Personal Injury


Can an Attorney Subpoena Text Messages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

by Staff | May 17th, 2024

Phone companies keep billing and call detail records. If evidence exists that these documents contain relevant information, your lawyer can subpoena these records during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit. This information could prove, for example, whether a driver sent or received text messages at the time of the accident, violating California law about texting while driving.

Federal law requires phone companies to protect their users’ data, requiring subpoenas or court orders to release the information. You can’t obtain them otherwise. Hiring an attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers to request and review these records gives you the best chance to get the evidence you need to recover a fair settlement in a personal injury lawsuit.

WHAT ARE THE PHONE PRIVACY LAWS?

Due to data brokers’ fraudulent acquisition of phone users’ data, the federal government passed several laws regulating consumer privacy protection. These laws protect records held by mobile phone companies, including usage data.

The Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act and the Communications Act require customer approval, a subpoena, or a court order to obtain this information.

Additionally, requests must be made to the service provider before they purge the records. This means if you wait too long to file your lawsuit, these records may no longer exist.

Companies differ in how long they retain records. Federal law requires carriers to retain billing information for 18 months, and the federal government also requires companies to preserve these records while awaiting court orders.

TYPES OF PHONE RECORDS

Call detail records, or CDR, have the following information:

  • The time of the call or text
  • The receiving or sending number
  • Whether the call went to voicemail
  • Duration of the conversation
  • Location of the phone at the time

Phone bills only provide information on billable services, and call data times are not precise. Text messages and unanswered outgoing calls will not appear. This is why it’s important to request call detail records rather than billing details.

OBTAINING PHONE RECORDS

Several state court decisions have affected how to subpoena phone records in civil cases. In Ortiz v Amazon.com, a judge ordered the plaintiff to provide their cell phone records under a court order. However, the plaintiff failed to provide them since the cell phone account was under his wife’s name. The judge then ordered the plaintiff to submit their name and address for the defendant to subpoena the cell phone records from them.

Phone records and text message records must come from the service provider instead of a user’s cell phone. Depending on the phone company’s policy, these records may include the content of the messages or only the time, date, and location from which the messages were sent or received.

WHEN YOU SHOULD TALK TO AN ATTORNEY TO OBTAIN CELL PHONE RECORDS

An attorney can investigate cell phone records to help prove negligence in a crash. Your lawyer can take steps to ensure the phone company preserves the records you need and make test calls to determine the time difference between the device and the 9-1-1 reports.

To obtain the content of the text messages, your lawyer may request a different type of record if the company also keeps that information. Your attorney should request the driver’s text messages as soon as possible after the accident if they believe you need those records.

HOW CAN YOUR LAWYER USE PHONE RECORDS?

Cell phone data from the company that shows a driver sent or received a text at the time of an accident can help prove driver negligence. However, these records can’t prove the driver was holding their phone at the time to take a voice call, rather than using a hands-free function. This is where witness testimony may come in, if someone saw the other driver on their phone.

If records show the driver was texting at the time of the accident, your attorney may ask for a negligence per se jury instruction. Negligence per se means the driver’s texting constitutes negligence because it violates laws designed to keep drivers safe.

Your lawyer might make test calls to account for any deviation between CDRs and the logs from the 9-1-1 system. These discrepancies could otherwise lead a jury to conclude that the messaging didn’t occur at the time of the wreck.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF USING CDRS?

While CDRs show incoming and outgoing text messages, they don’t prove whether the user interacted with the phone at that time. Some smartphone applications can automatically respond to incoming texts while in the car. Your personal injury lawyer can hire experts to examine this data and help discover evidence of negligence.

HIRE AN EXPERIENCED CAR CRASH LAWYER

Our car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help prove negligence in your case by obtaining cell phone on your behalf. We can take steps to ensure we gather proper evidence, from cell phone records and more, during the discovery phase of your case. We fight vigorously for your right to fair compensation and have represented victims of negligence since 1981. Contact us to schedule a free case review today and let us help you establish your claim by subpoenaing phone records of the at-fault party.

Originally published July 11, 2022.


