Auto Accident

Are Drivers Who Eat and Drink While Driving Negligent?

by Staff | January 24th, 2022

California law expressly prohibits the use of cell phones while driving, but no law prevents eating or drinking while behind the wheel. Although it’s not illegal, consuming food and beverages and causing an accident can constitute negligence.

Our California car accident lawyers can help you recover medical expenses and other losses after a vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver.

The Dangers of Eating While Driving

Every driver owes a duty of care to others on the road, including passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. It is the responsibility of all drivers to follow the law and maintain control of their speed and cars. The California Department of Motor Vehicles also recognizes three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Distracted driving occurs when someone eats while driving in the following situations.

  • Manual distraction: One or both hands are absent from the steering wheel while eating and drinking. It is very dangerous for drivers to eat while driving, even if just for a moment, whether they are opening a snack or adding a straw to a soft drink.
  • Visual distraction: You take your eyes off the road to focus on your food. The traffic speed may change, or a car may sneak into your blind spot while you’re glancing away to pick up food or a drink.
  • Cognitive distraction: This is when eating takes precedence over driving in terms of your mental focus. If you aren’t aware of the surrounding traffic as you eat and drink, your reaction times will slow, and you might have an accident.

How Common Are Car Accidents Because of Eating While Driving?

CDC statistics indicate that distracted driving kills 8 people in the United States every day. The number of accidents caused by distracted drivers reached about 400,000 in 2018. The following statistics illustrate the dangers of driving while eating and drinking, which can cause an accident:

  • A 2021 survey from The Zebra found that 52.5% of respondents admitted to eating while driving.
  • In the same survey, they found the risk of a crash increased eight times when reaching for an object and three times when eating or drinking.
  • If drivers are distracted by something else, they might suffer from the “hangover effect.” This phenomenon is a mental distraction that endures for up to 27 seconds after the original distracting event, even at a red light or stop sign.
  • The number of people killed by distracted drivers in car accidents nationally between 2012 and 2019 was approximately 26,000.

You Can Prevent Eating and Driving Accidents

The risks of driving while eating are incredibly high, putting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk. Avoid eating while driving by practicing the following tips:

●     Stop at a rest stop or restaurant

Try to eat a meal before leaving your house. If you need to eat food while en route, stop at a rest stop or a local restaurant before returning to your vehicle. By eating off the road, you can focus on driving.

●     Don’t eat inside your car

Avoid the temptation to eat in your car and instead dine outside in a parking lot or inside a restaurant. Getting off the road for a quick snack and eating outside of your car may save a life, including your own.

●     Ask someone else to drive

A long journey can make it difficult to stop for food and rest. You may find that hunger strikes as you drive along the road with no rest stops in sight. You can ask another passenger to drive for you temporarily. Use the downtime to eat and rest.

●     Drink beverages in small containers

Invest in a slim container with a lid that is easy to open with one hand. Compact and lightweight containers are easier to handle while keeping your eyes on the road.

A California Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case

Even when you’re cautious, other drivers’ distractions, such as eating, drinking, or texting while driving, can lead to an accident. A distracted driving accident lawsuit can be complicated, and proving the driver’s negligence often requires a resourceful attorney.

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone you believe was eating and drinking while driving, Berg Injury Lawyers can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We are happy to set up a no-obligation, complimentary consultation to learn more about your case.

Can You File a Police Report Days After an Accident?

by Staff | January 17th, 2022

If you are involved in a car accident in California, it is important to seek medical attention, contact your insurance company, and report the incident to the proper authorities as soon as possible after the collision.

But what happens if you don’t file a police report after your car crash? Learn the legal requirements of reporting car accidents in California and why reporting as soon as possible is the best course of action.

Reporting Requirements

There are several reporting requirements in California regarding the reporting of car accidents. Basic requirements cover minimum and maximum reporting times to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and police or highway patrol.

●     Minimum reporting time

There is no minimum amount of time you need to wait to report an accident. Unless you are seriously injured and unable to contact authorities, your best option is to call the police immediately following your accident.

●     Reporting to police

In California, you must contact the police within 24 hours if your accident resulted in injury or death to anyone involved. Even if there are no obvious personal injuries or casualties, it is important to report the accident to the police within this time frame to protect your rights in case you or the other party experiences personal injury symptoms days after the event.

