Auto Accident


Why Self-Driving Cars Make for Complex Cases

by Staff Blogger | October 9th, 2023

The arrival of self-driving cars on Alameda’s roads is exciting and groundbreaking, with the hopes of making commutes safer and more efficient. However, this technological leap also ushers in challenges for legal systems. As responsibility shifts from human drivers to autonomous algorithms in the event of an accident, questions of liability become more difficult.

If you’re injured in a self-driving car collision, our Alameda self-driving car lawyers can help you navigate this challenging landscape and seek compensation from the liable party.

Causes of Self-Driving Car Accidents

Accidents involving self-driving cars are often the result of technological glitches, human intervention, and interactions with traditional vehicles.

  • Technological failures. While highly advanced, self-driving cars can still suffer technical malfunctions. Errors in sensors, cameras, or radar systems may disrupt their accurate interpretation of the environment. This can lead to incorrect decisions, misreading road conditions, and unexpected behaviors contributing to accidents.
  • Human intervention challenges. Changing from self- and human-driving modes in these vehicles can be difficult. Accidents can happen if the person behind the wheel isn’t paying attention or ready to take over. This is especially true if the self-driving system encounters challenging scenarios or misinterprets situations.
  • Interactions with conventional vehicles. Mixing self-driving cars with regular cars on the road can create unexpected challenges. Drivers may struggle to predict the actions of automated systems, leading to accidents. Similarly, self-driving cars may not always be programmed to anticipate the less predictable maneuvers of drivers, such as sudden lane changes or stopping.
  • Software bugs. The intricate software used for self-driving technology is complex. Software bugs can impact decision-making processes and sensor data interpretation, potentially leading to accidents.
  • Environmental influences. Self-driving cars rely heavily on sensors for perception. Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog, coupled with rapidly changing environments, can compromise sensor accuracy and pose challenges in interpreting the surroundings.

The Difficulties of Self-Driving Cars and Liability

With the shift from human drivers to autonomous systems, determining liability in an accident can be complicated, affecting the outcome of potential legal claims for victims. Possible liable parties in self-driving car accidents include:

  • Manufacturers. The companies developing and producing self-driving vehicles are responsible for ensuring the technology’s safety and reliability. The manufacturer might be held liable if a vehicle’s design or manufacturing process flaw contributes to an accident.
  • Software developers. The software and algorithms that enable self-driving cars to navigate the roads play a critical role in their safe operation. If software glitches or errors lead to accidents, the developers may face liability for their role in creating the flawed technology.
  • Car owners. Despite its autonomous capabilities, car owners still have responsibilities related to vehicle maintenance, ensuring sensors and systems are functioning correctly. Negligence in maintaining the vehicle’s autonomous features might shift liability to the owner.
  • Regulatory bodies. The evolving legal complexities around self-driving cars can also impact liability. If regulatory bodies fail to establish clear guidelines or standards for self-driving technology, they might share liability for accidents resulting from inadequate oversight.
  • Infrastructure providers. Entities responsible for road infrastructure and technology, such as communication networks, GPS systems, and traffic management, could be held partially liable if deficiencies in these systems contribute to accidents involving self-driving cars.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help?

If you’re involved in a self-driving car accident, an attorney with experience in this emerging field can be invaluable. Our car accident lawyers can navigate the layers of law and technology surrounding self-driving cars to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries after a crash.

Here’s how our attorneys can help:

  • Product liability claims. We can assess whether the car’s manufacturer or software developer is liable for the accident if a malfunction occurs due to defective performance or design. We can help you file a product liability claim to seek damages for lost wages, medical bills, and emotional distress.
  • Expert analysis. Our team can work closely with experts to analyze the car’s data and understand its behavior leading to the accident. We can also use specialists to recreate the accident scenario, providing a clearer picture of who or what was at fault.
  • Data retrieval. We can retrieve vital information stored in the car’s systems and have it analyzed by experts to establish the circumstances of the accident.
  • Technological vs. human error. We can help determine whether the fault lies with the vehicle’s technology or human intervention, a critical factor in the outcome of your case. If a technological flaw is to blame, the legal strategy may involve negotiating with the manufacturer or software developer’s insurance company for a fair settlement based on product liability.

If human error was the cause, we may focus on acts of negligence, such as speeding or disobeying traffic laws. Each scenario requires a different approach to legal representation, emphasizing the need for an attorney qualified in this area.

Empower Your Legal Journey with Berg Injury Lawyers

Navigating the complexities of self-driving car accident cases requires a blend of technological understanding, legal skills, and strategic advocacy. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our Alameda self-driving car lawyers have the expertise to guide you through these complicated legal challenges.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options if you’ve been involved in a collision with a self-driving car.


