December 21st, 2020|
You might already know that you’re entitled to compensation when you’re injured by a negligent driver. You might even know that the payment you’ll receive often comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
But what do you do when the driver who hit you has just a permit and not a full license?
It’s an important question because younger drivers are often the most dangerous, simply due to the fact that they have less experience, making them more likely to cause a car accident.
Fortunately, the same rules largely apply to crashes involving a driver with a permit as those where at-fault drivers have a license. As you’ll learn below, the driver should be covered by an insurance policy—even if they only have a driver’s permit.
An Insurance Policy Is Likely Still Covering the Accident
Even when a driver has just a permit, it’s very likely an insurance policy is in place to protect them and anyone they hurt in an accident. That’s because California requires every driver to be covered by insurance. Teen drivers with permits are often covered by their parents’ auto insurance policies.
The bare minimum insurance requirements in California are what’s known as 15/30/5 requirements. That means a policy must have:
- $15,000 per person for bodily injury coverage,
- $30,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage,
- and $5,000 for property damage coverage.
So, if a driver with a permit causes your injury, you can claim damages to recover the amount of compensation that is covered by their policy.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident, We Can Help
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we help injured people get the payment they deserve when they were hurt by someone else’s negligence. We can review your case in a free consultation to help you better understand your legal options if you’ve been injured by a driver with a permit.
December 14th, 2020|
Catastrophic injury is a term used to describe only the most severe, debilitating injuries. It’s most commonly used in reference to brain and spinal cord damage, though it can also refer to other life-altering permanent injuries.
Attorneys and doctors use the term catastrophic injury to describe the severity of a client’s or patient’s injury. But for injured people, knowing whether an injury is legally or medically considered “catastrophic” can help them understand their path to recovery and their legal options in personal injury claims.
Hallmarks of a Catastrophic Injury
In general, catastrophic injuries include one or more of the following characteristics:
- Disability or a loss in function of essential body parts
- Extreme cognitive decline or loss of key cognitive functions
- The need for lifelong assistance to perform routine tasks
- Extreme psychological suffering related to the injury
- Dramatic loss in ability to enjoy life’s pleasures
Let’s review specific injuries that the legal and medical community consider catastrophic.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Though traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can include everything from mild brain injuries like concussions to severe brain injuries that dramatically affect a person’s cognitive abilities, catastrophic brain injuries typically refer to the latter type of TBI.
Catastrophic brain injuries often impair a person’s reasoning, memory, and personality. In some cases, catastrophic brain injuries also cause some form of physical impairment.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Catastrophic injuries to the spine often result in paralysis or, at the very least, a reduced ability to use one’s arms or legs. Paralysis is usually permanent, leaving the afflicted with serious challenges performing routine tasks without assistance. These injuries can also be extremely costly, resulting in millions of dollars in lifetime expenses.
Other Injuries Frequently Categorized as Catastrophic
Though serious, debilitating damage to the brain and spinal cord are universally considered catastrophic, other types of injuries are also sometimes called catastrophic because of the serious implications for the sufferer.
Those injuries include:
- Loss of Limbs
- Severe organ damage
- Vision loss
You’ll notice that these injuries carry many of the hallmarks of catastrophic injuries. They can all dramatically affect a person’s physical and emotional well-being in profound ways, as well as impact their ability to earn a living for themselves post-injury.
Seeking Damages for Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injury cases are unique. Though some personal injury claims involve comparatively minor injuries, catastrophic injuries have deeply impacted a person’s way of life. Thus, when someone suffers a catastrophic injury and files a personal injury lawsuit, they will typically demand far more in damages than people who suffered a more minor injury.
Damages in catastrophic injury cases can include:
- Medical expenses: The costs of initial, ongoing, and future treatment for the injury itself, as well as costs for physical therapy, psychological counseling, prosthetic limbs, and any other related expenses.
- Loss of income: This includes the income lost during the period in which the initial injury occurs, as well as the income that the injured person won’t be able to earn throughout the remainder of their life because of their injury, including any raises or benefits they may have been eligible for before.
- Pain and suffering: These costs are called non-economic damages, and they include both the physical and emotional suffering one experiences in the wake of a life-changing injury. These damages are typically very substantial in catastrophic injury claims.
How to Determine Whether You Have a Catastrophic Injury Case
Because catastrophic injury is largely a legal term, the best way to determine whether you have a catastrophic injury claim is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in California. It’s important to make sure the attorney knows these types of cases well, so they can give you an informed opinion on whether your injury legally qualifies as “catastrophic.”
