Personal Injury

What to Do if You’re Injured on Public Transportation

by Staff Blogger | April 8th, 2024

Public transportation is a convenient and cost-effective way to travel for millions of people in California. The state’s monthly ridership was around 60 million in 2022, a rebound from lower numbers during 2020.

Despite the relative safety and convenience of public transportation, accidents can happen. In 2023, 14 people were injured when a transit bus crashed into a restaurant in Long Beach. That same year, a Metro bus rolled backward into a retaining wall, injuring three passengers.

Knowing how to respond if you’re in a public transportation accident is vital to your immediate well-being and potential legal implications. A California public transit injury lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand your rights and get fair compensation after a crash.

Immediate Steps to Take After an Injury

Your actions after a crash involving public transportation in California can safeguard your right to potential legal actions. These cases involve governmental authorities, which can mean taking extra steps to preserve evidence and report the incident.

Here’s what you should do after a public transit collision:

Step to TakeWhat to Do
Seek Immediate Medical AttentionCheck for injuries and call 911 for emergency medical assistance.Accept medical help at the scene, even if injuries seem minor, as symptoms may appear later.Visit a healthcare provider for a thorough examination after the incident.  
Report the IncidentInform the driver or transportation staff about the incident as soon as it’s safe.Contact the transportation company’s customer service to report the crash.File a police report of the accident within 10 days and get a copy of the document.
Document DetailsTake photographs or videos of the crash site, including visible injuries and damages.Write down everything you remember about the crash, including the time, location, and events leading up to the incident.Record all information regarding the bus/vehicle number, company, driver, and other identifiers.
Preserve EvidenceKeep any clothing or personal belongings damaged in the crash in the same condition they were found.Save all medical records, receipts, and other documents related to the crash and your injuries.  
Gather Witness InformationCollect names, addresses, and phone numbers of other passengers and any bystanders who witnessed the crash.Ask witnesses to write down what they saw and provide their contact information for future reference.  
File an Incident ReportSubmit a detailed incident report to the transportation company and relevant regulatory bodies.
Speak With an AttorneyConsult a legal professional experienced in personal injury or transportation law as soon as possible.An attorney can provide guidance on your rights, help with the claims process, and represent your interests when dealing with insurers and government entities.  

Understanding Public Transportation and Liability

In a standard vehicle accident, victims in California can typically file for compensation against the party who caused the crash. This involves gathering evidence, submitting a claim with their liability insurance, and receiving a settlement.

In crashes involving government entities, liability can be more complex. California’s Tort Claims Act can make it more difficult to sue municipal or public-run programs or employees. In addition to requiring extra steps for filing a claim, it requires you to prove that your injuries resulted from negligence or misconduct by the government entity, such as speeding or failing to maintain bus equipment.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

A personal injury lawyer with experience handling public transportation cases can help you seek a fair settlement for your injuries. Our team at Berg Injury Lawyers can do the following to help you get the recovery award you deserve:

  • Investigate the Accident: We collect evidence such as surveillance footage, police reports, and witness statements to build a strong case. Our team can work with accident reconstruction experts to establish fault and liability.
  • Handle All Communications: We deal with the transportation company, insurance adjusters, and other parties involved on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected.
  • Navigate Legal and Regulatory Challenges: We understand and apply state laws governing public transportation accidents, protecting your right to sue for damages.
  • Secure Fair Compensation: Our attorneys can calculate and negotiate settlements that cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Represent You in Court: We can take your case to trial to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers After a Public Transportation Accident

Injuries sustained on public transportation can have physical and legal consequences. Knowing the proper steps immediately after an incident is crucial for protecting your health and legal rights.

If you’re considering pursuing a personal injury claim, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today. Our experienced team can help you get the compensation you’re owed. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you protect your right to compensation.

What Are Contingency Fees?

by Staff Blogger | February 26th, 2024

If you’re considering legal action in a personal injury case, you might encounter the concept of contingency fees. This arrangement means your personal injury lawyer only gets paid if your case is successfully resolved, earning a predetermined percentage of your final settlement amount.

This arrangement means you don’t need to worry about upfront legal fees. It’s a practical option if you’re concerned about the costs of legal representation, and it creates a shared-risk situation where your lawyer’s motivation is directly tied to your success in the case.

Learn more about how contingency fees work at Berg Injury Lawyers, helping you get skilled legal help for your personal injury case.

How Contingency Fees Work

Contingency fees are a sign-now, pay-later payment model for legal services. When you hire a lawyer with this arrangement, their fee includes their time and experience. This fee is a set percentage of your settlement or award, ensuring all necessary legal work is covered without upfront costs.

If your case is successful, these fees will be deducted from the final settlement or award. If not, you generally owe nothing. This makes it a low-risk option for those needing legal counsel but not immediately available funds.

Always ensure you understand the specific terms and percentage, as it may vary from one lawyer or firm to another.

Benefits and Considerations

There are several benefits to using an attorney who works on a contingency fee arrangement, including:

  • Reduced financial risk. You do not need to pay upfront fees with a contingency agreement. This reduces the financial risk associated with pursuing a lawsuit. If the case is unsuccessful, you typically won’t owe attorney fees.
  • Access to legal representation. Contingency fees provide access to experienced legal counsel for individuals who may not have the means to pay hourly rates or retain an attorney on a traditional fee basis. This is especially important in personal injury cases, where you may already be dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Motivated attorneys. Since they only get paid if you win your case, your attorneys are highly motivated to secure the best possible outcome. It also means they likely won’t take on your case if there isn’t a reasonable chance of a favorable settlement. This often means more dedicated and effective legal representation.

