Personal Injury

How Is Emotional Distress Valued in a Personal Injury Claim?

by Staff Blogger | February 27th, 2023

Many personal injury claims are centered around compensation for the cost of treating physical injuries. However, if someone’s negligence or deliberately harmful actions caused significant mental damage, you have the right to file a claim for emotional distress.

Emotional distress is a subjective claim, making it challenging to calculate a fair settlement. Learn how damages for emotional distress are awarded and how a California personal injury lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

What Is Emotional Distress in a Legal Sense?

Emotional distress is the mental and emotional suffering inflicted on a personal injury victim. The term encompasses a wide range of negative emotions, including:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Shock
  • Grief
  • Anguish
  • Suffering
  • Humiliation

Under California law, the infliction of emotional distress is classified as negligent or intentional. In negligent infliction of emotional distress, the other party’s conduct was unreasonably careless and resulted in your emotional distress.

When you suffer severe or long-lasting emotional distress due to someone else’s actions, filing a claim for emotional distress allows you to recover financial compensation for your psychological injuries. You can use this compensation for any resulting expenses, such as therapy or medication, to treat a mental health condition.

The Process of Valuing Emotional Distress

In California, there is no predetermined procedure for valuing emotional distress. However, most attorneys and courts use the multiplier method to value emotional distress to estimate and award compensatory damages.

This method determines your compensatory damages by multiplying your economic damage award by a number between 1.5 and 5. The judge or jury will decide the multiplier and calculate your compensation based on the facts of your case and the evidence you provide.

Factors that influence the value of an emotional distress claim include:

  • Seriousness of any physical injuries you sustained
  • Length and severity of emotional distress
  • The other party’s actions, behavior, and intent
  • Evidence provided

Awarding damages for emotional distress is a subjective process. An experienced personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you estimate your compensatory damages based on the seriousness of your injuries and the evidence for your case.

They will use proof of your emotional distress, such as behavioral health treatment records, medical records, and testimony from friends and family, to win you fair compensation for your suffering.

Tips for Making a Strong Claim

Due to the subjective nature of emotional distress and non-economic damages, it can be challenging to make a strong claim. Thoroughly documenting your damages and working with a skilled personal injury attorney can help you maximize your compensation.

  • Seek Psychological Treatment

If you are suffering emotional distress after another person’s negligent actions, seek psychological treatment as soon as possible. Depending on your needs, obtain treatment from a therapist, psychiatrist, intensive outpatient program, or inpatient clinic.

Seeking treatment helps establish the existence and severity of emotional distress, as your treatment records can be provided to the court. It will also provide support and resources to cope with your emotions.

  • Establish the Cause of Distress

To successfully claim emotional distress, you must show that your distress resulted from the other party’s actions. Your attorney can investigate your case to find evidence of the cause of your distress. For example, they can use witness testimony or videos showing your behavior before the injury and compare it to your mood, outlook, and enjoyment of life after the accident.

Medical experts such as therapists and psychologists can help establish that the other party is responsible for your distress. For example, if you developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, a medical expert can testify that your condition only developed after the traumatic experience.

  •  Document Your Symptoms

In addition to treatment records, provide subjective evidence of your emotional distress. Journal or record your symptoms of emotional distress in a notebook or digital format, including your daily anxiety levels, the shame you feel, or the impact of your injuries on your personal relationships. Your attorney will provide this documentation to the court or help you use it to strengthen your testimony.

For example, you were attacked on your property by a neighbor’s dog. You could journal about your fear of leaving the house or film yourself talking about your fear when you see an unknown dog.

Consult with Berg Injury Lawyers Today

The best way to maximize your financial recovery from emotional distress is by hiring a qualified attorney to represent you. A skilled personal injury lawyer can prove your nonphysical loss and the gravity of your pain and suffering, ensuring you receive the settlement you deserve.  

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients on a contingency fee arrangement, so we only get paid if you win your case. There’s no risk in finding out what an experienced attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers can do for you.

Pedestrian Crosswalk Laws in California You Should Know

by Staff Blogger | February 7th, 2023

As a driver or pedestrian in California, it’s essential to understand the laws surrounding crosswalks. Knowing your rights and relevant traffic laws can help you safely navigate busy streets and prevent you from involvement in a dangerous accident.

Learn the pedestrian crosswalk laws you should know when walking or driving in the Golden State and how an attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help if you’re involved in an auto accident. 

How Does the Law Define ‘Pedestrian’ and ‘Crosswalk’?

According to California law, a pedestrian is defined as anyone on foot or using a mobility device such as a wheelchair. Under the same statute, the term pedestrian can refer to a person using a personal conveyance, such as a skateboard or roller blades. However, bicyclists are not considered pedestrians in California.

A crosswalk is defined as a marked or unmarked crossing connecting sidewalks on opposite sides of a street or road. Painted lines typically indicate a marked crosswalk on the roadway. An unmarked crosswalk is an area where pedestrians can cross the road even if there are no markings.

All intersections are considered crosswalks in California, whether marked or not.

Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way?

According to California Vehicle Code section 21950, pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing the street at an intersection with no marked crosswalk or a marked crosswalk. This means that drivers must slow down and yield to pedestrians to allow them to cross the street.

