Personal Injury

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance?

by Staff Blogger | July 21st, 2023

Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, and the injuries can negatively impact one’s physical health and financial situation. After an accident, medical and other associated costs can quickly pile up, placing a heavy financial burden on the victim. Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is helpful in such accident occurrences.

Definition and Coverage of PIP Insurance

PIP is a category of insurance that covers accident-related compensation and relieves the financial burden of recovery for people who have been injured due to the negligence of others.

In a contrast to traditional auto insurance, PIP insurance covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses regardless of who was at fault. PIP insurance also pays for other costs associated with accidents, such as child care, cleaning services, and travel costs.

Navigating into the details of PIP insurance can be daunting. With the support of an experienced personal injury lawyer, Sacramento residents can feel confident that they will have the backup they need to proceed through the insurance claim process.

PIP Insurance Requirements in California

Drivers in California are obligated to have car insurance that complies with the legal minimum liability standards. Although PIP insurance is not mandatory in California, insurance companies must make it available to drivers. California law requires drivers who opt out of PIP insurance to sign a waiver stating their choice.

Exceptions to California’s PIP Insurance Requirements

California’s PIP insurance regulations have various exceptions. You may be eligible to forego your PIP coverage if you have health insurance that pays for injuries sustained in car accidents. However, your auto insurance company will need proof of your health insurance. Drivers who operate their vehicles for profit, such as ride-share drivers, are also ineligible for PIP coverage. A personal injury lawyer in Sacramento can help you determine whether you can forego PIP coverage.

Filing a PIP Claim

You must submit a claim with your insurance provider to receive compensation if you have a PIP policy and are in an accident. The following information is usually required to file a claim:

  • Your name, address, and insurance policy number.
  • The time and place where the incident occurred.
  • Details on the drivers involved.
  • A description of what happened and any injuries suffered.
  • Costs associated with medical treatment and additional charges.

Common Issues Faced When Filing a PIP Claim

The process of filing a PIP claim may appear straightforward, but there are some common issues that victims may need assistance with to secure their compensation. These issues include:

  • The claims process taking too long.
  • Disputes regarding the cause or seriousness of injuries.
  • Difficulties in proving lost wages.
  • Claims being rejected due to insufficient evidence.

To avoid these issues and resolve any differences between you and your insurance provider, you must record your injuries and expenses accurately. With the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Sacramento, clients can gain a better understanding of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policies. This ensures you receive all the benefits you are entitled to following an accident, while also receiving critical support during a difficult time.

Benefits of PIP Insurance

Here are some advantages of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policies and how they might help accident victims and their families.

Medical Expenses Covered by PIP Insurance

PIP insurance pays for all accident-related medical costs and helps relieve some of the financial burdens. Hospital stays, medical visits, prescription medication, and therapy sessions are all covered by PIP insurance. This policy is beneficial if you lack health insurance or if your health insurance doesn’t cover injuries from car accidents.

Wage Loss Benefits Provided by PIP Insurance

PIP insurance provides wage loss compensation if your accident prevents you from working, which can help you replace any lost income. Those who depend on their wages to make ends meet and support their families need this insurance most of all. The policy includes wage loss payments for a set period, often up to a maximum amount as specified in your policy.

Funeral Expenses and Survivor Benefits

In the tragic event of a fatal accident, PIP insurance assists the deceased’s family with burial costs and survivor benefits. This premium supports the family during a trying time and lessens the financial strain of funeral costs. A survivor’s compensation could include payment for lost wages and other expenses incurred following the death of a loved one.

PIP insurance covers the driver and any passengers in the car at the time of the accident. This coverage may be significant for those who carpool or families with children.

PIP insurance provides victims’ families with comfort. It can also reduce the anxiety of having to deal with a car accident. If you have PIP insurance, you won’t have to stress about covering your medical costs as you recover and return to your regular activities.

With an experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer, you will relax knowing that you have a tenacious defender fighting for your rights and securing the maximum compensation your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy allows.


Are you struggling to understand the complexities of the PIP industry? Don’t allow your injuries and medical expenses to mount. Get legal assistance from Berg Injury Lawyers.

Our expert attorneys specialize in PIP insurance disputes and will help you get the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or something else entirely, contact us for help.

Injury Cases: What are They and How Can a Lawyer Help You?

by Staff Blogger | July 21st, 2023

People get injured all the time. However, no one has the right to injure another person. If they do—knowingly or unintentionally—they must compensate the victim. The process of recovering damages from the offender is what constitutes a personal injury case.

Some claims end in a settlement, while others can go to court. The path each case takes depends on the specific facts.

Sacramento residents can claim damages sustained in slips and falls, car accidents, assaults, dog bites, etc. Even if a victim has never had an injury case, they can recover fair compensation with the help of an injury lawyer in Sacramento.

The following article offers answers to some common questions that victims may have following an injury. Let’s begin by reviewing the applicable laws.