The Impact of California’s DUI Laws on Accident Claims

by Staff Blogger | October 2nd, 2023

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a severe offense in California because it can result in catastrophic consequences, including injuries, fatalities, and property damage. California’s stringent DUI laws serve as a deterrent and influence accident claims, often complicating the path to compensation for victims.

A California car accident attorney can help you understand and navigate the DUI laws and help you receive maximum compensation after a DUI-related accident.

California’s DUI Laws

California takes a zero-tolerance approach to DUI, and the illegality of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is vigorously enforced. A DUI conviction can result in substantial fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense and whether it’s a first-time or repeat offense.

Section 23152 of California’s vehicle code states the following:

  • 23152(a)(e)(f) makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.
  • 23152(b) specifies that driving with a BAC over .08% is illegal.
  • 23152(c) makes driving while addicted to any drug illegal unless the driver is participating in an approved treatment program for narcotics.
  • 23152(d) states that it is illegal to drive a passenger-for-hire vehicle with a BAC of over .04%.

California Statute 23153 focuses on unlawful behavior related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the behavior causes bodily injury to someone other than the driver.

  • 23153(a)(e)(g). These sections make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both while violating traffic laws or neglecting duty of care to other people on the road. It applies when these actions result in bodily injury to another person.
  • 23153(c). This section states that there is no need to prove a driver violated a specific section of the code to show negligence.

The penalties for breaking these DUI laws are severe. Under Section 23566(a)-(e), repeat offenders of DUI causing injury or great bodily harm face increasingly severe penalties. These can include:

  • A prison term of up to 4 years, fines up to $5,000, and revocation of their driver’s license and privileges if they have 2 or more violations in 10 years.
  • The same penalties apply if the person is convicted of four or more DUI violations in 10 years. However, they will receive an extra 3 years in state prison.
  • They will be designated as a habitual traffic offender for 3 years post-conviction.
  • If serving time in state prison, they must participate in a drug or alcohol program.

If a person is convicted of a DUI causing injury under Section 23153 and they have a separate conviction for specific driving offenses within the last 10 years, they face additional penalties. These include imprisonment in state prison or county jail for a minimum of 120 days to a maximum of one year and a fine ranging from $390 to $5,000.

The individual’s driving privileges will be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The court will also require them to surrender their driver’s license.

Consequences of a DUI in California for Victims

DUI incidents in California can have grave consequences for victims, leaving behind a trail of devastating outcomes, such as:

  • Physical and emotional trauma. DUI accidents often cause severe physical injuries to victims, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can cause long-term pain, disability, and emotional trauma for victims and their families.
  • Fatalities. Impaired driving can lead to tragic fatalities. Innocent lives are lost because of the reckless actions of impaired drivers, leaving grieving families to cope with the loss.
  • Property damage. Vehicles and other property can be extensively damaged, adding financial stress to the emotional toll.
  • Financial burden. Victims of DUI accidents face substantial financial obligations. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing treatment expenses can quickly accumulate, burdening victims and their families.
  • Lost income. Injuries sustained in DUI accidents can lead to extended periods of work. Lost wages and reduced earning capacity further contribute to the financial strain experienced by victims.
  • Emotional distress. The emotional impact of a DUI accident can be overwhelming. Victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional distress.

How DUI Laws Can Affect Your Accident Claim?

Navigating the aftermath of an accident with an impaired driver is complex. California’s DUI laws can affect the type of compensation you may be eligible for and how your attorney may approach your case.

  • Liability and Compensation

In California, a DUI is considered a form of negligence per se, automatically establishing liability on the part of the impaired driver. This can make it easier for victims to claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional suffering.

However, a DUI violation doesn’t necessarily guarantee full compensation, especially when dealing with insurance companies.

California is an at-fault state, which means the other driver’s insurance company is liable for covering your damages. Insurance companies may attempt to minimize payouts or find reasons to deny claims, so having evidence of the driver’s DUI conviction can support your case and improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

  • Insurance Coverage

Insurance companies may be hesitant to fully compensate victims in DUI-related accidents, particularly if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy doesn’t adequately cover the damages. They may also attempt to reduce their liability by arguing contributory negligence on the victim’s part.

  • Punitive Damages

One unique aspect of DUI-related accident claims in California is the potential for punitive damages. These are above and beyond the compensatory damages and are designed to deter reckless behavior. Courts are more inclined to award punitive damages in DUI cases as a warning to society about the consequences of driving while impaired.

  • Legal Complexities

Navigating the legal aftermath of a DUI-related accident can be complex for victims. Factors like impaired driver’s blood alcohol level, the timing of chemical tests, and whether drugs were involved can all complicate establishing fault and seeking compensation.

If you’ve been a victim of a DUI-related accident, consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney experienced in DUI-related claims is crucial. They can help you understand your rights, the damages you can claim, and how to deal with insurance companies.

