Personal Injury

Can I Sue After a Slip and Fall if a Sign Was Posted?

by Staff Blogger | November 16th, 2020

If you were injured after slipping and falling but a warning sign was posted, you can still file a lawsuit for your injuries. But several factors will determine whether your case is successful.

Property owners have an obligation to keep people on their premises safe. That legal obligation is called premises liability. Slip and fall cases are the most common type of premises liability cases, and they often involve serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries or broken hips, ankles, or wrists.

All property owners should post a sign if floors are slippery or uneven to let people know conditions aren’t safe. However, simply posting a sign doesn’t automatically absolve a property owner or business from responsibility for the injuries someone suffers.

When Posting a Wet Floor Sign Isn’t Enough

To be effective, a wet floor sign must be visible to people walking on a property. It must also clearly indicate the section of the floor that is slick.

So, if a sign is posted but it’s obscured or placed far away from the dangerous area, a person injured on the slick flooring can still make a strong case that the property owner failed to warn people about the danger.

Warning Signs Aren’t Always Effective

Wet floor signs, even if they’re placed near slippery surfaces, often go unnoticed. One notable study on the impact of these types of signs found that as few as 7% of people that passed by standard wet floor warning signs even notice them.

In some cases, people will move a wet floor sign or inadvertently push them out of the way to the point they’re no longer effective for the other people in the area. In other words, posting a sign and walking away does very little to ensure the safety of people in the vicinity of a slippery floor.

After a Fall-Related Injury, Always Explore Your Legal Options

Never assume that you are without a path toward compensation without first speaking to an experienced premises liability attorney. Slip and fall injuries are often caused by a property owner’s negligence, so if you’ve suffered serious injuries, it’s possible you’re owed a significant amount of compensation for the many damages you’ve suffered.

Don’t pay the price for someone else’s negligence. You have a legal right to pursue legal options for compensation, and you should exercise that right whenever you need it.

We Represent Slip and Fall Injury Victims in Northern California

Slip and fall accidents can cause devastating injuries. We’ve represented many clients in premises liability claims, and we know what it takes to hold negligent property owners accountable for damages facing a fall victim.

We want to meet with you to hear the details of your case. We’ll review your legal options and help you determine whether or not you have a case. If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, contact the California premises liability attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.

How to NOT Get Taken Advantage of by Insurance Companies

by Staff Blogger | November 9th, 2020

stand up to insurance companiesThe insurance industry is one of the most profitable in the U.S. These companies make steep profits, and that’s partly because they frequently offer policyholders and injured people far less than they deserve.

If you’re like us, you don’t like it when multi-million-dollar corporations get away with lowballing everyday people who work hard to pay their policies. As a law firm that regularly goes head-to-head with insurance companies, we can tell you that there are many strategies you can use to fight back.

Let’s look at some tips to make sure you’re not taken advantage of by insurance companies.

Consider Talking to an Attorney

Every day, we talk to people who are being given a raw deal by insurance companies. When someone is faced with the pain and stress of an accident or injury, the last thing they typically want to do is deal with the deadlines, paperwork, and endless legal complications surrounding injury claims and actually getting fair compensation.

Simply put, you probably have enough going on in your life without having to worry about playing hardball with the insurance company all by yourself. An experienced attorney can take care of the hard part for you.

Whatever you do, don’t accept an insurance company’s first offer without speaking to an experienced attorney.

Don’t Speak to Anyone Else’s Insurance Company

After an accident, you might be contacted by someone else’s insurance company. If so, you DO NOT want to speak to them. A representative of that insurance company will want you to make a statement on the record, and they’ll use that statement to find ways to deny your claim and offer you less than you deserve.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should notify your own insurance company. However, stick to only the basic facts, and avoid giving them any opportunity to offer you less than you’ll deserve.

It’s very likely you won’t know how much compensation you’ll need until you get a clear picture of the damages you’ve suffered, which can often take several weeks or months after an accident.