Sacramento Injury Laws

It is impossible to reverse an injury. But the judicial system provides an avenue for victims to receive compensation.

As with most counties in California, Sacramento applies a law known as California Code §3281. This law states that a victim may recover monetary compensation from the “person at fault” in an accident. Code §3283 adds that payable damages may include future losses or losses that appear after the judicial process has begun.

A person who purposefully assaults or injures another in any way must compensate them. But what about unintentional negligence? In Sacramento, there are four components of legal negligence. The victim must prove that:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care.
  • The defendant violated that duty of care.
  • The breach was the direct cause of injury.
  • The breach caused damage to the victim.

Sometimes it’s easy to prove negligence. For instance, a distracted driver who hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk is at fault. If they had been texting while driving, they breached their duty of care because they owe it to pedestrians to stay alert.

Sometimes, proving negligence can require additional work. For example, in the case of medical malpractice, the victim would require that an expert in the medical field review the standard practice requirements. The expert will need to provide testimony showing how the accused doctor deviated from an acceptable standard of care.

Whatever the case, if the victim can prove negligence on the defendant’s part, Sacramento law allows the victim to recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Injury Types Common in Sacramento

Personal injuries vary greatly and can happen anytime and in unexpected situations. Someone may be walking down the street when they get bitten by a neighbor’s dog. In another case, the victim may have been entering a building, excited about their first day at work, only to slip, fall, and break their spine.

Sacramento recognizes several types of injury claims, including the following:

  • Auto accidents – cars, trucks, motorcycles, commercial vehicles
  • Slips and falls
  • Workplace injuries
  • Wrongful death
  • Product liability
  • Assault
  • Medical malpractice
  • Animal bites.

When looking for a Sacramento injury lawyer, victims should find an attorney with experience in their type of injury.

Frequently Asked Questions About Injury Cases in Sacramento

It’s normal to have a mountain of questions after an injury. We have provided the most straightforward answers to some of the most common questions below. Remember that these explanations are not comprehensive. If you have further questions or want more clarification, don’t hesitate to contact Berg Injury Lawyers Sacramento offices.

Do I have a case?

You might have a case if the injury was someone else’s fault. Consulting with an attorney to review your case can determine whether you will likely receive compensation for your injury.

Who pays medical bills during the case?

Payment could be made by an insurer, medicare, or the victim may have to pay out-of-pocket. Eventually, however, whoever paid can recover their expenses from the defendant. Hiring a lawyer gives you a chance to recover those losses.

Will the injury case go to court?

Maybe. Most claims don’t reach the court because the case is straightforward, and those involved feel there’s no need to delay the inevitable. Parties in an injury case can settle within a few months. However, when hiring a lawyer, hire one willing to go to trial if needed.

Is filing a personal injury case unfair to the defendant?

Not if the victim’s losses are genuine. Damages deserve compensation. And in most cases, the defendant’s insurance pays the victim, so they don’t have to pay out-of-pocket.

How long does settlement or litigation take?

Duration depends on each case. Berg Injury Lawyers advise victims to be patient. It will take time for injuries to heal and for the claim process to end. The defendant’s lawyer may also need time to review the victim’s information.

How can a Sacramento Injury Attorney Help?

Claiming damages from insurance companies is like going to war, and victims don’t want to go it alone. It’s in their best interest to find an experienced lawyer who knows all about the corners insurance adjusters often cut to reduce the value of victims’ claims.

We understand that victims may feel overwhelmed by the idea of speaking to a lawyer. That’s why we offer a free initial consultation where we will review their case. Consulting with us puts victims under no obligation to hire us. If anyone needs help with an injury case in Sacramento, they should reach out and schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible.

Understanding Comparative Negligence in Modesto Personal Injury Cases

by Staff Blogger | July 21st, 2023

When you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to understand the law and contact an attorney. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our team of experience personal injury attorneys in Modesto, California can help you navigate uncertain times and fight for any compensation you may be owed.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative Negligence is a principle used to assign portions of damages to the parties involved in a personal injury case. According to this rule, the court calculates how much the injured victim should receive by reducing the total damages by the percentage of the plaintiff’s negligence.

It basically means determining who is at fault for what when an accident occurs. Different states apply the negligence rule differently. California, for example, follows the pure comparative negligence rule. Here, victims get compensation only for the damages that do not result from their own negligence. After determining the total damages, the payable amount is reduced by the percentage of the victim’s fault.

The contributory negligence rule is another one you might hear, but this one is different than comparative. If a state follows the contributory negligence rule, the injured victim cannot recover any damages if they contributed even slightly to their own injuries. However, as mentioned above, the comparative negligence rule allows victims to recover damages even if they are only partly to blame.

Some states have modified comparative fault rules, but Modesto follows California’s pure comparative negligence rule.

What Role Does Negligence Play in Modesto Personal Injury Cases?

