September 10th, 2021|
Each state has its own motorcycle laws. Some states allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, while others don’t. Some have extensive requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license, while other states are less stringent.
One popular—and controversial—motorcycling technique that is also regulated by states is lane-splitting. Though most states have laws forbidding lane-splitting, California is a little different.
First, let’s establish what we mean when we say lane-splitting.
What’s Considered Lane-Splitting in California?
Lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist travels in between lanes to navigate traffic. For example, if there’s a traffic jam on Interstate 280 and a motorcyclist travels between lanes of traffic, riding down the white lane divider line, they’re lane-splitting.
What Is California’s Lane-Splitting Law in 2021?
Obviously, motorcyclists are still required to follow all the rules of the road. But unlike many other states, California does not have a law forbidding lane-splitting.
California even issued lane-splitting safety tips for motorcyclists in 2018. Some of the tips include:
- Understanding that lane-splitting is more dangerous when done at higher speeds.
- It’s safest to split between the lanes that are furthest to the left on roads with three lanes or more.
- Avoid lane-splitting near large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and buses.
- Stay visible and avoid lingering in other vehicles’ blind spots.
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing and using high beams in the daytime.
Note that riding on the shoulder of a road is not considered lane-splitting and is not legal. If a motorcyclist rides on the shoulder in California, police officers can (and likely will) give them a ticket.
Is Lane-Splitting Safe?
The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley conducted a study that found only 17% of motorcycle crashes from 2012 to 2013 involved lane-splitting.
Studies also suggest that the greater the difference between overall traffic and the motorcycle splitting lanes, the more dangerous lane-splitting becomes. So, it’s important for motorcyclists to avoid traveling more than 10 MPH faster than surrounding traffic. Researchers believe that lane-splitting is safest at speeds under 50 MPH.
Lane-Splitting Isn’t Popular with Other Motorists
The fact that California permits lane-splitting draws the ire of many non-motorcyclists. Several surveys suggest that drivers believe this practice should be illegal. And many drivers don’t even realize that it’s not illegal.
As is typical on our roads, other drivers often have a bias against motorcyclists. It’s not uncommon for drivers to fail to give motorcyclists the space they need to safely navigate our roads.
Sadly, the stigma facing motorcyclists on our roads often follows them into the accident claims process. Insurance companies are notorious for offering motorcyclists lowball settlements or to deny their claims altogether, even when their accidents are caused by drivers purposefully failing to yield to a motorcyclist.
If You Need Legal Representation, We Have Your Back
If you or a loved one was injured by a negligent driver in California, you should know your legal rights so you don’t get taken advantage of by insurance companies.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California motorcycle accident attorneys have years of experience ensuring motorcyclists get the compensation they’re entitled to by law. We can help you explore your legal options. Simply contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.
This content was originally published in October 2020 and updated in September 2021.
September 6th, 2021|
If you’ve been in an accident, you may be wondering if a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages is right for you. The California personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you navigate this process to determine if you are eligible to file a claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal dispute between two or more parties, with one party alleging that another entity is responsible for their injury through intentional action or negligence.
You can file personal injury claims to cover medical bills, travel costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, property loss, and loss of enjoyment or consortium, among other expenses.
Common Outcomes for a Personal Injury Claim
Formal lawsuit: In a formal lawsuit, a private citizen (called a plaintiff) files a civil suit against the individual, business, or government entity (called a defendant), alleging them of intentionally causing harm or causing harm through negligence.
Informal settlement: An informal settlement is the most common outcome. The involved parties negotiate a written agreement in which the defendant pays an agreed-upon amount in damages on the basis that the injured party will not pursue additional legal action for the injury.
Personal Injury Claims in California
California follows comparative fault laws, which means that there can be multiple parties at fault in the event of an accident. So, even a partially at fault victim can file for personal injury claims and win compensation.
Factors Determining the Success of Your Personal Injury Claim
Several factors determine the success of your personal injury claim.
● Proof of Fault
The most significant factor in whether your personal injury claim succeeds is the type and amount of evidence you have to prove another party is at fault, whether through intentional action or negligence.
Following an accident, take video or photos of the area and any injuries if you are able. Collect witness information and file a police report to start a paper trail that can be used to support your claim. Immediately seek medical attention and keep a record of medical documents to use as evidence.