●     Reporting to the California DMV

The California DMV requires that any accident in which a person is killed or injured or the damage exceeds $1,000 to be reported. To avoid penalties, you must download the SR-1 form from their website and submit it within 10 days of the accident. 

Consequences of Not Reporting an Auto Accident

Failure to report an auto accident to the police and DMV within the required time frame can result in monetary fines, license suspension, and criminal charges. Not reporting can also affect your ability to win compensation for any injuries you suffered in the accident.

Administrative Consequences

When you do not report the accident to the California DMV, you are likely to receive administrative consequences such as fines or the revocation of your driver’s license.

Criminal Charges

If you fail to report your car accident through the right channels, the state may consider it a hit-and-run crash. Hit-and-run accidents that result in property damage are classified as misdemeanors, but hit-and-run accidents in which there is an injury or fatality are felonies in California.

Loss of Compensatory Benefits

Not reporting your accident through the proper channels can also result in your future inability to receive insurance benefits or pursue compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The longer you wait to report your accident, the harder it is to verify the facts of the accident.

Without reporting the accident, you also run the risk of the other party claiming that you were at fault. They may claim that it was a hit-and-run, which could result in higher penalties for you if you cannot prove what actually happened when the accident occurred.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, take the following actions to protect your legal rights and avoid incurring penalties for failing to report.

  1. Seek medical attention. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep all records and reports.
  2. Contact the police or California Highway Patrol. Obtain a copy of the incident report.
  3. Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
  4. Seek legal representation from a team of skilled California car accident lawyers to protect your legal rights.
  5. Work with your attorney to collect evidence such as pictures, reports, and testimonies.
  6. Avoid speaking about the accident with others, including on social media platforms. Allow your legal team to communicate with the other party’s insurance company and lawyer.

Schedule a Case Review for Your Vehicle Collision Case

If you are involved in a vehicle collision in California, it is important to take the right steps following the incident to avoid legal penalties and protect your rights.

Following an auto accident, your best course of action is to report the incident to the police and California DMV, seek medical care, contact your insurance company, and obtain legal representation.

To find out your legal options, contact Berg Injury Lawyers. Our experienced team of car accident attorneys will review your case and advise you on your next steps. Call our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.

5 Signs Your Car is Totaled

by Staff | January 10th, 2022

When your car sustains damage in an accident, you’ll need to determine whether it’s a total loss. A totaled car is damaged beyond repair, affecting how you’ll handle claims with your insurance company. If the collision that damages your car also results in injuries, you should hire an attorney to fight for compensation on your behalf.

Our California car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights when dealing with your insurance company and pursue damages from a negligent driver if you are injured in a crash.

If your vehicle is wrecked in an accident that injures you, an insurance company adjuster determines if your vehicle is a total loss. There are five signs that your vehicle is a total loss to your insurance company.

1.    Repairing Your Car is Not Safe

Insurance companies consider vehicles that have been entirely wrecked, destroyed, or damaged beyond repair as total losses. You may have a totaled car with exterior damage such as dents, scratches, and even broken windows.

You may also have interior damage to computer components, such as steering angle sensors, airbag control, and the park assist, making the vehicle undrivable.

2.    State Laws Define Your Car as a Total Loss

According to California laws, a total loss is a wrecked vehicle whose repairs would cost more than the actual cash value of the car. A total loss is also a wrecked vehicle deemed uneconomical to repair by the insurance company.

Based on these laws, an adjuster can use the total loss formula (TLF) when determining the total loss of your car: Cost of repairs + salvage value ≥ actual cash value.

The factors that go into calculating the loss include:

  • Cost to repair: The cost of repairing the vehicle and bringing it back to full functionality. The adjuster determines if the cost of repairing your car is higher or lower than its actual monetary value.
  • Salvage value of the vehicle: Your vehicle’s salvage value will vary based on the extent of the damage. A car with extensive damage may not have much value apart from what the insurance company can collect for scrap metal. Less damaged cars may have more value since some parts are recoverable.
  • Actual cash value (ACV): Your car’s ACV is calculated according to its age, mileage, general condition, and features.

The insurance company considers a total loss when the sum of the cost of repairs and the salvage value of the vehicle exceeds or is less than the actual cash value of the vehicle. For instance, if you hit a large truck with your car, the cost to repair could be $16,000, and the car has a salvage value of $0. Under the TLF, they considered your car totaled since it only has an ACV of $10,000.

