Personal Injury

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

by Staff Blogger | November 6th, 2023

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

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

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

Understanding the Three Feet for Safety Act

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

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

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

The Importance of Safe Passing Distances

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

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

Enforcement and Penalties Under the Act

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

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

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

Practical Safety Tips

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

For Cyclists:

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

For Motorists:

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

Seek Compensation With Berg Injury Lawyers

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

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

Happy Halloween! How to Stay Safe While Trick-or-Treating

by Staff Blogger | October 30th, 2023

As the leaves turn orange and pumpkins adorn front porches, the excitement of Halloween fills the air. While Halloween is synonymous with fun costumes, candy, and spooky themes, it’s crucial to remember that safety should never take a back seat.

Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for child pedestrians. On October 31, children between 4 and 8 are 10 times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident, with the highest risk around 6 p.m. 

To ensure your family has an enjoyable Halloween, here are some practical safety tips for a safe trick-or-treating experience for you and your little ghouls and goblins.

Tips for Trick-or-Treaters

As you prepare to take your little monsters, superheroes, and princesses out for a night of trick-or-treating, safety should be as much a part of your Halloween checklist as costumes and candy bags. Here’s what you can do to minimize the risk of injuries in a pedestrian accident:

  • The importance of visibility: When it comes to Halloween costumes, it’s not just about looking fantastic; it’s also about being seen. Dark costumes might seem more on-theme, but they can make you or your child virtually invisible to drivers after sunset.

To mitigate this risk, opt for costumes in bright colors, or add reflective tape to darker outfits. Accessories like glow sticks and flashlights can further enhance visibility, making it easier for drivers to spot you.

  • Age-appropriate costumes: When selecting a costume, ensure it is age-appropriate and doesn’t block vision or movement. Masks can limit peripheral vision, and overly elaborate costumes can be hard to walk in, increasing the likelihood of tripping and falling.

Younger children should wear costumes that allow them a full range of motion and use face paint instead of a mask for unobstructed sightlines.

  • Well-fitting shoes: No matter how tempting it might be to wear platform boots or witchy heels to complete your outfit, safety should come first. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes can lead to trips and falls, which could result in serious injuries.
  • Obeying traffic rules and signals: It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget basic traffic rules. Always use crosswalks, obey traffic signals, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Adult supervision and designated meeting points: Young children should never go trick-or-treating without adult supervision. For older kids who are trick-or-treating with friends, it’s a good idea to establish designated meeting points and check-in times to ensure everyone is safe and accounted for.
  • Stick to known routes: When planning your trick-or-treating route, stick to familiar neighborhoods and streets. This reduces the chance of getting lost and ensures you’re in an area where neighbors recognize you.

Avoid poorly lit areas or streets with little foot traffic. If older kids are going without adults, remind them to stay on agreed paths and avoid shortcuts through unfamiliar territory.

  • Inspecting treats before consumption: Before diving into that mountain of candy, take a moment to inspect all treats. Check for any signs of tampering, such as tears in wrappers or unfamiliar brands. For younger children, parents should remove any choking hazards like small toys or hard candies.

Tips for Halloween Driving

On Halloween, drivers can also help ensure the safety of pedestrians, especially excited trick-or-treaters. With children often dressed in dark costumes and darting between houses, drivers must exercise extra caution. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Reduce speed in residential areas: With many excited children out and about, driving slowly ensures you have more reaction time to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.
  • Activate headlights earlier: Turning on your headlights early helps you see better in the dusk and makes your vehicle more visible to pedestrians.
  • Avoid distractions: Keep your phone and other distractions aside, ensuring your full attention is on the road.
  • Be vigilant near driveways and curbs: Children might suddenly dart out from these areas, so use extra caution, scanning the area for pedestrians.
  • Always yield to pedestrians: Prioritize the safety of people on foot by yielding at crosswalks, unmarked intersections, and stop signs.
  • Approach driveways cautiously: When pulling in or out of driveways or retail stores, look out for kids crossing or nearby.
  • Never drink and drive: Along with pedestrian accidents, Halloween increases the risk of alcohol-involved accidents. Do not drink and drive — if you drink, plan to stay the night, use a rideshare service, or ride with a sober driver if you consume alcohol.

Have a Spooktacular and Safe Halloween Night

As we celebrate this spooky season, let’s make safety a priority. Taking simple precautions can make a difference in ensuring a happy and secure Halloween experience for everyone.

If you or a family member is injured in a Halloween pedestrian accident, speak to one of our California pedestrian accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers. We can review your claim and help you seek compensation from the negligent party who caused the injuries.

By following our tips, we hope this Halloween offers you and your family a fun, safe evening. Wishing you all a very happy and safe Halloween!

Negligent Security and Personal Injury: Holding Property Owners Liable

by Staff Blogger | October 27th, 2023

Far too often, shoppers leaving the mall late at night are shot or mugged as they walk to their cars. Sexual assaults can occur on college campuses and in dorm rooms. Office buildings, hotels, schools, and convenience stores can all offer prime targets for opportunistic crime.

