Settlement Factors in a Motorcycle Accident Case

by Staff Blogger | January 9th, 2023

When you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may want to seek compensation for your medical bills and other financial losses. The events leading to the accident, the insurance policies, and whether an at-fault driver can pay for the damages can all affect your compensation.

Read on to learn what factors into a settlement in a motorcycle case and how our professional California motorcycle accident attorneys can help you determine what your case is worth and advocate for maximum compensation.

What Is a Settlement in a Motorcycle Accident Case?

A settlement is when two parties agree on an amount the plaintiff receives for the case without going to trial. Both parties give up their right to a future court case when they agree on a settlement amount.

For instance, say you sustain severe injuries after an accident with a car while riding your motorcycle. You required months of physical therapy after the accident and lost wages due to your inability to work. You want $50,000 as compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. The case would settle if both sides were willing to compromise and agree to the compensation.

How Much Are Most Motorcycle Accident Settlements?

The average motorcycle settlement depends on the severity of your injuries. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that motorcycle crashes resulted in a total $16 billion in direct costs nationally. Around 18% of direct motorcycle accident costs are medical expenses, second to 44% in lost wages.

Those who ride motorcycles are at a greater risk of sustaining severe injuries than passengers in other vehicles, with older riders suffering more serious injuries than younger riders. On average, the cost of nonfatal crashes ranged from $2,500 for minor injuries to $1.4 million for severe injuries. Motorcycle accident victims who suffer severe brain injuries may not be able to work and may require ongoing care, increasing their medical expenses.

Motorcycle Accidents and California Law

Since California is a fault-based auto insurance state, the state considers the at-fault party responsible for damages incurred to the rider. The state also considers comparative negligence when more than one party is liable for the motorcycle crash. 

According to California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 406, there must be a 100% allocation of liability among all parties involved in the motorcycle collision. You may face liability in the collision if your actions partially caused your injuries. For example, if you weren’t wearing a helmet per California law.

If your lawyer persuades the jury that the other driver was also negligent, you will receive compensation, although the award damages are reduced according to your own percentage of fault. Your lawyer can use evidence from the accident to help prove the other driver’s negligence and calculate a fair settlement amount.

Major Factors in Motorcycle Accident Settlements

Many factors affect how much you can receive in your motorcycle accident case. When you file a compensation claim with the other driver’s insurance, the company will examine all aspects of the case to determine a settlement amount. These factors include the following:

Financial Damages

Specific financial damages form the basis of your settlement, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. The value of your compensation also includes intangible losses, such as emotional pain and suffering that you and your family members suffer due to your changed quality of life.

The Driver’s Actions

Photos, dashcam videos, and smartphone footage can demonstrate whether the driver of the other vehicle was negligent in causing the motorcycle accident. These negligent actions can include:

  • Speeding and racing
  • Aggressive driving, such as illegal passing and running red lights
  • Distracted driving, like texting and eating snacks

These may prove the driver violated traffic laws and caused the crash. Lawyers can also use your medical bills and records to connect your injuries to the crash.

Availability of Witnesses

If you have witnesses who saw your accident, they can provide details about what transpired before, during, and after it. This information can help determine fault and provide insight into what took place.

Other Things to Consider

A driver’s auto liability insurance policy may limit what they pay for injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. The minimum auto insurance limits are $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 for property damage.

If your medical expenses exceed $15,000, you may not receive the full compensation for your injuries. You may instead need to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit to recover the full extent of your damages.

The party’s ability to pay also factors into your motorcycle accident settlement. For example, if the other driver doesn’t carry the required minimum liability insurance or any insurance, you may have trouble obtaining compensation. You can file for compensation against your own insurance if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.

If you don’t have this coverage, you can seek damages from the driver in a personal injury lawsuit; however, damages would come from their personal assets, which means you may not see compensation.

Is it Better to Settle Your Motorcycle Accident Claim or Go to Trial?