● Severity of Harm
The severity of your injuries can influence the outcome of your personal injury claim. Victims with broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal damage often win larger settlements due to the complexity and length of treatment. It is also easier to prove that these injuries were sustained during an accident.
● Degree of Disruption to Daily Life
If your daily life has been inconvenienced by the accident, you are more likely to get a larger settlement from your personal injury claim. For example, limitations to doing daily tasks, like walking or working, are more severe than limitations such as no longer being able to participate in social sports or hobbies.
● Type of Treatment and Length of Recovery
Trips to the doctor and hospital stays (as long as reputable medical professionals advise them) are more likely to lead to larger settlements. The duration of treatment, especially treatments that include follow-up appointments and medication, can also impact the result of the settlement.
● Degree of Emotional and Mental Trauma
Often accidents result in emotional or mental trauma like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The presence of emotional and mental trauma diagnosed by a licensed medical professional can factor into the success of your personal injury claim. However, these types of trauma are often harder to prove since they cannot be seen.
Personal injury claims are a type of torts law, and the majority of these types of cases are determined by precedence or the results of previous cases.
Discuss Your Injury With a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident and are dealing with a personal injury case in California, the personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help. We can negotiate with insurance companies so that you can focus on recovery.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, you won’t pay us until you win your case, whether it goes to litigation or an informal settlement. Contact us today for your free consultation.
August 30th, 2021|
If you live or work in the Bay Area, you know the reality of being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 minutes or even longer and are familiar with the chronic congestion choking the area. The drive from San Jose to Mountain View can take more than 2 hours instead of 20 minutes door-to-door due to gridlock.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, freeway congestion has increased by more than 80% since 2010. Besides using public transit options like Amtrak, BART, and Caltrain, there are several other simple ways to deal with the brutal Bay Area traffic congestion.
1. Plan Your Driving Routes
Whether you prefer to drive to work or your job involves driving, you know that the worst time to be on the highway is during rush hour. Peak traffic usually occurs on weekdays in the mornings between 7:00 to 9:00 AM and in the evenings from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
Instead of taking the usual route and joining the traffic jams, take advantage of free phone applications such as Waze to plan your routes. While these apps often send you on the scenic route, they can guide you through different roads and streets to get you to work or back home faster than you would on the main road. Make sure you set your destination in these apps before driving to avoid being distracted.
If possible, avoid peak hours and the worst of the rush hour traffic for a shorter and less stressful commute.
2. Keep an Eye on 511 Alerts
You may have seen blue signs advising commuters and motorists to call 511 for travel information. The 511 service also has a website that provides real-time alerts and a live map informing you of any traffic updates, jams, construction work, and plenty of other information, making it an invaluable tool for planning your route.
3. Consider Biking to Work
If your commute is less than 10 miles, a bicycle may be a faster, healthier, and more economical mode of transport. According to the latest statistics, the average commute time in California has exceeded 30 minutes since 2019.
On average, a bike can achieve a commuting speed of around 12 mph. With more fitness and experience, it is possible to reach speeds of 15 to 18 mph, so you should cycle 5 miles in about 15-20 minutes. Even inexperienced cyclists can bike 1 mile in 6 minutes, which is 10 mph.
4. Use the HOV Lane
The Bay Area carpool lane system, known as High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, is the most effective in California and one of the best nationwide, significantly reducing commute times and increasing average speeds by up to 15 mph.
If you don’t already have a coworker or a neighbor you can ride with, you can still use applications such as Merge or Waze Carpool to match with a carpool partner and enjoy commuting on the HOV lane.
5. Green Vehicle Advantages
You may already be familiar with the carpool lanes on the highway and the rules surrounding their use, but did you know that hybrids and electric vehicles can use the carpool lane even with no passengers?
As long as your car has the correct DMV sticker (green, white, or red), you can enjoy the benefits of driving on the carpool lane even when you’re on your own.
6. When All Else Fails
Sometimes, there’s just no avoiding being stuck in traffic in your car, no matter what you do. In those situations, you can still make the best of the time in your vehicle.
Use the opportunity to listen to your favorite music, check out a podcast, or enjoy an audiobook, so you are less stressed and frustrated by the mind-numbing traffic.