Property owners must provide reasonable security to prevent crime. A lack of security in locations accessible to the public can even be considered negligence. If you or a loved one was in a Modesto personal injury incident on someone else’s property, consult an attorney skilled in negligent security incidents. They will know how to investigate the incident and whether a property owner failed to provide adequate security.

Negligent Security and Premises Liability

Negligent security and premises liability are important legal concepts if you’re considering taking legal action after being hurt on someone else’s property.

Negligent security refers to a property owner’s failure to provide adequate safety measures, putting people on that property in danger. It’s easiest to think of negligent security as a subset of premises liability with the added element of a failure to prevent criminal acts. Premises liability more generally involves seeking compensation for injuries from unsafe conditions on someone’s property.

The takeaway for both concepts is that property owners must keep their properties safe. If injury occurs due to negligence, the harmed individuals may have legal rights and options.

If you are considering your legal options after being assaulted on someone else’s property, look for an attorney who has experience handling negligence cases leading to serious injuries. Premises liability attorneys can help clients in civil cases stemming from assault, rape, stabbings, shootings, and wrongful death. They can advise victims of negligent security or unsafe premises on protecting their rights and seeking compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered.

Duty of Care and Property Owner Obligations

California Civil Code 1714 offers guidance on determining who is liable when someone else’s negligence causes an injury. Property owners in California are subject to premises liability laws. According to this legal concept, property owners are responsible for routinely inspecting their properties for hazardous conditions and rectifying them within a reasonable amount of time.

To keep the public safe, apartment complex owners, for example, must repair, replace, or provide reasonable warning about unsafe property conditions. If they should have known that dangerous conditions existed, they are considered negligent if they do not fix the problem or, at the very least, warn others about its presence.

Below are some of the most common examples of conditions that lead to injuries in premises liability cases:

  • Poor lighting
  • Limited access
  • Poor landscaping
  • Poor training/supervision
  • Broken emergency systems
  • Rundown equipment
  • Poor screening/negligent hiring

When You Can Sue for Negligent Security- The Four Essential Elements

In California, proving negligent security or premises liability requires four key components:

  1. Duty of Care: The property owner had a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors. This includes making sure there are no dangerous conditions.
  2. Breach of Duty: The property owner failed in their duty to keep visitors reasonably safe. For example, there was a wet floor with no warning signs.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the injury or accident. For example, the wet floor caused someone to slip and injure themselves.
  4. Damages: The injured visitor suffered quantifiable damages such as medical bills, lost income, disability, or loss of quality of life. Damages may be claimed in the lawsuit.

In most cases, satisfying all four elements of negligence is challenging. It can be tough, especially for people who aren’t experienced attorneys, to prove that a breach of duty of care caused the damage or injury.

Building a strong case is where a negligent security attorney can help victims by gathering evidence to support their claim in court or settlement negotiations.

Common Types of Negligent Security Incidents

There are countless ways someone could get injured on someone else’s property. Negligent security cases often involve an assault or any other situation in which an injury occurred because there was no oversight or protection offered by the property owner.

Some of the most common negligent security injuries related to assault include:

  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage
  • Lacerations
  • Soft tissue damages
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment or disability
  • Scarring
  • Death

Compensation for Personal Injury in Negligent Security Cases

A fair settlement is typically calculated based on the attack you suffered, the injuries sustained, and the evidence you have. Here are considerations when evaluating a settlement offer:

  • Medical expenses: Medications, hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, and physical therapy.
  • Lost income: Injuries that prevent you from working at your regular job may result in a loss of income.
  • Out-of-pocket costs: Expenses such as childcare, housekeeping, etc., are usually compensable after an attack.
  • Pain and suffering: The emotional and mental turmoil you experience because of your injuries and the incident that led to the injuries.

Negligent security settlements have no standard value, and several factors, such as those below, can impact the amount of damages awarded:

  • Your injuries and the treatment you need.
  • Incident details.
  • Injuries that kept you from working.
  • How you contributed to the incident.

Get Help from a Negligent Security Attorney

A negligent security case requires a comprehensive approach. Our negligent security lawyers can help you determine why the accident occurred and who may be responsible. Sadly, victims often mistakenly blame themselves or dismiss what happened to them as bad luck.

Avoid self-blame and talk to an attorney who understands your situation. Berg Injury Lawyers is a law firm dedicated to helping victims obtain damages after a negligent security incident leads to an injury or wrongful death. Contact us today.

Flames of Negligence: Holding Responsible Parties Liable for Wildfire-Related Injuries

by Staff Blogger | October 23rd, 2023

A seemingly joyful gender reveal party turned into a catastrophic wildfire on September 5, 2020, wreaking havoc in southern California. Angela Renee Jimenez and Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr., the couple at the center of this devastating incident, are facing severe legal repercussions, including involuntary manslaughter.