Despite these benefits, you may have concerns or misconceptions about contingency fees — for example, the possibility of hidden costs. Even under this arrangement, you may be responsible for court filing fees, document request fees, or postage and copying fees if your case is unsuccessful.

However, your attorney should provide you with a clear and transparent contract before you use their services. This contract outlines the specifics of the fee arrangement, including the percentage the attorney will take from any settlement or award if they win the case, as well as any potential costs or fees you might be responsible for if the case does not succeed.

Contingency Fees and Additional Charges in California

In California, contingency fees are subject to regulations and ethical guidelines set by the State Bar of California. The California State Bar mandates that attorneys may not charge unreasonable or excessive fees. It also outlines that any fees must reflect the services performed and require informed consent from the client before charging.

However, these percentages can vary based on the case’s complexity and other factors.

For instance, a straightforward car accident claim might be at the lower end of this range since it may not require extensive investigation or expert witnesses.

Complex medical malpractice cases may warrant a greater percentage of contingency fees. This increase reflects the complexity of the case and the necessity for additional resources such as medical experts, extensive records retrieval, and thorough research.

This variability ensures that the fee structure is adaptable to the unique demands of each case.

Find Affordable Legal Representation

Contingency fees make legal representation accessible to all personal injury victims, especially those facing financial hardship after an accident. If you’re concerned about legal fees, speak with our experienced team at Berg Injury Lawyers.

Our personal injury lawyers are committed to providing transparent and compassionate representation. Contact us today for a free consultation. We can explain our contingency fee structure and help you get started on your case.

The 5 Most Common Types of Bicycle Injuries (and How to Avoid Them)

by cjadmin | February 12th, 2024

With the increasing popularity of cycling for transportation and as a recreational activity, riders need to be aware of its potential risks. California, in particular, has seen a surge in cycling enthusiasts, but with it, an increase in accidents.

Our detailed guide offers insights into common bicycle injuries and their causes, along with strategies for accident prevention. If you are injured in a bicycle accident, contact a California bike accident lawyer to help you recover damages.

Common Bicycle Injuries

Cycling can lead to many injuries, with 38,886 bicyclists hurt in 2020 in the United States according to data from the NHTSA. As the fourth most bike-friendly state, California accounts for many of these injuries.

Here are the most common bicycle injuries, their causes and risk factors, and common scenarios you might encounter:

Type of InjuryCausesRisk FactorsCommon ScenariosSafety Measures
Accidents Involving Motor VehiclesCollisions with cars, trucks, or other motor vehicles, often at intersections or driveways.Riding on busy roads, lack of dedicated bike lanes, riding in a vehicle’s blind spot.Being hit from behind at a stop sign, side collisions when a vehicle turns across a bike lane.Use bike lights and reflective clothing, follow traffic rules, avoid riding in blind spots, use hand signals.
FallsLosing balance due to slippery surfaces, sudden stops, or incorrect maneuvering.Riding on wet, icy, or uneven terrain, inexperienced riders, mechanical failures.Slipping on wet roads, falling over due to a sudden stop or obstacle, mechanical issues causing falls.Wear a helmet, use non-slip pedals, keep the bike in good condition, avoid sudden maneuvers.
Overuse InjuriesRepetitive strain injuries due to prolonged riding, improper bike fit or posture.Long-duration rides without breaks, poor ergonomic bike setup, lack of conditioning.Developing wrist, knee, or back pain after long rides, numbness due to poor saddle position.Regularly adjust bike fit, take frequent breaks, use ergonomic accessories, condition muscles.
Collisions with PedestriansUnexpected movements by pedestrians, such as stepping into a bike lane without looking.Riding in crowded urban areas, inattentive pedestrians, high foot traffic zones.Pedestrians suddenly stepping onto bike paths, collisions in crosswalks or sidewalks.Stay alert in crowded areas, slow down in pedestrian zones, use a bell or horn to alert pedestrians.
Road HazardsEncountering potholes, uneven roads, debris, or other obstacles in the path.Poorly maintained roads, inadequate road signage, lack of visibility.Cyclist swerving to avoid a pothole and losing control, crashing due to hitting unexpected road debris.Watch for road hazards, use lights in low visibility, avoid distractions, maintain a safe speed.

Importance of Safety Gear and Equipment

Always wear the appropriate gear when riding a bicycle in California, and ensure your bike has the right safety equipment. This includes the following:

  • Helmets. Mandated by state law for those under 18, all bicyclists should wear a helmet to protect their heads when riding. The helmet should meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards, per CA Vehicle Code 21212(a).
  • Padded gloves. Wear padded gloves to improve your grip, cushion your hands during long rides, and offer protection in case of falls.
  • Padded cycling shorts. Consider padded cycling shorts for increased comfort on the saddle. They help reduce friction and prevent chafing, especially on longer journeys.
  • High-visibility clothing. Wear bright or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to motorists, especially at dawn, dusk, or night, to improve your safety on the road.
  • Appropriate eyewear. Use sunglasses or clear protective lenses to shield your eyes from the sun’s glare, wind, and airborne debris.
  • Elbow and knee pads. Elbow and knee pads can prevent serious injuries during falls, especially in areas with rough concrete or uneven surfaces.
  • Proper footwear. Wear closed-toe shoes with a firm sole for better pedal grip and better control and to protect your feet from injuries.
  • Brake, handlebars, lights. Per CA Vehicle Code 21201, your bike needs a skid-capable brake and handlebars at a safe height. For night riding, it needs a front white light visible from 300 feet, rear red reflector or light visible from 500 feet, pedal reflectors visible from 200 feet, and side reflectors or reflectorized tires.