Keep Copies and Records of Your Damages

The accident-related expenses you’ll face will likely continue to add up over the days, weeks, and months following the accident. As the costs pile up, you should keep records of how much your injuries are costing you.

Keep copies of medical invoices, medication receipts, repair bills, or any other accident-related costs you encounter. Don’t forget to factor in how much income you lose due to your injury, as missed time at work or the inability to work can also be included in the damages you list in your injury claim.

Take Your Medical Care Seriously

After an accident, you should always seek medical care if there’s even a chance that you’ve been injured. Injuries often aren’t immediately apparent after an accident, so visiting a doctor helps ensure any injuries don’t worsen before they can be treated.

If you’ve suffered an injury, follow all your doctor’s orders and go to all your scheduled appointments, whether they’re check-ins, tests, or physical therapy sessions. Failure to do so could indicate to insurers your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim, and it could also lead to the worsening of your injuries and add to your overall expenses.

To thoroughly convey how your injury has disrupted your life, consider keeping an injury journal where you document all the challenges you face and the progress you make in recovery. These notes can help you and your attorney articulate exactly what you’ve gone through because of the accident.

Don’t Give Insurance Companies an Easy Win

Remember that everything you do and say publicly will be used by the insurance companies to reduce the compensation you receive. So, it’s vital to be cautious when talking about your accident or injury.

This is especially true on social media. Even innocent posts of you enjoying dinner or spending time with friends can be misconstrued by insurance companies. They might claim that your injury hasn’t reduced your quality of life in any significant way.

Instead of giving insurance companies this ammunition, refrain from using social media entirely until your claim has been resolved.

Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Claim

There are strict time limitations within which you must act in order to protect your rights. These time limits are complex and vary for different types of cases. You should avoid waiting too long before speaking to an attorney.

The injury claim process can be lengthy, and the longer you delay taking legal action, the more you could complicate your case. In the days, weeks, and months following your accident, there will be opportunities to maximize the value of your claim and potential pitfalls that could cost you dearly.

After you’ve suffered a serious injury in an accident, speak to an experienced, reputable attorney to ensure you’re doing everything you can to get a fair offer from the insurance company.

Let Berg Injury Lawyers Help You

If you’ve been injured and you want an attorney to protect you from the insurance company, Berg Injury Lawyers is here to help. We’ve represented thousands of injured people in Northern California, and we know what it takes to get a fair offer for our clients.

Contact the California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.

What Is Covered in “Pain and Suffering” in an Injury Claim

by Staff Blogger | September 28th, 2020

What are the worst parts of living with a serious injury? Most severe injuries are very costly and debilitating. A sufferer might face a stack of medical bills. They might be unable to do their jobs.

But above all else, most people fear the pain and suffering they’ll experience after an injury. Chronic pain and the mental anguish that comes with it become a heavy burden on their lives. They’re obstacles to joy, peace of mind, and meaningful connections with others.

One could easily make the argument that pain and suffering are the worst consequences of a serious injury. Fortunately, when someone files a personal injury claim, they can include pain and suffering as part of the damages they’re owed, in addition to the “economic” damages like medical bills and lost income.

What’s Included in Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages, as opposed to economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost income. Non-economic damages include the physical pain caused by an injury. But they can also include emotional suffering, such as:

  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Insomnia
  • Humiliation

Pain and Suffering Also Includes Disfigurement

One important form of suffering caused by some injuries is disfigurement. Disfigurement presents both physical and psychological pain. It can cause sufferers to withdraw from others and make it more difficult to form meaningful relationships.

If your case involves any form of disfigurement, it’s important to know that this type of non-economic damage should be central to your case.

The Term “Non-Economic Damages” Doesn’t Tell the Full Story

As any experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you, the fact that pain and suffering is considered “non-economic” is very misleading to injured people. There are very concrete costs of living with chronic pain and emotional suffering.

For example, chronic pain contributes to an estimated $560 billion of overall costs to society every year in the U.S. These costs come via direct medical costs, lost productivity, and disability programs in the U.S.