You and your lawyer can accept or reject any settlement offer during the settlement process. You can also negotiate a better deal for future medical expenses and motorcycle replacement parts.

You can take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to negotiate further. You may feel more satisfied with justice when the negligent parties are found guilty of causing the accident, and the jury may award you the maximum amount.

It is best to explore your legal options with the motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers, who can help you maximize your compensation in a motorcycle accident case.

Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

An experienced personal injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can determine whether a settlement offer is fair based on the factors that apply to your accident. Our attorneys can discuss your options if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.

Contact our law office today to discuss your case with a skilled lawyer in a free, no-obligation consultation.

Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

by Staff Blogger | January 5th, 2023

Self-driving cars represent a new age in the auto industry. Along with implementing smart technologies like traffic sensors in major cities like Sacramento, vehicle manufacturers are creating self-driving cars to change the roadways for drivers.

The federal Department of Transportation has mapped safety standards and plans for integrating autonomous vehicles on American roads. Self-driving cars could create employment opportunities for two million people with disabilities and save the healthcare system $19 billion annually in healthcare costs of missed appointments.

However, no amount of technological advancement can put an end to all risks associated with driving. The California DMV has received 533 reports of accidents involving autonomous vehicles from manufacturers during test runs as of December 2022.

If you are involved in a self-driving vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, determining liability for this type of accident can be challenging. Learn more about liability in self-driving car collisions and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you with your case.

How Self-Driving Cars Work

Self-driving cars rely on automated safety features to detect surrounding objects, cars, and other vehicles. These features include cameras and sensors to operate and navigate on highways and roads.

Map Building

Cameras and Light Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology scan the car’s surroundings when out on the road. The vehicle’s computer builds a map of its surroundings and places the car within the map, allowing the technology to plan a route for the vehicle to travel.

Path Planning

Path planning allows driverless cars to find routes that are as safe and fast as possible while maneuvering in traffic. They start with a long-range plan and then generate short-range plans that can change as the trip progresses.

Obstacle Avoidance

A self-driving vehicle’s map includes all visible and predicted obstacles it may face. Machine learning enables them to identify specific objects such as motorcycles and bicycles and avoid them accordingly.

Other self-driving vehicles can communicate with each other over a wireless connection to see if hidden objects are ahead. When one vehicle encounters an obstacle, it warns the other cars so they can avoid it.

The self-driving car may become dangerous if it cannot detect hazards effectively and efficiently. Sensor degradation and failure can cause detection errors, confuse the car’s computer, and make driving dangerous. A human driver may need to take over if the car’s systems fail during the trip. If this occurs, it may complicate identifying who was at fault in a car accident.

Who is Liable if Autopilot Crashes?

Self-driving car accident liability can fall on the human driver or the self-driving vehicle manufacturer. Responsibility depends on whether the car’s auto-pilot system was turned on during the accident.

Human Driver

California’s Vehicle Code 38750 requires self-driving cars to have safety alert systems to warn drivers of computer failures. The driver must regain complete control over the car’s brakes, acceleration, and steering wheel if a computer failure occurs. A driver who doesn’t take control during an emergency can be held responsible for the accident.

Auto Manufacturer

Since driverless vehicles use computers and cameras to plan routes, computing factors can contribute to defects in these vehicles. Computing problems can include:

  • Software bugs
  • System failures
  • Inability to warn the operator to take over the vehicle

Product liability laws in California hold those who design, manufacture or sell defective products strictly responsible for any injuries. Vehicle manufacturers must consider collision safety when designing and building their products. Therefore, vehicle manufacturers are liable for damages caused by manufacturing or design defects.

The Question of Venue to File Your Lawsuit

The appropriate court or venue can be an issue in filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. You can file in any judicial district where the crash happened or where the other party lives. However, venue issues can arise if the other party is an out-of-state corporation, such as an auto manufacturer.

You can work with the California auto accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers to help you with your lawsuit against the auto manufacturing company. We can help you establish the manufacturer’s minimum contacts, such as having an in-state physical location or accepting online orders in-state.