3.    The Repairs Are More Than the Car’s Value

Using the Kelley Blue Book to determine the ACV of your car, the insurance adjuster will find similar models of cars in your area and compare them to other cars in your class. They may place a low value on your car’s condition prior to the accident, which can cause your insurance to declare the total loss of your car. When the vehicle’s value is already significantly depreciated, even minor repairs can cause it to be viewed as a total loss.

4.    You Have an Older Car

Your insurance adjuster will also value your car based on its age before the accident. After the first year of ownership, the value of a new car drops by over 20%. It then continues to depreciate by 10% or more every year after that. After five years, the car may be worth less than half of what you bought it for originally.

If an older car is severely damaged and has a low trade-in and resale value according to Kelley Blue Book, many insurance companies will consider it a total loss. Because of its age, it is likely going to need repairs that could exceed its worth.

5.    Your Car Needs More Repairs Than Originally Discovered

Insurance companies may find it difficult to determine the extent of the damage to your car once they assess the initial damage before auto repair shops begin repairing it. If the auto repair shop discovers more damage, such as damage to the vehicle’s undercarriage, they can file a supplement with the insurance company.

When determining if they should declare a vehicle a total loss, some insurance companies consider supplements and how they affect repair costs. The insurance company can also define a car as a total loss even if the repair expenses are less than its ACV.

If you want to repair your car on your own and you were denied a supplement to help repair your vehicle, you’ll have to contend with your insurance provider. A car accident attorney can help you negotiate for a better evaluation of your vehicle’s value and the repairs your vehicle may need.

Speak to One of Our Experienced Lawyers

Before deciding whether to have your vehicle fixed after an accident or declare it a total loss, you should consult an auto accident lawyer. Your attorney can also help you pursue compensation for any injuries you sustained in the accident that damaged your vehicle.

Find out whether you can pursue economic and non-economic damages by filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver; talk to one of our lawyers today.

Contact attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation. Our No Fee Guarantee ensures you do not pay any fees until you win your case.

What Happens if an Unlicensed Driver Hits You in California?

by Staff | January 3rd, 2022

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

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

What if the Unlicensed Driver is Also Uninsured?

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

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

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

Steps to Take Following a California Auto Accident

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

  1. Contact authorities. Immediately after the accident, remain at the scene and call the police to report the accident. A police report of the accident is crucial to recover damages for your injuries or property loss.
  1. Exchange insurance information with the other driver. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured in addition to being unlicensed, your lawyer can help you file an insurance claim or a legal claim against the negligent driver.
  1. Seek medical care. A motor vehicle accident can leave drivers and their passengers with lasting injuries, even if the injuries are not immediately apparent. In the minutes and hours after a car accident, adrenaline can often mask the signs of injury.

Go to your doctor or nearest emergency room for a thorough examination and keep all your medical records. Documentation of your injuries immediately after the accident and your subsequent treatment history is essential to getting full compensation for your claims.

  1. Contact an attorney. Get expert help from California car accident lawyers who can guide you through the legal process. When you’ve been the victim of an unlicensed driver’s negligence, the last thing you need is the hassle of dealing with complicated insurance claim processes or navigating the court system on your own.

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

Determine Whether You Have a Claim

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

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

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

Let Experienced Lawyers Handle Your Case

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

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

Should You Be Following the 3-Second Rule While Driving?

by Staff | December 13th, 2021

Driving a car presents many possible risks; 38,800 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the US in 2019. Most of these accidents were caused by driver error.

This means that by following a few rules while driving, you can decrease your risk of harming yourself and others. One rule that’s simple to follow and helps reduce your chances of rear-ending someone else’s vehicle is the 3-second rule.

What Is the 3-Second Rule?

Many crashes are caused by drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front. Without sufficient space between vehicles, they cannot stop in time if the car in front brakes suddenly.

The 3-second rule advises you to keep a distance of three car lengths between you and the car in front. This has also been described as the distance you could travel in three seconds at an average speed. Maintaining this space between cars is a simple and proven way to avoid rear-end collisions.

