your Free Consultation
Thousands of traffic accidents occur in California every year, leading to fatalities. When this happens to your family or loved one, the California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help you achieve the justice you deserve and get you the compensation you need. If you’d like to speak to an attorney, contact our law office for a complimentary, no-obligation case review.