General Tips: Responsible Biking Practices

Cyclists can minimize their risk by practicing road awareness and responsible biking practices. This includes the following:

  • Always ride in the same direction as the traffic flow.
  • Use hand signals to indicate turns and stops.
  • Stay alert and avoid distractions like headphones or phones.
  • Yield the right-of-way when required and be courteous to other road users.
  • Use designated bicycle lanes if available.
  • Give yourself enough distance from parked cars to avoid dooring.
  • Attend bicycle safety courses to improve riding skills.

Consult an Attorney if You’re Hurt in a Bicycle Accident

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, don’t wait to get the help you need. Reach out to our experienced attorneys today to protect your rights and start your journey toward recovery.

We can use all that we’ve learned in our more than 40 years of experience to review your case and help you get a fair settlement to pay for your damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Alcohol-Related Injuries at Parties: Can the Hosts be Held Accountable?

by Staff Blogger | February 7th, 2024

Many states have laws that hold party hosts responsible for accidents resulting from the consumption of alcohol. California is different. The host is generally not liable for the actions of an intoxicated party guest as long as they are of the legal drinking age. Also, in the US, hosts of social events are typically governed by more lenient laws than commercial establishments.

There are, however, exceptions where a host may be liable for first and third-party injuries. One major caveat to these exceptions is that the victim must be able to prove that the host’s actions were the primary cause of their injuries. Only a seasoned lawyer can fight for victims when the system works against them. You can find an experienced Modesto personal injury attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers.

This article explains California laws regarding alcohol-related injuries and will help point victims in the right direction.

What Does California Law Say About Alcohol-Related Injuries? 

Victims of alcohol-related accidents may feel helpless when they have to make an unwilling host own up to their negligence.

For one, California law generally protects hosts of private social gatherings. The law states that everyone is responsible for their “own actions.” Put simply, if a drunk person causes an injury, the victim may only be able to pursue legal action against that person and not the person who served them alcohol. It is very common for event hosts to deny responsibility based on this argument.

Also, “furnishing” alcohol is rarely considered the primary cause of an injury. Instead, it’s usually the consumption of the alcohol that matters.

In the case of drunk driving accidents, for example, a victim wishing to file an injury claim against the host would have to prove the host negligently over-served an already visibly intoxicated party guest. Even then, the host may argue that controlling someone else’s actions was not their responsibility. As we’ve already mentioned, however, there are some exceptions to these laws that only an attorney can work through.

Which Arguments Can Your Personal Injury Attorney Use? 

The advantage of having an attorney represent victims during settlement negotiations and litigation is that lawyers know their way around the legal system. With a skilled lawyer,injured victims may still be able to receive damages, even in cases where the odds of success seem low.

Was the Drunk Person a Minor?

The law mentioned above has one huge caveat. Responsibility shifts when the drunk person who caused injury to another is under 21 years old (California Civil Code 1714). Victims can, therefore, hold a host liable who knowingly furnished alcoholic beverages to an underage guest or family member.

Your lawyer must demonstrate that the host knowingly provided alcohol to the underage individual. The court will consider whether the host knew or should have known that the person was not of drinking age and if they failed to supervise them to prevent alcohol consumption.

Did the Social Host Charge an Entry Fee?

If your lawyer can prove that a host’s actions negate their social host immunity, you may have a case under the state’s Dram Shop Liability laws.

Although California generally does not hold bars and restaurants that serve alcohol liable for a drunk adult’s actions, they can be liable if the intoxicated person is a minor or if the person was visibly intoxicated before they decided to serve them more alcohol.

Can Premises Liability Come to the Victim’s Aid? 

If another hazard, other than alcohol, was to blame for the accident, victims may be entitled to compensation.

Picture the following scenario: A visibly intoxicated party guest loses their footing and knocks you to the ground, causing injury to you both. On the surface, the guest may appear liable. But what if, upon closer examination, you find out that the drunk guest slipped and fell because the floor was wet and slippery? In this scenario, the host may be liable.

California premises liability law requires that homeowners ensure the reasonable safety of their visitors. In a case like this, your attorney can make the homeowner pay for their failure to keep their property safe for you and other guests. Even if the homeowner believes the intoxicated guest was partially responsible for their own injury, the homeowner may still be liable for damages proportional to their contribution to the guest’s injury.

When Should Injured Victims Contact an Attorney for Alcohol-Related Injuries at Parties? 

Contacting a Modesto personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident can make a huge difference in the outcome of a victim’s claim.

Early consultation means victims still have a clear recollection of the events surrounding the accident. Witness statements are likely more reliable at the time. In addition, the evidence is fresh, and the defendant has had limited time to alter the accident scene.