Meanwhile, depression racks up a societal price tag of approximately $210 billion per year. These expenses are attributed to treating the direct costs of depression and the many associated conditions caused by depression, such as sleep disorders and migraines. Studies have also shown that people suffering from depression are more likely to lose their jobs in difficult economic times.

In other words, non-economic damages can have both direct and indirect financial implications. It’s yet another reason that these damages must be factored into an injury claim.

How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated?

In many cases, damages related to pain and suffering exceed the amount of economic damages an injured person receives in a settlement or judgment. The amount of compensation you should demand for your pain and suffering depends on the circumstances of your case.

Experienced personal injury attorneys use several methods to determine the amount of non-economic damages their clients are owed. They look at precedent in other similar cases, and they’ll get to know their clients to find out how seriously their injuries have affected their quality of life.

In California, there are no caps on the amount of money a person can receive in non-economic damages in most case types. However, there is a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims.

Berg Injury Lawyers Helps Injured People Throughout Northern California

Since 1981, we’ve been helping injured people get the compensation they’re entitled to after accidents caused by others. We can help you determine your legal options after a serious accident, including how much you’re owed in economic and non-economic damages.

Contact our California personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.

What Is Comparative Negligence in California?

by Staff Blogger | September 21st, 2020

Comparative negligence refers to the amount of fault assigned to everyone involved in an accident. California’s comparative negligence rule gives someone an opportunity to recover some percentage of damages from a crash, even if they were partially responsible for it. However, compensation is reduced in proportion to fault.

Understanding California’s laws regarding fault as it relates to compensation can help you better understand your legal options after an accident. Let’s look at how this law might be applied in practice.

An Example of Comparative Negligence in a Car Accident Case

San Francisco resident Steve is driving down Polk Street. Though the light is red, he turns onto Geary Street when he is struck by an oncoming vehicle. Steve didn’t see the vehicle when he turned on red, and he’d normally be considered at fault for the collision.

However, the police officer who responds to the scene finds that the driver of the oncoming vehicle that struck Steve’s car is intoxicated. Steve suffered injuries in the crash and demands compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, but the insurer refuses to pay any compensation because Steve turned on a red light without looking for oncoming vehicles.

The personal injury case Steve files goes to trial, where a jury determines that both drivers were 50% responsible for the collision. Steve’s damages total $100,000, but because he is deemed to be 50% at fault, he is awarded $50,000 in damages.

Though this is a completely hypothetical case, it illustrates how comparative fault might play out in a real-life legal dispute.

What Does Comparative Fault Mean for Crash Victims in California?

Each state has its own rules about fault in relation to compensation in injury and accident claims. California’s law is far more favorable for crash victims than laws in other states. Unless you are solely (100%) responsible for a crash, you have the right to get compensation for at least some of the damages you’ve suffered.

How Is Fault Determined After an Accident?

The police report often shapes the way fault is determined in a crash. However, once someone files a personal injury claim, the claimant’s attorney will investigate the circumstances of the crash to determine the true percentage of fault in a crash.

If you file a personal injury claim, your attorney will review the police report and all pertinent evidence that will help make your case. This evidence can often help establish a fairer percentage of fault for an accident.

After a Crash, You Can Improve Your Chances of a Successful Claim with These Steps

If you’re involved in a crash, call the police so they can send an officer to the scene. Cooperate with that officer and let them know what happened. If you see any witnesses to the crash, and you’re able to speak to them, ask them for their contact information. Take pictures of the scene and any vehicle damage you’ve experienced.

Perhaps most importantly, seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the crash. This ensures you get the care you need, and it establishes a timeline of your injuries, which is helpful when building an injury claim.

If You Need Help, Berg Injury Lawyers Is Here for You

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we represent injured people across Northern California. Our Bay Area personal injury attorneys have years of experience and extensive knowledge of comparative fault laws in California. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Subrogation: Why Your Insurance Company Could Take Your Settlement Money

by Staff Blogger | September 7th, 2020

Medical bills are some of the most expensive costs associated with a serious injury. If you’ve been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own, your auto or health insurance company might pay those medical bills, especially if the at-fault party’s insurance refuses to foot the bill.

