Rideshare Fraud: Tips to Avoid Fake Uber Drivers

by Staff Blogger | March 25th, 2024

When you need to get somewhere fast and you don’t have a vehicle or don’t want to worry about parking, it’s hard to beat the convenience and price of using a rideshare service like Uber. With a few quick taps on your smartphone, you can arrange for someone to pick you up at your doorstep within minutes and take you across town or even across the state.

However, that level of convenience comes with a price: safety. In addition to riders being at risk of injuries in crashes, riders also risk getting into rideshare vehicles with imposters.

While driving for Uber can be a good way to make money, not everyone who wants to drive for Uber can. For example, these potential Uber drivers may not have a valid license, or may have failed the Uber driver screening due to a criminal record or a history of impaired driving. People who otherwise may be ineligible to drive for Uber may commit identity fraud by using others’ identification, driving under others’ employee IDs and numbers, using others’ vehicles, or even creating fake identification.

Other ill-intentioned people may see someone waiting for an Uber and take the opportunity to impersonate that driver and encourage you to get in their vehicle before the legitimate driver arrives.

Fake Uber drivers are more common than you think, and they can put riders’ safety in jeopardy. Whether you’re a daily Uber user or a sporadic rider, here are a few tips you can follow to reduce your risks of being picked up by a fake driver.

Verify the Driver and Vehicle

Before getting into an Uber, take a moment to verify a few things:

  • Check the App Details: Before entering the vehicle, ensure the driver’s name, photo, and car details (make, model, and color) match what’s displayed in your Uber app. Uber provides this information for your safety, and any discrepancies should be a red flag.
  • Match the License Plate: Always compare the license plate number with the one shown in your app. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure you’re getting into the right car.
  • Wait for the Driver to Confirm Your Name: A legitimate Uber driver will know your name and use it to confirm the ride. Instead of asking, “Are you [driver’s name]?” let them ask, “Are you [your name]?” This prevents a fraudster from simply agreeing with whatever name you suggest.

Protect Yourself via Location and Pickup Timing

Where and when you’re picked up can make a difference in your safety. Keep these in mind when requesting and waiting for an Uber:

  • Choose a Safe Pickup Location: Whenever possible, request your ride from a secure, well-lit area. Avoid isolated or dimly lit spots where you’re more vulnerable to opportunistic criminals.
  • Be Aware of the Timing: Pay attention to the estimated arrival time in the app. If a car shows up too early or too late without a plausible explanation or an update via the app, it could be a red flag.

Stay Informed and Alert

It’s important to always prepare for things to go wrong when you request a rideshare pickup. Preparing yourself for the unexpected includes the following steps:

  • Share Your Trip Details: Uber allows you to share your ride details with friends or family. Utilize this feature so someone you trust can track your journey in real-time, providing an additional layer of security.
  • Keep Personal Information Private: A real Uber driver doesn’t need to know your personal phone number or other private details. Conversations and any necessary communications should happen through the app to protect your privacy.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, trust your gut. You are under no obligation to enter a vehicle if you feel uncomfortable or if there are any discrepancies. It’s better to cancel the ride and order a new one if needed.

Steps to Take if You’re Picked Up by an Imposter Uber Driver

If you believe you’ve encountered a fake Uber driver or have been a victim of rideshare fraud, take the following steps:

  • Ensure Your Safety First: If you’re still in the Uber, ask that the ride be stopped and that the driver drop you off in a safe location immediately.
  • Report the Incident to Uber: Use the app to report the incident. Uber has protocols to handle these reports and can take action to prevent future incidents.
  • Contact Law Enforcement: If you’ve been defrauded or feel threatened by the imposter driver, contact local law enforcement to report the crime.

Contact Our California Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review If You’ve Been Injured in a Crash

One thing many imposter Uber drivers have in common is their lack of knowledge, experience, skills, and licensure. Many of them may not have valid California driver’s licenses, and they may not have the ability to pass a driving test to obtain one. That makes them extremely dangerous behind the wheel to themselves, to you, and to others on the road.

If you’re injured in a crash caused by a reckless, impaired, or otherwise negligent Uber driver, whether they’re an imposter or a verified driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your damages.  Contact the California auto accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

A Closer Look at Punitive Damages in California: When Are They Awarded and Why?

by Staff Blogger | March 4th, 2024

Punitive damages are a powerful tool for achieving justice and accountability in a personal injury case. These damages offer additional compensation for victims who suffered harm due to a defendant’s malicious or wanton actions. They punish wrongdoers for their conduct and deter similar behavior in the future.