After an accident, the question of who is responsible is the basis for personal injury cases in California. For example, suppose you’re approaching a business building and accidentally slip and fall on an icy walkway. Depending on various circumstances, you could be owed compensation for your medical expenses. Damages could include pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income from being unable to work.

Victims may argue that the premises owner did not take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their visitors. On the other hand, the building’s owner may assert that the victim was texting while walking and, therefore, is responsible for the damages. The comparative fault law would mean investigating both scenarios to determine a percentage of fault by each party.

Modesto’s comparative negligence law states that the plaintiff and the defendant can share the blame equally or differently. And because the role of compensation is to make the victim whole, payment should cover only the defendant’s share of the responsibility. In other words, victims must compensate themselves for their own negligence.

Insurance adjusters are tasked with determining how much fault the victim is responsible for and then making recommendations for payment. However, victims must remember that insurance adjusters will do their best to minimize compensation. With the guidance of a personal injury attorney, Modesto victims can successfully recover the compensation they deserve.

How a Modesto Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Modesto’s personal injury laws are unique to California. Because most first-time claim applicants aren’t sure where to start, they’re in a better position to recover fair compensation if they enlist the services of a personal injury attorney in Modesto.

An attorney can ensure that victims do not forfeit their right to compensation even if they’re partly liable for their injuries.

Additionally, experienced lawyers can relieve the stress of filing paperwork, breaking down legal jargon, and handling correspondence with insurance companies and the defendant’s legal team.

In Modesto, personal injury victims don’t receive compensation for their part in the incident. We advise any injured victims to contact Berg Injury Lawyers, who will take up the claim with the insurance company. The initial consultation is free and we don’t get paid unless you win.

How to Prepare for a Consultation with a Modesto Accident Attorney

by Staff Blogger | July 21st, 2023

The initial consultation with a lawyer is crucial to the success of your claim. An accident attorney in Modesto will know what to look for when reviewing an accident claim and will typically ask the right questions. If unprepared, an accident victim may not have the correct answers or may unwittingly provide false information.

If you were a victim of an accident and are seeking legal counsel, know that preparation for your initial consultation will be paramount. Having the appropriate documentation about your accident and injuries will ensure that your attorney can determine the strength of your case.

Prepare Before a Consultation with an Accident Attorney

Accidents are distracting. They happen out of nowhere and force you to pause your daily routine and instead deal with insurance claims, hospital visits, and lost income. When that happens, victims often want a quick resolution so that they can get back to their everyday lives.

Below is a discussion of how victims can equip themselves for the consultation.

Collecting Evidence

When victims have evidence of an accident, it’s easier to file a claim. Evidence can be pictures of the accident scene, videos, or eyewitness statements.

The most important step after an accident is to seek medical attention. But if the victim can take pictures or record a video before leaving the scene, these will be helpful for their claim. Victims can ask someone else to collect evidence if they are too hurt or shaken to do so themselves.

Surveillance cameras can also provide footage of the accident and vindicate innocent victims against insurance companies trying to manipulate them.

Keep a Journal

Some symptoms of a victim’s injuries may take a long time to appear, as shown in this video. Victims should keep a journal of how they feel for several days and weeks following the accident.

Writing down how they feel and how their lives have changed can help victims discover injuries that health providers may have missed. It also clearly shows non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Keep All Medical Records

It is essential to factor in every diagnosis and prognosis when estimating the value of an accident claim.

Victims should take note and keep records of all the treatments they undergo. Health providers can help foresee how injuries will affect the victim’s future. Skilled accident attorneys will collect all relevant medical information once they decide if an accident victim has a valid claim. Bringing as much documentation as possible to the initial consultation will help the attorney understand what may be involved in a case.

Bring Medical and Insurance Bills to the Consultation

Collect all bills from treatments that have occurred as well as estimates for any future procedures or care. If there are payments you made for anything related to your treatment or accident, bring receipts.

An accident attorney in Modesto can estimate the potential recoverable damages when you provide a clear picture of all losses.

Make a List of Questions

Your prospective attorney will ask many questions and you will have questions of your own. Make a list before you go to ensure you do not forget to ask them. Your consultation is a two-way conversation, so even if the question feels irrelevant, write it down and ask.

Keep an Open Mind

There are many accident attorneys in Modesto and other areas of California. A consultation does not mean you have committed to an attorney, nor does it mean that firm will take your case. It is important that you evaluate the firm as they are evaluating your case.

Modesto residents need to feel that the attorney they choose to represent them understands their needs and can show them compassion during the process. Most important of all, the attorney and their law firm should be licensed to practice and competent in handling accident claims in California.

How to Determine if a Prospective Modesto Attorney is Reliable

Even first-time accident victims should know if the lawyer they plan to hire is a good fit. A reliable attorney:

  • Cannot promise specific results. It’s against the law for attorneys to predict results for a case that has yet to begin.
  • Should not compare one claim to another. All claims are unique. Consider it a red flag if the attorney unduly compares your case to another.
  • Treats the victim with dignity and validates any concerns. A good lawyer should make the victim feel respected. Their concerns are valid.