This applies to crosswalks at controlled intersections, where there are traffic lights or stop signs, and uncontrolled intersections, where there are no traffic control devices.

While pedestrians are not required to use crosswalks, it is generally safer for them to do so. However, if pedestrians cross an area without a crosswalk, they must yield to vehicles that pose an immediate hazard. As a pedestrian, you must exercise caution and wait until it’s safe to cross.

Exceptions to California’s Crosswalk Rule

There are exceptions to California’s rule allowing pedestrians to cross without a crosswalk. Under the newly repealed California Vehicle Code Section 21955, pedestrians crossing between two adjacent intersections controlled by traffic lights were required to use a crosswalk.

However, on January 1, 2023, the Freedom to Walk Act was enacted in California, giving pedestrians the right to cross without a crosswalk when it is reasonably safe to do so. They must still avoid unsafe behavior, such as running in front of a vehicle or stopping traffic for an undue reason.

If the pedestrian signal is not functioning or is not present, pedestrians should treat the intersection as a four-way stop and proceed cautiously.

What Traffic Laws Do Cars Have to Follow Regarding Crosswalks?

In California, cars are required to yield to pedestrians crossing the street in marked crosswalks or at intersections. If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, cars must stop and wait for the pedestrian to cross the street before continuing.

Under California’s Vehicle Code, drivers may not unnecessarily block intersections or crosswalks. Similarly, Section 21209 requires drivers to avoid driving in a bike lane with the following exceptions:

  • Parking in a legal space
  • When entering or departing the roadway
  • In preparation for a turn within 200 feet of an intersection

Can a Pedestrian Be At-Fault for an Accident?

A pedestrian can be at-fault for an accident in certain circumstances. If pedestrians do not follow traffic laws and cause an accident, they can be held at fault. For example, pedestrians may be responsible for their injuries if they dart into an intersection.

Pedestrians should also be aware of their surroundings to prevent accidents. However, even if a pedestrian acts negligently and causes an accident, vehicle drivers must still have a duty of care to take all measures possible to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

Negligence Per Se

In pedestrian accidents, the fault may be determined on a per se basis. Negligence per se is a doctrine that allows the court to determine fault based on the presumption of negligence.

For these cases, if a legal team can show that one of the parties broke a traffic law, it can be used as evidence of liability. This simplifies personal injury claims and acts as a shortcut to finding fault rather than establishing all facts of the case.

For example, if you can show that a driver was speeding and did not stop at the intersection, they can be found at fault without presenting multiple pieces of evidence.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Review Your Case

Speak with a lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers as soon as possible after an accident. Our legal team can help you protect your rights and discuss the possibility of recovering damages for injuries or losses you may have sustained.

The California pedestrian accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have experience advocating for victims in pedestrian accident cases and can advise you on the best course of action. We will help you explore your legal options for compensation and take the next steps to file your claim.

Contact us today to start your case with a free consultation.

Proving Loss of Consortium in Personal Injury Cases in California

by Staff Blogger | January 30th, 2023

A personal injury incident can significantly affect a victim’s financial resources and relationship with their spouse or a life partner. If your relationship suffers due to your injuries from an accident, you can file a claim for the loss of consortium.

However, you must establish a loss consortium and calculate the value of your damages. A personal injury lawyer’s legal guidance can help you prove your loss of consortium and get a fair settlement for your damages. The California personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury have the experience and resources to help you bring a personal injury claim against the liable party.

What Is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium refers to the loss of society, companionship, and intimacy when a spouse or domestic partner suffers a wrongful injury. This legal term essentially means that your emotional or physical state resulting from an accident prevents you from doing normal activities with your partner, such as walking together, traveling, or having sexual relations.

For instance, a car accident victim could suffer paralysis in the lower body and brain damage resulting from a spinal cord injury. As a result, the victim cannot provide their spouse with the same intimacy and companionship as before the accident. Their spouse may file a claim against the responsible party for harm caused to their marriage.

In California, compensation is available for loss of consortium. This compensation includes: 

  • Loss of love, care, moral support, companionship, society, comfort, assistance, protection, and affection
  • Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations or inability to have children

How Can You Prove Loss of Consortium?

To win compensation for the loss of consortium, you must prove four legal elements: the victim was injured by another person’s negligence, the victim is married or in a registered domestic partnership, the victim or their spouse suffered a loss of consortium, and the loss of consortium is due to the negligent injury.

Proving non-economic damages like loss of consortium can be challenging. An attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can investigate your case and gather evidence to help prove the following requirements to win you a settlement for your loss.

  1. The Injured Victim Was a Victim of Someone Else’s Negligence

You must prove that the other party’s intentional or negligent conduct injured your spouse or registered domestic partner with evidence from the accident scene. Critical pieces of evidence can include:

  • Police report
  • Witness statements
  • Accident scene photos
  • Surveillance and dash cam footage
  • Chemical test results for evidence of intoxicating substances
  • Testimonies from accident reconstruction experts
  1. The Victim Is Married or Has a Valid Domestic Partnership

An official certificate can show you were married or in a registered domestic partnership. You may potentially be able to claim the loss of consortium if the injury occurred before marriage, if your spouse discovers the extent of the injury after your wedding and the underlying cause worsens during your marriage.