Seeking Justice After DUI-Related Accidents in California

California’s DUI laws are some of the strictest in the country, a reflection of the devastating impact DUI-related accidents can have. These laws determine criminal charges and influence accident claims, affecting liability, compensation, and insurance coverage.

Our experienced California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers will fight for your rights, communicate with insurers, and help you secure fair compensation. But don’t just take our word for it. Browse our client testimonials to get to know us and learn how we can help you.

Contact us at any time to arrange your free consultation. We can review your case and help you determine your next legal steps.


Everything You Need to Know About Unmarked Crosswalks in California

by Staff | September 21st, 2023

Originally published March 1, 2021.

Unmarked crosswalks are very common throughout California. With the absence of pedestrian traffic signals, drivers and pedestrians both might be confused about who has the right of way. Fortunately the law is very clear on the matter: the pedestrian has right-of-way and cars must yield to them. But situations vary, and unmarked crosswalks can make things more complicated in the event of an injury or pedestrian accident involving a vehicle. Read on to learn more about the complexities of such cases, and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you if you’re injured at a crosswalk.

WHAT IS AN UNMARKED CROSSWALK?

An unmarked crosswalk is the extension of a sidewalk, trail, or any other pedestrian pathway through a vehicular road. They’re located exclusively at intersections. In other words, an unmarked crosswalk is anywhere a marked crosswalk could be but does not feature painted lines or a “walk” signal.

If there are no sidewalks or pedestrian pathways near the intersection, then there is no unmarked crosswalk either, and those looking to cross should find another, more appropriate intersection to do so. However, the rules for pedestrians using an unmarked crosswalk and for crossing a street where there is no unmarked crosswalk are the same.

If you find yourself at an unmarked crosswalk as a pedestrian, you must check to make sure that stepping into the unmarked crosswalk won’t put you in the way of oncoming traffic , creating a safety risk for both you and any drivers. For example, if you walk up to a crosswalk and there are nearby vehicles rapidly approaching and not stopped at a traffic signal or far away, it’s best to wait or find a different route. However, once you start crossing the road, drivers should yield the right of way to you, the pedestrian.

UNMARKED CROSSWALKS AND PEDESTRIAN COLLISIONS

California law states that a pedestrian has a “duty of using due care for his or her safety.” That means they can’t walk into oncoming traffic.  By that same logic, if a pedestrian enters the unmarked crosswalk safely, giving approaching vehicles plenty of time and distance to stop, and they’re still hit, the pedestrian may be able to hold the offending driver responsible for any injuries suffered.

Of course, determining fault isn’t always simple in cases involving a pedestrian collision. Drivers often assert, rightly or wrongly, that they weren’t at fault for the crash. In such an instance, witnesses to the collision can be valuable resources for injured pedestrians who need to prove a driver’s fault when seeking compensation. Street cameras can also help establish liability in pedestrian collision cases.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU WERE INJURED AT AN UNMARKED CROSSWALK

If you’ve been injured at an unmarked crosswalk by a negligent driver, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for the costs of your injury. It’s essential you also seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the injury. At this stage, take care to collect as much information about the accident and injury as possible: medical records, witnesses’s contact information, security camera footage, police reports, etc.

In the hours, days, or weeks following your injury, you might be contacted by a representative of the driver’s insurance company. They’ll want you to give them a statement on the record. It’s important that you turn down the representative’s request for a statement.

Insurance companies often attempt to offer lowball settlements to injured people. It’s possible the offer an insurer makes you will be nowhere near enough to cover the many costs you face due to the actions of the at-fault driver.

Instead, consider contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine how much you’re owed and deal with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for the compensation you deserve.

BERG INJURY LAWYERS CAN HELP YOU

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California car accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for the maximum amount of compensation our clients deserve. We offer free consultations to help you explore your legal options. Contact our team today to get started on your case.


The Dos and Don’ts When Speaking to an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident

by Staff Blogger | August 21st, 2023

If you are involved in a personal injury accident, such as a car crash or slip-and-fall, you’ll need to speak with an insurance adjuster when filing your claim. The role of these professionals is to investigate and settle claims on behalf of the other party’s insurance company.

Knowing the dos and don’ts of interacting with insurance adjusters helps protect your rights during the claims process. This knowledge ensures that you avoid making statements or taking actions that may hurt your case while cooperating with the adjuster.

What Is an Insurance Adjuster?

An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster, is an insurance industry professional working on behalf of an insurance company. They investigate insurance claims, assess damages, injuries, and legal liabilities, then negotiate with the other parties to reach an appropriate settlement.

Adjusters use live phone calls to gauge your knowledge of the injury claims process. Although the insurance adjuster may sound and act like they’re on your side, it’s important to remember they work for the other party’s insurance company. They primarily put their employer’s interests ahead of yours and will seek to settle for the lowest acceptable amount.