Even if you are dealing with pain, hospital visits and more, taking a moment to think before speaking with a Modesto accident attorney can increase your chances of getting fair compensation. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we pride ourselves on treating our clients respectfully. We listen and tailor our services to the needs of every individual. Our No Fee Guarantee™ ensures that if you do not win, you pay nothing. Schedule a free, non-obligatory consultation with our experienced attorneys today.

How are Pedestrian Accidents Handled in California?

by Staff Blogger | July 17th, 2023

California, home to sprawling cities and bustling traffic, has a high rate of pedestrian accidents. From 2020 to 2021, pedestrian fatalities increased by 9.4%, from 1,013 to 1,108. This is largely due to its heavy traffic, urban congestion, and the increasing interaction between vehicles and pedestrians.

Pedestrian deaths are most common at night in urban areas and on roads far from intersections, where vehicles often travel at higher speeds. These incidents are often due to hit-and-run accidents, incidents at crosswalks, and collisions caused by distracted or impaired driving.

Understanding how pedestrian accidents are handled in California and having an attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers on your side can help you protect your rights and receive restitution for your injuries.

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrians often suffer life-altering injuries after an accident with a vehicle. Injuries can require surgery, rehabilitation services, and long-term assisted care. 

  • Broken bones: Pedestrians in vehicle accidents can suffer fractures in limbs, hips, and pelvis due to the impact force. This can lead to pain, months-long recovery, and complications, such as permanent disfigurement or disability.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Pedestrians struck by vehicles can experience severe head injuries. TBIs can result in cognitive impairments, memory loss, and negative impacts on relationships and quality of life.
  • Spinal cord damage: Pedestrian accidents can cause spinal cord injuries (SCIs), leading to partial or complete paralysis. SCIs can result in ongoing medical treatment, assistive devices, and major lifestyle adjustments.

Role of Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents

In California, pedestrians have the right of way in most situations. Drivers are expected to exercise caution and yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and intersections. If a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, the driver is usually deemed at fault.

However, under California’s pure comparative negligence doctrine, all parties may bear some responsibility in an accident. If pedestrians act recklessly or move against traffic signals, they may be partially liable for their injuries, impacting the compensation they receive.

California previously considered jaywalking a citable offense for pedestrians. While the newly passed Freedom to Walk Bill makes it legal for pedestrians to cross outside a marked crosswalk or intersection, it still requires them to use reasonable care.

If you are on your phone when crossing the street, which causes you to ignore traffic and abruptly step out in front of a car, you may be partially responsible for your injuries under pure comparative negligence. In this situation, you could still win compensation, but your percentage of fault will reduce your settlement.

Immediate Actions: What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident

If you are in a pedestrian accident, you can protect your rights by taking action. Receiving medical attention, reporting the incident, and documenting your injuries can provide evidence for your attorney to determine fault and support your compensation claim.

  • Seek immediate medical care: Contact emergency services or visit the nearest hospital immediately after the accident. Even minor injuries can worsen without treatment; seeing a medical provider allows you to receive appropriate care to prevent complications. It also provides documentation of your injuries, such as medical records, diagnoses, prescriptions, and receipts for medical expenses for your claim.
  • Report the incident to police: Contact the local police department to report the accident. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident, including the date, time, and location. This provides an official record of the incident, which you and your attorney can request a copy to use as evidence for your case.
  • Document the incident: Take photographs of the accident scene from different angles, capturing the position of the vehicle involved and the apparent damage. Document your injuries, including cuts, bruises, and any visible marks. Obtain contact information from witnesses who saw the accident and share it with your attorney, who can contact them for an official statement.

The Value of Legal Representation in Pedestrian Accidents

In cases involving accidents between pedestrians and vehicles, the role of a personal injury attorney is crucial. A skilled attorney specializing in pedestrian accident cases can uphold your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our California personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to navigate the state’s pure comparative fault doctrine and prove that a negligent driver is liable for your injuries. We will investigate the accident thoroughly, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to get you a fair settlement.

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in California, contact our skilled legal team today to schedule a free consultation. We can review your case and help you get started on your claim.

Common Risks and Injuries from E-Scooter Accidents

by Staff Blogger | July 10th, 2023

Electric scooter use in California has increased over the past several years, offering a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around town. These motorized vehicles are the go-to option for short-distance commuting, with the popular e-scooter model LINK traveling around 420,000 miles and taking more than 270,000 trips in Los Angeles as of January 2022. 

Despite their convenience and environmental benefits, e-scooters can cause serious injuries that require diagnostic imaging, hospital stays, and follow-up care. 1,354 people were injured by e-scooters in the greater Los Angeles area between 2014 and 2020, 6% of whom required inpatient admission.