However, if you file an injury claim against the party or person who caused your injury, you will be seeking damages for those same medical bills your insurer already paid.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can seek money for bills that were already covered by your insurance company or what happens when those financial obligations overlap, then you’ve stumbled onto an important topic that plays a part in most injury claims: subrogation.

What Is Subrogation?

Subrogation is what happens when an injured person’s insurance company reclaims the money it paid out for accident-related costs. It’s how your insurance company recoups costs that the defendant (the person you’re taking legal action against) owes you.

Subrogation clauses are a part of all insurance contracts. So, insurance companies have a legal right to be reimbursed for the money they pay out if those costs are part of a successful legal claim.

Subrogation only involves recouping payments that their policyholder receives from third parties. So, for example, if your case involves only your insurance company, as it would in an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, subrogation would not be applicable.

Where Does Subrogation Money Come From?

Essentially, the money the insurance company wants to recoup will come from the compensatory damages you received via settlement or judgment. The insurance company will often demand full repayment of the costs they’ve paid for your care once they discover you’ve received compensation from a third party.

How Does the Insurance Company Know About Your Injury Claim?

After a doctor or emergency room visit, you likely received a letter from the insurance company. This letter might include standard language about notifying the insurance company if you file a compensation claim or hire an attorney. That’s because insurance companies often rely on self-reporting from their policyholders about potential injury claims or lawsuits.

Your insurer isn’t necessarily keeping tabs on the cause of the injury that prompted your treatment, so it might not be aware that you are seeking payment via an injury claim or lawsuit.

But insurers sometimes take steps to make sure they aren’t missing opportunities to recoup costs through subrogation. An insurance company will often work with third-party companies to identify insurance claims that are related to ongoing lawsuits or settlement negotiations.

Once an insurance company knows that your injuries are part of a lawsuit or settlement negotiation, they might again rely on a third-party company to stay in touch with you to find out how the situation is being resolved.

Do You Have to Pay the Full Amount Being Sought by Insurers?

Legally, insurance companies have every right to subrogation. In most cases, there’s little room for the policyholder to get out of paying back an insurer.

However, though insurance contracts state that the insurance company has a right to subrogation, it’s often true that attorneys will negotiate on behalf of their clients regarding the amount of money paid back to insurance companies after judgments or settlements. This can save an injured person money and help reduce the amount of settlements or judgments paid out due to subrogation.

If You Need Legal Assistance After a Crash, Get Berg!

Subrogation is one of many topics policyholders and injured people must contend with after a serious accident. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we work hard to ease our clients’ worries about their accidents and injuries. In doing so, we walk them through every aspect of their cases and deal with uncooperative insurance companies on their behalves each step of the way.

Contact the California personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with our team.

The Importance of Filing an Injury Claim Even During a Pandemic

by Staff Blogger | August 31st, 2020

While the world struggles to deal with a once-in-a-generation pandemic, we’re constantly reminded of the fact that life goes on. Despite lockdowns and outbreaks, people still have bills to pay, work to do, and injuries to deal with.

Unfortunately, accident-related medical bills won’t go away just because we’re in a pandemic, and the time in which you can file a lawsuit is still ticking down. You can’t afford to waste time waiting for the pandemic to end when you need to file a compensation claim.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know the importance of injury claims, which is why we’ve continued to offer the same level of service we’ve always given our clients, despite the limitations posed by COVID-19.

Why a Pandemic Shouldn’t Stop You from Taking Legal Action

Even with lower volumes of traffic on our roads, crashes persist. In some cases, our roads have proven to be even deadlier during the pandemic. Workplace injuries, medical malpractice, and other causes of serious injuries also continue to affect Californians.

Though you might be reluctant to visit a doctor or take legal action during the coronavirus outbreak, you must remember how high the stakes can be if you don’t take a stand against an insurance company.

Personal injury claims are as important as ever, and you shouldn’t give up hope because times are challenging. Many businesses, including Berg Injury Lawyers, have adapted to the pandemic and still offer the same level of assistance as they did pre-coronavirus.