Remember that a significant percentage of traffic accidents happen during rush hour. This is often due to drivers speeding through yellow lights, merging lanes, road rage, motorcycles lane splitting, or distracted driving.
Should the worst happen, get the help of our San Francisco car accident lawyers; they are the most qualified to represent you and help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and lost income.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
If you are involved in an auto accident, contact our car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have more than 40 years of experience representing victims and helping them win the settlements they deserve.
August 23rd, 2021|
The recent decision by California’s Court of Appeals regarding Amazon’s product liability in defective products sold by third parties on its platform may have profound repercussions not just for Amazon but for operators of all e-commerce sites.
The April 26, 2021, decision in Loomis v. Amazon.com LLC went against Amazon in a development likely to open doors to more lawsuits and redefine industry norms. Amazon and others may now be held liable for injuries sustained due to defective products sold on their platforms in the state of California.
What Was the Case About?
Loomis v. Amazon.com LLC was a lawsuit brought by plaintiff Kisha Loomis against Amazon for injuries sustained while using a defective hoverboard. The hoverboard was purchased from a third-party seller, TurnUpUP (a username employed by a Chinese company, SMILETO), through Amazon’s website.
Plugged in, the hoverboard caused a fire in which Loomis sustained injuries to her hand and foot. California’s Court of Appeals was charged with deciding whether strict liability could be attributed to Amazon for Loomis’ injuries.
In its defense, Amazon argued that it was not liable for Loomis’s injuries because it was only a service provider and not the seller or manufacturer and therefore wasn’t subject to strict product liability.
The Court leaned on Bolger v. Amazon LLC, a 2020 decision by the California Court of Appeals. The Court found Amazon liable for the cost of injuries arising from defective products because it was an integral part of the overall supply chain.
Consequently, the Court found that Amazon played a role in ensuring product safety according to its own Business Solutions Agreement (BSA), making it a direct link in the vertical chain of distribution. Because Amazon was pivotal in supplying the hoverboard to Loomis, it played a role in ensuring product safety and could therefore be held strictly liable under California’s strict liability doctrine for Loomis’s injuries.
What’s Happening Now
Amazon is now considering whether to appeal the case at the California Supreme Court. While the high court passed on taking up the Bolger v. Amazon case, it may be more likely to consider Loomis v. Amazon LLC, given its broader ramifications for Amazon and other e-commerce sites. Meanwhile, a bill to govern online marketplace liability has been reintroduced in the California Legislature.
Elsewhere, a similar suit in Texas seeking to hold Amazon liable for a toddler’s injury was struck down by the Texas Supreme Court in a 5-2 opinion on June 25, 2021, finding that Amazon was not a seller in the matter. Nevertheless, Amazon is likely to be held increasingly liable in the wake of the California decision.
If you have been injured by a defective product purchased from a third party on Amazon in the San Francisco area, contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a complimentary consultation. We provide support in San Francisco product liability law cases.
What it Means
Courts are becoming increasingly willing to entertain the notion that Amazon shares responsibility for defective products purchased from its platform and sold by third-party companies. This is despite the company having often successfully used the argument in the past that it is not the seller or manufacturer, and therefore cannot take proactive responsibility for the safety of products.
This era of lacking accountability appears to be coming to an end. If other courts begin adopting the stance taken in Loomis v. Amazon LLC, as seems likely, this may extend to other e-commerce platforms as well. Courts may hold several parties along the distribution chain strictly liable for negligence in injuries caused by defective products.
This has the potential to upend long-existing e-commerce norms and ways of doing business. It also has serious ramifications for victims of injuries sustained by products purchased on online platforms. They are being made increasingly aware of their right to seek compensation and hold companies like Amazon liable.
Berg Injury, Product Liability Attorneys
The product liability attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers believe that it’s not your responsibility to pay for the negligence of manufacturers, sellers, or service providers such as Amazon.
The products we all use daily are supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. When products are imperfectly or poorly designed and have not been submitted to safety checks by all the entities responsible in the supply chain, it can lead to you or a family member suffering a severe injury. This can lead to even more trauma if you are faced with medical bills you cannot pay.