What to Do When Dealing with an Insurance Adjuster

You must cooperate with an insurance adjuster to advance your compensation claim and achieve a fair settlement. The following tips can help you know what to do when speaking with an adjuster from your own or a third-party’s insurer. If you are represented by legal counsel, be sure to check with your attorney prior to speaking with the adjuster.

DO: Take Notes

Document all your interactions with the insurance adjuster. This includes writing summaries of phone calls or in-person conversations and keeping copies of all letters, emails, and other documents.

Do: Provide Straightforward, Concise Answers

Answer all questions the adjuster asks truthfully and without exaggeration. Avoid lying or speculating about who is at fault for your injuries. If you can’t answer a question, ask for clarification, or simply respond, “I don’t know.”

Answer the adjuster’s questions clearly and concisely. Don’t say anything that could be considered admitting fault, such as “I’m sorry,” and don’t downplay your injuries by saying something like “I feel fine today.

Inaccuracies and exaggerated statements can hurt your credibility and be used against you to reduce or deny your claim. Avoid volunteering information or over-sharing; limit your answers to the adjuster’s questions.

Do: Cooperate with the Adjuster’s Request for Documentation or Evidence

Cooperating with an insurance adjuster’s requests for documentation or evidence is crucial to processing your claim successfully. The adjuster needs to assess the legitimacy and extent of your claim, and the only way to do this accurately is through proper documentation.

Do: Contact a Lawyer

Don’t wait for a call from the insurance adjuster before contacting a lawyer. Seeking the help of experienced California personal injury attorneys can help you prepare for the conversation, navigate the claims process, and ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries.

What Not to Do

The statements you make to an insurance adjuster can affect the outcome of your claim. Consider the following tips for speaking with adjusters to help you avoid making a mistake that could keep you from receiving the settlement you deserve:

Don’t: Consent to Recorded Statements

The adjuster may request you make a statement on record. Insurance companies may use the recordings to twist your statements and reduce or deny your claim. California is a two-party consent state, so you are not required to accept making a statement on record. Always refuse if asked and direct the adjuster to speak with your attorney, especially if speaking with another party’s insurance company.

Don’t: Settle Without Legal Advice

Never accept the insurance adjuster’s first offer. It is likely too low to cover your expenses and damages. While an insurance adjuster is a professional, they operate in the insurance company’s best interests.

They may use tactics such as offering a low settlement or claiming that you won’t receive compensation if you don’t settle. They may also ask a question repeatedly to see if you change your statement to use it against your claim. You should approach any conversations with an adjuster cautiously, ideally with the guidance of your attorney.

Always speak to your lawyer before signing or agreeing to any offer or signing releases or waivers. If the adjuster provides you with documents to sign, share them with your lawyer, who can help you understand their implications for your claim.

Receive Expert Legal Representation from Berg Injury Lawyers

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our team understands the confusion victims may feel after a life-altering accident, especially when dealing with insurance company adjusters.

If you were hurt in a car accident, slip-and-fall, or another type of personal injury incident, our attorneys can step in during the claims process to help you navigate communications with the insurance company.

We can help you protect your rights, submit strong evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement for your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.


Is California a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

by Staff | August 17th, 2023

Originally published October 4, 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 the California personal injury lawyers, Berg Injury Lawyers, as soon as possible. Acting quickly can help preserve any evidence that can be used to establish fault in your case, and protect your rights to compensation.

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.

 The more evidence you have regarding the other party’s fault, the more likely you are to collect a higher amount of compensation. Some forms of evidence you should make sure to collect include:

  • photographs and videos of the accident scene
  • copies of medical and police reports
  • eyewitness accounts
  • driver and vehicle information for all involved vehicles
  • 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 even if you are partially at fault. However, to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and any damage to your vehicle, you need an experienced San Francisco 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.


Ride-Sharing Accidents in California: Who is Liable?

by Staff Blogger | July 24th, 2023

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft provide Californians with a convenient way to travel across the state. However, since 2011, ride-share drivers have been involved in an increasing number of accidents and fatalities, with around a 3% annual increase.

These accidents are often due to collisions with other vehicles, single-car accidents due to driver negligence, and incidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. Uber’s latest safety report found that 94% of accidents between 2019 and 2020 resulted from negligent behavior by third-party drivers, such as speeding or intoxicated driving.

Understanding potential liability in a ride-share accident can help you know your rights and obtain compensation if you’re injured in a crash.

Insurance Policies and Liability: The Role of Ride-Sharing Companies

Liability in ride-share accidents can be complex. These incidents often involve multiple parties, including ride-share drivers, the ride-share company, third-party vehicles, and passengers.