In this case, a smoke bomb ignited as part of an innocent gender reveal celebration, sparking a wildfire that devastated parts of El Dorado County. One firefighter died while fighting the blaze, and many others were injured. The fire consumed 22,000 acres of precious Californian landscape for over two months, destroying homes and properties.

In this article, we’ll explore the implications of fires that are started due to negligence, shedding light on the potential consequences for those involved. If you’ve been affected by a wildfire, we’ll also examine how the right injury lawyer could help you hold responsible parties accountable. If you need an injury lawyer, contact Berg Injury Lawyers for an evaluation of their case.

What Causes California Wildfires?

In the past two decades, California’s wildfire seasons have intensified, become more destructive, and have lasted longer between the end of summer and early autumn. Seven thousand four hundred and seventy-seven wildfires were recorded in 2022, covering over 331,360 acres. More than eight hundred structures were affected, and nine people lost their lives.

Fires can occur naturally or as a result of human activity. For a fire to start, three elements must be present:

  • Fuel: any loosely flammable material, such as dead or living trees, dry vegetation, or other organic materials
  • Oxygen: abundant in the air
  • Heat sources: ignition could come from downed power lines to campfires or cigarettes

Many factors contribute to natural wildfires in California, including rising temperatures, drought conditions, and dry vegetation. Climate change is further prolonging and exacerbating the fire season in the state.

Wildfire Injury Lawsuits After a California Wildfire

In addition to burns and even death, wildfires can cause smoke-related health problems. Smoke exposure causes eye and respiratory tract irritation and poses a severe health risk to children, pregnant women, and older individuals. These risks can lead to reduced lung function, bronchitis, asthma exacerbations, and heart failure.

In the wake of such devastating events, wildfire lawsuits are gaining attention as survivors seek compensation and justice. Many of these lawsuits include allegations of negligence and mismanagement by utility companies and the government in preventing and controlling wildfires.

As wildfire risks escalate, enhanced regulation and transparency are necessary. Citizens should also know that any property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering experienced due to the fire can be recovered in an insurance claim.

However, to successfully file an insurance claim, you must be able to prove that negligence led to the wildfire. You must show that:

  • Those who caused the fire owed you a duty of care.
  • A breach of this duty of care led to the fire being started.
  • This breach of duty led to the fire, which caused you injuries and damages.

How to Determine Liability

When determining wildfire liability, a comprehensive investigation must be conducted to determine how the fire began. Parties that could have prevented the fire, such as by following proper wildfire prevention measures, may be liable for the fire and the resulting losses. This is especially true if they could have taken reasonable steps but chose not to.

Everyone has an ethical duty to avoid actions that could lead to wildfires. California law imposes additional legal obligations on certain citizens. Under California Government Code Section 51182, every Very High Fire Hazard Zone structure must have at least 100 feet of defensible space around it. Vegetation on these properties must be cleared of flammable materials.

Sometimes, more than one factor can cause a wildfire. In these situations, there may be a shared liability between multiple parties. Any of the following entities could share some liability for a wildfire:

  • Power providers
  • Energy providers
  • Arsonists
  • Private residence or property owner
  • Product manufacturer

Getting Legal Advice on Wildfire Liability

Consult with an attorney to increase your chances of receiving compensation. An injury lawyer in Modesto can provide insight and assistance in identifying potential compensation sources for those affected by wildfires, including:

  • Responsible parties: Individuals or companies who caused the wildfire may be accountable for injuries, damages, and losses if they were negligent.
  • Homeowners’ insurance: In the aftermath of a wildfire, homeowners’ insurance is one of the primary sources of compensation. A comprehensive insurance policy covering fire damage may allow you to file a claim for repairs or replacements.
  • Government entities: You may be able to sue government agencies if the wildfire was caused by inadequate maintenance of public lands, faulty equipment, or delayed response to the fire accident.

Compensation You Can Seek in a California Wildfire Claim

If one or more parties above were at fault, they may have a financial responsibility to compensate your economic and noneconomic losses, as outlined above. However, you may qualify for compensation from additional losses as well, such as:

  • Home or business structural damage
  • Landscape damage
  • Farm damage
  • Vehicle damage
  • Living expenses and evacuation costs
  • Pet or livestock injuries
  • Wrongful death

Call an Injury Lawyer in Modesto to Help You Rebuild After a Wildfire

Wildfire victims face many challenges, and we at Berg Injury Lawyers are dedicated to fighting for their rights and obtaining compensation. Thanks to our extensive experience in handling wildfire liability cases, we will identify potential sources of compensation, provide you with a strong case, and navigate the legal landscape on your behalf.

Get a free, confidential consultation with us today.

School Violence and Personal Injury: Legal Rights and Remedies

by Staff Blogger | September 25th, 2023

Parents and guardians trust schools to educate their children and ensure they are well cared for. Far too many families have experienced the upheaval of learning their child has been hurt in a school violence incident. Unfortunately, this often occurs because the school staff has failed to address safety complaints.