  1. The Victim’s Spouse Suffered a Loss of Consortium

There must be evidence of the deprivation of your spouse’s love, companionship, sexual relations, and moral support since the accident. Your lawyer can help you put together evidence showing the following:

  • The injured victim can no longer perform household chores and childcare.
  • The injuries have aggravated the spouse’s anxiety, depression, or irritability, thus straining their marriage.
  • The victim no longer finds joy in recreational activities they previously enjoyed before the accident.
  • Sexual relations show changes in desire, capability, or frequency.

You can provide photos, videos, and documentation showing the daily chores and activities your spouse enjoyed before the accident to your lawyer. Additionally, your lawyer may advise you to keep a diary of your struggles with your spouse since the injuries.

  1. The Loss Was Due to the Negligent Injury

Your spouse’s medical records can prove the loss of consortium resulted from the negligent injury. These records can include:

  • Diagnostic images
  • Photos of visible injuries
  • Conclusions from your spouse’s medical specialists explaining the extent of the injuries
  • Statements from your spouse’s primary physician detailing your spouse’s prognosis and anticipated recovery process

What Can an Injury Lawyer Do to Help?

Filing a loss of consortium claim requires working with a personal injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers, who can help you build your claim. An accident’s impact on marital relations is unique to every victim and their spouses or domestic partners. Your lawyer will examine the accident and evaluate the merits of your claim to determine how much you may be entitled to.

Additionally, your attorney can present the evidence required for each element of your claim before the court, demonstrating how the injury affects you and your spouse. They can obtain testimonies from family and friends to describe the daily difficulties caused by the injury to your spouse.

Obtain Loss of Consortium Compensation Through Berg Injury Lawyers

If you or your spouse suffered severe injuries in a personal injury accident, Berg Injury Lawyers can help you. Our California personal injury attorneys can give you the compassionate support and legal advice you need to discuss the emotional and physical effects of the accident on your relationship with your spouse.

We protect your privacy while helping you pursue the full extent of your damages. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our compassionate and knowledgeable lawyers.

Can a Personal Injury Attorney Really Help You?

by Staff Blogger | January 13th, 2023

In an ideal world, personal injury attorneys would not be necessary, because no one would get injured. But unfortunately, in our world, countless people are injured due to another person’s negligence every day. If you are one of these people, and you’ve recently been injured due to the negligence of another person, you may be wondering if a personal injury attorney can really help you and your family. The answer is “yes,” and we’ll explain why.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When a person is injured due to another’s bad acts, the victim of that accident is entitled under the law to receive compensation for their injuries. A personal injury lawsuit filed on a victim’s behalf by a Sacramento personal injury attorney is the mechanism by which that compensation is sought and received.

A Misconception About Personal Injury Lawsuits

One important misconception about personal injury lawsuits is that they are brought against individuals, and that filing a lawsuit could cause a defendant to lose their house or go into bankruptcy. That thought sounds cruel, and it may persuade some people against filing a lawsuit, but personal injury lawsuits don’t really work that way. While personal injury lawsuits can be brought against individuals, many are brought against insurance companies who insure defendants in these lawsuits.

In other words, if you are injured by another person’s negligence, the law provides you an avenue of recourse, and you should take full advantage of it to obtain the compensation you and your family may be entitled to.

Obtaining a Settlement Before Trial

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits end in settlement before trial. A settlement occurs when a defendant offers to pay an amount of money, usually kept confidential, in exchange for a plaintiff dropping a lawsuit. Oftentimes, in personal injury cases, insurance companies will look to settle lawsuits as quickly as possible, meaning that your personal injury lawsuit could be over in a much shorter amount of time than you expected.

What a Personal Injury Attorney Can Do For You

In addition to filing a lawsuit, a personal injury attorney in Sacramento can assist you in many other ways. Among those ways include the following:

Help You Get Proper Medical Attention

Sometimes, one of the biggest villains in an accident story is unexpected: your own insurance company. The insurance business model depends on paying out as little as possible for claims, and your insurance company may be reluctant to approve procedures, medications, and treatments that you need to receive. A personal injury attorney can assist you in ensuring that your insurance company provides the coverage that it is obligated to provide you.

Provide a Professional and Objective Approach to Your Claim

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we believe that honesty is key. We’re always honest with our clients about their claims for compensation, and when you consult one of our personal injury attorneys, you gain a professional and objective look at your case. Being involved in an accident is an emotional situation, and injuries can be devastating. A lawyer can assist you in setting these feelings aside and seeing things in a truly objective manner. 

Negotiate with Insurance Companies

As previously mentioned, insurance companies will look to pay as little as possible for claims, including claims for liability. A personal injury lawyer can assist you by negotiating with insurance companies to ensure that they pay an amount that will fully and fairly compensate you for your injuries. If an insurance company chooses to make low-ball offers at the settlement table, a personal injury attorney can then take your case to trial, if necessary.

Gather and Preserve Evidence

Making a successful personal injury claim requires a lot of evidence and documentation – especially when proving your injuries, and in turn, how much compensation you intend to seek. A personal injury attorney can assist you in gathering and preserving all of this information. You may not be aware of some important pieces of evidence that could be critical to your case, and  a personal injury attorney can assist you. Otherwise, the burden of gathering documentation is a heavy one. While you recover from your injuries, letting an attorney do this work is a major stress reliever.