It’s important to let an experienced lawyer review your case as soon as possible after your injury. You will not pay for a consultation or case review with Berg Injury Lawyers.

It can be tricky for alcohol-related injury victims to convince party hosts’ homeowners insurance companies or juries that the host’s negligence caused their injuries. But by building a solid case, it is possible.

Victims should not give up on their cases before contacting us. We offer a No Fee Guarantee®, meaning our clients will not be charged a fee for our services unless they receive compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

California’s Accident Reporting System: How to Report Your Injury Accident?

by Staff Blogger | January 8th, 2024

When you’re hurt in a personal injury accident in California, reporting the incident is often a legal obligation. While the process ensures compliance with legal responsibilities, it can also protect your rights to financial support for your hospital bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Learn the various reporting procedures for personal injury accidents in California and how our California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you with your claim.

Introduction to Accident Reporting

If you’re involved in an accident, whether in a car crash, a slip and fall, or another type of incident, you must report it to the relevant authorities. Here’s why this step is important to your well-being and legal rights:

  • Legal compliance. Promptly reporting accidents ensures compliance with state laws and regulations. This action fulfills your legal responsibilities and adheres to important reporting deadlines.
  • Emergency response. Reporting accidents facilitates a swift response from emergency services, ensuring that those injured can receive immediate medical care.
  • Determining responsibility. Your report accurately describes the incident, helping lawyers and insurers determine fault. This is essential for any legal action or insurance claims that may follow.
  • Insurance and claims. You can start the insurance claim process by reporting your accident right away. This quickens the reimbursement for damages, medical bills, and other related expenses incurred due to an injury.
  • Workplace safety. In workplace accidents, your report contributes to maintaining a safer environment. It helps identify potential hazards and implement measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Evidence preservation. Prompt reporting helps preserve important evidence while it’s still fresh and relevant. This can help ensure the evidence remains valid and admissible in legal proceedings.
  • Community safety. Reporting accidents contributes to the safety of the entire community. It helps authorities identify potential risks and promote a safer environment for everyone.

Steps to Report an Accident in California

Depending on your personal injury accident, you may need to follow different reporting guidelines in California. Here’s how to report various types of accidents:

Accident TypeWhen to Report?Where to Report?Information to IncludeReporting Method
Traffic AccidentsWithin 10 days if injuries, fatalities, or property damage over $1,000.File an SR-1 report with the California DMV in addition to police, CHP, or insurance reports.DL/ID card, vehicle license plate or VIN, insurance info for all parties involved.File SR-1 online or submit a printed form via mail to: Department of Motor Vehicles P.O. Box 942884 Sacramento, CA 9428-0884.
Workplace InjuriesAs soon as possible, no later than 30 days after injury.Employer and Workers’ Compensation Board.Details of the injury or illness, witnesses, and circumstances of the accident.Notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim within one year.
Slip and Fall AccidentsDepends on where and how the accident occurred; consult a lawyer as soon as possible.Property owner/manager (hotel, store, or apartment complex manager).Details of the incident, photos, or surveillance footage, if possible, and any witnessesInform the property owner and document the incident. Follow their internal reporting process and obtain a copy for your records.

Tips for a Smooth Reporting Process

You can take proactive steps to ensure a smooth reporting process. Here are some suggestions for efficient reporting:

  • Initiate reporting promptly. Act quickly to meet deadlines and ensure accurate documentation.
  • Verify information accuracy. Double-check all details before submission to prevent potential discrepancies.
  • Organize your records. Maintain a comprehensive record, including reports, witness statements, and supporting documents.
  • Consult legal professionals. Seek guidance to understand specific reporting requirements and potential legal implications.
  • Capture photographic evidence. Document the incident visually whenever possible and keep multiple copies of evidence.
  • Maintain open communication. Stay in regular contact with relevant parties and provide additional information as needed.
  • Understand reporting channels. Familiarize yourself with appropriate reporting channels, ensuring you use the correct methods for your situation.

Secure Your Deserved Compensation After an Injury Accident

Accurate reporting is essential for addressing the aftermath of personal injury accidents. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we can help you through these complex guidelines to help you report your accident accurately and protect your right to compensation.

Contact us today for a free review of your personal injury case. We can review the evidence and help you determine your next steps.

How California’s Abandoned Property Laws Can Lead to Personal Injury Claims

by Staff Blogger | December 26th, 2023

Abandoned properties in California have become a prevalent issue, causing concerns for public safety. Due to lack of maintenance, these buildings often deteriorate, leading to unsafe conditions like unstable flooring, exposed sharp objects, and fall hazards.

Even though these buildings are abandoned, the owners still have a responsibility to prevent harm to visitors. If you are hurt in an abandoned property, you can work with a California premises law attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers to seek compensation for your injuries.

Abandoned Properties in California

As of the most recently available data from 2018, California’s expansive terrain boasted around 1.2 million empty homes. The state’s overall vacancy rate is 8.68%, which makes the high number of vacant homes more concerning.

This issue is particularly evident in a 5-mile stretch of homes that extends from East Los Angeles through Pasadena and South Pasadena. This area has 115 deserted homes, which were purchased by the state’s highway authority for a proposed road expansion that never occurred.