A state court must find these contacts sufficient to assert personal jurisdiction and allow you to sue the company in California. If your damages are at least $75,000, we can help you transfer your case to federal court.

Start Your Case with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Proving liability in a self-driving car accident can be complex with the assistance of an accomplished car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers. We understand California’s self-driving vehicle laws and can help you build a claim against the driver and/or the manufacturer who caused your injuries.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our lawyers.

Challenges When Filing a Brain Injury Lawsuit in California

by Staff Blogger | December 26th, 2022

The impact of a brain injury can be overwhelming at best and life-changing at worst. Many people find themselves buried under massive medical bills in addition to the stress and challenges resulting from the injury itself. In the aftermath of a brain injury, few people can deal with the challenges that arise in brain injury lawsuits.

If you’ve suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness, a brain injury lawyer with Berg Injury Lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Learn the common challenges of brain injury lawsuits and how one of our attorneys can help you navigate a complex case.

Why Is It Important to Document a Brain Injury?

Brain injuries can significantly impact your health without leaving visible evidence. Mild brain injuries can cause long-lasting problems with memory, concentration, and mood but don’t appear on conventional imaging tests like CT or MRI scans. Moderate and severe brain injuries can be detected through imaging tests but are more likely to lead to long-term or lifelong disability.

A brain injury’s long-term or permanent effects can interfere with your ability to function in day-to-day life, including working a job or participating in activities you enjoy. Additionally, the symptoms of a brain injury can change or even worsen over time.

In California, if someone’s carelessness caused you to receive your brain injury, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them for your damages. However, proving damages requires documentation of your injury, how it’s changed over time, and how it’s affected you. Without documentation, you won’t be able to win your case.

Difficulties in Identifying a Brain Injury

The symptoms of brain injuries aren’t always instantaneous. In some cases, you may begin experiencing symptoms several hours or days after the injury. Even when you develop symptoms, they may lack externally visible signs, like a headache or ringing in the ears that someone else might notice, or can get overlooked as symptoms of a more common ailment, like tiredness, nausea, or poor balance.

Additionally, mild brain injuries can be missed in a medical setting. Imaging tests like CT or MRI scans detect bruising, bleeding, swelling, or other unusual activity in the brain, which usually only appear in moderate and severe brain injuries.

In recent years, some blood tests have been able to detect mild injuries, but the diagnosis has traditionally been performed through manual assessment of a person’s ability to function.

Medical Experts and Brain Injuries

Medical experts often struggle to give an accurate prognosis for a brain injury, as the rate of recovery is unclear. Some people may recover with enough time and rest, while others require varying rehabilitation lengths. In some cases, the injured person’s condition may not improve and could even worsen.

However, medical experts can accurately say that even mild brain injuries cause permanent damage. Therefore, if you’ve suffered a brain injury, there is always a possibility that you will experience lifelong challenges afterward.

How To Prove a Brain Injury in Court

Proving that you suffered a brain injury can be difficult if there’s no apparent injury on imaging scans. However, there are still ways to show a brain injury in court, including:

  • Medical Records and Documentation: Medical professionals run several tests to screen for a brain injury and will document the results in your medical records. For example, you may have images from CT and MRI scans showing a visible injury or ratings on diagnostic tests like the Glasgow Coma Scale and assessments of brain function like memory tests. These results can be used to prove a brain injury.
  • Evidence of Past Functional Abilities: The defendant’s lawyer might claim that you weren’t injured, were always impaired, or exaggerated your injuries. To refute this, you can provide evidence that you were not previously impaired, like pictures or videos taken before the injury of you performing tasks that you can no longer do.
  • Testimony of Medical Experts: Many people don’t know that certain regions in the brain control specific functions, nor are they familiar with long-term symptoms of brain injuries. Medical professionals can testify that your symptoms are indicative of a previous brain injury, explain what part of your brain was affected, and verify your current treatment with the court.
  • Testimony of Witnesses: If somebody else witnessed the accident that caused your brain injury, they can testify about the circumstances and scene of the accident. Witnesses can also attest to your previous abilities and personality versus current limitations and behaviors.