Let Us Evaluate Your Catastrophic Injury Case
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know how difficult it can be for an injured person to determine the potential for a successful catastrophic injury claim. That’s why we offer free case reviews to injured people in California.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, and you want to explore your legal options, our personal injury lawyers want to help. Our consultations are free, and you’ll be under no pressure to move forward with a case unless you wish to do so.
December 7th, 2020|
For many people, giving gifts is the most rewarding part of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the chaos at shopping centers that often begins on Black Friday tarnishes that giving spirit and, in the worst of cases, leads to serious consumer injuries.
If you’ve had the misfortune of being injured while shopping or you simply want to know what to do if it happens to you, keep the following tips in mind.
Seek Medical Treatment
It’s most important to get medical treatment as soon as possible. First, you want to be sure your injury is diagnosed and treated by a physician. This will hopefully help you deal with the pain you’re experiencing and prevent the injury from worsening.
Getting medical treatment will also establish a record of your injuries – specifically, what they are and when and how they occurred. That will be critical if you need to file a personal injury claim to get compensation for the damages you’re facing from your injury.
Document Whatever You Can About How the Injury Happened
If at all possible, take pictures of the scene of the incident that led to your injuries. This means taking pictures of the place where the injury happened, the conditions of the property where it occurred or the injury itself. If there were witnesses to the incident, ask them for their contact information.
Talk to a Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability claims help injured people get compensation when their injuries were caused by conditions of the property. Premises liability claims can also help someone get payment when their injuries were caused by another person on that property, which is typically the case in negligent security claims.
A premises liability attorney will be able to determine your best path forward when seeking compensation.
If You’re Contacted by an Insurer, Don’t Give Them a Statement
It’s possible that you’ll be contacted by an insurance company representing the party at fault for your injuries. If you’re contacted by an insurer’s representative, do not speak to them. They’ll want to get you on record with a statement, and they’ll use that statement against you if at all possible. Tell the representative to talk to your lawyer and say nothing else.
Examples of Shopping-Related Injuries
Causes of shopping-related injuries come in many forms. A few of the most common include:
- An attack by one shopper on another
- A slip and fall injury caused by dangerous conditions in the store
- An injury from the product itself
- A negligent driver in the parking lot of a shopping center
Each of these causes can mean a different legal path to compensation. It’s best to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn your legal options.
Property Owners Have a Responsibility
Property owners must ensure the safety of their premises to reduce the likelihood of an injury. They might fall short of that responsibility when they fail to staff adequate security personnel or when they fail to maintain the conditions of their property.
If you’ve been injured while shopping, know that you likely have legal options available. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we can help you determine whether you’re eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim.
November 30th, 2020|
When you buy a toy for child, you just hope they like it. The last thing most consumers even consider is that a toy could present serious health risks for a child. But if you assume that toy manufacturers don’t release dangerous toys, think again.
Toys can cause children harm in often surprising ways. For example, though U.S. law forbids manufacturers from using lead in toys, there were at least two high profile instances of toys containing lead (Super Soaker water guns and Aflac toy ducks).
In short, though consumers can be somewhat confident about the safety of toys available on the market, they shouldn’t be 100% confident. Consumer safety has come a long way in recent years, but shopping for toys in 2020 is still a buyer beware situation.
So, which toys should you think twice before buying in 2020?
Some Dangerous Toys to Avoid in 2020
We’ve compiled the following list based on information from World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.), along with information from other consumer safety resources, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Specific Toys to Avoid
Based on recent recalls and warnings from consumer safety advocates, toy buyers should be cautious if considering any of the following toys:
Toys included on the 2020 W.A.T.C.H. list:
- Calico Critters Nursery Friends
- GO! Launch Missile Launcher
- Marvel Avengers Vibranium Power FX Claw
- Gloria Owl
- WWE Jumbo Superstar Fists
- Scientific Explorer Sci-Fi Slime
- The Original Boomerang Interactive Stunt UFO
- Boom City Racers Starter Pack
- My Sweet Love Lots to Love Babies Minis
- Star Wars Mandalorian Darksaber
Toys from previous lists and recent recalls:
- NERF Ultra One
- Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog
- Bunchems Bunch N’ Build
- Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime
- Anstoy Electronic Toy Gun
- Diecast School Bus
- Pogo Trick Board
- Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw
- Viga Pull Along Caterpillar
- Musical Lili Llama
- Manhattan Ball
- Super Soaker XP 20 and XP 30 Water Guns
Even though some of these toys have already been recalled, it’s possible early shoppers already purchased them or that stores continue to stock remaining inventory.