We Remain Committed to Our Clients

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve expanded the way we serve our clients by offering remote consultations, case updates, and more.

We know how important getting compensation is for our clients, which is why we guarantee the same level of dedication and service to those we represent whether we meet them in person or over the phone.

For someone dealing with the prospect of an injury claim during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to know that legal options (and legal help) are still available.

The Importance of Personal Injury Claims

People file personal injury claims because it’s usually the only path to getting the compensation that they’re entitled to after an accident that wasn’t their fault. Serious injuries are costly, and insurance companies are often reluctant to offer people the payments they deserve.

By filing a claim, an injured person is seeking compensation for accident-related costs, including property damage, medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. A successful claim can mean the difference between financial ruin and the path to recovery.

Regardless of whether there are other external factors at play (like the coronavirus), you should always demand what you’re owed from an at-fault party and their insurance company. Otherwise, you risk running the chance of paying these costly expenses out of your own pocket.

The Costs of Waiting to File a Claim

Time is of the essence when you’re considering filing a personal injury claim. First, you need to be mindful of the statute of limitations in these cases. In California, you have two years from the time of your injury to file, and once that period lapses, you won’t be able to demand the payment you’re entitled to. And, if a public entity is involved, you may only have six months to file a claim with the city, county or whichever public entity is involved

Second, the longer you wait to begin the legal process, the greater the risk that important evidence supporting your claim and pinpointing the other party’s liability will be lost. The sooner you can contact an attorney and put them on your case, the better your chances of a successful outcome.

We’re Working Hard for Our Clients

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we never stopped working hard for our clients or accepting new clients to make sure they get the legal representation they deserve. We’re fully capable of meeting with clients and conducting business remotely through video conferencing, phone, and email.

We know how important it is for injured people to have their cases taken seriously and dealt with in a timely manner. If the pandemic is giving you pause from taking legal action, don’t wait any longer to seek help.

If You Need Help, We’re Here for You

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know that injury claims stop for no pandemic. We’re still here, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Learn the Most Important Thing You Can Do to Help Your Injury Case

by Staff Blogger | August 24th, 2020

There are several things you can do to improve the chances of a successful outcome in your personal injury case, but one thing stands above the rest: seek medical treatment early and consistently after your injury, and always follow your doctor’s orders.

The longer you wait to get treatment, or if you fail to attend follow-ups with your doctor, the more complicated your case can become. Let’s look at why medical treatment is so important, and why you should seek it as soon as possible.

Medical Treatment Serves Two Very Important Purposes

First, your health should always be your top priority. After an injury, you run the risk of worsening your condition or causing other complications if you don’t get medical help. Recovering from serious injuries takes time, so you should always listen to your doctor and follow their recommendations.

Second, seeking medical treatment establishes a record of your injuries. If you file an injury claim but have no official record to document how the accident impacted you, you’ll face a big challenge when demanding compensation.

However, if you go to a doctor or hospital soon after your injury and go to follow-up appointments in the days, weeks, and months that follow, you and your attorney will be able to clearly show the extent of your injury and its related costs.

Why Many People Don’t Seek Treatment

An injury might not be obvious in the immediate aftermath of an accident. The adrenaline produced during the trauma of a crash, slip and fall, or workplace injury can mask symptoms. It’s always best to visit a doctor or hospital as soon as possible after an accident, even if you’re unsure of the extent of your injury.

Another reason one might delay treatment is a general reluctance to visit the doctor or admit to being hurt. This hesitation to get help causes many problems, including the worsening of a condition and the impact on a person’s ability to get adequate compensation.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, remember one thing: go to a doctor soon and follow all the doctor’s orders. Consider getting a second opinion if you disagree with a physician’s assessment. But whatever you do, don’t put off seeking medical attention.

There Are Other Ways to Help Your Injury Case, Too

There are several steps you can take to make sure your personal injury case is positioned for success. For example, you should stay off social media so you don’t give insurance companies reasons to deny your claim. You should avoid speaking to the representative of any insurance company that isn’t your own. You should also contact an attorney early in the process, so they can help you avoid other common mistakes.