Measuring the Distance

Calculating the distance you need between the car in front and your vehicle is relatively easy. Pick a stationary object by the road, such as a tree or traffic sign; once the car in front of you reaches that object, begin counting and note how long it takes you to pass the same object. If you reach the object before you have slowly counted to three, you are too close to the vehicle ahead of you.

This method will give you an idea of a safe following distance and leaves plenty of time to stop if the car in front suddenly brakes.

Driving too close to another vehicle is dangerous and causes many avoidable accidents. It is known as tailgating and is considered an aggressive type of driving that puts both vehicles’ occupants at much greater risk of a rear-end crash.

Are There People Who Should Be Given More Space?

The California Driver Handbook advises drivers to increase their following distances and give more space to drivers who present greater potential danger. These drivers and people include:

  • Drivers whose view of you is obstructed
  • Drivers who may be forced into your lane to avoid an obstruction, such as a pedestrian or bicyclist on the shoulder
  • Drivers who are backing out into your lane
  • Distracted people like delivery drivers, construction workers, or drivers talking on their phones
  • Drivers who slow down for no apparent reason (they may be searching for a house number, presenting a distraction)

When to Leave a Greater Following Distance

The 3-second rule adequately deals with daylight and good weather conditions. However, at night or when the weather conditions deteriorate, greater distances between vehicles will be necessary.

Inclement weather like rain or snow leads to worse visibility and slippery road conditions. These factors increase the risk of accidents, making it prudent to double the 3-second rule to a 6-second following distance.

Fog makes driving conditions hazardous because it is challenging to see what is in front of you. When you encounter heavy fog, it is appropriate to triple the time between you and the vehicle ahead to 9 seconds. This allows plenty of room for stopping despite the lack of visibility.

Other Safety Measures

When conditions are bad, or visibility is poor, you should drive slowly and use low beams or fog lights. You need to ensure other drivers can see you and you have plenty of room to stop.

If the visibility gets too bad, you should stop in a well-lit area and wait for conditions to improve. If you are towing a trailer or driving an RV, your required stopping distance may be greater due to the vehicle’s weight. Adjust the space between you and the vehicle ahead accordingly.

Exceptions to the 3-Second Rule

The 3-second rule does not apply where the car in front is stationary due to being stopped at a stop sign or traffic light. There is no reason to leave large spaces between vehicles in these situations.

In stop-and-go traffic in town, it is difficult to judge a 3-second space. However, it is always wise to leave a big enough gap between the vehicles so that you can stop if the car in front brakes suddenly.

What to Do if You Sustain Injuries in an Accident

If you have been rear-ended by a driver not following the 3-second rule or tailgating, speak to the auto accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Our California car accident lawyers offer a free case consultation and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

We believe everyone deserves effective legal representation when injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence. That is why we offer a No Fee Guarantee, meaning we only get paid if you recover damages. Start your case now!

What Every California Driver Should Know About Parking Lot Right-of-Ways

by Staff | December 6th, 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.

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 have suffered an injury in the accident, 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.

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 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 relatively minor to catastrophic, such as to the head or back.

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 when they have sufficient time to do so safely.

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

Will the Driver Be Liable?

In California, drivers who cause injuries through their negligence or any wrongful act may be held liable for damages they cause.

Drivers are expected to use reasonable care not to cause harm to others when operating a vehicle. If a driver causes an accident in a parking lot due to any of the following, they may have breached their legal duty of care:

  • Driving over the speed limit
  • Failing to look in their mirrors before backing out
  • Failing to yield the right of way

Can the Property Owner Be Liable?

In California, owners may be held liable for injuries caused by the dangerous conditions of their properties. A parking lot owner may be liable if they fail to maintain the lot to a safe standard.

This could include:

  • Failing to make necessary repairs
  • Failing to mark directions of travel in lanes
  • Failing to mark crosswalks for pedestrians
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Failing to provide sufficient staff or staff training

Contact a Car Accident Attorney at Our Law Firm Today

If you have suffered an injury in a parking lot due to another driver’s negligence or the parking lot’s owner, seek legal advice to protect your rights. You may be eligible for damages if 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.

Berg Injury Lawyers Is Representing the Montano Family After Fatal Crash

by Staff | December 3rd, 2021

A fatal crash that killed four members of a North Highland family has led to an outpouring of support and a tragic reminder of the perils of drunk driving. Berg Injury Lawyers is now representing the surviving family members and committed to getting justice on their behalf.