We’ve been working with San Francisco product liability law cases since 1981 and will fight to ensure you obtain the compensation you’re entitled to. If you have been the victim of injuries caused by a defective product purchased on an online platform, schedule a free consultation with us today to learn how we can help you. Contact us today.
August 16th, 2021|
The newer your vehicle, the likelier it is to feature high-tech upgrades to existing features designed to improve the car’s safety. However, it is all too easy to get swept up, assuming that the vehicle is automatically safe because it features the latest technology.
Children, in particular, can be vulnerable to tech safety features. Because of their curiosity and need to explore, they may inadvertently trigger features that can put them in danger. You should be aware of these and how to protect your child when they travel in your vehicle. The following are some of the most common hazards to consider.
Children can be injured when a power window closes on a finger, hand, or wrist. In extreme cases, children have even been strangled by power windows.
If your car has child safety settings for your power windows, turn them on. Vehicles from 2010 and later usually have pull-to-close switches that require pulling up to close the window, but older models may have window switches that a child can accidentally trigger.
Some vehicles are equipped explicitly with power windows that automatically reverse when something is in the path of a closing window. Check if your car benefits from this safety technology and keep the feature activated at all times.
Above all, never leave your child alone in the car. You should also teach your kids not to play with window switches and never put their limbs outside the window, regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion.
While restraining children in car seats and with seat belts is important to their safety, a seat belt can present a potential hazard for kids. Most seat belts have a locking mechanism that activates when the belt is pulled out too far, which could cause your child to get trapped in the belt.
If your child is very young, you should ensure they are appropriately restrained at all times. Entanglement in a seat belt presents a choking and strangling hazard, so your child must be taught the belt is not a toy. Buckle up any unused seat belts within the child’s reach, and do not leave the child alone unsupervised in the car.
While airbags make a car safer in general, they are dangerous to children weighing under 65 lbs. or generally under 13 years old. This is why children should not be allowed to sit up front until this age. Airbags cushion passengers when fully inflated but jolts them while still moving if they are too close.
As children are lighter, an airbag may lift them off their seats and cause them to hit their heads on the car roof. It can also propel them forward due to their inflate speed, and the blunt force impact could be enough to cause serious injury or even death. Letting a child ride in the passenger’s seat is not a decision to be made lightly, as airbags can deploy on impact, even if you’re driving very slowly and carefully.
Newer cars feature off switches, enabling you to turn off the airbag if a child is up front. Some now feature smart airbags that can sense if someone is too close or is not belted correctly.
Children should always be seated in the back, however, and preferably in a safety seat.
Berg Injury Lawyers, Product Liability Attorneys
The California product liability attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help if your child has been endangered or injured by vehicle tech features. If the feature is proven defective, you may be entitled to compensation.
A child or another family member suffering a severe injury due to a car accident caused by a defective component can be traumatizing, especially if you were under the reasonable assumption that the car’s features were safe, and you observed all the requisite safety measures. The devastation of watching your child suffer can be compounded by medical bills that you may have difficulty paying.
Since 1981, we have fought to ensure our clients obtain the compensation they’re entitled to. If your child has been the victim of injuries caused by defective vehicle tech features, schedule a free consultation with us today and let us review your case.
If your child has had an accident and you suspect it was caused by defective vehicle technology, contact us immediately.
August 9th, 2021|
Losing a loved one is a challenging moment in anyone’s life. For many, there is no pain worse than mourning the loss of a family member or friend. Although it is natural to be emotional under such hardship, the pain felt is made even worse when knowing the death resulted from another person’s negligence.
In cases where the death is due to someone else’s negligence, the victim’s family has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and hold the responsible parties accountable. If you are a California resident intending to file a wrongful death claim, learn about these common mistakes and why you should avoid making them.
Settling Your Case Without an Attorney
In times of hardship, it can be tempting to settle the case independently. However, this is one of the most common mistakes when filing a legal claim and exacerbates the stress you may already be experiencing.
Don’t fight this battle alone. Contact California wrongful death attorneys and let them handle the legal aspects of your case. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our wrongful death attorneys have the resources and qualifications to represent you, giving you the time you need to heal.
The stress and pressure involved in a wrongful death lawsuit cause many families to argue over various issues, such as funeral arrangements or other estate matters.