For example, you were a mechanic, and your brain injury made you too uncoordinated to continue working. Your manager at the auto shop could testify that you didn’t have any movement or coordination problems before your TBI and that your current mobility problems prevent you from safely working on cars.

  • Hire a Skilled Attorney: Handling a legal case on your own is difficult at the best of times, and even more so after a brain injury. A California brain injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you handle the complexities of your brain injury case and represent you in court.

We can investigate your case, gather evidence, and craft a well-documented claim to get you a fair settlement. If the negligent party’s insurance doesn’t pay your claim, an attorney can fight for maximum damages on your behalf in court.

Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help

Even though you have the right to seek compensation after suffering a brain injury, taking on a lawsuit after a TBI can seem challenging. Your attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can take over the legal aspects of your case and win you fair compensation so you can focus on recovery.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Car Accident Claim in California?

by Staff Blogger | December 19th, 2022

A bad car accident can upend your life. When you’re facing the cost of car repairs, medical treatment for your injuries, and challenges of daily life, handling time restrictions on making a car insurance claim can feel like an overwhelming task. Some people get help from an auto accident attorney to help with the process and ensure they file a claim in time.

It can be difficult to keep up with claims and filing deadlines after a car accident. Learn how long you have to file a claim after a car accident and how Berg Injury Lawyers can assist with the process.

The Car-Accident Claim Process

When you’ve been in a car accident in California, you must file a claim with your car insurance company immediately, per California law. Some insurance policies have a deadline for filing, so it’s essential to check your policy details.

After filing with your insurance, your insurance company will reach out to you to ask about the circumstances of the accident and assess your damages. While your insurance company will usually work with an adjuster and your repair shop to determine the cost of damages to your car, they won’t take the initiative to investigate other damages.

Damages to anything other than your car, like medical expenses, will need to be documented so you can give them to your insurance company. There may also be deadlines for filing these documents, which will be listed in your insurance policy.

Per the California Department of Insurance, most insurance companies must:

  • Advise you of your policy benefits, coverage, provisions, and time limits.
  • Acknowledge, begin investigating, and correspond with you regarding your claim within 15 days.
  • Accept or deny the claim within 40 days of receiving the proof of claim document.
  • Offer a fair settlement, payable within 30 days of reaching an agreement.

California is an at-fault insurance state, so your insurance and the other driver’s insurance will determine who is most responsible for the accident. The driver considered not at fault will receive monetary compensation for their damages, while the other driver will not receive payment.

What Insurance Companies Will Try to Do

Car insurance companies are often reluctant to cover the damages you’re owed. To try and get out of compensating you, they may deliberately undervalue your car, claim you were at fault for the accident, or refuse to cover medical bills or wages you were unable to earn due to the accident.

Unethical insurance companies may even resort to bad faith tactics like deliberately delaying your claim, causing you to miss a deadline, and then denying your claim because the deadline has passed.

If you’re facing challenging negotiations with the insurance company, get in touch with a Sacramento car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can review your case and determine whether you’ll need to file a claim in court.

Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney if You’ve Been Injured

Handling the aftermath of a car accident is stressful, even in the best of times. Being badly injured in a car accident makes it significantly harder to keep on top of filing deadlines and necessary paperwork. Hiring a car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can give you peace of mind and ensure you file a well-supported compensation claim.

Berg Injury Lawyers has a team of experienced car accident attorneys who can help you through the claims process and ensure you file on schedule. If the other driver or their insurance company is unwilling to pay you what you’re owed, we will be prepared to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Let a lawyer handle the legal aftermath of your car accident so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. Contact us today for a free consultation and get started on your claim.

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.