Berg Injury Lawyers Is Ready to Assist You

Our clients are our top priority. In addition to seeking compensation on our clients’ behalf, we strive to make the legal process a smooth one that involves minimal effort on your part. In the past 40 years that we’ve been assisting accident victims as personal injury attorneys, Sacramento residents have come to know and recognize Berg Injury Lawyers as an outstanding resource in our community. We handle all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, wrongful death cases, and cases involving defective products.

If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. We’re ready to help you and your family today. Contact our office to set up a free case consultation with a personal injury attorney. 

How to Ride Your Bicycle Safely in High-Traffic Areas

by Staff Blogger | December 12th, 2022

People love riding their bikes. Whether it’s for fun, exercise, or commuting to work, biking is a fun, healthy way to get around. Studies have shown that commuters who ride their bikes have a higher degree of happiness and contentment than those who use other commuting methods in the city.

Bicyclists must share the road with cars, trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. Although all vehicles must abide by the same traffic rules, cyclists often don’t receive the same duty of care as other motorists, leading to severe injury accidents.

Staying safe on your bicycle when sharing the road with cars requires practicing safe riding techniques. If you have been hit by a car while riding your bicycle, contact the San Francisco bike accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers to help you with your case.

The Dangers of High-Traffic Areas

Sharing the road with bigger, faster, and heavier vehicles is dangerous for bicyclists. According to the National Highway Transport Safety Administration, 938 bike riders lost their lives in 2020 due to accidents. 74% of these accidents occurred in high-traffic urban areas, and 51% at night.

California saw 129 bicyclist deaths in 2020, 79% of which happened in urban areas. Daytime accidents, which occurred between 6:00 a.m. and 5:59 p.m., accounted for 51% of reported accidents.

Beyond the number of bicyclists killed in road accidents, thousands more suffer injuries each year. High-traffic urban areas of cities are where cars and bikes have to share the road more. In cities like San Francisco, cars and bicycles share narrow, dangerous one-lane streets, contributing to bicyclists’ injuries.

Sharing the road can lead to drivers making mistakes or not accounting for bicyclists, leading to accidents at intersections and while turning or changing lanes.

Common Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclists are often injured in high-traffic areas like busy intersections or crossing multi-lane roads. However, they also suffer injuries in parking lots or residential streets when drivers back up without looking and run over a bicyclist.

Bicyclists are also injured when someone opens their car door without looking, referred to as dooring. They can be hurt if a driver brakes too suddenly, causing the cyclist to go over their handlebars when they try to stop in time.

Drivers who fail to yield or don’t respect bicyclists on the road can also lead to accidents.

Tips for High-Traffic Bicycling

While there are risks in biking on urban streets, many of these risks can be mitigated by following safety tips. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends several actions that can help you stay safe when biking in mixed-traffic or high-traffic areas:

  • Wear High Visibility Clothing

One of the leading causes of accidents is drivers who fail to see bicyclists. If you wear dark or non-reflective clothing, drivers may not see you or your bicycle, particularly at night.

Wear bright, neon, reflective colors, preferably with highly reflective strips, so drivers notice you when driving and checking their mirrors. Add reflective stickers to your bike, bright front and rear lights, and a reflective band to your helmet.

These clothes help keep you safe when riding by increasing the likelihood a driver will see you.

  • Don’t Ride in Low Light Conditions

Nationwide, 51% of all bike accidents happen at night. While only 49% of all accidents occur at night in California, biking in low light conditions adds to the already present dangers of biking in mixed traffic.

The safest time to ride your bike is during the day. If you must ride at night, choose routes that include streetlights, safety stops, and bike lanes. Don reflective clothing and avoid riding in dark alleys or busy roads when possible.

  • Make Eye Contact with Drivers Before Crossing

The two most common causes of accidents are failure to yield and drivers not seeing a bicyclist. One of the best ways to prevent both is to make direct eye contact with a driver before crossing any intersection.

When a bicyclist makes eye contact with a driver, both people recognize that the other is there, creating a safer situation. Many bicyclists also recommend a head nod to acknowledge the driver, so they know you see them. This basic step can help ensure the driver sees you at an intersection and exercises caution.

  • Ride Defensively and Predictably

The NHTSA recommends that all bicyclists drive defensively and assume drivers cannot see them. It also recommends bicyclists follow traffic laws and ride in a predictive manner to maintain a safe traffic flow.

To stay safe when riding your bicycle, take the following actions:

  • Wear proper safety equipment, including a good helmet and road-rash-resistant protective clothes.
  • Obey all street signs and ride with traffic.
  • Assume others do not see you and react defensively.
  • Do not listen to music or use your phone, and pay full attention to the road.
  • Watch pedestrians and other small vehicles, ring a bell loudly and say information like “on your left” to let them know where you are.
  • Watch for alley and driveway entrances and exits.
  • Maintain a straight and steady course; do not suddenly swerve or weave in and out of traffic.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers After a Bicycle Accident

If you have been injured in a bicycle collision, call the bicycle accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers. Bicycle and automobile liability cases can be complex, so you need the best attorneys on your team to navigate the laws, argue your case, and get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to request a free consultation and get started on your claim.