Acts of violence in schools, such as bullying, pushing, and shoving, can cause significant emotional harm and trauma to the victims. Gang violence and assault with weapons can lead to serious bodily injuries or, worse, wrongful deaths.

If you are harmed by the negligent actions of school administrators or staff in the Modesto area and all attempts to resolve the matter have failed, an experienced Modesto personal injury attorney can help you seek justice.

Understanding School Violence

Schools and colleges nationwide have seen an uptick in violence in recent years. Students have used guns and other weapons to terrorize fellow students and teachers. In 2022, Education Week reported 51 school shootings that resulted in injury or death. That is the highest number since they began tracking such incidents in 2018.

Clinical psychologists define school violence as any behavior that involves actual or implied threats. These behaviors include:

  • Physical violence: physical aggression, assault with weapons, and criminal acts like theft or arson.
  • Psychological violence: emotional and verbal abuse, including insults, threats, rejection, isolation, name-calling, humiliation, ridiculing, slander, lying, or punishing others.
  • Sexual violence: harassment, intimidation, groping, coercion, or rape.
  • Bullying: repeated and intentional physical, psychological, or sexual aggression towards others.
  • Cyberbullying: sexual or psychological abuse on online platforms, especially social media, including posting gossip, slanderous comments, libelous rumors, indecent photos or videos, and exclusion from online groups or networks.

What are the Consequences of School Violence?

School violence presents a risk of severe physical and psychological harm for children in Modesto. Besides general changes in a child’s personality or behavior, school violence can affect a child in the following ways:

  • Avoidance of school and activities with particular students.
  • Unexplained injuries or damage to the child’s belongings.
  • Anxiety and panic attacks.
  • A gradual decline in academic performance.
  • Work, sleep, or focus problems.
  • Social and emotional withdrawal.
  • A change in eating habits or hygiene.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Self-harm.

Legal Rights of Victims of School Violence

According to the California Supreme Court, school premises must be safe and welcoming. A right to safe schools is one of the specific rights guaranteed by “The Victims’ Bill of Rights.”

All elementary, middle, junior high, and high school students and staff have an inherent right to a safe, secure, and peaceful learning environment.

Teachers and school administrators must take reasonable action to protect their students’ welfare, health, and safety. Schools are legally responsible for four things:

  • Duty of care under Common Law.
  • Statutory duty of care.
  • Contractual obligations arising from employment.
  • Identifying the responsible parties and the potential liability risks.

When teachers or school administrators fail to intervene or stop a fight from happening, they can be sued for breach of duty. Minors cannot be held legally responsible, so the perpetrator’s parents or guardians may be held accountable.

Personal injury cases involving school violence can be complex. But a Modesto personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal system to get the compensation your child deserves.

How a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

During school hours or activities, schools are responsible for preventing school violence. If the school fails to meet this duty of care and a child is injured, the school may be liable.

Many studies have confirmed the traumatic impact that violence can have on children. According to UNICEF, violence in schools can:

  • Reduce school attendance.
  • Lower the academic performance of students.
  • Increase the rates of dropouts.
  • Increase mental health concerns.

Under California law, your child may be entitled to compensation if they have been harmed by school violence. Compensation can include the following:

  • Expenses for medical care and treatment, including mental health care.
  • Pain and suffering compensation
  • Compensation for lost future earnings and lost wages

Teachers are also frequent victims of violence in schools. California’s workers’ compensation is available to teachers who have sustained a workplace injury caused by violence. In addition, teachers also have the right to pursue compensation by suing the school system if the administration has failed in its duty of care to provide a safe place for learning.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney in Modesto

With the help of a personal injury attorney, parents can get legal expertise and the compensation they deserve.

If your child was injured in a violent act at school, you may have a case against the school system or the perpetrator. The right personal injury attorney in Modesto can be a necessary resource for those seeking justice for their injured child. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today.

Understanding Red-Light Laws: Assessing Your Rights After an Accident

by Staff Blogger | September 22nd, 2023

As you enter an intersection, a car rushes through a red light, causing a heart-stopping collision. The aftermath of an accident like this can be distressing. But knowing your rights will protect you and your family from suffering an unnecessary financial fallout from the crash.

Red-light laws are meant to ensure the safety of all drivers as they pass through intersections. These laws help drivers know when to stop, when to turn, and when to wait. For pedestrians, these laws serve as reminders to be cautious and only cross streets when it is safe to do so.

If you have been injured in a red-light accident, seek a personal injury lawyer Modesto residents can count on, like Berg Injury Lawyers.

The Red-Light Laws: What Do They Mean?

Red-light laws are essential to keeping intersections safe. You can find more information on how they work in California’s Vehicle Code. Put simply, these laws state that when you see a steady circular red signal on a traffic light, you must stop before entering an intersection or crosswalk. It protects everyone on the road and prevents collisions.

According to California Vehicle Code Section 21453, pedestrians and drivers must follow the rules at intersections with red lights or arrows.