Who Determines Fault in an Auto Accident in California?

by Staff Blogger | December 5th, 2022

In California, determining liability is integral to the personal injury claim process. In the event of an accident, the driver who is at fault is responsible for all financial losses.

However, some drivers who sustain severe injuries may need to fully understand who determines fault and the evidence required to prove the other party’s liability. When you hire a California auto accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers, they can help you determine liability and how it may affect your case after a car crash.

What Is an At-Fault/No-Fault State?

Many states require that drivers carry auto insurance, but car insurance laws vary depending on the liability situation. Car insurance laws around the country include no-fault and at-fault types of coverage.

No-Fault States

No-fault states require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) and liability coverage. After an accident, all drivers are responsible for filing their insurance claims with their auto insurers, regardless of fault.

These states only allow drivers to sue for compensation and pain and suffering if their injuries and losses meet a specific threshold. For instance, a no-fault state with verbal thresholds enables injured drivers to sue when they meet the criteria for severe physical injuries.

Drivers with medical expenses that exceed statutory amounts can sue another driver in no-fault states with monetary thresholds.

At-Fault States

At-fault states require the driver who caused the accident to compensate the injured driver for their injuries and property damage. The injured driver can file an insurance claim under their property damage and bodily liability insurance coverage with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

However, the coverage only pays up to the auto policy’s limits. Injured drivers may sue at-fault drivers for additional compensation if their medical expenses and property damages exceed the limits.

Is California a No-Fault State?

California is not a no-fault state. It is an at-fault state that requires drivers to be liable for their actions in car accidents with substantial evidence. California drivers must carry liability insurance that follows the state insurance laws in case of an accident:

  • $5,000 for property damage
  • $15,000 for physical injuries or death of one party
  • $30,000 for bodily injuries or fatalities of multiple parties

When determining liability in a collision, the state follows pure comparative negligence, allowing shared fault between involved parties. Whether and how much compensation a person receives depends on how much responsibility they have for the accident.

As a result, the other driver may recover a portion of the damages, even if their liability exceeds yours. For example, if a jury finds you 30% at fault for an accident and the other driver 70% at fault, you only receive 70% of your damages.

The Process of Determining Fault

Following a car accident, insurance companies will look at the evidence and facts of the accident to determine the degree of fault. During the claims process, their adjusters look at the police report, investigate the accident scene, and evaluate medical records to determine a settlement offer.

Multiple factors can affect your case, such as where your crash occurred and what type of accident it was. For example, it may be difficult to determine who had the right of way in an accident occurring at a busy intersection. If there were no witnesses to the accident, the police officer may decide that you’re liable for the accident even though the other driver is at fault.

A California auto accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can investigate your case and help you prove fault. They understand the types of evidence needed to substantiate your compensation claim.  

How You Can Help Your Lawyer Prove Liability in a Car Accident

Your lawyer needs evidence to minimize your fault for the accident. Here are a few pieces of evidence you can obtain with your lawyer:

Eyewitness Statements

Ask pedestrians and passersby for their contact information and permission to get a statement. A statement from a credible witness may prove the at-fault driver caused the accident.

Surveillance Footage

Check if nearby homes and businesses have cameras pointed at the collision site. Many homes and businesses have surveillance cameras to monitor their properties.

Dashboard Cameras

Some passenger vehicles and commercial trucks have dashboard cameras facing the front and back of traffic. See if other drivers’ cars have a dashboard camera and ask them if they can lend their footage for your lawyer’s investigation.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Help You with Your Case

California’s at-fault insurance system lets you prove liability and pursue compensation against the other driver. If you want to maximize your compensation, an experienced auto accident attorney can answer your questions and help you navigate the insurance claim process.

Contact our law office for a free consultation and learn how we can use evidence to determine liability for your claim.

How to Prove a Brain Injury After an Accident in California

by Staff Blogger | November 28th, 2022

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most severe injuries resulting from an accident. Those with severe TBIs can develop long-term disabilities that require rehabilitation and psychiatric care in California.