While it’s natural to be emotional under pressure, you and your family must set aside your differences and focus on recovering. If you are having difficulty handling interaction and communication regarding a lawsuit due to grief, our wrongful death attorneys can remove the legal burden from your shoulders, so you have the time you need to grieve your loved one.
Speaking to an Insurance Company
When dealing with their insurance providers, mistakes families make fall into one of these two categories: speaking to them before contacting a lawyer or letting multiple family members talk to company representatives.
Remember that an insurance company never has you or your family’s best interests in mind. Their priority is to minimize the amount of money they owe you, and they will attempt every tactic possible to avoid paying the compensation you deserve.
By getting family members to speak to their representatives – especially multiple members, who can contradict each other – insurance reps may gather statements and information they can use to reduce the compensation they offer or even deny your claim entirely.
Refer the reps to your attorneys, do not speak directly to them, and advise your family members not to talk to them either.
Accepting an Offer Too Early
Spend some time thinking about the costs involved in the death of your loved one. The total expenses likely include medical and funeral expenses, loss of future earnings – particularly if the deceased loved one was the family’s primary income earner – compensation for the pain and suffering endured, and more.
When filing a wrongful death claim, the settlement should adequately compensate you for all these factors. Since insurance companies will offer you as little as possible, their initial offers are seldom enough.
You must carefully consider when you should accept the compensation. Once you do, there is no going back to ask for additional funds. If you’re in doubt, ask for counseling from your attorneys; they can help you determine whether the compensation is worth accepting.
Speaking Publicly About the Situation (Even Online)
Depending on the circumstances, the situation may have garnered public attention, and local media organizations may attempt to reach you for statements or comments. While it may be tempting, don’t speak about the events to media organizations or in public settings, no matter how much you wish others to know what you’re going through.
Any public statements you make can be used against you during a trial or negotiations, potentially preventing you from getting the compensation you deserve.
Similarly, anything you post publicly on social media is equivalent to making a public statement. The content of your posts can be used against you, even if you later delete them; a third party can take screenshots and save evidence of your statements.
Maintain your privacy and avoid public statements both online and offline, at least until a settlement has been reached and you’ve received compensation.
Let Us Help You
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we understand how challenging it can be for the families of wrongful death victims. Entrust your legal representation to us; we will stand up for your rights and give you compassionate legal service and counsel. Contact us today for a no-obligation, free consultation.
August 2nd, 2021|
Brain injuries are among the worst types of physical injuries a person can endure. Although they vary in severity, the most common is a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is typically sustained due to blunt force trauma or a penetrating impact.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Brain injury symptoms may be temporary or cause permanent damage. The severity of the symptoms correlates with the extent of the damage to the brain tissue, ranging from mild to severe. Some of these symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Dilated pupils
- Headache increases in intensity
- Vomiting or nausea
If your loved one has sustained a serious head injury, whether from an auto accident, slip and fall, or other circumstance, and they experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Types of Brain Injuries
Different brain injuries can elicit varying symptoms and impact the level of disability that occurs as a result. The three main types of brain injury are:
- Closed head: The injury has no visible head wound.
- Open wound: The injury has an open wound, and the brain is vulnerable to penetration.
- Crushing brain: This injury occurs when the brain is crushed between objects.
The most common type of brain injury is closed head, and the extent of the injury is not always immediately apparent, often leading people to postponed medical treatment. This can, unfortunately, lead to serious health complications and long-term disability.
Caring For a Loved One With a Brain Injury
If a family member, friend, or loved one sustained a TBI or another type of brain injury, it’s natural to feel lost or not know what to do. Here are things you can do to help them, making their lives and yours more manageable.
1. Learn About Brain Injuries
The first thing you should do is gather basic information on the types of brain injuries and the severity of side effects. This can help you meet your loved one’s needs, so you can recognize changes in their personality and worsening symptoms.
2. Help Them Organize Their Lives
One of the most common side effects of a TBI is memory loss. Although the severity varies depending on the individual, most cases involve situations where your loved ones forget where their belongings are or become unable to remember names, dates, appointments, or everyday tasks.
There are many ways you can help them reintroduce organization into their lives:
- Encourage them to use lists, agendas, or memo applications.