For drivers, this means:

  • When the red light is steady and circular, you must stop before the road line (if there is one). When there is no line, stop before the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Do not proceed into the intersection until the red light changes to green.

Sometimes, there are exceptions:

  • Only turn left or right onto a one-way street if no signs prohibit it.
  • When pedestrians are in the crosswalk and a vehicle approaches too closely, turn cautiously. Don’t proceed until it’s safe to do so.

When you see a red arrow signal:

  • Only enter an intersection if a sign says it’s okay.
  • If there is no marked line at the crosswalk, wait for the signal to change.

For pedestrians:

  • Walk onto the road if the signal shows a steady red light or red arrow.
  • While crossing, remain cautious and use good judgment.
  • Officers cannot stop pedestrians from crossing when the traffic light is steady red or red arrow unless they are in immediate danger of an accident.

How to Assess Your Rights After an Accident in Modesto

It can be overwhelming to deal with accidents caused by red-light violations, but if you know the proper steps to take, you can significantly improve your chances of winning:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. Your well-being comes first. By law (Vehicle Code section 20008), you must report accidents that result in injury or death to local authorities in California. In addition to ensuring you are evaluated and treated for any injuries, getting medical attention will help establish a record of the accident.
  2. Call the police. It is crucial to get law enforcement involved when an accident occurs. The law requires you to report an accident to the police under Vehicle Code section 20008. A police report is another vital piece of supporting evidence that will support your claim.
  3. Take pictures of the scene. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that is especially true here. Take pictures or videos of the intersection, traffic signals, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries at the accident scene. This evidence can be instrumental in reconstructing the sequence of events.
  4. Gather evidence. California follows the comparative negligence principle, which means parties can share liability. If there are any witnesses, collect their contact information. Note the weather and road conditions as well because they can be significant in determining the cause of an accident.
  5. Consult a Modesto personal injury lawyer. The legal burden following an accident can be overwhelming. Hiring a Modesto personal injury lawyer who can help navigate the legal complexities and build a compelling case can be a game-changer.

What Are the Consequences of Running a Red Light?

In addition to legal consequences, running a red light can have significant financial consequences. A violation of Vehicle Code section 21453 can result in a fine of up to $100.

Moreover, California’s Civil Code section 3281 provides that an individual responsible for causing personal injury can be held financially responsible for compensating the victim for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages, etc.

Running a red light can result in the following:

  • T-bone collisions.
  • Head-on collisions.
  • Sideswipe collisions.
  • Pedestrian and cyclist injuries.

Get The Help You Need from a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer in Modesto can help you if you have been injured in a red-light accident. If you were injured at a red light, Berg Injury Lawyers has a team of experienced personal injury lawyers ready to help you.

Our team of experienced attorneys will ensure your rights are protected. For a free consultation, contact us today.

Personal Injury on Campus: Legal Insights and Safety Tips for Cyclists

by Staff Blogger | September 15th, 2023

Cycling accidents leading to personal injury are a significant concern on university and college campuses. Understanding the legal implications and adopting safety measures can greatly reduce the risk and impact of these incidents. As a Sacramento personal injury law firm, we’re committed to guiding students, faculty, and campus visitors through the complexities of personal injury cases stemming from cycling accidents.

Understanding Personal Injury Claims for Cyclists

When a cyclist is injured due to someone else’s negligence, it opens the door to a personal injury claim. This process typically involves proving that the responsible party’s actions (or lack thereof) directly led to the accident and the subsequent injuries. Legal guidance is crucial here; a Sacramento attorney specializing in bicycle accidents can offer invaluable insights into your legal options and the steps involved in pursuing a claim.

Navigating the Personal Injury Claim Process

The journey to a successful personal injury claim involves several key steps:

  • Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer: This initial discussion with an attorney who has experience in bicycle accidents is critical. The lawyer will assess your situation, provide legal advice, and guide you through the complexities of the legal system.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: If negotiations don’t lead to a reasonable settlement, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. This involves formally presenting your case in court.
  • Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Your lawyer will collect pertinent evidence, including accident reports, medical records, witness testimonies, and other relevant information to build a strong case.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: A significant portion of personal injury claims are resolved through negotiations with the liable party’s insurance company. Your attorney will aim to secure a fair settlement covering medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Trial and Judgment: If the case goes to trial, both parties will present their arguments and evidence. The court will then decide the outcome. If successful, the cyclist will receive compensation for the injuries and losses sustained.

Safety Tips for Campus Cyclists

In addition to understanding the legal aspects, it’s crucial to practice safe cycling. Here are some tips:

  • Wear a Helmet: A helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries in the event of an accident.
  • Use Hand Signals: Communicate your intentions to others by using hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Follow Traffic Rules: Obey all traffic signs and signals, and ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Increase Visibility: Wear bright or reflective clothing, and equip your bike with lights and reflectors, especially when riding at night or in low-light conditions.