This situation highlights the housing challenges in California. Curiosity or the search for shelter often draws people into these vacant properties. However, dilapidated conditions, potential structural issues, and unforeseen hazards make it dangerous for those who venture inside.

Basics of California’s Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to the legal principle where property owners can be held liable for injuries sustained on their property due to negligence or failure to maintain safe conditions.

Under California law, property owners are accountable for injuries caused to another due to a lack of ordinary care in managing their property. If you suffer a premises liability accident because a property owner didn’t maintain a safe environment, you could hold the owner responsible.

Typically, this can be done through a personal injury claim, in which the victim can seek damages like medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to their injuries.

Property Owner Duty of Care for Abandoned Properties

A property owner’s duty of care extends to abandoned properties. This legal obligation requires owners to take reasonable steps to ensure that their property, whether in use or not, doesn’t pose foreseeable risks to others.

To fulfill their duty of care, property owners of abandoned properties should take safety precautions such as:

  • Conduct regular safety inspections. Property owners should inspect their property to detect and rectify potential hazards. It ensures the space remains as safe as possible.
  • Enhance lighting around the premises. Installing lighting can deter trespassers and reduce accidents caused by low visibility.
  • Place visible warning signs. Although property owners don’t owe the same duty of care to trespassers as visitors, they cannot know or maliciously harm a trespasser. Marking hazardous zones provides clear warnings to any visitor or trespasser, altering them of the danger.
  • Barricade all unsafe structures. Owners should block off unstable or risky areas with fencing or screening to prevent access and potential harm.
  • Secure open pits and depressions. Open pits present a fall hazard; they should be covered or fenced to ensure safety.
  • Safely remove or store hazardous materials. Dangerous substances on the property should be either safely removed or securely stored away.
  • Display “No Trespassing” signs prominently. These signs act as a deterrent, warning potential intruders to stay away.

Seeking Compensation After an Injury in an Abandoned Property

Injuries in abandoned properties can lead to unexpected medical expenses, time off work, and emotional distress. The legal aspects of premises liability can be complex, especially when determining the responsibility of the owner of an abandoned building.

To help with your case, speak with a skilled attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers. We have experience in this area and can evaluate your case, compile crucial evidence, and represent your interests. We can help you prove that the property owner was negligent so you receive a fair settlement for your injuries.

Hold Negligent Property Owners Accountable in California

California’s abandoned properties are a serious issue in the Golden State. If you suffered injuries on an abandoned property, get the legal representation you deserve.

Our experienced team can accurately assess your damages and help you hold the property owner responsible for their failure to keep the property safe. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and learn your legal options for recovering compensation.

The Role of Surveillance Footage in Personal Injury Cases

by Staff Blogger | November 27th, 2023

If you’ve recently suffered a personal injury in a car collision, slip and fall, or a workplace accident due to another’s negligence, you might wonder about the evidence needed to support your claim. In addition to medical records and police reports, surveillance footage can support your case.

With traffic and surveillance cameras on many streets and properties in California, this footage can corroborate testimonies, determine liability, and provide objective proof in court.

If you plan to file a claim after a personal injury accident, our California personal injury lawyers can help you obtain and use these recordings to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

Benefits of Surveillance Footage in Personal Injury Claims

Surveillance footage offers an impartial, unfiltered view of accidents, helping your attorney investigate your claim and prove negligence.

  • Authenticity. Surveillance footage captures events as they unfold, with timestamps and metadata proving when and where the incident occurred. Camera footage is an objective and unedited account of events that can stand up in court.
  • Corroboration of testimony. When memories fade or witnesses have conflicting accounts, video evidence can set the record straight, supporting or contradicting verbal testimonies.
  • Determination of fault. By visually presenting a sequence of events, surveillance footage makes it easier for attorneys and insurance companies to determine who’s at fault and accurately assign liability.
  • Preservation of real-time reactions. A video can vividly illustrate the immediate pain, shock, or distress of personal injury victims, making it harder to dispute the victim’s damages and suffering.
  • Facilitation of settlements. Solid visual evidence can make a quick settlement more likely. This reduces the chances of a prolonged legal battle and helps victims receive fair compensation.

For example, surveillance video can help prove the severity of a car accident and can be vital evidence in facilitating settlement through the at-fault driver’s insurance or a damage award in a personal injury lawsuit.

Types of Personal Injury Cases Where Surveillance Footage is Critical

Surveillance video helps back up a personal injury claim, especially when stories about what happened don’t align. Here are some everyday personal injury situations where this kind of footage can help:

  • Slip and fall accidents. In places like shopping malls or public areas, cameras can show the presence (or absence) of hazard warnings, wet floors, or clutter. This footage can prove negligence and reveal the impact and severity of the fall on the victim.
  • Car accidents. Traffic and dashcam recordings can illustrate the events leading up to a collision, pinpointing reckless behaviors or determining right-of-way violations. The immediate aftermath captured can give insights into the gravity of injuries, helping validate medical claims and treatments.
  • Workplace injuries. In work environments, surveillance video can capture unsafe practices, equipment malfunctions, or the failure to use safety gear. It can show the nature of the injury and the victim’s immediate response, showing the severity of the damage. 
  • Pedestrian or bicycle accidents. Surveillance footage can show fault when a pedestrian or bicyclist is struck by a vehicle at crosswalks, intersections, or roads. Video may clarify if the pedestrian had the right of way, if the driver was distracted, or if the bicyclist followed traffic rules, establishing liability and the depth of damage caused.
  • Negligent security claims. In places like bars, hotels, or parking lots, surveillance footage can demonstrate inadequate security measures, like poor lighting, broken gates, or the absence of security personnel. If a victim is harmed, video can prove the property owner’s negligence, helping the victim receive compensation in a premises liability claim. 