In California, awarding punitive damages is subject to strict criteria. If you have suffered severe losses due to another’s gross negligence, our California personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can determine if your case qualifies for punitive damages and help you get the maximum award possible.

Introduction to Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a unique type of compensation awarded in civil lawsuits. Unlike compensatory damages, which cover specific losses like medical bills or lost income, punitive damages penalize the defendant.

Sometimes called exemplary damages, this compensation may be awarded when the at-fault party’s conduct is especially negligent, demonstrating a willful disregard for safety or rights. This can occur due to intentional harm or gross negligence, such as a company knowingly selling dangerous products or an individual causing harm with deliberate intent.

Punitive damages are designed to punish the offender and convey a message that both the public and legal system disapprove of the behavior. They serve as a deterrent, underlining the gravity of the misconduct and its impact on the victim.

Criteria for Awarding Punitive Damages

Under California Statute 3294, you must show the following to be eligible for a punitive settlement:

  • Malice, Oppression, or Fraud: Demonstrate that the defendant acted with harmful intent (malice), unfairly targeted or burdened someone (oppression), or deceived intentionally (fraud).
  • Intentional or Reckless Conduct: Provide evidence that the defendant acted with a clear intention to cause harm or showed a blatant disregard for safety, such as drunk driving resulting in an accident.
  • Harm to the Plaintiff: Show that you suffered tangible or intangible harm, like physical injury or emotional distress, due to the defendant’s actions.
  • Insufficiency of Compensatory Damages: Argue that typical damages, like medical costs or lost wages, are inadequate to address the extent of your suffering or loss.
  • Need for Deterrence: Justify the punitive damages as necessary to prevent the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future, acting as a strong legal deterrent.

How Are Punitive Damage Awards Decided in Court?

After it’s decided that punitive damages are applicable, the court then determines the amount to be awarded, taking into account factors such as:

  • Severity of Misconduct: The court evaluates the seriousness of the defendant’s actions, taking into account factors like the extent of harm to the plaintiff, the moral wrongdoing of the defendant’s behavior, and whether this was an isolated incident or part of ongoing misconduct.
  • Defendant’s Financial Status: The court considers the defendant’s financial situation. The idea is to set the punitive damages high enough to discourage future misconduct yet not so high that they cause financial ruin. This can mean assessing their bank statements and assets to determine an appropriate amount.
  • Damage Caps: Courts must also consider caps on punitive damages. While California does not place a limit on exemplary damages in personal injury cases, the Supreme Court has ruled they cannot be excessive. Typically, this means they are within four times the compensatory damage award.

Punitive Damage Case Studies

Punitive damage varies by case. The following case study illustrates how a court may award punitive damages based on evidence and how the ruling may be challenged and changed:

Diaz vs. Tesla, Inc.

The case of Owen Diaz vs. Tesla, Inc. was filed in 2017. It centers around allegations of racial discrimination and harassment experienced by Owen Diaz, a former employee at Tesla’s Fremont factory. The lawsuit details various incidents where Diaz encountered racially charged language and behavior during his employment.

The case addresses the emotional distress and impact on Diaz due to these experiences. In determining compensatory damages, the court compared this case to similar previous cases to evaluate the extent of emotional damages. The court found that the compensatory award initially given to Diaz was excessive compared to the evidence presented, leading to a reduction in the award amount.

Initially, the jury awarded $137 million, including $130 million in punitive damages. However, the judge reduced these amounts, lowering the compensatory damages from $6.9 million to $1.5 million and the punitive damages from $130 million to $13.5 million.

The judge’s decision acknowledged Tesla’s inadequate actions to combat racism but deemed the original damages as excessive.

Have One of Our Qualified Attorneys Assess Your Case

In California, punitive damages are used to ensure accountability and discourage serious misconduct. If you or a loved one have been a victim of wrongdoing, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you pursue punitive damages.

Berg Injury Lawyers can help you seek the highest damage award possible and hold wrongdoers accountable. Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about your rights and options in pursuing a punitive award.

Safety Tips for Sharing the Road with Trucks on California’s I-5

by Staff Blogger | September 11th, 2023

California’s Interstate 5 (I-5) is a vital artery in the state’s transportation network, facilitating the movement of goods and people across vast distances. As one of the nation’s busiest and most crucial transportation routes, I-5 plays a key role in supporting economic growth and connecting communities.