If you suffer injuries in an e-scooter accident due to another’s negligent behavior, you can seek compensation. The California e-scooter accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can review evidence to determine what caused your accident and help you pursue a fair settlement from the liable party.

The Risks of E-Scooters

E-scooters can be a convenient way to commute in California cities, but they pose unique risks to riders. The most common e-scooter risks include pedestrian or vehicle collisions, falls, and accidents caused by mechanical failure.

  • Collisions with Pedestrians or Vehicles

The compact size and high-speed capability of e-scooters can increase the likelihood of collisions, especially in crowded urban areas. For example, riders can have trouble maneuvering through pedestrian-filled sidewalks or busy intersections, leading to accidents and injuries. From 2014 to 2020, there were 2 fatalities due to e-scooter riders being hit by vehicles in LA.

  • Falls Due to Poorly Maintained Roads

Uneven surfaces, potholes, or road debris can cause riders to lose balance and fall from their e-scooters. These hazards can be particularly dangerous when riders travel at high speeds or are unfamiliar with the road conditions.

  • Accidents Caused by Mechanical Failure

E-scooters can experience technical malfunctions like brake failures or sudden power cutoffs. This can result in an accident, injuring the rider or others sharing the road. For example, a rider’s e-scooter battery malfunctions, causing it to shut down suddenly. Since e-scooters can travel between 15 to 30 mph, abruptly stopping can throw the rider forward, causing injuries to the rider or pedestrians.

Common Injuries

E-scooter accidents can cause serious, life-altering injuries, including fractures, concussions, and spinal cord damage. A 2022 study found that 945 e-scooter riders visited the ER for treatment after a crash, while 21 were treated in a critical care unit and 72 in an inpatient visit.

  • Fractures

A 2021 study revealed that fractures accounted for nearly 39.2% of all e-scooter-related injuries. Among the commonly fractured bones are those in the upper extremities, such as the wrist, forearm, and shoulder. Fractures can cause chronic pain, restrict mobility, and often require medical intervention, including casting, surgery, or rehabilitation.

  • Concussions

Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury frequently associated with e-scooter accidents. These injuries occur when a rider experiences a sudden blow or jolt to the head, causing the brain to move within the skull.

In a 2022 study, concussions were observed in 38.8% of e-scooter accidents. Even seemingly mild concussions can have long-lasting effects on cognitive function and well-being, impacting memory, focus, and mood.

  • Spinal Cord Damages

While less common, severe e-scooter accidents can cause spinal cord damage. A 2022 study found that spinal and rib fractures accounted for 2.1% of e-scooter injuries. Spinal injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and impaired bodily functions. The consequences of spinal cord injuries are often life-altering, requiring extensive medical treatment and long-term care.

E-Scooters and Liability

To file a personal injury claim, you must determine who is at fault and submit evidence to prove their negligence. In e-scooter accidents, multiple parties may be held liable, including the rider, the e-scooter company, or other third parties, such as a vehicle driver or municipality responsible for maintaining the roadway.

Our experienced e-scooter accident attorneys from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you gather strong evidence for your case and file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company.

For example, we can use photographs of the accident showing damage to you and the scooter, skid marks, road signs, and traffic signals to prove a driver was speeding or an uneven sidewalk led to your accident.

We can also use medical reports and witness statements to support your claim and help you win a fair settlement for your economic and intangible losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.

California law requires insurers to decide on a claim within 40 days of receipt. Once your attorney submits claim documentation, the insurer must notify you within this time whether it will accept or deny the settlement demand.

If they refuse to pay, we can submit additional evidence and negotiate for fair compensation. If you cannot reach an agreement, your legal team can help you file a personal injury lawsuit for a California judge or jury to decide your damage award.

Navigating E-Scooter Accidents: Seek Compensation With Berg Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been involved in an e-scooter accident in California, our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you win damages for your injuries. We’ve won millions of dollars in settlement awards for our personal injury clients. We will use our experience and knowledge in e-scooter injury cases to ensure you receive compensation for your losses due to another’s actions.

Contact our legal team today for a free consultation. We will review your e-scooter accident to determine fault, help you file a claim, and protect your interests so you can recover the damages you’re owed.

How Earthquakes Can Impact Personal Injury Claims in California

by Staff Blogger | July 3rd, 2023

California experiences two to three earthquakes of a magnitude of 5.5 or above every year, damaging buildings and causing injuries. If you are hurt in an earthquake due to a property owner’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation to help you pay for your related expenses.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California earthquake damage lawyers can review the circumstances of your case and help you determine if you can file for compensation for your injuries.

Earthquakes and Personal Injury Law: A Shaky Relationship

In California, a property owner isn’t liable for damages caused by natural disasters and what insurance companies call “Acts of God.” However, building owners are still responsible for ensuring the safety of their properties and taking necessary precautions to minimize the risk of harm during these events.