- Label cabinets, appliances, drawers, and other furniture so they can find what they need.
- Keep photo albums with names, dates of birth, and other information they might want to remember.
3. Don’t Let Them Flounder
Another common side effect of a brain injury is the constant sensation of fatigue and a lack of motivation to get outside or do anything. This may cause anxiety or depression, further reinforcing the sensations of fatigue.
Take them for a walk in a calming place like a park or nature preserve. Organize outings like family picnics or day trips to the lake to give them some fresh air and light socialization. However, avoid large crowds or extremely busy locations as this can be stressful or overwhelming for someone recovering from a TBI.
4. Be Proactive
Sustaining a brain injury can often leave someone feeling confused or out of place, creating feelings of discomfort, uncertainty, and helplessness.
In other words, they may not be able to ask for help as often as they should, out of fear of feeling like a burden. It is vital to be proactive and offer to help even when they do not ask for it. There are many things you can do to ease their burden, such as:
- Run their errands and buy them supplies at a store.
- Do dishes or laundry.
- Clean the house.
- Offer to cook or order food.
5. Be Mindful During Conversations
Brain injury victims may not have the same conversational speed as before. They may feel they are thinking or processing words in slow motion and have trouble recalling the correct terms for things.
Avoid using misleading statements or becoming frustrated when they can’t find the word they need. Instead, let them take time, offer a hint, and give praise and reassurance when they do find their words.
Certain brain injury patients may interpret promises and expressions literally, such as believing you will return in exactly one minute if you tell them you’ll be back “in a minute.” Be mindful of that fact, especially if they were already prone to this behavior before their injury.
6. Above All, Be Patient
A brain injury is a life-changing event that can completely alter the victim’s perception of life, time, and the world. From their point of view, an inability to do even the simplest tasks may be very frustrating.
Show them patience, understanding, and support, both practical and emotional. Helping them do tasks, giving them validation and comfort, and being a supportive presence can make a significant difference in their lives.
Although it isn’t always easy, remember that their condition often causes displays of hostility or impatience. Think of it as their injury talking and not as the intention to be hurtful or hostile.
Help Your Loved One Through This Challenging Time
Recovery may be a long process for a brain injury victim, but time, treatment, and adequate support are the ingredients for returning to a normal, healthy life. Unfortunately, loss of income and medical bills can add financial strain to an already stressful time.
If your loved one sustained a brain injury as the result of negligent behavior by another party, they may be eligible for damages to cover medical costs, lost income, or for pain and suffering.
Don’t hesitate to call our San Francisco brain injury lawyers for a free consultation to help your injured loved ones take back control of their lives and secure the financial compensation they deserve.
July 26th, 2021|
Every year, hundreds of people are killed by drivers running a red light. In 2017, the annual death toll reached a 10-year high, with 939 Americans losing their lives in red-light running crashes. These impatient drivers also injure thousands of people every year.
Stop on Red Week is a national campaign to help save lives by educating drivers about the dangers of red-light running. This year, the movement is more critical than ever.
After spending a year working from home, many drivers are returning to a daily commute. However, the roads they are driving may be more dangerous post-pandemic. Last year, the U.S. saw an 8% increase in motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries. The increase is even more shocking since the number of miles driven dropped by 13%. If the trend continues, each mile driven poses more risk for daily commuters.
The reduction in driving miles may have additional consequences. Your muscle memory and reflexive skills may have weakened from underuse during the pandemic. Drivers feel more stress and anxiety about traffic conditions because they are relatively unfamiliar with these situations now. As everyone readjusts to frequent driving, their skills will return. However, the adjustment period will increase the risks of the road in the short term.
Increased Speed Limits
It’s not just you; everyone is driving faster now. In the last year, the California state highway patrol doubled the number of citations issued for speeding over 100 mph.
Speeding is happening on local roads, too, not just highways. Road surveys have led to increased speed limits in many cities. This is because California used the 85th percentile method. State engineers measure the speeds of driving over a stretch of road, then base the speed limit on the rate that 85% of the vehicles are traveling.
Traffic Intersection Dangers
Intersection crashes are incredibly dangerous. They account for more than half of accident fatalities and injuries, even though intersection crashes only account for 35% of reported accidents. Red-light running and other risky behaviors lead to increased accident risk at intersections.