Medical records and diagnostic testing can prove your brain injury and future medical costs after an accident. The experienced California brain injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers have the legal resources to help you access expert medical witnesses who can attest to your medical care for your injury.

What Is a TBI?

Traumatic brain injury is caused by sudden trauma to the brain. It can range from mild to severe, affecting thinking, motor coordination, and emotion regulation. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Light and noise sensitivity

A medical evaluation from your doctor is one way to confirm your injury and help you get treatment. 

Why Is It Important to Document a Brain Injury?

According to a 2015 study, the lifetime treatment costs for TBIs can range from $85,000 to $3 million. Those with life-long disabilities caused by TBIs may need extensive care for years. For example, a person hospitalized for a TBI at 40 could require household assistance for an additional 23 to 32 years.

To help cover these treatment costs, you can seek a settlement from the party who caused your accident. However, you must document your TBI and related care expenses to get maximum compensation. Evidence such as your initial diagnosis, treatment plan, and subsequent healthcare bills or receipts can support your claim.

Difficulties in Identifying a Brain Injury

Medical professionals usually place TBIs into one of these types of brain injuries based on their assessment:

However, some traumatic brain injury symptoms may not emerge for hours or even days following the accident. As a result, some medical providers have difficulty identifying a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms can appear similar to other illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Medical Experts and Brain Injuries

Your lawyer can help you find highly specialized medical providers to assess your traumatic brain injury. The results of various tests can show the physical effects of your traumatic brain injury. Tests your doctor might use to diagnose your TBI include:

Glasgow Coma Scale

A doctor will evaluate your brain injury using the 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale to see how you respond to pain, follow directions, and move your eyes. The total coma score can range from 3 to 15, with 3 being indicative of the worst outcome: no eye, verbal, and motor responses.

MRIs and CT Scans

If you lose consciousness, a neurologist will perform an MRI to determine any brain damage. CT scans can also diagnose bleeding in the brain.

Speech Test

A speech therapist can assess your speech, reading, and writing skills. They also evaluate your communication skills. This assessment provides evidence about when and if you will regain a critical function.

What Types of Evidence Can I Use to Prove My Traumatic Brain Injury?

Caring for a traumatic brain injury requires emergency care for surgeries and diagnostic testing. If your brain injury resulted in a permanent disability, you may need household assistance and modifications to your home to help you get around.

You can use the following medical expenses and other records to prove your brain injury damages and receive compensation for calculable damages:

  • Emergency transport bills
  • Test results from MRIs and CT scans
  • Primary physician and specialist evaluations
  • Prescription drug expenses
  • In-home health care
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs and crutches
  • Home modifications
  • Loss of wages and lost future earning capacity
  • Ongoing medical care, follow-up evaluations, and rehabilitation

The personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can also seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, based on your medical records and the statements of your treating healthcare providers.

Caps for Medical Malpractice Claims

A traumatic brain injury can result from medical malpractice, such as failing to monitor a patient under anesthesia. However, California currently restricts non-economic damages to $250,000. On January 1, 2023, the non-economic damage caps will increase to $350,000, with incremental increases over the next 10 years to $750,000.

How to Prove a Brain Injury in Court

An experienced personal injury attorney can consult expert medical witnesses like rehabilitation therapists and mental health professionals to evaluate your medical records. Their statements can show how future medical costs will affect your quality of life and financial resources.

Your attorney can use your diagnostic results to establish your injury and reduced quality of life. Additional records supporting your claim can include:

  • Police report
  • Pictures and videos of the accident scene
  • Testimonies from witnesses about the injury’s impact on your life

Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help

The attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can assist you with your claim after suffering a TBI. We can help you calculate the potential value of your claim and fight for the financial recovery you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers today.

How Long Until I Get My Car Accident Check?