However, the volume of commercial truck traffic on this major highway makes it one of the most dangerous roads in the country. Between 2015 and 2019, 584 people died in 544 fatal crashes on I-5.

If you are involved in an accident with a semi on I-5, contact a California truck accident attorney to help protect your rights and maximize your compensation.

Safety Tips for Navigating I-5

Navigating this busy highway confidently and safely fosters a safer coexistence with the large commercial trucks that are a common sight on this route. To help you avoid an accident, use these safety tips: 

  • Maintaining a Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a safe following distance is key to safe driving, especially when sharing the road with large commercial vehicles. Due to their size and weight, these trucks require more distance to slow down or stop. During inclement weather or when visibility is compromised, such as during heavy rain or fog, increase your following distance even further to ensure a safe buffer zone.

  • Being Mindful of Truck Blind Spots

Navigating the roads alongside large commercial vehicles requires an extra level of caution, particularly when it comes to understanding and respecting a truck’s blind spots. These are the areas around a truck where your vehicle is invisible to the truck driver due to the size and position of the truck’s mirrors.

Truck’s blind spots, often called “no-zones,” are typically located directly in front of the truck, behind it, and along both sides, especially on the right. The larger the truck, the larger these blind spots typically are. In some cases, the driver may be unable to see for 20 feet in front of the cab, 30 feet behind the trailer, and along one or two lanes to the sides.

Always make a conscious effort to stay visible to the truck driver and avoid lingering in these danger zones. If you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, assume the driver cannot see you either.

When passing a truck, do so quickly and safely on the left side. Ensure you have the full front of the truck in your rearview mirror before you merge back into the lane.

  • Safe Maneuvering during Truck Merges and Lane Changes

California can be challenging to drive in because of traffic, causing drivers to be more aggressive, especially in the morning or after work.

Merging onto a highway or changing lanes near large trucks can be particularly challenging due to these vehicles’ size and limited maneuverability. Trucks have reduced visibility and require more space and time to adjust their course. Being cautious and vigilant in these situations is key to ensuring safety on the road.

When a truck is merging or changing lanes, give it ample space. Don’t try to speed up and pass the truck during these maneuvers. Instead, slow down and let the truck complete its move.

This is especially important when you’re merging onto a highway and you see a truck in the lane you’re entering. Trucks cannot slow down or change lanes as quickly as smaller vehicles, so you should adjust your speed or stop if necessary to give the truck the space it needs.

Also, be mindful of the truck’s turning radius. Trucks often need to make wide turns, especially to the right. If you see a truck indicating a right turn, don’t try to squeeze by on the right side. You may end up in a blind spot and be at risk of a “squeeze play” collision as the truck moves right to complete its turn.

  • Use Clear Communication and Turn Signals

Clear communication is essential to road safety, especially when sharing the road with large commercial trucks. The signals you send to other drivers, particularly those piloting larger vehicles, can mean the difference between a safe journey and a disastrous encounter.

One of the most effective ways to communicate your intentions on the road is by using your turn signals. Turn signals are a universal language of the road, informing other drivers about your intent to make a move.

When you plan to change lanes or turn, activating your turn signal well in advance allows other drivers, including truck drivers, enough time to anticipate your move and respond accordingly. Trucks require a longer distance to slow down or stop; a sudden, unexpected lane change can lead to dangerous situations.

  • Practicing Patience and Giving Trucks Sufficient Space

Driving on highways often involves sharing the road with large commercial trucks, and successfully coexisting with these behemoths requires patience and an understanding of their unique operational demands. These are not ordinary vehicles; they have a larger footprint, slower acceleration, longer stopping distances, and expansive blind spots that affect their maneuverability.

Practicing patience when you’re driving near trucks is not only a courtesy but also a necessary safety measure. Due to their weight and size, trucks cannot maneuver or change speeds as quickly as smaller vehicles. When traffic conditions change suddenly, a truck’s reaction might seem delayed compared to a passenger vehicle.

Keeping this in mind, avoid quick lane changes or other sudden movements that could surprise a truck driver and not give them adequate time to respond.

Get the Help You Need

Navigating California’s busy I-5 alongside large commercial trucks demands a commitment to road safety. By following the essential safety tips, you can coexist safely with these formidable vehicles, reducing the risk of accidents and fostering a culture of responsibility on our highways.