Privacy Concerns and Legal Considerations

While surveillance footage can be powerful evidence in personal injury cases, there are legal hurdles to navigate. Here are some factors that could complicate the process of getting or using this footage in court:

  • Privacy issues. Even if there’s footage, it doesn’t automatically grant permission to use it; privacy rights vary based on whether the event took place in a public or private setting. Given the specifics of the incident, your lawyer might need to work through these legal intricacies to get the video.
  • Admissibility. Just because a video records the incident doesn’t mean it’s automatically valid in court. For it to be admissible, it must be authentic and relevant.

To prove authenticity, maintain a clear chain of command for custody of the footage, including where it originated, who has access to the video, who has viewed it, and a record of any copies made.

  • Accessibility. Accessing and preserving footage can be challenging. Many cameras come with limited storage, and private and public entities frequently erase content after a set period.

Working with an experienced attorney immediately after your accident can enable them to secure surveillance footage for your case quickly. This might involve issuing a preservation letter to the party or entity in possession of the footage.

Get Skilled Legal Representation with Berg Injury Lawyers

Surveillance footage can strengthen your case, but managing this evidence correctly is essential. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know how to obtain and use this footage to strengthen your case.

We will thoroughly investigate your personal injury incident to find all relevant evidence. This can include traffic, surveillance, or dash camera footage to help determine fault and help you win your claim.

Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn about our no fee guarantee — a simple promise that if you don’t win, you pay nothing.

Thanksgiving Burn Accidents and Liability: Understanding Your Legal Options 

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2023

When we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, we enliven the values of warmth, thankfulness, and sharing a delicious meal between loved ones. However, with Thanksgiving always comes the risk of burns and other cooking-related mishaps. Safety is a critical prerequisite of enjoying your holiday.

Burn injury accidents can cast a serious pall over the holiday season, whether caused by a scorching oven, a scalding pot of gravy, or an unexpected deep-fryer accident. Get the help you need to navigate these thorny legal situations by working with an experienced burn injury lawyer.

Common Causes of Thanksgiving Burn Accidents

Thanksgiving celebrations can sometimes end in accidents and injuries. The following are some of the most common causes of burn accidents on Thanksgiving:

Burn Injuries from Fires

Every Thanksgiving, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are more than 2,400 fires in residential buildings, resulting in scores of burn injuries and millions of dollars of damage. These fires are often caused by careless cooking and improper use of dangerous equipment, such as deep fryers. On Thanksgiving Day, try to keep the kitchen occupied only by individuals who are actively cooking to lessen the risk of burn injuries or home fires.

Oil Burns

Accidents involving deep fryers can result in deadly fires, burn injuries, and fatalities. When heated oil drips over the burner, turkey fryers can start fires.

Cooking Burns

Touching something hot, such as an electric coil on the stove, or failing to remove your skin from contact with a hot surface right away might result in second-degree burns.

Burns Brought on by Alcohol

Alcohol abuse can result in all manner of accidental injuries, including burns. Impaired judgment and coordination increases the likelihood of an accident occurring in the kitchen or near open flames.

How to Prove Liability for Various Burn Injury Types

Because each type of burn injury is unique, there are various ways to determine who is at fault. This is where the skills of a Sacramento injury lawyer can be critical, as they can review your case, identify the root cause of the injuries, and what may be needed to establish liability.

The Value of Consulting a Lawyer to Prove Liability

Liability for a burn injury can be challenging to establish. While a jury trial decides on some of these cases, many disputed injury claims are decided through motion practice before a judge. Some lawsuits are settled in arbitration or mediation. All of these conflict resolution techniques require that the injured party has the support of an experienced attorney aware of the kinds of evidence that will help the case and the kinds of legal arguments that should be laid out in court.

Legal Recourse for Thanksgiving Burn Accidents

If you or a loved one has experienced burn injuries during a Thanksgiving celebration, you might be interested in what legal options are available to you. Here are just a few of the possible legal remedies that may be available to you:

Legal Action for a Personal Injury

If someone else’s carelessness caused your burn injury, you can file an injury claim to pursue compensation for damages. This claim will allow you to pursue compensation for your suffering, missed pay, and medical costs.

Claim for Product Liability

If a deep fryer malfunctioned and caused your burn injury, you may be able to launch a product responsibility claim against the seller or manufacturer.

Demand for Premises Liability

A premises liability lawsuit can be lodged against a property owner if your burn injury happened on someone else’s property, such as in a house fire caused by a careless homeowner.

Gathering Evidence and Documenting Injuries

  • Get medical attention immediately, even for minor injuries.
  • Keep a symptom notebook and record of all injuries.
  • Attend follow-up appointments and abide by your doctor’s orders.
  • To gather evidence, take pictures of the accident area and get contact information from any witnesses.
  • Keep records of all your medical costs and expenses.
  • Hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and choices.