Common Injuries Suffered by Cyclists in Accidents

Cycling accidents, unfortunately, can lead to a range of injuries, some of which can be severe. Understanding these common injuries can underscore the importance of safety precautions and the need for legal support when injuries occur.

  • Head Injuries: These can range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Helmets significantly reduce the risk, but they are not foolproof.
  • Road Rash: When a cyclist falls onto the pavement, they can suffer from road rash, which is essentially a skin abrasion. Severe cases can lead to infection or require skin grafts.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones: The impact of a collision often results in broken arms, legs, or ribs. Recovery from such injuries can be long and sometimes incomplete.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These are among the most serious injuries and can lead to permanent disability, including paralysis.
  • Dental and Facial Injuries: Collisions can lead to broken jaws, dental damage, and other facial injuries which might require reconstructive surgery.

Types of Damages Injured Cyclists Can Seek in Personal Injury Claims

In personal injury claims, damages are the monetary compensation sought by the injured party. For cyclists involved in accidents, several types of damages can be pursued:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes costs for immediate medical treatment, ongoing care, rehabilitation, and any future medical needs related to the injury.
  • Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: Compensation can be sought for lost wages due to time off work, as well as a reduced capacity to earn in the future if the injuries are long-term or permanent.
  • Pain and Suffering: This non-economic damage compensates for the physical pain and emotional distress suffered due to the accident.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Injuries can hinder one’s ability to enjoy hobbies and other life activities, for which compensation might be sought.
  • Property Damage: This includes compensation for the cyclist’s damaged bike and any other personal property affected in the accident.

It’s important for injured cyclists to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help identify and quantify these damages accurately. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable assistance in ensuring that all potential areas of compensation are considered.

Seeking Legal Assistance

If you’ve been involved in a cycling accident on campus and suffered injuries, legal assistance can be vital. Our team of personal injury attorneys in Sacramento is dedicated to supporting victims through the legal process, helping them understand their rights and options, and striving for the best possible outcome.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a consultation and let us assist you in navigating the complexities of your personal injury claim.

Advocating for Accountability: Taking Action in Pool-Related Personal Injury Claims

by Staff Blogger | September 8th, 2023

Many people in California enjoy spending warm days by swimming pools to unwind and relax. However, pools can result in injuries and even deaths. Personal injury lawsuits involving pools have many causes, including drownings, injuries from shallow diving, slip and fall incidents, and electrocutions.

A person is eligible for compensation if they have been injured at a public pool due to the pool operator’s carelessness. By working with a personal injury lawyer, Sacramento victims hurt in a swimming pool accident can get legal assistance.

Laws and Regulations in Pool-Related Injury Cases

Federal Laws 

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act is a federal law that mandates the addition of anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety precautions in pools and spas to prevent entrapment (when someone is stuck to a drain or suction device) and drowning incidents.

State Laws

Public and private pools in California are subject to rules and specifications outlined in the California Health and Safety Code. These rules address things like the design of swimming pools, safety obstacles, signs, the qualifications of lifeguards, and water quality standards.

California Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act: This state regulation requires particular safety precautions, such as installing pool barriers, door alarms, and pool coverings, for domestic swimming pools.

Premises Liability Laws

Pool-related injuries are covered by premises liability laws in California. Property owners are liable for keeping visitors safe on their premises and could face legal consequences if they don’t put in the necessary safeguards. This could include adequate monitoring features, lifeguards, or emergency supplies.

Responsibilities of Pool Owners and Operators

Maintenance and upkeep

  • Conduct regular, routine inspections to make sure everything is functioning correctly.
  • Maintain the equipment, surroundings, and surrounding regions’ cleanliness, safety, and functionality.

Safety Measures

  • Ensure the pool is adequately prepared for its intended use, prioritizing safety.
  • Equip public pools with emergency safety gear for unforeseen situations.
  • Enlist ample supervision or lifeguards in public swimming areas.
  • Educate visitors about any potential hidden pool hazards that might not be immediately noticeable.
  • Implement pool fencing and innovative safety tools.
  • Stay updated on local pool regulations to protect everyone from pool-related accidents.

Preventing Future Pool-Related Incidents

Fencing and Barriers

  • Install a fence/barrier around the pool area to prevent unwanted access.
  • Ensure the fence or barrier has self-closing and self-latching gates that stand at least four feet high.
  • Make sure the fence or barrier works properly by performing regular inspections and repairs.

Supervision and Lifeguards

  • At public pools, supervision is provided by trained lifeguards.
  • Maintain constant supervision of children whenever they are in or around the pool area.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when swimming.

Advocating for Stronger Regulations and Enforcement

  • Encourage your city to adopt stricter rules and enforcement procedures for swimming pool safety.
  • Make sure pool owners know they are responsible for sustaining a secure environment.
  • Encourage pool owners and managers to implement safety precautions and offer sufficient monitoring.