Don’t let the aftermath of an accident overwhelm you. If you were injured in a truck crash on I-5 or another California roadway, Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and file a compensation claim. Contact our team today for a free consultation, and let us put our experience to work for you.

What Kind of Accidents Can You Sue For?

by Staff Blogger | March 1st, 2023

Every year in the United States, more than 200,000 people die from unintentional injuries, and a countless number of others are injured but survive. According to the CDC, the most common types of unintentional injuries that result in deaths every year are falls, car accidents, and unintentional poisonings.

But among those who survive accidents, many are left with serious and debilitating injuries, as more than 24 million people visited emergency rooms last year because of unintentional injuries.

When these accidents are caused by another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, the law provides that injured people are legally entitled to recover compensation for their injuries. Our team of Sacramento accident attorneys at Berg Injury Law has been assisting injured Californians for more than 40 years in seeking justice.

Top 10 Most Common Types of Accidents Leading to Litigation

Legally speaking, an accident victim can generally file a lawsuit for any type of accident that is caused by another person’s negligence. At Berg Injury Law, we represent victims who have been injured in accidents of all kinds, and in this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the more common types of cases that we handle.

1.   Negligence

Negligence is when a person behaves in any manner that is not reasonable or is otherwise unsafe. When negligence causes an injury, the negligent person can be held legally liable for paying for the other party’s injuries. Negligence actions are by far the most common personal injury lawsuits, as car accidents, products liability cases, and many other accidents arise from negligent conduct. Our accident attorneys in Sacramento have filed a countless number of negligence lawsuits in the past 40 years.

2.   Intentional Behavior

In addition to negligence, intentional injuries can also give rise to litigation. These cases can arise from physical injuries and economic injuries. The most common intentional behavior cases include defamation, sexual assault, fraud, and battery.

3.   Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. These cases can arise from missed diagnoses, wrongfully performed procedures, improperly prescribed medications, and any other aspect of healthcare. Winning a malpractice case requires an accident attorney and plaintiff to show that a medical provider acted in a way out of accord with a recognized standard of care or practice. 

4.   Hazardous Drugs and Substances

Hazardous medications can cause serious and permanent injuries that can affect a person’s quality of life forever. Whether those injuries were caused by a doctor who improperly prescribed the medication, or a manufacturer who failed in creating the drug, these cases often give rise to lawsuits.

5.   Dog Bites

Dog owners have a duty to ensure that their dogs are secured in a manner which protects innocent passersby from attack. If a person is injured by a dog that they do not own, that injured person may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog.

6.   Car Accidents

Car accidents are some of the most common personal injury lawsuits. Even though they are routine, these cases should still be handled by an experienced attorney who is unafraid to take on insurance companies. In almost all car accident cases, the other driver’s insurance company pays damages, and they hire expensive lawyers to get off the hook for as little money as possible. When dealing with one of our accident attorneys, Sacramento car accident victims can rest assured that we won’t back down from insurance companies.

7.   Premises Liability

Premises liability cases are often referred to as slip and fall cases, as they usually arise from fall injuries on public property. But in addition to slips and falls, premises liability cases can arise from all kinds of injuries sustained on public property. Other examples include negligent security claims, hazardous conditions, and vicarious liability cases.

8.   Defective Products

Lawsuits involving defective products can be brought against either the seller of the product, the manufacturer of the product, or the distributor of the product, depending on the specific facts of a case. Either way, when an innocent victim is injured due to a defective product, they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries.

9.   Workplace Accidents

Jobsite injuries are usually preventable, as laws and safety regulations exist to protect workers from injuries. When these safety regulations are not followed, dangerous conditions exist that can cause injuries, and more importantly, give rise to a lawsuit.

10.  Wrongful Death

In the worst accident cases, the victim loses his or her life. As previously stated, more than 200,000 people die from accidental deaths every year in the United States, and many of those deaths are caused by another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. In those cases, a deceased victim’s surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Let Berg Injury Lawyers Help You Get Justice and Peace of Mind

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we’ve been seeking justice for California families for more than 40 years. We’re proud to offer free, no-risk case consultations to any prospective client looking for more information about a personal injury lawsuit.

Get in touch with us today to make an appointment to speak with a member of our team.