Some intersections are more dangerous than others. Trees and buildings may obstruct your line of sight, and speed limit changes may lead to driving too fast for the conditions of the road. Drivers may also turn to distracting devices while stopped and fail to return to full attention at the change of the light.
Additionally, drivers at intersections need to look for more than just other cars. Pedestrians and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable when involved in a traffic collision.
In 2018, pedestrians or bicyclists were involved in 28% of intersection accident fatalities.
Stopping on Red
Installing a traffic signal improves the safety of intersections, reducing the number of traffic accident injuries and fatalities. However, intersections with traffic signals still account for thousands of deaths every year, and red-light running causes about 25% of them.
Most drivers recognize red-light running as hazardous driving behavior. A traffic safety survey showed that 85% of drivers view the practice as very dangerous. Shockingly, nearly 33% of those drivers have run a red light in the last 30 days.
Red light running is primarily the result of distracted or aggressive driving. Many drivers choose to run a red light when they could stop safely. This may be because they feel they are unlikely to be punished for the infraction. Just under half of the drivers surveyed felt police would pull them over for running a red light.
You can do more to increase intersection safety than simply stopping at red lights. Stop on Red week is the perfect time to get involved with local and national lawmakers regarding road safety.
One way to support intersection safety is by campaigning for improved enforcement of red lights. Red-light cameras can reduce crash rates by 21% and fatalities by 14%. When installed at appropriate locations, red-light cameras save lives.
You can also spread the word on the shocking statistics related to red-light crashes. The National Coalition for Safer Roads has social media posts that you can share on your accounts to increase awareness. The more people know about the dangerous and real-life consequences of red-light running, the more likely they are to stop safely.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Arrange Your Free Consultation
If you know firsthand the damage that red-light running causes, don’t suffer alone. The skilled San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve after your accident. Contact us today for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.
July 19th, 2021|
In an unexpected turn of events, the 2020 pandemic and accompanying quarantine that kept drivers off the road has contributed to a rise in road accidents. Many of these accidents resulted in severe injury or death for the parties involved.
California is taking new measures to tackle the dramatic increase in road deaths and protect citizens as they get back out on the road after lockdown. Learn about these prevention measures and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you in the event of a car accident.
What Caused an Increase in Road Deaths?
In 2020, California went into lockdown. Pre-pandemic, congested traffic conditions forced motorists to slow down and be alert to issues on the road. Once the quarantine order took effect, the majority of drivers stayed home, leaving roads virtually empty. Consequently, this lack of traffic led to motorists driving at higher-than-average speeds and becoming less attuned to road conditions that they would typically pay attention to. This phenomenon has resulted in a 14% increase in fatality rates for car accidents nationwide.
How is California Approaching the Problem?
California lawmakers are working on ways to lessen the number of deaths in car accidents. Although there are many proposals in the pipeline, there are three standout solutions that may be enacted in the coming year that address the problem of dangerous speeding on California’s roads.
1. Speed Limit Changes
In California, speed limits are set by agencies using Engineering and Traffic surveys (E&Ts). One of the most common ways of establishing a speed limit is by using the 85th percentile speed. This is when the speed limit is set at whatever rate 85% of traffic is moving at.
Lawmakers want to change this rule, allow municipalities more freedom to set speed limits, and require the E&Ts to consider areas that have formerly been overlooked, such as work zones, school zones, and areas where seniors or other vulnerable populations use the roadway.
2. Installing Speed Cameras
Currently, California has a ban on automated speed enforcement. Automated speed enforcement usually takes the form of speed cameras. Lawmakers are looking into removing this ban and piloting speed camera programs in areas that pose the most significant risk to drivers and pedestrians. This includes putting cameras on dangerous streets and in school and work zones.
3. Harsher Consequences for Speeding
During the first year of the pandemic, highway patrol officers issued 31,600 tickets for drivers going over 100 mph, almost double the pre-pandemic number of citations. California police departments continue to crack down on dangerous speeding by issuing higher fines in greater volume to deter drivers from being reckless.