Springtime Is Biking Season: Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident

by Staff Blogger | April 29th, 2024

As warmer weather moves into Northern California, the trails come alive with the hum of spinning bicycle wheels. This time of year for cycling enthusiasts means hitting the roads to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

However, with the increase in cycling activities comes a corresponding rise in collisions between bicycles and cars. Bicycle accidents typically peak in May through October, with around 11,000 injuries and 160 deaths annually in the state.

Knowing what to do is crucial if you’re injured in a bicycle accident. Your actions can help you get medical attention and protect your right to compensation from the negligent driver. Explore the steps to take after a bicycle collision and the role of a California biking accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers in your case.

Post-Accident Steps

A bicycle accident can be disorienting, leaving you confused and unsure of what to do. Immediately after the collision, take the following steps:

  • Get Medical Care: After a bicycle accident, immediately assess yourself for injuries and seek medical care, even if you feel fine. Allow emergency services to conduct a preliminary examination, followed by a visit to a hospital or your doctor for a thorough check-up.

This helps providers identify hidden injuries, like concussions, that may not be immediately apparent. It also documents your injuries, connecting them to the accident, which is critical for filing a claim with insurance.

  • Contact Law Enforcement: This documents what happened through an official police report, which you’ll need for insurance claims or legal action. The report will include statements from all involved parties and have the officer’s observations, which can help establish the facts.

In California, you must report any accident involving injuries or property damage over $1,000 to the DMV within 10 days. You can also request a copy of the report for your insurance claim.

  • Exchange Information: Swapinformation with the other party involved in the accident. Collect their name, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle registration. Your attorney can use their information to file a claim with their auto liability insurance to pay for your damages, including your medical expenses and any repair costs for your bike.

The Importance of Documentation and Evidence

Documenting the accident scene, injuries, and property damage is vital for substantiating your claims. To properly document the scene, do the following:

  • Take Photographs: Start by capturing clear images of your injuries, then document the damage to your bicycle from multiple angles to show the extent of the impact. Photograph the entire accident scene, including road conditions, traffic signs, and environmental factors that contributed to the accident. Use a device that timestamps your photos, providing a verifiable event timeline.
  • Write Detailed Notes: Record your recollection of the events leading up to the accident while they’re fresh in your mind. Include details such as the time, weather conditions, traffic signals, and any statements made by the driver. Consider using a note app on your phone or in a video statement for easy access and sharing with your attorney.
  • Gather Witness Statements: Identify anyone who witnessed the event and ask for their version of what happened. Note their observations or record their statements if they consent. Get their name, phone number, and email address so your attorney can contact them later.

Witness accounts can bolster your case by providing an independent perspective of the accident. For example, a witness can confirm if the other party ran a stop sign, supporting your claim.

  • Report Accident to Your Insurance: Provide a detailed account of what occurred, including the exact time and location, the events leading up to the accident, and injuries or damages. This can expedite the claim process. However, consult with an attorney before speaking to insurers after an accident to ensure you don’t say anything that could affect your settlement.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Hiring an attorney after a bicycle accident can improve your chances of a favorable outcome, especially when dealing with the legal complexities of a bicycle accident case. Our team at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you receive fair compensation by:

  • Navigating Pure Comparative Fault Laws: In California, compensation is adjusted based on your fault percentage (your responsibility for an accident). We can gather evidence proving the other party’s negligence to lower your fault percentage and maximize your settlement.
  • Exploring Compensation Avenues: Your attorney can help you identify the best sources for compensation, including the other party’s liability insurance, your own uninsured motorist coverage, or medical payments (Med Pay) coverage to cover immediate medical expenses.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: We can negotiate with insurers for a fair settlement that fully covers your losses. This includes medical bills, bike repairs, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering. If the insurers refuse to accept our settlement offer, we can file a lawsuit and represent you in court to help get you the highest damage award possible.

Secure Fair Compensation After a Bicycle Crash

Experiencing a bicycle crash can be a harrowing ordeal, but knowing the actions to take afterward can influence your safety, safeguard your rights, and facilitate your healing process.

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, our team at Berg Injury Lawyers can use our four decades of legal experience to protect your interests and get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We can review your case, advise you of your legal options, answer your questions, and help get you back on the road again.  