5 Tips to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer, in Sacramento

by Staff Blogger | November 15th, 2022

Being a victim of personal injury is physically and emotionally challenging. Therefore, it’s important to realize that by choosing the right personal injury lawyer Sacramento residents will substantially relieve their stress, and they also are more likely to receive a reasonable settlement when all is said and done.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers have suggested five tips to help you narrow down to the best attorney for you. Read on to avoid unprofessional lawyers who can complicate your quest for fair compensation. 

#1: Determine the Amount and Type of Experience the Sacramento Law Firm Has

As every injury case is unique, personal injury lawyers only gain traction  as they continue to experience  various personal injury cases. The hands-on experience exposes them to diverse clients and multiple types of cases, including the most complex.

With experience, a personal injury attorney understands how to handle manipulative insurance companies and overriding barriers associated with pursuing injury settlements in a court of law. Such lawyers have higher success rates than their counterparts with little or no experience.

In addition to years of practice, the type of experience matters a lot when looking for the best Sacramento personal injury lawyer. A good lawyer should have handled the type of injury cases like the one you are experiencing.

For instance, if you suffered an auto accident, get a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento who has handled multiple cases of car accidents. Unlike generalists, specialized attorneys understand the ins and outs that lead to the best outcomes.

#2: Check the Record of Success for the Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

A good track record is one factor differentiating a great personal injury lawyer from the not-so-great. The history of success demonstrates that a prospective legal expert can deliver the expected results — receiving the most reasonable compensation.

Therefore, when vetting lawyers to handle your personal injury matter, get one with a record of winning tough, high-value cases involving catastrophic accidents, wrongful death, and minor accidents. Successful attorneys do not shy from disclosing the several achievements they have garnered.

Besides the records, you can determine a lawyer’s track record based on the number of accolades they have received. The information is readily available on the law firm’s website or third-party online platforms.

Steer clear of attorneys with no history of winning your type of case since that means they have limited chances of getting the compensation you deserve.

#3: Pay Attention to How They Communicate

From their communication, you can always identify a good personal injury lawyer in Sacramento. On the first meeting, professional lawyers will establish a rapport that makes you feel at ease with them. 

They show genuine interest in helping fight for your best interests. Apart from interest, a good personal injury lawyer answers all your questions in simple language, explains the legal options available for your case, and details the processes they would undertake from start to end.

You want to avoid bad communicators who have little time to answer your questions or show no interest in establishing a good relationship with you. Such lawyers will give you a tough time when following up or seeking clarification in matters related to your settlement. 

Some of the factors that can help you identify a lawyer with superb communication skills include:

  • They listen when you speak.
  • They ask more questions to get more details about your case.
  • They value your opinions.
  • They show confidence in handling your case.
  • They are observant.
  • They portray an excellent grasp of the matter at hand.

#4: Understand Their Payment Structure

Payments are the most common causes of friction between clients and personal injury lawyers. Primarily, the conflict arises since clients do not take their time to examine a law firm’s payment structures.

For that reason, if you want to avoid surprises that can lead to conflicts, request a payment structure and scrutinize it comprehensively. Make sure you do not have issues with the payment plan before hiring an attorney.

In addition, request a written contract to avoid surprises from hidden costs not captured in the payment structure. Though it might seem unnecessary, it will come in handy if you and your attorney get into a disagreement along the way.

Note that different personal injury lawyers in Sacramento have other payment structures. Some handle your case from start to end and take a percentage of the amount you get awarded by the negligent party — this is the most common payment structure.

#5: Determine the Additional Resources They Offer

Established lawyers don’t just offer legal representation in a court of law or act as mediators with your insurance provider. But they provide a comprehensive package of resources and services you need to smoothly push through the overwhelming period.

For instance, some lawyers offer financial advice to clients who get vast sums of money as compensation. Financial advice helps victims of injury lead a comfortable life, if their injuries limit their ability to work.

Other Sacramento personal  injury lawyers work with a network of health professionals who can walk you through the recovery process. Some doctors who collaborate with lawyers can even agree to take payment after you receive compensation.

Therefore, to get the best value out of the legal fee you pay, get a personal injury lawyer that offers extras on top of legal representation. In your initial contact, ask the lawyers if they:

  • Collaborate with a network of doctors.
  • Know counselors who can offer mental support.
  • Have valuators to back up your loss claims.
  • Can connect you to a financial adviser.

Why It’s Important to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

It can be difficult to navigate throughout the legal process without the resources of a personal injury lawyer Sacramento residents are offered the legal representation needed to get compensation after an injury associated with someone’s negligence. Without these legal experts, you stand a chance of getting under-compensated or even missing the settlement. Furthermore, representing yourself in a personal injury claim can prolong the process, making your life more challenging.

Unlike you, attorneys have the experience to handle personal injury cases smoothly. The experts gather evidence of negligence, document the extent of injuries, and find witnesses. Afterward, they negotiate for settlements with the insurance firm handling your case or in a court of law if the insurance firm disputes your claim.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we  represent personal injury victims across Sacramento and the state of California to recover their compensation. We have a team specializing in cases related to car accidents, boat accidents, defective products, burns, toxic water, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractice. Our attorneys have represented injury victims for more than 40 years. Contact us for a free case assessment.