Need Legal Help? Contact Berg Injury Lawyers.

If you’ve been injured and you need legal assistance, contact the California personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today. We’ve helped many injured people get the compensation and medical help they need to rebuild their lives after a serious injury.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Is a Bellwether Case—And How Does It Affect Drug Injury Litigation?

by Staff Blogger | June 29th, 2020

In presidential elections, voting in certain states repeatedly predicts the outcome of a race nationally. Ohio and New Mexico, for example, tend to cast their electoral votes for the candidate who eventually becomes the winner of the election. Political analysts refer to these states as bellwether states.

The term bellwether refers to the practice of placing a bell on a male sheep who leads the flock, but for those of us who aren’t shepherds, the word is most commonly used to mean a “predictor” or “indicator.”

Essentially, bellwethers predict outcomes, and they exist in many fields outside of politics (and sheep). They’re increasingly common in our legal system, and bellwether trials can either breathe life into future lawsuits, or they can deflate litigation.

What Is a Bellwether Case?

A bellwether case, also called a bellwether trial, is a precursor to a larger group of lawsuits. The outcome of the bellwether case can determine the momentum of similar pending cases.

Bellwether trials are a commonly used tool in multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is a special federal legal procedure that accelerates complex cases through the legal system.

A bellwether trial guide from the Federal Judicial Center summarizes the importance of these trials in MDL cases:

“If bellwether cases are representative of the broader range of cases in the MDL proceeding, they can provide the parties and court with information on the strengths and weaknesses of various claims and defenses and the settlement value of cases.”

In other words, bellwether cases are a trial run for future lawsuits.

How Do Bellwether Cases Affect Drug Injury Litigation?

Let’s say that hundreds of lawsuits are being filed nationwide against the manufacturer of a widely used heartburn medication. Before all those lawsuits move forward, one case or a handful of them are tried in court. These are bellwether trials.

If our hypothetical case ends with a win for the plaintiff (or plaintiffs), momentum builds for others hoping to file similar cases against the manufacturer. If the case is a bust, however, momentum wanes and fewer lawsuits are likely to be filed.

What Happens in a Bellwether Trial?

The process starts by establishing common themes that represent all of the cases in an MDL movement. Then, the courts and relevant parties create a group of cases that reflect those themes. The discovery process (the fact-finding portion of the case) begins, and the trial proceeds, much like it would in any other type of case.

Does an Unsuccessful Bellwether Case Spell Doom for All Similar Cases?

Not necessarily. In some cases, plaintiffs’ attorneys might view the details of a bellwether trial, even an unsuccessful one, as instructive. Flaws of certain arguments are exposed, and a more effective strategy can be built.

What Is the Impact of a Successful Bellwether Case?

If a bellwether trial results in a favorable outcome for plaintiffs, defendants might be more willing to settle future claims similar to the bellwether. You can see why plaintiffs’ attorneys watch these cases carefully—a successful ruling for the plaintiffs exposes a vulnerability of the defendant.

Should You Worry About Bellwethers as a Plaintiff?

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer, you might now be tempted to start doing your homework on bellwether cases similar to your own. But remember that the nuances of a bellwether trial matter as much as the outcome.

Bellwether trials are a barometer that legal experts, judges, and attorneys use to determine the viability of cases and the strategy of handling such cases. In other words, plaintiffs don’t need to obsess about the details of bellwether cases, especially if they’re hiring an experienced attorney to represent them.

Are You Considering a Defective Drug Case in California?

The legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers pays close attention to bellwether trials, but we know that these cases are ultimately about people who need help. Drug manufacturers too often sell products without adequate testing or without properly labeling their products to inform consumers of potential risks. What matters in your trial is how their product harmed you, specifically.