What Do I Do if I’m Injured on a Business’s Property?

by Staff Blogger | April 22nd, 2024

When you visit a business, whether it’s a retail store, office, or restaurant, an accident can happen that leads to you suffering injuries. These accidents range from slipping on slick surfaces and cutting yourself on exposed sharp objects, to being burned by hot surfaces and tripping over uneven flooring.

Understanding the steps to take following an injury on business premises is crucial. This knowledge can protect your legal rights and well-being. Our California property injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can guide you through what to do after an accident on a business’s property and help you get the compensation you need to recover.

Understanding Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners, including businesses, for injuries occurring on their premises due to negligence or unsafe conditions. Businesses must maintain a safe environment for customers and visitors. This duty includes regularly inspecting the premises, promptly repairing hazards, and providing warnings for potential dangers.

When a business fails to uphold this duty, and someone is hurt, the injured party may have grounds to file a premises liability claim against the business. This typically involves negotiating a claim with the business’s commercial liability insurance or filing a personal injury lawsuit in court.

To win a premises liability claim, you must prove that the business had a duty of care toward you as a visitor, knew or should have known of the danger, and failed to take steps to address it. You must also show evidence, such as medical bills or witness testimony, demonstrating the damages you suffered from the accident.

Filing an Injury Claim

If you’re injured on a business’s property, you must take specific steps to protect your rights and file an adequate claim for compensation. Here’s what to do after your accident:

  • Get Checked by a Medical Professional: Even if your injuries seem minor, get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be apparent right away but could worsen if left untreated.

Example: You slip on a wet floor in a coffee shop and initially feel fine, except for a minor ache in your ankle. However, when you visit a walk-in clinic for a check-up, the doctor discovers a sprain. This timely medical assessment provides essential documentation for your injury claim.

  • Report the Injury: Immediately notify the business owner or management about the incident. Ask them to document the incident in their records and obtain a copy. This creates an official record of the accident, which can be valuable for your claim.

Example: Right after tripping over a loose tile in a bookstore, you find the manager and explain what happened. The manager writes an accident report, and you get a copy for your records, creating an official account of the incident, which you can use when filing your claim.

  • Document the Details: Take detailed notes of the accident, including the date, time, and location, as well as the circumstances leading to the injury. If possible, take photographs of the hazardous condition or area where the incident occurred. Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw what happened.

Example: Immediately after slipping on an icy sidewalk outside a mall, you use your phone to capture pictures of the area, highlighting the absence of salt or sand. You make a note of the time, date, and which entrance you were near when you were injured. Before leaving the scene, you swap contact details with any bystanders who witnessed the fall or assisted you. These actions gather crucial evidence for your accident claim, allowing you to contact the witness for a statement during the filing process.

  • Preserve Evidence: Keep physical evidence of the accident, like torn clothing, shoes, or damaged personal belongings. This evidence can support your claim and demonstrate the severity of your injuries.

Example: After snagging your sleeve on a sharp object in a clothing store, leading to a torn garment and a deep scratch on your arm, you keep the damaged clothing and document your injury with photographs. These pieces are tangible evidence of the occurrence and the direct injury inflicted, proving invaluable for substantiating your claim with insurance companies or in a legal setting.

The Role of Personal Injury Attorneys in Premises Liability Cases

Filing a premises liability claim can be complex, especially when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing legal action against a business. A personal injury attorney specializing in premises liability cases can help with several aspects of your case, helping you maximize compensation.

Our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can use our 40+ years of legal experience to protect your rights and do the following:

  • Evaluate your case and determine the strength of your claim
  • Use all available evidence to calculate the full compensation you’re owed
  • Negotiate with the business’s insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair recovery award
  • Represent you in court if a settlement is not reached and litigation becomes necessary
  • Handle all legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery

Get the Settlement You Deserve with Berg Injury Lawyers

Suffering harm on a business’s property can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, knowing how to respond and protect your rights is essential.

If you’ve been injured on a business’s property in California, contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you start a compensation claim and get your life back on track.


How to Handle a Personal Injury Claim That Involves a Minor

by Staff Blogger | April 15th, 2024

As with adults, children under the age of 18 can be victims of personal injury accidents, whether they’re car accidents, premises liability incidents, or dog bite attacks. When adults are injured due to others’ negligence, they can personally file injury claims or lawsuits against the liable parties and receive compensation for their damages.