When a property owner fails to update their premises or install standard earthquake prevention measures, they can be liable for injuries that result. For example, in the years following the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, California passed several earthquake building codes to regulate the construction of homes and commercial buildings near active fault zones.

For instance, a property owner must post earthquake-risk notices if their building has unreinforced load-bearing masonry walls and is in Zone 4, an area prone to earthquakes. They also have five years to address the vulnerabilities in the masonry walls of their buildings.

However, many business owners fail to maintain compliance with retrofitting older structures according to seismic building codes. Code violations and poor construction can result in deaths and injuries from earthquakes.

In a 2010 appeal, building owners were found negligent in the deaths of two salespeople attempting to leave the building during an earthquake. An inspection report revealed deficiencies in the building, but the owners failed to complete seismic retrofitting before the quake.

What Are the Possible Injuries During an Earthquake?

Many people suffer severe emotional and physical injuries from earthquakes. Most injuries result from building collapses, fires, debris, and chemical spills. These injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to severe fractures, crush injuries, and burns.

Earthquake survivors may suffer from airway blockages and suffocation due to the dust and debris generated by building collapses. They may also experience post-traumatic stress syndrome and major depression from emotional distress during the earthquake.

An attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help establish liability if you believe a building owner’s wrongful actions caused your injuries. We can investigate building code violations and inadequate safety measures through maintenance reports and understand if their negligence contributed to your injuries. Our team can also help you explore your legal options, including filing a lawsuit against the owner.

Can You File a Claim With the Property Owner’s Earthquake Insurance Coverage?

Earthquake insurance covers repairing or rebuilding damaged structures and replacing damaged belongings resulting from earthquakes. It helps policyholders recover financially from the physical damage caused by seismic events. It also pays for additional living expenses, including temporary housing, incurred during repairs or relocation.

Earthquake insurance primarily covers property damage but does not typically cover injuries to individuals or others due to earthquakes. However, if the owner caused your injury through their negligence in caring for their building, you can file a personal injury claim against them.

Special Considerations for Earthquake-Related Injury Claims

When pursuing a personal injury claim related to an earthquake, an experienced attorney familiar with these cases assesses fault based on factors like the property owner’s lack of compliance with maintenance standards. They will also consider California’s pure comparative fault system, which assigns fault percentages to all parties involved, including the injured party.

Even if you are primarily responsible for your injuries, you are entitled to compensation caused by someone else’s negligence. For instance, if you are 20% responsible for your earthquake-related injuries, you can recover 80% of the damages.

A skilled attorney with Berg Injury Lawyers can present a strong case on your behalf. We will investigate your earthquake injuries and seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.

Explore Compensation Options for Your Earthquake-Related Injuries

Property owners should prioritize building safety and retrofitting in case of a devastating earthquake. California earthquake damage lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers understand the impact earthquakes can have on your well-being and can help you seek damages if a negligent property owner contributed to your injuries.

We have a proven track record of successfully recovering millions of dollars for our clients over the past four decades. Contact our law office today for a free consultation and learn your rights and options after an earthquake-related personal injury.

Understanding the Duty of Care for Pool Owners in California

by Staff Blogger | June 26th, 2023

Swimming pools are a popular feature in many California homes and commercial establishments, offering a refreshing and enjoyable way to escape the heat. However, owning a pool comes with responsibilities, particularly in ensuring the safety of those who use it.

When pool owners fail to inspect, identify, and fix potential hazards or warn of them, they can be held responsible for damages in a premises liability claim. Understanding your responsibilities as a pool owner can keep your guests safe and avoid costly financial and legal repercussions.

Premises Liability for Pool Owners

In California, pool owners are subject to premises liability laws. These laws hold property owners responsible for ensuring the safety of anyone who enters their property. For pool owners, this means taking reasonable precautions to prevent accidents and injuries in and around the pool area, including the following:

  • Installing and Maintaining Safety Barriers

One of the primary ways pool owners can fulfill their duty of care is by installing and maintaining safety barriers around the pool. This includes fencing at least 60” high, with self-closing and self-latching gates for residential pools. These barriers should be designed to prevent small children from accessing the pool unsupervised, reducing the risk of drowning accidents.

  • Removing Hazards From the Pool and Surrounding Area

Pool owners should also remove any hazards in the pool area that could cause injuries. This includes ensuring the pool deck is free of slippery surfaces or objects that could cause someone to trip and fall. Owners should also have properly installed and maintained electrical equipment, such as pool lights or pumps, to prevent electrocution hazards.

  • Providing Appropriate Safety Equipment

Pool owners should provide appropriate safety equipment for visitors to use while swimming. This can include life preservers such as vests, flotation devices, and rescue equipment like poles and hooks. For public pools, this can also include providing adequately trained staff to administer first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and swimmer supervision.

Consequences of Not Maintaining Pool Safety for Visitors

Failing to maintain a safe pool environment can have serious consequences for pool owners. These include civil liability for injury or death to pool visitors, potential fines, and criminal charges.