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2022

Even a minor car accident can leave you shaken, but a serious car accident can cause significant stress and financial strain. A car accident settlement can offer hope to families tight on money. Settlement checks provide coverage for medical bills, car repairs, or the replacement of a totaled car. However, even after your claim is settled, receiving your car accident check can take weeks or even longer.

Learn about the process of a car accident settlement in California and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you claim your rightfully earned money.

Why Is it Taking So Long To Get My Car Accident Check?

When filing a straightforward car accident claim in California, car insurance companies only have 85 days to settle your claim, 15 days to respond, 40 days to accept or deny the claim, and 30 days to pay out your claim. However, this process is often delayed, and the claim can last for several months or years.

Sometimes settlements are delayed by internal procedures, like signing paperwork. In more contentious cases, the delay may result from negotiations or deliberations between your attorney and the insurance company. For instance, the settlement may be delayed if your insurance company has trouble determining who is at fault for the car accident.

Settlements can also be delayed for your benefit. For example, if you or a loved one were severely injured in a car accident, it may be months or even years before you fully recover.

Rather than settle your claim early and risk the settlement not covering your medical bills, your personal injury attorney can delay the settlement until you fully recover and have a better idea of your medical costs.

The Car Accident Settlement Process

Negotiating a car accident settlement can be a long, drawn-out process. If you’re confused about how the settlement process works, a car accident lawyer in Sacramento can walk you through each step.

  • Agreeing on a Settlement

The defendant’s insurance company and your attorney must first negotiate a settlement. Depending on the facts of the case and how much you and your attorney want to settle for, this process can take several weeks or months. Your attorney will also confirm that you are okay with the settlement offer before officially settling the claim.

  • Funds Placed in Escrow

Once you settle with your insurance company, the funds don’t go directly to you. Instead, your attorney will place them in a trust and hold your settlement in escrow. This ensures that you can’t simply take money from any third party who might be owed part of your settlement.

  • Deduction of Relevant Fees

In the aftermath of a car accident, you may owe quite a bit of money to third parties. This can include medical liens to your healthcare providers, expert witness fees, private investigator fees, police report expenses, court filing fees, and your attorney’s contingency fee. If you owe child support, the government can also place a lien on your settlement.

Before you receive your settlement, you will likely be informed of how much any third party will take.

  • Release of the Remaining Earnings

After your attorney has taken all relevant fees from your settlement, the remaining funds will be given to you. At this point, the money belongs to you.

What to Do if You Don’t Receive Your Check

The process of receiving your settlement check can be lengthy, and there often isn’t a way to speed it up; you may simply have to be patient.

There may be several reasons why your settlement check is delayed, including the following:

  • You agreed to a structured settlement that disburses tax-free payments in smaller increments over time.
  • Your settlement is more than six figures which can take longer for the insurance company to process and the bank to verify the legitimacy of the check.
  • Your attorney is still negotiating outstanding liens.
  • Weekends and holidays can affect the timeframe because check processing is placed on hold when the banks are closed.

However, if you’ve been waiting on your settlement check for more than six weeks, it may be time to talk to your attorney to find out why it is delayed. Although there are some exceptions, most settlement checks in California are disbursed in about six weeks. 

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and want to discuss how long it takes to receive a settlement, contact us today for a free case review. Berg Injury Lawyers has been helping car accident victims in California maximize their settlements since 1981.

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.

Bicycle Safety: How to Not Get Hit by Cars

by Staff Blogger | November 14th, 2022

Commuting by bike is a great way to reduce vehicle emissions while staying in shape. However, it’s common for cyclists and drivers to have trouble sharing the road. In 2021, an estimated 7,639 bicyclists were injured or killed by traffic accidents in the state.

If you want to enjoy riding your bike more often, don’t let the fear of car accidents stop you. Learn about bike safety tips in California with Berg Injury Lawyers.

How Safe is it to Bicycle in California?

While California has made an effort to improve cyclist safety, there is a significant risk of accidents when riding on the road. In 2020, 3.4% of the state’s fatal crashes involved cyclists. The threat to cyclists is more significant in some counties: Los Angeles County saw around 15,000 bicycle crashes between 2017 and 2021, while Sacramento County saw 2,319 crashes.