Common Injuries That Result From Speed-Induced Car Crashes
Speeding is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents. Even if you survive a collision caused by speeding, you are much more likely to have serious, life-altering injuries. The types of injuries that are commonly sustained in speed-induced car accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Permanent disfiguration
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
The consequences of any car accident can be dire, but when speeding is a factor, the probability of severe, long-lasting injury increases exponentially.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, seek the help of a California car accident attorney. An experienced lawyer can aid you in seeking compensation for your injuries, so you don’t have to worry about paying medical bills while trying to heal.
Due to changing traffic laws brought on by the post-pandemic rise in traffic deaths, it is important to reach out to an attorney with knowledge about the evolving legal landscape surrounding car accidents. This can help ensure you don’t foot the bills for an accident caused by a speeding driver.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a car accident, contact the legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Set up a free consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys to review your case and determine the best course of legal action. We will fight for your rights and help you navigate California’s complex traffic laws, allowing you to receive the compensation you are entitled to.
July 12th, 2021|
The Safety Stop Bill (AB 122) aims to make intersections safer for California cyclists by letting them treat stop signs as yield signs. When a bicyclist gets to a stop sign, and there are other vehicles, they must yield and give the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection. If there aren’t other vehicles, they do not have to come to a complete stop.
Among bicyclists, this is already a common courtesy. Many of them support it, including police officers and bicycle-related associations. While not everyone is for it, this proposed law protects everyone on the streets, including drivers.
An Explanation of the Safety Stop
Safety stops are known as the “Idaho stop” because Idaho was the first state to have this bicycle law passed in 1982, which some other states have already assumed. Idaho’s law allows cyclists to treat stop signs as a yield sign and red lights as a stop sign. The broader adoption of this policy is a first step toward recognizing that cyclists use the roads differently from vehicle drivers and adjusting traffic laws accordingly.
Benefits of Implementing this Law in California
For cyclists, this proposed law can make sharing the road with other bicyclists and vehicles safer.
● Align Laws With Other States
Aside from Idaho, Delaware, Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, and Oregon also have similar traffic laws. Utah and North Dakota have recently passed similar safety stop laws as did Oklahoma.
Some of these states have already seen significant changes in bicycle safety as a result. For example, Delaware saw a 23% decrease in bicyclist injuries. California will join other states in policing bicycles on the streets and making the roads a safer place for cyclists.
● Boosts Safety for Bicyclists
According to a 2010 DePaul study, most bicyclists slow down and pass stop signs instead of stopping entirely, with only 1 out of 50 bicyclists coming to a complete stop. Safety laws like Idaho’s yield law led to a 14.5% decrease in bicycle injuries a year after introduction.
Rolling through a stop sign makes the journey easier for cyclists than completely stopping and regaining momentum. For the sake of safety, using stop signs as yield signs benefits cyclists.
● Protects Drivers
Many car accidents occur at intersections because of confusion among drivers and bicyclists. Drivers do not always come to a full stop, and bicyclists move at a momentum where they cannot always stop on time at an intersection. Sometimes, drivers do not see bicyclists before they make a turn at an intersection. As a result, drivers regard bicyclists as disrespectful of the law.
If the Safety Stop law passes, drivers can fully understand that bicyclists must yield to other vehicles and wait until their turn. The law gives bicyclists a head start, making themselves visible to other drivers, preventing crashes if a driver needs to turn in the same direction as the bicyclist.
The Safety Stop Law is Safer for Drivers and Bicyclists
Approximately 70% of bicyclists who rode through stop signs did so for safety reasons, as reported in a recent study. The study also found that drivers more often break the traffic safety law.
Drivers will have to learn to adapt to the new law and better recognize bicyclists on the streets. Transportation is changing as a society pivots more toward walking and bicycling rather than a heavy reliance on vehicles. Legalizing the Safety Stop law will make intersections safer for bicyclists and drivers in California.
A Local Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Until the law passes, California still requires bicyclists to come to a complete stop and follow the same rules of the road as drivers. If you are injured in a car or bicycle accident in California, you need an experienced attorney in your corner. A car accident can result in serious injuries, incurring medical expenses, and wages lost for time off work. The consequences may be especially severe for a cyclist involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. California car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights following a collision. With four decades of experience, Berg Injury Lawyers are skilled in many related practice areas, including car accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury cases. Contact us today to request a no-obligation, free consultation.