Steps to Take After a Pool-Related Injury

Seeking Medical Attention

After experiencing an injury, your top priority should be your health. Get medical help as soon as you can. Follow any medical advice you are given and document every medical procedure and associated costs.

Documenting the Incident

Take pictures of the area around the pool, paying special attention to the area where the accident occurred. Later, this material will be used as evidence.

Retain Evidence

Keep copies of all paperwork about your care, such as prescriptions, invoices, and receipts. These records are crucial for pursuing a future legal claim.

Reporting the Incident to Authorities

Inform the pool operator or owner that an injury has occurred. If the injury happened while the victim was at a public pool, report the incident to the local health department or other relevant authorities.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

Speaking with a Sacramento personal injury lawyer specializing in pool-related accidents is crucial if you have suffered a pool-related injury. Attorneys help victims and their families in the following ways:

  • Legal advice: A personal injury attorney will offer legal advice and ensure you know your rights and are aware of all your available options.
  • Investigation: A lawyer will investigate the causes of your injury, acquire information, and establish who was at fault.
  • Negotiation: A lawyer negotiates with insurance providers to seek payment for lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses.
  • Legal representation in court: If necessary, a lawyer will represent you in court and argue your case.

Types of Compensation for Pool-Related Injuries

Depending on the injury’s severity and the circumstances of the event, the amount of compensation for pool-related injuries may vary. Here are a few typical forms of pool-related injury compensation:

  • Any related medical costs, including hospital charges, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.
  • Lost wages resulting from time away from work due to the injury.
  • Physical and mental anguish and suffering brought on by the damage.
  • Accidental damage to property, including any harm done to people’s possessions.
  • Though rare, punitive damages can be granted as compensation for the negligent actions of the pool owner or operator.

It’s critical to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento who focuses on accidents at swimming pools to find out what kind of compensation you might be entitled to. A lawyer will help you in investigating the circumstances, gathering evidence, and negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

California Construction Sites: A Hotbed for Personal Injury Claims?

by Staff Blogger | August 14th, 2023

With a constant flurry of activity, towering structures, and a chorus of machinery and tools, construction sites can be some of the most dangerous workplaces in California. They represent a complex intersection of human labor, heavy machinery, and high-stakes projects often racing against time. This combination makes construction sites a potential hotbed for personal injury claims.

If you work in construction in California, you have the right to seek compensation if you’re injured on the job. Our construction accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand your legal options after an accident and help you recover fair compensation.

Identifying Construction Site Hazards and Risks

According to OSHA statistics, the construction industry accounts for 47.4% of all fatal occupational injuries, with 976 workplace deaths in 2020. In 2021, California saw 81 fatal workplace injuries in the construction sector, with 24 deaths among construction laborers.

Identifying hazards and risks on construction sites involves recognizing potential sources of accidents and injuries. These include fall hazards from scaffolding, ladders, or other elevated platforms, striking hazards from falling tools or machinery, and electrocution risks from power tools and wiring.

Hazards may also arise from improper handling of materials, inadequate safety procedures, and a lack of proper protective equipment. Some common construction site hazards include:

  • Slipping and tripping: Many construction sites require workers to operate on uneven or unstable surfaces in and around debris and other obstacles. Falling, tripping, or slipping are among the most common risks for construction workers.
  • Falling from heights: Many construction sites use scaffolding, ladders, and other elevated surfaces. However, working at height presents the risk of falling, which can seriously injure or kill construction workers. According to the CDC, fatal falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers.
  • Noise levels: Construction sites generally feature a range of equipment that can generate unsafe noise levels. Prolonged exposure to construction noise can cause permanent hearing damage, disturb a worker’s ability to focus, and potentially lead to other injuries.
  • Electrical hazards: Construction equipment includes various power tools and devices, often connected with exposed wires and cables. Operating in these environments exposes workers to various electrical hazards, such as exposed power lines, ungrounded equipment, or tool misuse.
  • Harmful materials: While construction workers must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), work sites routinely expose them to harmful airborne particulates, such as concrete and silica dust, lead, wood dust, or asbestos. PPE also protects against struck-by injuries from objects such as nails or wood, but if it is not working or ill-fitting, it places workers at risk of an accident.

Duty of Construction Site Owners and Contractors for Safety

State and federal laws require construction company owners, project managers, general contractors, supervisors, and site property owners to ensure safety on a construction site.

Construction site safety rules and standards in California are defined, taught, and enforced by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as Cal/OSHA.

The primary responsibility of construction site owners and contractors is to ensure the site complies with all applicable OSHA and Cal/OSHA safety measures. They must also monitor construction sites and minimize or remove safety hazards.

Examples of safety tasks they must perform include providing appropriate PPE, installing code-compliant guardrails to prevent falls, regularly conducting inspections of equipment to ensure they are safe to use, and general cleaning and site organization to remove trip and fall hazards.