  • Liability for Injuries

If a guest is injured due to the pool owner’s negligence, the owner may be held legally responsible for any damages. This can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For example, if a pool guest suffers a slip and fall injury due to an uneven surface, they can file a compensation claim against the owner. Pool owners may also be liable for wrongful death claims if a visitor drowns or suffers a fatal injury due to unsafe pool conditions.

  • Potential Fines and Criminal Charges

In addition to civil liability, pool owners who do not maintain a safe environment may face fines or criminal charges under gross or criminal negligence. This can occur if the pool owner knowingly violates safety regulations or their negligence leads to serious injury or death.

Tips for Maintaining a Safe Environment for Pool Visitors

To minimize the risk of accidents and legal liability, pool owners can take the following steps:

  • Implementing Safety Policies and Procedures

Establishing clear safety policies and procedures for pool use can help prevent accidents and create a safer environment for all visitors. Owners should develop rules and guidelines regarding pool access, children’s supervision, and safety equipment use.

  • Conducting Regular Safety Inspections

Conduct regular inspections of the pool area to identify and address potential hazards. Check the integrity of safety barriers, ensure proper electrical equipment functioning, and assess the pool deck’s condition.

  • Providing Proper Training to Pool Staff

If the pool is part of a commercial establishment, all staff members must receive proper training in pool safety and emergency response. This can help prevent accidents and ensure staff are prepared to handle emergency medical situations.

Get Legal Help if You Were Injured in a Pool Accident

If you or someone you know has been injured in a pool-related accident, speak with an attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers to help you understand your options for compensation. Our California pool accident lawyers can investigate the incident to determine if a pool owner failed to maintain their duty of care, resulting in your injuries. We can hold an irresponsible pool owner liable for your damages and get a fair settlement to help you recover. Contact our team today for a free consultation.

The First Steps to Take for a Survival Action Claim

by Staff Blogger | June 19th, 2023

When you lose someone unexpectedly and suspect another party is at fault for their death, it is a good idea to talk to a survival action lawyer as soon as possible.

A survival action claim allows the family of a deceased person to pursue compensation on behalf of their loved one’s estate. A survival action claim aims to ensure that the estate is fully compensated for the harm the deceased suffered, even if they are no longer alive, to pursue the claim themselves.

Filing a survival action claim can be a complex and emotional process. Understanding the first steps to take can help you get compensation on behalf of your deceased loved one and hold the negligent party responsible.

What Is a Survival Action?

A survival action claim is a legal action filed on behalf of a deceased person’s estate to recover damages for losses the person suffered before their death. This type of claim compensates the estate for the damages the deceased suffered before their death, such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

A survival action claim differs from a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a legal action brought by family members of the deceased seeking compensation for damages resulting from their loved one’s death. This can include loss of income, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses.

The First Steps of Your Survival Action Claim

When filing a survival action claim, taking the right first steps can help you streamline the process and receive maximum compensation on behalf of your deceased loved one. The first steps include gathering medical bills and records, identifying the estate’s legal representative, and speaking with an attorney.

  • Gather Medical Bills and Records

Gathering medical bills and records is crucial in filing a survival action claim. This documentation establishes the extent of the deceased’s injuries or losses before their death. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, their medical records show the injuries they suffered, such as broken bones or internal bleeding, and the associated costs of their medical treatment.

  • Identify the Legal Representative of the Estate

Your family must identify the legal representative of the deceased’s estate when filing a survival action claim. The legal representative, called an executor in California, is the only person who can bring the claim on behalf of the estate.

Typically, the decedent’s will names the legal representative, usually the spouse. If your loved one did not have a will when they passed, the court appoints an executor based on family relations, beginning with the spouse, followed by parents, children, siblings, or a court-appointed guardian for minors. If there is no one else, a public administrator may be appointed.

Knowing the legal representative’s identity ensures the claim is filed correctly and the estate is properly represented in the legal process.

  • Speak with an Attorney

Speaking with an experienced California wrongful death attorney is crucial when pursuing a survival action claim. You may face legal and procedural obstacles during the claims process, such as disputes over liability or meeting the statute of limitations for filing a claim.

For example, if your loved one passed due to complications from a defective medical product, such as a pacemaker. The device manufacturer denies wrongdoing and argues that the device was properly designed and manufactured and that the deceased’s injuries were due to other factors.

Your attorney can help you navigate this liability dispute by gathering evidence to support the estate’s claim, such as analyzing technical specifications, consulting with experts, and reviewing your loved one’s medical records. They can use this evidence to show the harm your loved one suffered before their death to win compensation for the estate.

A skilled attorney can provide guidance and advice on addressing and overcoming these obstacles, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing the estate in court. Without legal representation, it can be challenging to navigate the complexities of the legal system and secure fair compensation for the harm and losses the deceased person suffered.