While minors have the same rights, the legal process has different requirements. This typically involves the appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL), a court-appointed advocate responsible for protecting the child’s best interests during legal proceedings.

Knowing the role of a GAL and working with a California personal injury attorney can help you get your child the compensation they deserve.

The Role of a Guardian Ad Litem

In personal injury cases involving minors, a GAL focuses exclusively on the child’s welfare, providing an unbiased perspective necessary for the child’s best interests. The GAL’s responsibilities include:

  • Assessing the Child’s Needs: In personal injury cases, the GAL evaluates the child’s circumstances by examining medical records, consulting with educators, and observing their daily environment. This assessment ensures the child’s specific needs are understood and addressed throughout the legal process.
  • Making Court Recommendations: Based on their findings, the GAL proposes the most beneficial actions for the child’s welfare to the court. This might include specialized medical treatments or educational services to support the child’s recovery and development.
  • Serving as the Child’s Voice: The GAL ensures that the child’s preferences and interests are communicated to the court. They advocate for the minor’s views on living arrangements, medical care, and other aspects of the case, giving the child a meaningful role in the proceedings.
  • Liaising Between Parties: The GAL acts as a mediator between the child, their family, and all legal parties. This ensures a unified approach to addressing the child’s needs, facilitating clear and consistent communication.
  • Monitoring Case Progress: The GAL monitors the progression of the personal injury case and the enforcement of court orders. Their oversight guarantees that the child’s welfare remains a focal point of the legal process, upholding their rights and well-being.

The GAL’s role differs from that of a personal injury attorney. The minor and their family may hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation and handle legal claims. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we work closely with the appointed GAL in your child’s case to ensure that our legal strategies align with the minor’s needs.

Steps to Take After an Accident

After an accident involving a minor, it’s important to act quickly and decisively to protect their health and legal rights. Here’s what to do if your child is hurt in a personal injury accident:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Seek prompt medical attention for the child to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment and to document their injuries. Delayed treatment could exacerbate injuries and weaken the claim.
  • Report the Incident: Report the accident to the appropriate authorities, whether law enforcement, school officials, or other relevant parties. This creates an official incident record, which your attorney can use during the claims process.
  • Document Details and Evidence: Thorough documentation is critical for building a strong case. Collect information such as witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and medical records detailing the minor’s injuries and treatment for your child’s claim.
  • Maintain Detailed Medical Records: Keep all records of your child’s medical expenses, treatment plans, and prognosis throughout their recovery. This documentation shows the long-term consequences of the injury on your child’s life and helps estimate appropriate damages.
  • Seek Compensation: Work with a skilled personal injury attorney to help you through every stage of the claims process. Our team at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you gather evidence, assess medical records, and negotiate with insurers for fair compensation.

If the insurer won’t settle, we can take the case to court and partner with the GAL to protect your child’s interests in a lawsuit.

Accurate Compensation for Minors

Securing fair compensation for a minor in a personal injury lawsuit requires navigating complexities not present in adult cases. Lawyers need to consider the prolonged consequences, such as medical requirements, ongoing care, psychological suffering, and the implications on the child’s quality of life.

This process might involve detailed reviews of medical records, consultations with pediatric and other specialists, and collaboration with the child’s GAL to gather insights into the child’s health and well-being.

Additional compensation considerations include the following:

  • Court Approval Requirement: Settlements for minors undergo court review to confirm they prioritize the child’s medical or educational needs. For example, a judge may scrutinize the settlement terms to ensure they adequately cover future medical treatments and rehabilitation costs.
  • Preference for Structured Settlements: In safeguarding the minor’s financial well-being, judges often prefer structured payments instead of one-time lump sums. This arrangement may involve periodic disbursements designated for educational costs or continuous medical treatment, offering a steady economic base as the child matures.

Get Skilled Legal Representation for Your Child’s Injury Case

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we specialize in advocating for the rights of minors and their families, helping them receive the financial justice they deserve. We know the laws governing settlements for minors and know how to build a strong case.

If your child has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free, confidential case review to receive legal guidance and representation.


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.