Pursuing Personal Injury Claims: Holding Responsible Parties Accountable

If you are injured on a construction site in California, the site owner, contractor, or another party responsible for maintaining safety may be liable for your damages. Additionally, according to the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP 3294), the state may award punitive damages if the responsible parties’ conduct at the time of the accident was malicious, oppressive, or fraudulent.

Steps to Follow After a Construction Accident

If you suffer injuries on a construction site, follow these steps to preserve your health, safety, and rights.

  • Seek medical attention. No matter the extent of the damages or injuries, seek professional medical attention after an accident, even if you don’t feel pain. Many types of construction site injuries, such as concussions from minor falls, are not immediately apparent yet worsen over time if left untreated.
  • Keep medical records. Always keep detailed records of your interactions with medical professionals, such as EMTs, doctors, and hospitals. They can prove the full extent of your injuries.
  • Report the accident. All construction site accidents in California should be reported to Cal/OSHA, and for serious injuries typically within 8 to 24 hours. Reports ensure your accident is documented, known to the proper authorities, and investigated. If your employer fails to do so, you can visit the Cal/OSHA website to file a complaint with your local enforcement district office.
  • Collect evidence. Gather information, witness statements, and photo and video evidence of the accident. These details are critical for building your case and proving your injuries.
  • Contact a lawyer. A qualified California construction accident lawyer can represent your rights and interests. They can assist you, provide legal advice, and help you understand your options to file your personal injury claim.

Consult a California Construction Accident Lawyer Today

Berg Injury Lawyers has represented the interests of injured construction workers in Northern California for over 40 years. Our firm is dedicated to providing you with the legal representation, expertise, and compassion you need when you are most vulnerable.

We will handle your injury claim and fight for maximum compensation, letting you focus on healing and rebuilding your life. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident in Sacramento

by Staff Blogger | August 7th, 2023

Bicycling in Sacramento can be a convenient and eco-friendly way to navigate the city. However, accidents can happen, and taking immediate action is crucial to protect your rights and well-being. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, bicyclist deaths have increased by 60% since 2010, with 45 deaths in Sacramento County between 2017 and 2021.

As you head out on your bicycle to enjoy the sunny weather and engage in outdoor activities, you can prevent an accident by knowing how to ensure your safety and what steps to take after a cycling accident in Sacramento.

Seek Medical Attention

When you’re involved in a bicycle accident, the first step is to prioritize your safety and well-being. Do the following after your accident to preserve your rights and get the necessary medical attention:

  • Move to a safe location: Immediately after the accident, relocate yourself and your bicycle to a secure area off the road. This action prevents further harm from passing vehicles and allows you to assess your injuries without additional risks.
  • Seek medical attention: Regardless of the severity of your injuries, seek medical attention promptly. Even seemingly minor injuries, such as bruising or a concussion, can have underlying complications that only a medical professional can properly diagnose.
  • Document your injuries: While receiving medical care, thoroughly document your injuries. Take photographs of visible injuries such as bruises, cuts, or abrasions. These visual records serve as valuable evidence when building your case. Additionally, note any symptoms, pain levels, or limitations you experience due to the accident. This documentation supports your compensation claim.
  • Keep all medical records: Retain copies of all medical records, bills, and receipts for your treatment. Your attorney will use these records to help you file a compensation claim for medical expenses or other damages resulting from the accident. Organize them in a secure place for easy access during the legal process.

Gathering Essential Evidence for the Accident

After ensuring your safety following the bicycle accident, gather as much evidence as possible from the scene. This can strengthen your case when pursuing a personal injury claim. To adequately document the incident, do the following:

  • Capture the scene: Use your smartphone to take photographs or videos of the accident scene. Focus on capturing visible damage to your bicycle, other vehicles involved, or any hazardous conditions present. These images serve as crucial evidence when determining liability and demonstrating the extent of the damages.
  • Obtain contact information: Collect contact information from all involved parties, including drivers, pedestrians, and witnesses. Their testimonies may provide valuable insights into what happened during the accident. Record their names, phone numbers, and addresses to facilitate future communication.
  • Document relevant details: Pay close attention to and document important details such as road conditions, traffic signals, weather conditions, and any other factors that may have contributed to the accident. These details help establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and assist in determining fault.
  • File a police report: It is crucial to report the bicycle accident to the Sacramento Police Department or local law enforcement. Contact them immediately and provide all relevant information about the incident. A police report serves as an official record of the accident, which proves valuable when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing legal action.

Protecting Your Rights After the Accident

Taking immediate steps to safeguard your rights following a bicycle accident lets you seek compensation from the driver who caused your injuries. A skilled bicycle attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can review the evidence in your case and help you file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance.

Our attorneys know Sacramento traffic and bicycle laws and will guide you on your legal options after a collision. If the driver’s insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount to cover your injuries, we will represent you in a personal injury lawsuit. This can help you win damages to cover medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Call Our Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Sacramento

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in Sacramento, seek legal representation from an experienced California bicycle accident attorney. At Berg Injury Lawyers will fight to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you navigate the legal process while you focus on your recovery.