Note: Berg Injury Lawyers has reviewed and approved this content.

California Pain & Suffering Damages: Calculating Emotional Distress

by cjadmin | November 7th, 2022

California recognizes that pain and suffering from a traumatic event can cause emotional distress. This distress is harder to quantify than broken limbs or lost wages, but it is nevertheless an essential part of any injury settlement.

The way pain and suffering damages are calculated is not straightforward. California does not give recommendations to the courts; this determination often relies on the skill of your lawyer and their experience dealing with emotional distress cases.

Explore ways that emotional distress damages are calculated and why working with a Sacramento car accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get maximum compensation for your pain and suffering after an accident.

What are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering damages put a dollar figure on the non-economic effects of a traumatic event. They include the pain, anguish, discomfort, emotional trauma, and inconvenience caused by a traumatic event like a car accident.

Non-economic damages intend to provide monetary compensation for intangible losses resulting from the incident, such as loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and emotional distress.

How Do They Work Under California Law?

No-fault states do not allow you to file a claim for non-economic damages against the at-fault party unless you have a serious injury. However, California is not a no-fault state and you can file for pain and suffering damages against the at-fault driver. This approach means that you and your car accident attorneys can file a claim for a reasonable amount to compensate you for emotional distress, even if you do not have a physical injury.

In personal injury cases, like motorcycle, truck, or auto accidents, California does not place a cap on pain and suffering damages. Jury instructions inform jurors to award the amount they believe fairly compensates the accident victim for their emotional distress, anguish, fear, anxiety, and any additional non-economic damage.

The only exception to this rule is for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Currently, the state’s cap is $250,000; however, this amount will increase to $750,000 in 2023.

The Types of Emotional Distress

California defines emotional distress as feelings of anxiety, suffering, anguish, fright, humiliation, and shame. Whenever a reasonable person has difficulty coping with a situation, it constitutes serious emotional distress.

Emotional distress caused by a traumatic event can take several forms. For instance, people who experience post-accident distress may experience anxiety and fear while driving. These emotions can cause them to have physical symptoms like flashbacks, tiredness, and nightmares. Some people may find themselves unable to work due to their distress.

How to Calculate Emotional Distress

California law does not have a formula for calculating the economic impact of emotional distress for a legal settlement. Instead, the courts want to understand how the event has impacted your life to determine the appropriate damages.

To prove pain and suffering, your lawyer may ask you to document the severity of your emotional distress. This generally means keeping records like the following:

  • Personal Journal

A daily journal of your grief, depression, and stress struggles can show the emotional impact of the accident. For instance, you may detail how insomnia makes you unable to fall asleep easily due to you constantly reliving the incident.

  • Visits with the Therapist and Psychiatrist

Medical appointments with your therapist and psychiatrist record your mental health diagnosis and treatment. If your psychiatrist prescribes medications for your anxiety, that strengthens your claim that the emotional distress from the accident seriously affected you.

  • Testimonies from Friends and Family

People who know you well can testify how your behavior has changed since the crash. Your friends and family could report that you have become withdrawn and fearful of driving.

They can explain your inability to pursue hobbies you enjoy, such as gardening and playing with your children. Detailed testimonies can help jurors understand how stressful the accident was for you.

An experienced personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand how to approach documenting your intangible pain and suffering to help ensure you get a fair settlement. Your attorney will use this evidence to prove non-economic damages in addition to the physical injuries you suffer to help you get compensation and rebuild your life.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for Pain and Suffering Cases in California

Emotional distress can adversely affect your quality of life and impact your career and ability to earn a living. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we can help you prove your intangible losses and get the justice you deserve for your emotional pain.

Contact us today to discuss your case and understand your rights. 

California Bicycle Accident Injury Statistics

by Staff Blogger | October 10th, 2022

While riding a bike is a healthy, eco-friendly mode of transportation, sharing the road with cars can be dangerous, especially in the urban cities of California. Since the body of a car isn’t designed to protect cyclists, they are at far higher risk of serious injury or death if they collide with a vehicle.

A bicycle accident can cause physical, emotional, and financial distress. Seeking legal representation can help you gain restitution to get back on your feet. The personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are familiar with the nuances of California traffic law and can help you receive compensation for your injuries.

California Accident Statistics and Facts

California’s streets have a bad reputation among cyclists. Data collected by the University of California Berkeley showed 48,370 bike crashes in California between 2017 and 2021, of which 775 proved deadly. LA County alone reported 14,999 bike crashes during those four years, placing it at the top of the list.

Multiple factors make the streets of California riskier for cyclists. While the Golden State has seen successful growth of bike-share programs, many cities lack separate bike lanes, forcing cyclists to share the roads with drivers traveling at high speeds. Oversized cars with larger blind spots and increased rates of distracted driving also put cyclists at greater risk.