  • Ride-share drivers: The driver operating the vehicle at the time of the accident may bear responsibility for the collision if they violated traffic laws or drove recklessly. However, their liability may depend on their active status at the time of the incident:
  • If the driver was driving on their own time and was not signed into the Uber or Lyft app, you could receive compensation based on the limits of their personal auto insurance policy.
  • If the driver is available for ride requests when the incident occurs, you can obtain compensation from the ride-share company. Uber and Lyft provide commercial liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage under these circumstances.
  • An active ride-share driver in transit or on the way to pick up a passenger will be covered for $1 million by the ride-sharing platform.
  • Ride-share companies: Companies like Uber and Lyft may also share liability, as they have a duty to ensure the safety of their passengers. Driver training, background checks, and maintenance of their fleet may contribute to their liability.
  • Third-party vehicles: In some cases, another vehicle not associated with the ride-share service may have been involved in the accident. You can file a claim against a third-party driver if their actions or negligence led to the collision.
  • Passengers: Passengers may have contributed to the accident by distracting the driver, not wearing seatbelts, or engaging in other unsafe behaviors. Depending on the circumstances, they may share partial liability.

If you sustain injuries from a negligent Uber or Lyft driver, your California car accident attorney with Berg Injury Lawyers can help you determine liability and seek a settlement from the responsible party.

California’s Laws and Regulations on Ride-Sharing

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft fall under the classification of transportation network companies (TNCs) in California. Ride-share drivers and their companies are also subject to specific periods for liability in case of car accidents under state law. These periods include:

  • Period 1: The driver enters driver mode and accepts a ride request during this period. The ride-share company’s liability insurance covers $50,000 per physical injury, $100,000 per accident, and $30,000 for property damage during this period.
  • Period 2: The ride-sharing company provides a minimum of $1 million in commercial liability during this period.
  • Period 3: The $1 million commercial liability coverage continues when the driver picks up a passenger. It ends as soon as the passenger leaves the vehicle.

Understanding these nuances can help your lawyer establish liability and pursue legal action on your behalf. They can use these California guidelines to help you know how to sue a rideshare company after a crash if the driver’s actions led to your injuries. 

Navigating the Aftermath: Steps to Take After a Ride-Sharing Accident

If you are injured in a rideshare accident, contact emergency services immediately. Then, take the following steps to document the incident and protect your rights to compensation:

  • Document the Scene

Gather evidence, such as photos and videos of the accident site and witness statements. Obtain the contact and insurance details of the driver since ride-share drivers must have both personal and commercial insurance.

  • Seek Medical Treatment

Some injuries, like whiplash, may not manifest immediately after an accident. Schedule a visit with your doctor to assess and document any hidden injuries. Your medical records can support your insurance claim and help your lawyer connect your injuries with the accident.

  • Report the Incident to the Ride-Share Company

Inform the ride-share company about the accident as soon as possible. You must complete a claim form for Uber or Lyft, so they can begin reviewing your claim and award you compensation under their liability policies.

Contact a Ride-Share Attorney to Evaluate Your Case

A California car accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you receive fair compensation if you are involved in a ride-share accident. Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of ride-sharing accidents and can negotiate with ride-share companies or third-party driver insurers on your behalf. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.


What Are the Worst Traffic Times in Sacramento?

by Staff Blogger | July 17th, 2023

Originally published July 20, 2020.

If you live in Sacramento, you’re likely behind the wheel of your vehicle longer than most people on your typical daily commute. One study suggests that Sacramento drivers spend 60 hours each year driving in traffic, establishing the city as having the 22nd-worst commute delay in the country.

THE WORST TRAFFIC TIMES IN SACRAMENTO

On weekdays, Sacramento’s roads are most congested between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. On weekends, Sacramento drivers are most likely to encounter traffic between noon and 2 p.m. Unfortunately, for many commuters in Sacramento, braving long lines of vehicles during these hours of the day is unavoidable.

WHY IS TRAFFIC SO BAD IN SACRAMENTO?

The causes of our traffic woes are multifold. Sacramento is one of the fastest growing cities in California, which means there are an increasing number of vehicles on our roads. Another factor is the rise of so-called super commuters—people who face over an hour of commute times each day. The lack of affordable housing has pushed many people who work in Sacramento further away from the city, and they pay dearly in the form of time stuck in traffic.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONGESTED ROADS

Every year, commuters in Sacramento lose approximately $1,022 and 24 gallons of fuel because of traffic. In addition to lost time, money, and gas, congested roads cause other problems. Heavy traffic:

  • Causes wear and tear on vehicles through repeated braking and accelerating.
  • Blocks the path of emergency responders.
  • Induces anger or “road rage” among some drivers.
  • Contributes to air pollution and harmful gas emissions.