Brittany and Tony Montano, along with their three children—Marianna, Antonio Jr., and Julian—were traveling to the Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving vacation when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 80.

Four-year-old Julian was the sole survivor of the crash, though he suffered head trauma and multiple fractures.

After the crash, thieves broke into the Montano home and stole irreplaceable family keepsakes, as was recently reported by Fox 40.

Showing Support for the Montano Family

Members of the North Highland community left flowers and candles on the Montano’s driveway. Surviving Montano family members expressed gratitude for the community’s ongoing support.

Anyone interested in contributing to the family’s GoFundMe page is highly encouraged to do so. The funds will be put toward Julian’s medical bills, as well as burial expenses for Tony, Brittany, Marianna, and Antonio Jr.

We’re Fighting for the Montano Family

Berg Injury Lawyers attorney Chelsea Monahan is representing the Montano family. As Chelsea told the media at a recent press conference, the Montano home robbery added insult to the immense suffering the family is already enduring. However, our team is fighting to obtain some measure of justice for these tragic deaths.

We hope that these tragic incidents serve as a reminder of the dangers of drunk driving. AAA reports that hundreds of people die each year from wrong-way crashes, and 60% of those crashes involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Berg Injury Lawyers has been serving the Bay Area since 1981. We’re committed to pursuing justice for victims of negligence. If you have any questions or would like to speak to our team, please contact us today.

5 Common Back Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents

by Staff | November 29th, 2021

The human body is not designed to absorb the force created when traveling in a car and abruptly stopping. Your back is particularly vulnerable to injury in a car crash. Although many back injuries may heal themselves, and others are treatable, some back injuries may negatively impact your quality of life, especially if they are catastrophic, like a spinal cord injury. 

Some back injuries worsen with time, while others may not be obvious right away. It is important you seek medical attention immediately following a car accident so a professional can assess you for any potential back problems.

If you’ve suffered a back injury in a car accident, experienced California car accident lawyers can help build your case and pursue compensation for damages. The state of California recognizes pure comparative negligence laws for car accidents, so you may be entitled to compensation even if you were partially at fault for a car accident.

Here is a list of five of the most common types of back injuries that occur in a car crash:

1.    Whiplash

Whiplash is perhaps the most common injury suffered in a car crash. It happens when the head and neck are propelled backward and forward with some force. This movement damages the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. However, the cervical spine is the primary area affected, which may cause long-lasting back pain.

2.    Fractures

The force of a car crash can fracture the vertebrae in the spine. A compression fracture occurs when pressure on the spine causes cracks in the vertebrae. In major accidents, the force of the collision may be sufficient for the fracture to damage the spinal cord.

3.    Soft Tissue Injuries

These types of injuries may not be severe but can include sprains, strains, and muscle and ligament tears. Soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful and may also cause tenderness and stiffness while the healing process occurs.

4.    Herniated Disc

A car accident causes the body to absorb a lot of force. This may lead to the supportive discs slipping out of place or rupturing. A herniated disc can cause severe pain if it comes into contact with the lumbar or cervical spine nerves. This may lead to lower back pain and tingling down the leg. Compression of nerves in the cervical spine causes neck and shoulder pain. It may also cause tingling down the arm or hand.

5.    Spinal Cord Injuries

This is by far the most serious type of back injury you could sustain from a car accident. If the spinal cord is bruised or damaged during an accident, it can lead to permanent injury or even paralysis. Immediate medical treatment is needed to prevent lasting harm.

Signs and Symptoms

After an accident, any type of back pain should be taken seriously. You should consult a doctor even if the back pain is only mild. Remember, sometimes, the symptoms will not be apparent for several hours after the accident or even the next day.

The type of back injury symptoms you may expect after a car accident are:

  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain running from the buttocks down the leg
  • Difficulty in walking or standing unaided

Claiming Compensation for Back Injuries

Back injuries may be relatively minor to extremely severe. Even low-speed collisions can cause painful and debilitating back pain. Back injuries profoundly affect your life and daily routine and may even prevent you from working. This may have a bad effect on your finances and quality of life.

You shouldn’t have to suffer financially due to a back injury caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault. If a car crash compromises your quality of life and finances, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, and even loss of companionship. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer at our law firm can explain the law to you and advise you on the best options for your circumstances.