Seeking Compensation for Damages

You are eligible for compensation if you sustained losses due to a Thanksgiving burn accident caused by someone else’s carelessness. The following types of damages can be pursued:

  1. Medical expenses incurred due to the burn injury, such as hospital costs, transportation expenses, and ongoing medical expenses.
  2. Lost wages resulting from the burn injury, considering time away from work for healing and medical care.
  3. Pain and suffering, such as missed income and medical expenses, long-term effects, and the impact of severe wounds on a person’s psychological and physical wellbeing.
  4. Property damage resulting from the burn accident, such as to a home or other personal property.
  5. Loss of earning capacity for any future loss of earning potential brought on by the burn injury, i.e., the possibility that the victim won’t return to their old employment or earning potential.

The Benefits of Engaging a Lawyer

Working with an Injury lawyer in Sacramento can prove especially helpful if you have experienced burn injuries. Some of the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer include:

  • Setting up consultations with expert witnesses, especially those in the medical industry or an accident reconstructionist, to provide information that supports your case.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies to secure you fair compensation.
  • Representing you in court, if necessary.
  • Providing objective opinions on the strength of your case and sharing their extensive legal expertise.
  • Providing emotional support by increasing the likelihood that victims will receive fair compensation.

If you have been injured by a burn during a holiday get-together, it is vital that you understand your legal options. Contact us and schedule a time to meet with one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys and get the legal guidance you need and the compensation you deserve.

The Dangers of Deep-Frying Turkey: Tips For a Safe Thanksgiving Tradition

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2023

Injury Lawyer in Modesto

The age-old tradition of serving turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is here to stay. However, many Americans are ditching the oven for deep-fryers to save time and achieve a better-tasting bird.

Fire departments warn against deep frying turkey because this cooking method can be dangerous. Despite these warnings, many amateur chefs feel the benefits outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, cooking turkey in deep-fryers has resulted in thousands of serious burn injuries and the loss of millions of dollars in property damage over the years.

Our Modesto injury lawyers can help victims recover damages if they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence.

Why is Deep Frying Turkey so Dangerous?

Deep frying involves significant amounts of hot oil, which can cause severe burns. Some of the dangers associated with deep fryers include:

  • Oil splatters

Placing a cold bird into hot oil causes splattering. The wetter the turkey, the more the splatter. Splashing occurs because water has a lower boiling point than oil. When the water comes into contact with high heat, it boils and steams instantly, displacing dangerously hot oil.

  • Open fires

The average American does not own a deep fryer large enough to cook a whole turkey safely. As a precaution, many fry the turkey outside. and use portable propane tanks and open flame burners. An open flame is a hazard in and of itself. Having hot oil near an open flame only exacerbates the risk of starting a fire.

  • Fryers can tip over.

Deep frying pots are built tall to accommodate the rising oil when cooking. This feature, unfortunately, also means they can easily tip over. If this happens, the hot oil inside can cause severe burns or explosions.

  • Risks of overheating

Most turkey deep-frying pots lack heat-control thermostats. Temperatures will continue to rise, causing the oil to smoke and easily catch fire.

  • High rising flames

Fires caused by deep fryers can rise several feet high. If there are flammable materials close by, property damage may be inevitable.

Despite these risks, some hosts prefer the deep fryer over the oven or smoker. If that’s the case, careful preparations and precautions can be taken to mitigate the risk for the chef and those planning to attend. If the person responsible for the deep fryer fails to take enough care and someone gets hurt, an injury lawyer in Modesto can help the victim prove negligence.

Precautions for Deep Frying Turkey

Below are some necessary precautions that anyone planning to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving should take:

Measure the oil

Before filling the deep fryer with oil, you must decide how high you want the oil. You can measure the level beforehand using cold water. Place the bird into the deep fryer and fill with water until submerged. Next, remove the turkey, ensuring that you drain all the water back into the pot. Mark the water level. Do not add oil beyond this line. Always leave enough room in the fryer for oil to bubble and rise during cooking.

Cook the turkey in an open space.

Placing the deep fryer outdoors is essential because of the high-rising flames and open fire. Avoid cooking beside walls, on wooden decks, or under pergolas and gazebos.

Wear fireproof gloves

You can reduce the danger of burns by wearing gloves to protect your hands. You can also wear long sleeves so splatters do not directly contact the skin.

Keep fire extinguishers nearby.

Keep a working fire extinguisher close by, just in case. Confirm that the extinguisher you have is safe to use with oil fires.

Never deep fry frozen turkey

Ensure the turkey completely thaws before dipping it into the oil. Defrosting can take several hours, depending on the weight of the bird. Deep frying turkey requires preparations ahead of time. You may need to let the bird sit in the refrigerator for over two days to melt all the ice.

Dry the bird before dipping in oil

Pat dry the turkey with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.

Track oil temperature

Using a thermometer to track the temperature can help prevent overheating. If the oil becomes too hot, it is best to turn the flame off briefly.

Keep watch.

At no time should you leave your deep fryer unattended. Even a few minutes of distraction can cause a devastating accident.

Call 911 in case of a fire.

Do not hesitate to call for help if a fire starts. Firefighters can significantly reduce damages.