There’s also plenty of research suggesting that traffic increases the risks of car accidents. Though high-speed crashes are less likely when cars are traveling slowly, many other risks are introduced. For example, multiple-vehicle crashes and rear-end accidents can be more common when roads are congested.

IS THERE HOPE FOR A DAY WHEN SACRAMENTO HAS LESS TRAFFIC?

Probably not. If you’re hoping that these numbers will improve in the years to come, we hate to tell you things might get even worse. Researchers say that by 2030, Sacramento drivers could spend up to 70 hours a year behind the wheel during their commutes.

BUT ISN’T THERE A WAY TO SOLVE SACRAMENTO’S TRAFFIC PROBLEMS?

Easing commuters’ traffic problems is possible, though it usually requires solutions that are either impractical or impossible. The Brookings Institution, a reputable Washington, D.C. think tank, suggests four ways to deal with congestion:

1) Introducing tolls during the most heavily trafficked hours of the day to deter motorists.

2) Expanding road capacity to accommodate more drivers.

3) Expanding public transportation to give people more options.

4) Accepting it.

Yes, one of the leading think tanks in world suggests we essentially “get over it.” Brookings believes that option number four is the most realistic one. That’s because significant infrastructure improvements and tolls are politically and financially impossible in most parts of the U.S. If this esteemed think tank is right, we might benefit from looking at ways to make our commutes more tolerable.

Enjoying this article? You might also be interested in learning more about the worst traffic times in San Francisco.

HOW TO HANDLE THE STRESS OF TRAFFIC 

If traffic is to be lumped in with death and taxes as something all of us will encounter, we’re best served by looking for ways to cope with it. Here are three methods for overcoming traffic-induced stress:

  1. Breathe: Researchers report that breathing techniques alleviate stress. Though some of these techniques are complex, others are doable even when behind the wheel. For example, one method of breathing for stress reduction is to simply exhale more slowly on each breath until stress subsides. Simple and effective.
  2. Listen to something engaging: Maybe you have certain types of music that put you at ease, or perhaps you enjoy podcasts or audiobooks. Whatever your entertainment of choice might be, being stuck in traffic is an opportunity to enjoy it. Just make sure you keep the volume down, so you can hear warnings signs of dangerous situations and avoid causing a distracted driving accident.
  3. Reframe the situation: You can view traffic as a waste of precious time, or you could view it as a break from the many demands you face at home or work. A simple change in perspective can make sitting idly much easier to endure.

Are these ideal solutions? No, we’d all prefer to spend less time in traffic. But if it’s a fact of life, we can find healthy ways to deal with it. We can do our part to keep a healthy perspective while also being mindful of the safety of our fellow motorists. What happens when you’re involved in a crash with a driver who wasn’t mindful of your safety? In these situations, there is a clear solution: Demand compensation for the crash-related expenses you face.

To learn more about traffic in California, check out the following resources:

IF YOU NEED LEGAL HELP, CONTACT BERG INJURY LAWYERS

The Sacramento car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can’t shorten your commute, but we can help you get the payment you deserve after a car accident that wasn’t your fault. Our consultations are free, so contact us today to speak to our team for a case evaluation.


Parking Lot Right-of-Ways in California: What to Know

by Staff | June 16th, 2023

Originally published December 6, 2021.

Auto accidents can happen at any time and anywhere. Due to the busy nature of parking lots, minor accidents are quite common. There are over 50,000 accidents in parking lots and parking garages every year. This is usually because one or more drivers are not paying proper attention to what is happening around them.

In extremely busy parking lots with high volumes of pedestrians and other vehicles, it’s easy for drivers to become confused about who has the right of way. Read on to learn more about California’s right-of-way rules and how they apply within parking lots.

WHO HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY?

In California, the default rule for parking lots is that the driver who is in the flow of traffic has the right of way. This means the driver traveling in the main lane has the right of way over individuals pulling out of parking spaces or feeder lanes. Feeder lanes have the right of way over vehicles backing out of a parking spot.

A driver exiting a parking space is responsible for stopping, checking for oncoming traffic, and pulling out of the space only when they have sufficient time and room to do so safely.

At an uncontrolled intersection in a parking lot, the first car to stop at the intersection typically has the right of way. All parties should stop and then proceed slowly in the order in which they arrived at the intersection.

If two drivers arrive at an intersection at the same time, the driver on the left should yield to the driver on the right. Remember to use your turn signals even in a parking lot to communicate with other drivers.

Some parking lots have one-way lanes with directional arrows; for the safety of all drivers, it’s critical to pay attention to these markings and travel in the direction indicated.

If two drivers are vying for the same parking spot, a driver crossing a traffic lane must yield.

Just like on the road, pedestrians have the right of way in parking lots. You must yield to pedestrians who are crossing in the parking area, especially at designated crosswalks.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ACCIDENTS IN PARKING LOTS?