Get the Legal Representation You Need With Berg Injury Lawyers

Berg Injury Lawyers have the experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal complexities to pursue your compensation claim. Contact us today for more information and a free consultation.

Who Is it at Fault for a Lane Change Collision?

by Staff | November 15th, 2021

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

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

What Are California’s Laws for Unsafe Lane Changes?

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

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

What Causes a Lane Change Collision?

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

A lane change collision can also be caused by:

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

Other situations can hold a driver liable for a lane change collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, these factors played a role in fatal collisions:

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

In What Ways Can a Driver Be Found at Fault for a Lane Change Collision?

In a lane change collision, the court will look at various evidence to determine who is at fault.

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

What About California’s Negligence Laws?

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

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

Contact the Accident Attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers

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

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

Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise as Vehicles Return to Roads

by Staff | November 8th, 2021

Despite more people staying at home, 2020 saw an increase in traffic fatalities. As people get back on the road, traffic deaths continue to rise, with a 16% increase in traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021. Fatal accidents also result in passengers with serious injuries.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should hire an attorney to help you pursue fair compensation. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California car accident lawyers have 40 years of experience helping accident victims file claims and ensure they’re properly compensated for their damages.

Why Are Traffic Deaths Increasing?

Unsafe driving practices and reckless drivers cause many traffic accidents and deaths. Speeding, distracted driving, road rage, and drunk driving are all large contributors to serious car accidents that can result in deaths. Failing to obey traffic laws and poor road conditions also contribute to auto accidents.

As the volume of traffic increases, the number of reckless drivers goes up as well. This raises the risk of you being involved in an accident. Protect yourself and your loved ones by taking action to stay safe on the road.

Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

Following these simple safety precautions can reduce the risk of getting into an accident.

●      Wear Your Seatbelt

Wearing a seatbelt can save your life. Since 1960, over 320,000 lives have been saved because they buckled up. Wearing your seatbelt protects your body from being thrown from the vehicle during an accident. In 2019, almost half of all fatalities in accidents were among passengers not wearing their seat belts.

If you have children, make sure they’re using the appropriate car or booster seat for their age and size. Your car seat needs to be installed and used correctly for your child to be properly protected in a crash.

●      Don’t Drive Distracted

Everyone has smartphones and newer cars come with touch screen options. Those are added distractions on top of listening to music or talking with other passengers in your vehicle. The more distracted you are, the more likely you’ll get in an accident. It’s estimated that 8 people in the US die every day from crashes involving a distracted driver.

Reduce the number of distractions while you’re driving. Keep electronic devices out of sight, so they don’t tempt you. If you have an important phone call, pull over and stop your car before you take it.

●      Follow the Speed Limit

Speeding is a major factor in crashes, with high speeds involved in one-quarter of all traffic fatalities. Higher speeds give you less time to react and can result in more serious crashes and injuries.

Speeding also includes driving too fast for the conditions. Rainfall, snow, and fog can lower a driver’s visibility and make the roads slicker. If you’re dealing with bad weather, you may need to drive below the speed limit to stay safe.

●      Move Over for Emergency Vehicles

In many states, including California, it’s the law to move over for passing emergency vehicles to the side of the road. This includes ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, and tow trucks.

●      Never Drive Under the Influence

Designate a sober driver if you’re going out for a night of drinking. Never get behind the wheel or in a car with a driver who’s been drinking or using intoxicating substances. Alcohol and drugs impair your ability to concentrate and make decisions. They slow your reaction time and can increase your risk-taking. Drunk driving caused over 10,000 deaths in crashes in 2019.

●      Check Your Vehicle for Recalls

Manufacturers send out recall notices when there are safety issues or defective parts involving your car. You can check your vehicle for recalls online by entering your VIN. You should check for recalls periodically and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer if You’re Injured

It’s important to contact a lawyer if you were injured in an accident. Your attorney will help prove if another’s negligence caused your injuries. They can help you file claims so you will be compensated for your injuries. Compensation covers your medical bills, lost wages, and damages to your property.

If you live in California, contact Berg Injury Lawyers. Our legal team can help you file the required paperwork and represent your interests, so you receive a fair settlement. Contact us today for a free case review.