Bicycle Fatalities Statistics

Fatal accidents with cyclists are a nationwide problem. In 2020, nationwide research published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed:

  • 22% of fatal cyclist accidents happened between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., while 18% occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.
  • 68% of cyclist fatalities occurred at non-intersections.
  • Cyclists under 20 are more likely to be killed on minor roads, while cyclists over 20 are more likely to be killed on major roads.
  • 57% of cyclists killed in accidents were not wearing helmets. Helmet use was indeterminable for an additional 25%.
  • 18% of victims had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.

How Common Are Bike Fatalities in California?

Bike fatalities are worryingly frequent in California. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California had the second-highest cyclist fatality numbers in the nation (after Florida) in 2020, with 129 deaths. In California, 3.4% of all road fatalities are bicyclists. In 2019, the state’s Office of Transportation Safety recorded 133 cyclist deaths.

Staying Safe While Cycling in California

A bicycle collision can have devastating impacts on everyone involved, especially the cyclist. Adhering to California’s road laws and following basic safety precautions reduces your risk of an accident and ultimately minimizes the chance of being held liable. Some important things to remember when biking in California include:

  • Wear a helmet. While California law only requires anyone under 18 to wear helmets, adults are still at risk and can benefit greatly from helmet use.
  • Attach lights and reflectors to your bike to ensure you’re visible to vehicles.
  • Where possible, bike during the day, outside of rush hour.
  • Stay in designated bike lanes if available, and plan your route ahead of time to maximize bike-lane use.
  • Bike on roads with lower speed limits.
  • Keep your bike maintained.
  • Limit or avoid bike modifications.
  • Avoid cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When Should You Get a Lawyer for a Bicycle Accident?

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident because of a negligent driver, hiring a lawyer can help you receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Consider speaking to a bicycle accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers immediately after a collision so we can assess your case and discuss your legal options.

If you are involved in an accident where a driver sues you for negligent behavior, such as not following California’s bike laws and causing a collision, speak with a bicycle accident lawyer to represent your interests and minimize your potential liability.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Bicycle Accident?

No matter the circumstances of your accident, you can benefit from the legal services of an experienced attorney with Berg Injury Lawyers. Our legal team understands California’s bicycle accident laws and knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to help you reach a fair settlement.

Schedule a consultation for a free case review today with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate bicycle accident lawyers.

How Long Does a Sacramento Personal Injury Case Take?

by Staff Blogger | September 6th, 2022

Sacramento personal injury laws allow compensation to individuals involved in automobile accidents, slip-and-fall, dog bites, or any other accident caused by a party at fault. However, several factors impact the amount or how soon the plaintiff receives the compensation.

Some factors can be influenced by the plaintiff or their personal injury attorney, while others are beyond their control. Understanding these factors can help reduce the compensation waiting time. If the actions of another party injure you or your loved one, Berg Injury Lawyers could help hasten the compensation process. Contacting a personal injury attorney could also increase your chances of getting maximum compensation.      

Factors That Affect the Timeline of Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

Accidents or actions that lead to personal injury claims lead to different injuries. The severity of injuries in a head-on car accident may differ from a slip and fall. Although the cause of the accident may not matter, the severity of the injuries does. Some injuries take longer than others to heal, and the time taken to achieve maximum medical improvement impacts the compensation timeline. The plaintiff or their lawyer cannot influence the doctor’s report.

Once a doctor ascertains the plaintiff has reached maximum medical improvement, they will not require further medical procedures in relation to the accident. An MMI report at this time allows for the computation of compensation amount since the cost of medical treatment is a factor in a personal injury lawsuit. Even where the plaintiff calculates the value within a reasonable time, they may have to wait for other parties in the lawsuit to recover. The delay in submission of medical bills and MMI reports, therefore, delays compensation.

Although MMI reports delay the compensation, temptations for quick settlements should be discouraged. One never knows what medical complications may arise from the injuries. A little wait could help the plaintiff get their compensation in full.

The Value of Your Claim

Insurance companies are always willing to settle small claims promptly. However, when the claim reaches tens of thousands, the insurance company may put up a spirited negotiation to reduce the amount. These negotiations may take months to conclude.

Although plaintiffs may start the negotiation early, insurance companies do not take them seriously before they file a lawsuit. After filing the suit, the respondent has 30 to 60 days to file their response. California laws also allow the respondent 30 to 45 more days to file their response. Filing the lawsuit and getting a response could take months. When the hearing finally begins, it can take several months.

Whether You Go to Trial or Decide On an Alternative Dispute Resolution

An aggrieved party can settle a personal injury claim through a trial or use alternative dispute resolution channels. The route taken affects the compensation timeline by shortening or prolonging it. Using the alternative dispute resolution route significantly reduces the waiting time. It can take 9 to 18 months to settle a compensation claim through the alternative dispute resolution channel.

If, on the other hand, the plaintiff chooses to go to court, they should expect to wait longer. Filing the dispute and getting a response takes several months, while the first appearance at the trial court happens after a year. The negotiations may take another year or longer, depending on the case.

The waiting time may also depend on the cooperation of the other parties. If the defendant is cooperative, the waiting time reduces significantly.

Should You Settle Early to Save Time?

Once the plaintiff seeks medical treatment, insurance companies are likely to make compensation offers. In most cases, the insurance company offers compensation that is way below what the plaintiff deserves. The insurance companies understand the complexity of filing a lawsuit and the waiting and hope the plaintiff will accept the offer to save time. This tactic is known as a lowball offer.