Types of Recoverable Damages

In a survival action claim, the estate of the deceased may be entitled to several types of recoverable damages. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Damages you may be able to recover include:

  • Medical Expenses

The estate may be entitled to recover the cost of the deceased’s medical treatment before their death. This includes hospital bills, doctor’s bills, prescription medication costs, and other medical expenses. Your attorney will use your loved one’s healthcare-related bills to estimate these damages.

  • Lost Wages

If the decedent was employed at the time of their death, the estate may be entitled to recover the wages they would have earned if they had not been injured. This includes any future income the decedent would have earned if they had not died.

To calculate lost wages, gather the deceased’s pay stubs, tax returns, and other documentation related to their income. Your attorney will use these to determine the lost income and future lost earnings on behalf of your loved one.

  • Pain and Suffering

The estate may be entitled to recover damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering before their death. This includes physical pain, emotional distress, and other non-economic losses. Your attorney will assess the evidence detailing your loved one’s pain and suffering, such as their personal journal, statements from family and friends, or expert testimony, to calculate pain and suffering damages for the estate’s settlement.

Speak With a Knowledgeable Attorney About Filing a Survival Action Claim

Pursuing a survival action claim can be a difficult and emotional process, but it is an important legal tool for obtaining justice and compensation for the estate of a deceased person.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we have nearly 40 years of experience filing survival action claims in California. We will work with your family on behalf of your loved one’s estate to help you win compensation for the harm they suffered due to another’s negligent actions before their death.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your survival action claim.

How to Protect Yourself from Premises Liability Claims as a Business Owner

by Staff Blogger | June 12th, 2023

As a business owner, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of anyone who enters your premises. While accidents can happen, you can take steps to minimize your liability risk and protect yourself from potential lawsuits.

Premises liability claims can arise from injuries or damages on your property, and they can be costly and time-consuming to defend against. By implementing safety measures, training employees, and purchasing liability insurance, you can help protect your business and prevent injuries to your patrons.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that makes property owners liable for injuries on their property. As a business owner, you are legally obligated to maintain safe and hazard-free premises for employees, customers, and other visitors.

Business owners have a moral and legal obligation to ensure the safety of anyone entering their premises. This means identifying and correcting potential hazards, providing adequate warning signs, training employees in safety procedures, and responding promptly to accidents or incidents.

Under premises liability law, business owners are held to a higher standard of care than residential property owners. You have a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring on your property. If you fail to meet this obligation, you may be held liable for any damages that result.

Common Causes of Premises Liability Claims

Premises liability claims can arise from various situations, including slip and falls, trip and falls, falling objects, or inadequate security. These claims can impact business owners, resulting in costly lawsuits from a California premises liability attorney, damage to reputation, and loss of revenue.

  • Slip and fall accidents: Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of premises liability claims. They occur due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, debris, or other hazards. To prevent slip and fall accidents, regularly inspect your property for potential hazards and address them promptly. This may include placing warning signs, cleaning up spills or debris, repairing uneven surfaces, or providing slip-resistant mats or flooring.
  • Inadequate security: To prevent inadequate security claims, evaluate your property for potential security risks and take appropriate measures to address them, such as installing security cameras, hiring security personnel, and providing adequate lighting.
  • Dangers or defective conditions: Dangerous or defective conditions on the property can lead to premises liability claims if a customer or employee is injured by broken equipment or electrical hazards. Regularly inspect the property and equipment and repair or replace broken equipment, fix electrical hazards, or place warning signs to prevent injuries.

How Businesses Protect Themselves from Liability Claims

Businesses can protect against liability claims by implementing various measures. This can mean developing and implementing safety policies and procedures, obtaining liability insurance coverage, and working with legal counsel to create a risk management plan.

  • Safety policies/procedures: Implementing safety policies and procedures can protect all visitors to a business’ property. This may include conducting regular safety audits, training employees on safety protocols, and enforcing safety rules to prevent accidents and injuries.

Establishing a culture of safety within the organization can reduce the risk of liability claims and demonstrate to insurance providers and the legal system the owner’s commitment to protecting employees and customers.

  • Liability insurance: Liability insurance covers a business for damages caused by injuries sustained on its premises. It can help cover legal fees, settlements, or judgments against the company. Having adequate liability insurance coverage is essential to protecting your business from potential financial damages due to liability claims.
  • Risk management plan: Risk management plans can help businesses mitigate the risk of liability claims. A risk management plan involves identifying and developing strategies to address potential risks. Work with legal counsel to design a risk management plan that includes safety protocols and regular risk assessments to protect your company and reduce the injury risk to visitors.

Seek Help with Your Claim

If you have been injured in a premises liability accident, legal representation can help you navigate premises liability and pursue the compensation you deserve. Berg Injury Lawyers has over 40 years of experience representing clients injured due to the negligence of property owners.

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial impact of a premises liability accident on your life and are committed to helping you recover and move forward. Contact our legal team today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can represent you in your premises liability case.