If you want to know whether your case has the potential for a successful outcome, contact our team for a free case assessment. We want to help you explore your legal options.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers Today

The Northern California defective drug attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience holding drug manufacturers accountable for the harm they cause consumers. If you have questions about a drug injury case, contact our team today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

How to Avoid Overexertion Injuries at Work

by Staff Blogger | June 15th, 2020

Overexertion injuries at workOverexertion injuries cause more than one-third of all work-related injuries every year. They’re the most common reason for missed days at work and cost businesses billions of dollars annually.

By avoiding overexertion injuries, workers can be more productive, have longer careers, and enjoy a better quality of life. Before we learn how to avoid these injuries, we need to understand what they are and how they happen.

Examples of Overexertion Injuries

Overexertion injuries can occur after performing repetitive movements over long periods or with one sudden movement. A few of the most common examples of overexertion injuries include:

  • Soft-tissue injuries – Injuries to ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc.
  • Back injuries – Pulled, strained back muscles or damage to the spinal cord, such as a slipped disc or cracked vertebrae
  • Heat stroke and dehydration – Most common among workers doing heavy manual labor outdoors
  • Repetitive stress injuries – Injuries ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to stress fractures, often the result of weeks, months, or years of repeated movements

In many cases, two or more overexertion injuries can occur at the same time. For example, a worker might be more likely to pull a muscle if they are dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion. Lifting a heavy object can trigger an acute injury that stems from years of repeated actions.

How Overexertion Injuries Happen

Certain movements and activities are more likely to cause overexertion injuries than others. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Performing unnatural movements
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Using excessive force to perform a task
  • Vibrations, typically from heavy machinery
  • Working in extremely hot and/or humid environments

Industries with High Rates of Overexertion Injuries

The National Safety Council provides a list of industries in which overexertion injuries are most common. They include:

  • Government
  • Education and health services
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail trade
  • Professional and business services
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Construction
  • Wholesale trade

From these two lists above, we get a clearer picture of how these injuries happen and where they’re most likely to occur. Though workers who operate heavy machinery or lift heavy objects are more likely to suffer overexertion injuries, workers in any setting are at risk if they and their employers don’t take steps to protect their health and wellbeing.

7 Tips for Avoiding Overexertion Injuries

Preventing overexertion injuries requires preparation and mindfulness. The more aware you are of how you’re performing tasks, the better positioned you’ll be to look for more efficient ways to perform them.

Here are seven ways you can reduce your chances of suffering an overexertion injury:

  1. Use safe lifting techniques. Keep objects you’re lifting close to your body. Maintain proper posture throughout the lift. Try to lift with your knees instead of your lower back. In addition, ask for help if an object is too large or heavy for you to lift on your own.
  2. Break up and limit time spent doing repetitive tasks. Distribute repetitive tasks throughout your day instead of doing them in one block of time. If possible, look for ways to avoid performing the same taxing task repeatedly.
  3. Move often. If you sit or stand for long periods, find opportunities to move and stretch fatigued muscles.
  4. Rest when you need to. Whenever you’re hot or tired, take frequent water and rest breaks.
  5. Take pain seriously. Persistent pain can be a warning sign of a more serious injury to come. Listen to your body and avoid performing tasks that contribute to chronic pain.
  6. Prioritize ergonomics. Ergonomics means “fitting a person to a job,” and it’s all about performing the correct movements for a given task. Take ergonomics seriously by considering the position your body is in when you perform tasks and look for ways to perform these tasks in a way that is less taxing on your anatomy.
  7. Perform corrective exercises. Whether you’re in the same position all day or using certain muscles more often than others, you’ll benefit from corrective exercises. These exercises help you correct poor posture and ensure the strength of less frequently used muscles.

Most overexertion and workplace injuries are preventable. It’s vital that employers give their workers proper training, equipment, and rest to ensure overexertion injuries never occur. When employers fail to do so, employees have rights to seek compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other expenses.

If You Need an Attorney, Call Us

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we help injured people get the payment they’re entitled to. If you were hurt through no fault of your own, contact the Bay Area personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today to speak to our team at no cost. We want to help you explore your legal options, so you can find the best path to the compensation you deserve.