A plaintiff should not accept the lowball offer. They should reject the first and the second offer and make the defendant believe they are willing to stop at nothing but their rightful amount. However, the plaintiff should seek the opinion of a Sacramento personal injury lawyer on whether to reject a given offer. Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience in personal injury claims and can help the plaintiff make an informed decision.

The Documentation Process Takes Time

Documenting different pieces of evidence takes time. The plaintiff may have to visit their employers to calculate lost wages or wait for an MMI report. The cooperation of the parties involved also impacts the documentation time.

Specific Issues With Your Case May Arise

While issues like whether to accept offers from the insurance company are within the plaintiff’s control, others are not. For instance, some injuries are diagnosed way after the accident. In such cases, the defendants may claim they did not result from the accident. Identification of the party at fault may also consume a lot of time. Any other unforeseen issues may increase the settlement time.

Patience Is Your Best Friend

For a plaintiff to get what they deserve in a Sacramento personal injury case, they should invest in patience. Patience means they will wait for their MMI, reject lowball offers, and invest their time in documentation. Even when the compensation process takes too long, the plaintiff will eventually get the compensation they deserve.

When To Contact A Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

Filing a compensation claim in Sacramento can be long and tedious. However, contacting a personal injury attorney can help simplify the process. While the time to complete the compensation process varies from case to case, the attorney takes the negotiation burden from the plaintiff. This gives the plaintiff enough time to recuperate. When dealing with a personal injury Sacramento residents are advised to contact a lawyer immediately after the accident may also hasten the compensation process.

Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we understand the complexity of personal injury cases can prolong the compensation process. Although the waiting time depends on several factors, our experienced lawyers will do everything to speed up the process. Contact us at (866) 904-2014 or fill out our free form to speak with our legal team. 

Settlement vs. Trial: Which is Most Likely in a Car Accident Claim?

by Staff | August 29th, 2022

Dealing with debilitating injuries is the most taxing part of being in a car accident. However, filing a personal injury claim for compensation often initiates a complicated legal process that can also prove stressful for many accident victims, causing them to put their lives on hold.

Hiring a skilled personal injury attorney with a proven track record can relieve your legal burden, allowing you the time and funds you need to recover from your injuries. If you or a loved one have been in a car collision in California, contacting Berg Injury Lawyers can give you peace of mind and ensure that you seek maximum compensation for your damages.

How Many Personal Injury Claims Go to Trial?

Approximately 5% of personal injury cases go to trial, with the remaining 95% settling out of court. Of the cases that go to trial, nearly 90% end in a loss for the plaintiff, with just 10% receiving damages. These statistics suggest ‌that it is far more likely that if you file a personal injury claim, it will be settled out of court rather than going to trial.

Reasons to Settle Your Personal Injury Case

Most car accident claims settle out of court due to the claims process. After a car accident, your attorney will help you file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. They will send a demand letter, asking for a specific amount of compensation that the insurance company can accept or reject.

If your legal team offers the insurance company strong evidence supporting your claim, such as detailed medical bills, photos, videos, or police reports, the company may agree to your demand and settle. If the insurance company rejects your initial demand, your lawyer may negotiate until both parties agree on a reasonable settlement amount.

Why Your Case Might Go to Trial

Your legal team may advise you to take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to pay you a fair amount. Although only a small number of car accident cases make it to trial, those that go on to win are often awarded greater damages. Going to trial allows you to pursue maximum compensatory damages for your injuries.

However, personal injury trials can take months or years to reach a resolution and require detailed preparation from your attorneys. Additionally, if you take your case to trial, a jury will likely decide your damages. California uses pure comparative negligence, which assigns a percentage of fault to each party. If the other side convinces the jury that you are highly responsible for the accident, you will only receive a portion of your settlement.

Hiring an Attorney Increases Your Chance of Recovering Adequate Compensation

Hiring a personal injury attorney ensures you maximize the amount of compensation you receive for all your damages. Your attorney can build a strong claim with relevant evidence and an assessment of your total damages. The attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to help you obtain a fair settlement.

A lawyer can use a winning legal strategy to convince the insurance company to offer adequate compensation. This includes offering indisputable evidence that their client caused the accident and that you have suffered serious injuries because of their actions. For example, they may provide witness statements, video of the accident, or medical reports that describe the lasting consequences of your injuries.

The insurance company is more likely to compensate you adequately if they deem that you and your lawyer are serious about taking your case to court. Insurance companies prefer to settle in most cases because of the high cost and effort of litigation, including hiring expert witnesses, calling accident witnesses, and preparing testimonies and evidence.

Your lawyer can use this to your advantage in negotiating your settlement to get you the maximum amount possible.

When the insurance company refuses to settle, having an attorney by your side can increase your chances of gaining a favorable verdict with the jury. The lawyer can prepare your case and argue on your behalf to ensure the jury awards you with the maximum compensation you deserve to achieve justice for your case.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Injury Claim

Whether you settle or if your case goes before a judge and jury, the California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can ensure that your case receives the attention it deserves. We can assess your claim and discuss your legal options, including filing a lawsuit.

Call our law firm today to schedule a free evaluation with one of our lawyers to discuss your case‌.