Cyclists have far less protection than vehicle occupants, leaving them at greater risk of injury or death in a crash. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation if you’re injured in a bike accident.

Tips to Avoid Getting Hit by Cars

A collision between a cyclist and a car can leave you seriously injured at best and prove fatal at worst. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting into a crash.

  • Wear a Helmet and Reflective Gear

In California, you’re legally required to attach reflectors to your bike. At a minimum, you must have white or yellow reflectors on the side and the front and back of your pedals, a headlight on the front of your bike, and a red reflector on the back. Some people also attach reflectors to their tires or a red light to the back of their bike.

While these requirements are meant for night biking, reflective gear catches and reflects light at any time of day, making you more visible on the road. You can also attach reflective gear to your clothing and helmet to further increase your visibility to drivers.

  • Stay Aware

Failing to pay attention to the road can increase your risk of being struck by a car. The California Vehicle Code outlaws riding your bike while wearing a headset, headphones, or anything limiting your ability to hear what’s happening around you. While there are no laws against cell phone use while biking, distracted biking is just as dangerous as distracted driving.

Similarly, avoid biking under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substances make it difficult to remain aware of your surroundings and react quickly, and it’s outlawed in California.

  • Use Bike Lanes When Possible

Bike lanes are specifically designed to accommodate people on bicycles. Some bike lanes have posts installed between the bike lane and the street, providing extra protection against vehicle collisions. If the road contains a bike lane, use it.

If there is no designated bike lane, ride on the right-hand side of the road. Although California law does not expressly prohibit using your bike on the sidewalk, try to avoid it; if the sidewalk ends unexpectedly, you could be forced into the road.

  • Use Hand Signals

Just as cars use turn signals to alert other drivers that they’re turning or changing lanes, bicyclists are expected to use hand signals to let drivers or cyclists know if they’re turning or stopping. Before you turn or stop, you should:

  • Signal a left turn by holding your left arm straight out.
  • Signal a right turn by holding your left arm out with your elbow bent, so the tips of your fingers point toward the sky.
  • Signal a stop by holding your left arm out and bending your elbow, so the tips of your fingers point toward the ground.
  • Be Cautious Around Intersections

Approximately 26% of fatal car accidents involving cyclists in 2020 in the United States occurred at an intersection. Always look before you cross the street, as sometimes drivers overlook pedestrians or cyclists when making a turn.

  • Stay Out of Car Blind Spots

Cars are bulky, making it challenging for drivers to see someone next to them or behind them. Ensure the driver can see you from their window or side or rearview mirrors.

  • Avoid Biking at Night

Darkness reduces visibility for drivers and bikers alike, and cyclists are easier to overlook due to their smaller size. Ride your bike during the day to ensure you aren’t obscured by darkness. If biking at night is unavoidable, wear lighter-colored clothing and make sure you have reflectors and a working headlight.

What to Do if You’re Hit by a Car While Cycling

Even if you take all proper precautions, you can still fall victim to a car accident when biking. If you’re struck by a car while riding your bike, ensure you:

  • Seek immediate medical attention. Cyclists have less protection against the impact of a car and are more likely to suffer serious injuries.
    • Call the police to report the accident. The police must file an accident report for all vehicle collisions, including ones with cyclists.
    • Gather contact information for witnesses. While cyclists have right-of-way, California is an at-fault state, so the driver who hit you may claim that you violated the rules of the road in an attempt to declare you “at fault” instead. Witnesses to the crash can confirm you were not at fault.
    • Get in touch with your insurance company. Many car insurance policies provide coverage to pedestrians and cyclists who are struck by a car.
    • Consult with a lawyer. A skilled personal injury lawyer can file a claim against the driver and obtain damages for your injuries.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, Berg Injury Lawyers is ready to review your case. Our law firm can help you earn the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today.