Fortunately, most of the parking lot accidents are at slow speed and tend to be minor incidents. The types of accidents that may occur in parking lots are:

  • Driving the wrong way down a one-way lane
  • Backing out of a parking space without looking
  • Rear end collisions due to cars stopping suddenly
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Turning sharply in front of oncoming vehicles
  • Driving through a crosswalk or stop sign
  • Distracted driving due to looking for an open parking space rather than the road ahead

The chances of serious injuries increase when the accident occurs at high speeds or involves a pedestrian. A pedestrian involved in a collision with a vehicle may suffer a range of injuries from the relatively minor, like bruises, to catastrophic, like a serious injury to the head or back.

What to Do After an Parking Lot Accident

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in a parking lot, make sure you:

  • Take photographs of the scene, the position of the vehicles, and any injuries you have sustained.
  • Record the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any independent witnesses.
  • Get the other driver’s name, address, license number, and insurance details.
  • Visit your doctor as soon as possible and seek medical advice on any injuries, however minor they may seem.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident.

If you suffer an injury in a parking lot accident, it’s best to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can safeguard your rights and pursue a compensation claim on your behalf.

CAN THE OWNER of the parking lot BE LIABLE?

In California, property owners may be held liable for injuries caused by the dangerous conditions of their properties, and this includes owners of parking lots. A parking lot owner may be liable for many reasons, including:

  • Failing to make necessary repairs (such as fixing potholes)
  • Failing to mark directions of travel in lanes
  • Failing to mark crosswalks for pedestrians
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Failing to provide sufficient staff or staff training (such as what staff should do in the event of an injury or accident)

If you were in a parking lot accident and think you were a victim of a parking lot owner’s negligence, your best is to contact an experienced parking lot accident attorney as soon as possible. Your ability to obtain adequate compensation might hinge on the decision.

CONTACT A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY AT OUR LAW FIRM TODAY

If you have suffered an injury in a parking lot due to the negligence of another driver or the parking lot’s owner, contact our firm and seek legal advice to protect your rights. You may be eligible for damages if, for example, another driver failed to yield the right of way, resulting in your injuries.

California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers offer a no-obligation, free attorney consultation and help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to. Contact our law firm today to get started.


Common Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents and Their Long-Term Effects

by Staff Blogger | May 8th, 2023

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of modern life in the United States, with approximately 2.1 million injuries and 42,000 deaths resulting from automotive accidents in 2020. The resulting physical and emotional injuries can be catastrophic and life-altering, requiring extensive, ongoing medical treatment and dramatically impacting a victim’s quality of life.

The Most Common Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to more severe injuries like broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. Some common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash

Whiplash is a neck injury commonly sustained in car accidents, particularly in rear-end collisions. It occurs when the neck and head are thrust forward and backward suddenly, which causes damage to the soft tissues and cervical spine.

Immediate symptoms can include neck pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. However, whiplash can cause numerous long-term effects that require ongoing treatment, including chronic pain, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.

  • Broken Bones

Broken bones are another common injury in car accidents, ranging from simple fractures to complex, multiple breaks.

Acute symptoms of broken bones include pain, swelling, and deformity at the injury site. Long-term effects include limited mobility, arthritis, and chronic pain, limiting your ability to work and enjoy daily activities.

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs are serious and potentially life-altering injuries that can result from car accidents. Symptoms can vary widely, from mild concussion symptoms like headache, dizziness, and confusion to severe cases involving loss of consciousness and memory problems.

TBIs can also result in numerous long-term issues, including chronic headaches and difficulty concentrating. They may also cause emotional and behavioral changes, such as mood swings, depression, and anxiety. TBIs can also result in long-term physical disabilities that limit your ability to work, drive, or engage in social activities.

  • Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur in car accidents when the force of impact causes the spine to twist, bend or compress beyond its normal range of motion. This can happen when the body is thrown forward in a collision, and the head and neck are suddenly jerked, causing the spinal column to twist or bend unnaturally.

Spinal cord injuries can also result from direct trauma to the back or neck during the accident, such as when a car occupant’s back hits a hard object like a steering wheel or dashboard.

Symptoms can include paralysis, loss of sensation, and difficulty breathing, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Long-term damage can include permanent paralysis, chronic pain, and a decreased life expectancy, profoundly affecting your independence.

  • Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and contusions, are common in car accidents. These injuries occur when the body is jolted or thrown suddenly during a collision, causing damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Soft tissue injuries can be mild, causing minor discomfort and swelling, or more severe, resulting in significant pain and restricted movement. Long-term effects include chronic pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, impacting your ability to work and engage in daily activities.

Challenges Injured Car Accident Victims Face

Car accidents can result in severe injuries that can impact victims physically, emotionally, and financially. Seeking prompt medical attention after an accident is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome and to reduce the risk of long-term complications.