Recovering Damages Resulting from Deep Fryer Accidents

You can recover damages from defective fryer manufacturers if their error causes you injuries. A host or property owner who fails to ensure the safety of their guests is negligent and should be held responsible. With a skilled injury lawyer, Modesto residents injured by a manufacturing defect can recover the compensation they deserve.

If you or someone you love sustains injuries in a turkey deep-frying accident and you’re not sure if you have a valid claim, contact an experienced Modesto burn injury lawyer. Our attorneys can assist with identifying the negligent party and filing the claim.

Consider speaking to the experienced lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers. We don’t charge attorney fees unless you receive compensation.

Protecting Cyclists: An Overview of California’s Three Feet for Safety Act

by Staff Blogger | November 6th, 2023

In California, many cyclists are injured when vehicles tail them too closely. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there has been a 60% increase in bicyclist deaths in the last 13 years.

To address this issue, the state introduced the Three Feet for Safety Act in 2014. This regulation mandates drivers maintain a minimum distance of three feet, approximately the width of a car’s passenger-side door, when overtaking cyclists, providing essential safety to bicyclists on the roadway.

Awareness of the legal stipulations and potential repercussions of non-compliance can help reduce accidents, ensuring safer California roads for cyclists. Should you suffer an injury as a cyclist due to a driver not maintaining a three-foot clearance, our team of California bike accident lawyers can assist you in pursuing compensation.

Understanding the Three Feet for Safety Act

The Three Feet for Safety Act has been pivotal in California’s initiatives to reduce traffic collisions involving bicyclists for nearly a decade since its enactment. This act mandates a clear buffer, specifying that space motorists must allow when overtaking a cyclist.

The Act, found under California Vehicle Code 21760, outlines the main actions for drivers when approaching and overtaking a bicycle:

  • 21760(b). When overtaking a bicycle on a highway, the driver of a motor vehicle must pass safely, accounting for the vehicle’s size, speed, traffic conditions, weather, and the road’s characteristics.
  • 21760(c). Drivers must maintain at least a three-foot distance from a bicycle when overtaking. If another lane is available in the same direction and is safe and legal, the driver should switch lanes before passing the bicycle.
  • 21760(d). If road or traffic conditions make the three-foot distance unfeasible, drivers should adjust their speed to be safe and cautious. Passing the bicycle is only allowed when it won’t compromise the cyclist’s safety, considering vehicle sizes, speeds, traffic, and environmental conditions.

The Importance of Safe Passing Distances

Maintaining safe passing distances goes beyond protocol; it can be a life-saving measure for cyclists. When a motor vehicle overtakes too closely, it can lead to dangerous circumstances, such as the cyclist losing their balance, being pushed off the road, or directly colliding with the vehicle. Even without direct contact, the air turbulence from a close pass can unsettle a cyclist, heightening the risk of an accident.

The Three Feet for Safety Act directly tackles these hazards, mandating drivers to keep at least a three-foot gap from bicyclists. This stipulated distance guarantees that cyclists have ample room to navigate securely, sidestep sudden shifts, or evade road obstacles, reducing potential mishaps.

Enforcement and Penalties Under the Act

Upholding the Three Feet for Safety Act is crucial for compliance and fostering safer roads. Motorists who breach this law face legal repercussions, underscoring the gravity of its mandates. The consequences for violating the act encompass:

  • $35 base fine plus court costs for violations that do not injure a cyclist
  • $220 base fine plus additional court costs for a collision that injured a bicyclist

Beyond the legal ramifications, close encounters can inflict physical and psychological harm on cyclists. Severe injuries or fatalities resulting from close passes can lead to civil lawsuits, allowing the cyclist to seek compensation from the at-fault motorist for medical costs, lost earnings, and emotional trauma.

Practical Safety Tips

Cyclists and motorists should follow safety guidelines to ensure nobody is hurt while traveling. Some practical tips for cyclists and motorists include:

For Cyclists:

  • Stay visible. Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially during low-light conditions. Use front and rear lights at night.
  • Wear protective gear. Always wear a helmet and consider other protective gear like gloves and pads.
  • Stay in designated areas. Use bike lanes or paths when available and avoid sidewalks unless permitted.
  • Avoid distractions. Don’t wear headphones or use your phone while cycling.
  • Follow traffic rules. Obey stop signs, traffic lights, and all other road signals.

For Motorists:

  • Stay alert. Always look for cyclists, especially in your blind spots and at intersections.
  • Maintain distance. Keep the mandated three-foot distance (or more) when overtaking a cyclist.
  • Signal early. Use your indicators in advance to alert cyclists of your intentions.
  • Avoid honking. Only use your horn when necessary, as it can startle cyclists.
  • Be patient. If overtaking a cyclist is unsafe, wait until it is safe to pass.  
  • Check before opening doors. Always check for approaching cyclists before opening your car door.
  • Educate yourself. Familiarize yourself with local cycling laws and road-sharing guidelines.

Seek Compensation With Berg Injury Lawyers

The Three Feet for Safety Act was implemented to protect cyclists and promote the safe shared usage of the road; however, accidents can still occur. If a driver’s negligence on the road caused you harm, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our team of bicycle accident specialists is well-acquainted with the obstacles cyclists face on California roads. We will advocate for your rights in an accident case, holding the at-fault driver accountable and assisting you in securing compensation. Contact our team today for a free consultation to start your case.