What Are California’s Right-of-Way Laws?

by Staff | May 30th, 2022

Right-of-way laws keep drivers and pedestrians safe on the roads. These rules outline who has the right-of-way in various circumstances to prevent car accidents and ensure everyone understands their responsibility when driving or walking on the street.

Familiarizing yourself with California’s right-of-way laws can help you avoid accidents and identify when someone else isn’t following the rules. If you are injured in an accident caused by a right-of-way-violation, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries with the help of a car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers.

Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws

In California, pedestrians always have the right-of-way. This includes skaters, skateboarders, and people using wheelchairs. If you are injured as a pedestrian due to a right-of-way violation, you can work with a personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers to seek compensation.


California law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians when they are in or entering a crosswalk. Drivers must keep the pedestrians’ path clear and allow five feet between their vehicle and the crosswalk.


Drivers must also yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks. When entering or exiting driveways or alleys, drivers must ensure the area is clear of pedestrians. They must look for people walking behind or in front of their vehicles before entering or exiting the area.

Driver Right-of-Way Laws

There are several right-of-way laws to help keep motorists safe on the road. These include rules about traffic signals, yellow and red lights, and traffic signs.

Traffic Signals

Functioning traffic signals and signs make the proper right-of-way clear to all drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must follow traffic signals and yield the right-of-way as dictated by the appropriate traffic signal color or direction, such as a turn arrow.

Flashing yellow light

A flashing yellow light calls on drivers to move with caution through the intersection. Drivers should slow down and observe cross streets when approaching a flashing yellow light.

Flashing red light

Flashing red lights are equivalent to a stop sign. Drivers need to stop at the intersection and yield to the traffic on the intersecting road.

Traffic signal is out of order

If the traffic signal isn’t working, you should treat the intersection as if each direction has stop signs. When multiple vehicles arrive at the intersection simultaneously, every driver yields the right-of-way to the vehicle to their right.

Traffic signs

Two signs determine which driver must yield the right-of-way to others. When approaching a yield sign, drivers must reduce their speed, use caution, and allow vehicles on the intersecting road the right-of-way.

A stop sign requires drivers to stop their vehicles completely and allow the cars on the intersecting road to pass. If multiple vehicles approach an intersection with a four-way stop simultaneously, the vehicle to the right maintains the right-of-way after coming to a complete stop.

Driving Maneuver Right-of-Way Laws

Right-of-way laws direct drivers on maneuvering when making left-hand turns or entering and exiting roundabouts. They also direct drivers’ actions in parking lots and yielding right-of-way on mountainous roads.

Making a left-hand turn

Drivers making a left-hand turn at an intersection with a traffic signal must wait for the light to turn green. The driver must yield the right-of-way to any oncoming traffic before making the turn if there is no left-turn arrow light.

However, they should wait for it to turn green if there is a left-turn light. If a driver intends to make a U-turn, they must yield the right-of-way to vehicles turning right in front of them.


When approaching a roundabout and preparing to enter, drivers must yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the roundabout. Once in the roundabout, drivers do not need to allow other vehicles into the roundabout. Allowing vehicles to enter the circle while in a roundabout can confuse other drivers and increase the chance of an accident.

Parking lots

In California, the driver who is in the flow of traffic is the one with the right-of-way. You have the right-of-way over drivers pulling out of feeder lanes and parking spots if you are in the main lane. Feeder lanes have the right-of-way over cars pulling out of parking spaces.

Right-of-way laws on mountain roads

Mountain roads present different circumstances to be aware of when driving in California. If a driver meets an oncoming vehicle where neither car can pass on a steep roadway, the vehicle facing downhill must yield the right-of-way.

If the road is too narrow, the downward-facing car needs to reverse so that the other may pass.

Obtaining Compensation for a Right-of-Way Accident

When another driver fails to follow these right-of-way regulations, they can cause severe injuries to other drivers. If you’ve been injured in a right-of-way violation accident, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to help you pursue a fair settlement for your injuries.

A skilled attorney can help you navigate California’s right-of-way laws and pure comparative fault doctrine. This doctrine awards damages based on the percentage of negligence, so having an experienced legal team can help you prove the other driver had a high percentage of fault to maximize your settlement.

Seek Legal Counsel with Berg Injury Lawyers

If you get into an accident where the other driver violated the right-of-way laws, you have the right to seek compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact the experienced California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers to boost your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation today.