What are California’s Crosswalk Laws?

by Staff Blogger | May 25th, 2020

California crosswalk lawsCalifornia’s road laws aren’t just for motorists. Pedestrians have clear rights and laws they must follow, too.

It’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to understand the laws (and best practices) for navigating intersections, which is why we’re giving pedestrians the lowdown on California’s crosswalk laws.

So, What Are California’s Crosswalk Laws?

CVC §21950 says that drivers should yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. However, there are a couple of important caveats.

California’s law does not absolve a pedestrian from the duty of “using care” for their safety. The statute says that “no pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.”

The remainder of the statutes in this law pertain specifically to the responsibilities of drivers. It states that drivers approaching a pedestrian within “any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action” required to keep pedestrians safe.

What Does That Mean for Pedestrians?

California’s pedestrian law is somewhat at odds with commonly held wisdom that pedestrians always have the right-of-way, but it doesn’t absolve drivers from their share of responsibilities, either. It’s true that pedestrians using crosswalks have the right-of-way, but from both a legal and safety standpoint, it’s important not to stop in the middle of that crosswalk, if at all possible.

Some of the other language used in the statute is also open to interpretation. For example, the laws states that pedestrians shouldn’t “suddenly leave a curb into the path of a vehicle” in a way that presents an “immediate hazard.”

Terms like “suddenly” and “immediate hazard” introduce ambiguity into an otherwise clear-cut law. As you can imagine, this ambiguity is a focus for attorneys who are representing clients in cases involving pedestrian collisions on both sides of the issue.

The Legal Implications of a Pedestrian Collision

If a pedestrian is injured by a driver and files a legal claim, it’s possible the driver’s attorney will argue that the pedestrian walked into the street without warning, even if the pedestrian believes it would be obvious to any responsible driver that they were crossing the street.

This highlights the need for an experienced attorney when a legal dispute emerges from a pedestrian collision. An injured pedestrian will likely need an advocate to make their case using all available facts.

An injured pedestrian’s attorney might look for several types of evidence to back up their client’s argument. For example, security or street cameras might have captured footage of the accident, which can be used to reinforce the pedestrian’s claim. An attorney could also ask any eyewitnesses for their account of the collision.

What Can Pedestrians Do to Stay Safe?

Pedestrians can keep these safety tips in mind when walking near or across roads:

  • Whenever possible, use sidewalks and designated crossings.
  • Whether or not you’re using a designated crossing, be mindful of oncoming traffic and, when possible, try to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.
  • If walking at night, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic while maintaining a safe distance from the road.

What Are Driver’s Responsibilities Near Pedestrians?

Drivers must follow all the rules of the road to keep pedestrians safe. They can further protect pedestrians by following these guidelines:

  • Always give pedestrians the right-of-way.
  • Slow down when near crosswalks or in areas where pedestrian traffic volume is high.
  • Never pass a vehicle when it is stopped at an intersection or crosswalk.
  • Never come to a stop in a crosswalk.
  • If a pedestrian makes eye contact with you, assume they’re crossing the street.
  • Give vulnerable pedestrians (elderly or disabled people) more time to cross the street.

When You’ve Been Injured by a Careless Driver, Contact Berg Injury Lawyers

Though pedestrians do have the right-of-way in crosswalks, it’s possible that a driver will argue that a pedestrian acted unpredictably when crossing the road. It won’t surprise anyone who’s dealt with another party’s insurance company that insurers will use any argument possible to lessen or deny an injured pedestrian’s claim to compensation.

It’s vital that injured pedestrians get legal representation to make sure they aren’t taken advantage of by insurance companies. Berg Injury Lawyers has been representing injured people across Northern California for nearly four decades, and we’ve seen insurance companies make many outlandish claims, all for the sake of denying payments.

When you hire our California personal injury attorneys, you’ll be working with a firm that has a reputation for dealing firmly with insurance companies. We know what you’re going through, and we’re committed to fighting for maximum compensation on your behalf.

Let us hear your story, so we can help you explore your legal options. All you need to do is schedule a free consultation with our team. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.