Recovering from these injuries can be a long and challenging process that often requires ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. Your physical injuries, such as head trauma and spinal cord injuries, may require extended hospitalization and rehabilitation.

These injuries can also result in emotional challenges such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. You may face significant medical expenses, lost wages, and the need to modify your home or vehicle to accommodate your injuries.

A timely settlement can provide essential support as you recover from an accident. It can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and modifications you require for daily life.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

California car accident lawyers play a critical role in helping car accident victims secure compensation for their injuries. We can help navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for fair compensation covering medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a free case review if you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to fighting for your rights and helping you get the financial compensation you deserve.


The Importance of Documentation in a Car Accident Claim

by Staff Blogger | April 24th, 2023

Car accidents can be traumatizing and may result in significant financial losses. Documentation is critical when making a car accident claim because it provides detailed evidence of the accident and resulting damages.

Knowing which documents you need and how to organize them for your attorney can help you file an efficient claim for compensation. The attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you gather the necessary paperwork and submit your claim to win a fair settlement.

Essential Documents for Your Car Accident Claim

Filing a car accident claim requires specific documentation that details the incident, your injuries, and insurance coverages for those involved. If you plan to file a car accident claim, you will need documents regarding the following:

  • Photographic Evidence

When involved in a car accident, document the scene with photographic evidence to support your claim. Take clear and detailed photos of the vehicles involved, including any damage sustained and the license plates.

Capture images of the accident scene, including any debris or skid marks, and take pictures of injuries sustained by yourself or others involved in the accident. Also, snap photos from different angles and distances to provide a comprehensive view of the incident.

  • Medical Records

If you are injured in an accident, document all medical treatment you receive. This documentation includes copies of medical bills, hospital records, and receipts for medication and other treatments like rehabilitative care. These records can help establish the severity of your injuries and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to.

When documenting your medical treatment, be thorough. Aside from billing and records, keep copies of reports from your doctor, such as X-rays or CT scans. Record time that you have taken off work due to medical reasons as this documents loss of income you can add to your claim.

  • Witness Statements

Witness statements can be invaluable in supporting your claim. When an accident occurs, note any witnesses’ names and contact information. Ask them to write down or video them speaking about what they saw or heard. This information can help establish who was at fault for the accident.

When speaking with witnesses, be respectful and non-confrontational. Start by introducing yourself and explaining that you are involved in a car accident. Then ask if they saw what happened and if they would be willing to provide a statement. If they are willing to give a statement, ask for their contact information so your lawyer can follow up if needed.

  • Police Report

In most cases, the police will be called to the accident scene. Work with your attorney to obtain a copy of the police report, which can provide critical details about the accident, such as who was at fault and whether any citations were issued.

When obtaining a copy of the police report, ask for the entire report, not just the summary. It should include information about the location, time, date, and weather conditions at the time of the accident. The report should also include the officer’s name and badge number, a description of the vehicle damage involved, and any witness statements collected at the scene.

  • Insurance Documentation

Keep copies of all correspondence with your insurance company, including emails, letters, and phone calls. This documentation helps ensure you receive the full compensation that you are entitled to.

When speaking with your insurance company, keep a detailed record of the conversation. Note the date and time of the call, the name of the person you spoke with, and a summary of what was discussed. If the insurance company sends you any documents, such as a settlement offer, keep a copy for your records and share them with your attorney.

How to Gather and Organize Your Documents

To effectively gather and organize documentation for your car accident claim, start by collecting and keeping important information in one place. You will receive documents at different times during your case, so having an effective organizational strategy helps ensure you promptly share records with your lawyer.

  • Keep all documents related to the accident in one place, such as a folder or binder.
  • Label each document with a clear and concise description.
  • Organize the documents in chronological order, with the most recent document on top.
  • Keep a copy of all documents for yourself and provide a copy to your legal representation if you have one.
  • Separate documents by category, such as medical bills, police reports, and correspondence with insurance companies.
  • Use dividers or tabs to separate different categories of documents.
  • Create a spreadsheet or list of all the documents you have collected to ensure you have everything you need.
  • Make sure all documents are legible and easy to read.
  • Consider making digital copies of all documents for backup purposes.
  • Keep all records up-to-date and add new ones as they become available.

Organizing your car accident-related documents for a claim can help you win a better settlement. It ensures you don’t lose vital evidence for your case and that your attorney has the information they need to help prove your claim to the insurance company for a settlement.

Find a Lawyer to Help Your Case

Documentation is critical when making a car accident claim. By gathering and preserving the necessary information, your attorney can file a well-supported claim that helps you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you gather the documents you need to file your car accident claim. We have won millions for car crash victims in California and will use our experience to get you compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.