General Types of Potentially Dangerous Toys
The following types of toys regularly present dangers to children, even though they continue to be popular among consumers in the U.S. If you’re considering purchasing any of these types of products, at least make sure you’re purchasing them for children old enough to use them safely.
- Bounce houses
- Water balloon slingshots
- Micromobility products, including e-scooters, hoverboards, and e-bikes
- BB guns
What Makes a Toy Dangerous for Children?
Several factors can make toys particularly hazardous for young children. These include:
Choking hazards – This hazard is present in toys that have small breakable or detachable components, especially when those toys are marketed to very young children.
Dangerous chemicals – Some chemicals, like lead, are less prevalent in toys than they used to be, but they’re still inadvertently included in some toys. Once detected, these products are typically recalled. Toys manufactured overseas (where laws aren’t as restrictive) might also contain dangerous chemicals.
Burns – Products that quickly overheat could cause burn or explosion risks to children, as was the case when hoverboards (powered by lithium ion batteries) were popular products.
Sharp objects – Toys that have pointy ends or sharp corners can cause serious injuries like lacerations.
Improper labeling – If toys aren’t safe for young children or contain dangerous components, consumers should be made aware through easily seen labels on the product or the product’s packaging.
Legal Options for Injuries from Dangerous Products
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous product, you have legal rights to compensation. Product liability laws give you the right to hold manufacturers accountable for the harm caused by dangerous products.
November 23rd, 2020|
When a person is fatally injured because of someone else’s negligence, surviving family members might consider filing a wrongful death claim to get compensation for their losses. Because someone’s life was lost and a family is forced to deal with the consequences, so much is at stake in these claims.
Proceeding with a wrongful death claim requires plenty of evidence and proof. But what does it take to prove wrongful death?
Proving Wrongful Death: The 3 Basic Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
To win a wrongful death case, claimants (those who file the claim) must first prove that certain elements exist. Those three elements are:
- Duty of care—This means that the party allegedly at fault for the death had a responsibility toward the safety of the deceased. If a wrongful death occurred in a car accident, then the duty of care was following traffic laws. If the death occurred in the workplace, the duty of care would be that of the employer to keep employees safe.
- A violation of that duty—If duty of care is established, the claimants must prove that the duty wasn’t carried out by the at-fault party. Using our car accident example, a driver might have breached the duty of care when they drove while intoxicated. For a workplace death, the employer might not have provided the appropriate safety equipment to their employee.
- That breach of duty caused the death—Finally, the claimants must prove that the violation of duty caused the death. For example, a driver collided into the deceased because they were intoxicated, or the employer’s failure to provide safety equipment caused the worker’s death.
The parties filing the wrongful death claim will then list the damages they’ve suffered because of their loss. In California, wrongful death actions can include damages such as the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, protection, affection, and both emotional and financial support.
What Evidence Is Used to Prove Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death attorneys will often look for hard evidence to prove that the deceased’s passing was caused by the negligence of another party. For wrongful deaths in vehicle accidents, this could include:
- Obtaining the police report
- Interviewing witnesses of the crash
- Consulting experts about the potential causes of the crash
- Reviewing any available footage of the crash
The attorney will then use the evidence they’ve uncovered to link the breach of the allegedly at-fault party’s duty of care to the passing of the deceased.
In a workplace wrongful death case, an attorney might use similar strategies, including:
- Interviewing coworkers or other potential witnesses of the incident that led to the worker’s death
- Obtaining security camera footage of the incident
- Consulting experts to prove the negligence of the employer
- Reviewing other breaches of the employer’s duty of care to look for a pattern of negligence
We Represent Families of Wrongful Death Victims in California
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience standing up for the rights of grieving family members. We know how complicated and delicate these cases can be, so we make sure our clients get the compassionate, dedicated legal service they deserve.
November 16th, 2020|
If you were injured after slipping and falling but a warning sign was posted, you can still file a lawsuit for your injuries. But several factors will determine whether your case is successful.
Property owners have an obligation to keep people on their premises safe. That legal obligation is called premises liability. Slip and fall cases are the most common type of premises liability cases, and they often involve serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries or broken hips, ankles, or wrists.
All property owners should post a sign if floors are slippery or uneven to let people know conditions aren’t safe. However, simply posting a sign doesn’t automatically absolve a property owner or business from responsibility for the injuries someone suffers.
When Posting a Wet Floor Sign Isn’t Enough
To be effective, a wet floor sign must be visible to people walking on a property. It must also clearly indicate the section of the floor that is slick.
So, if a sign is posted but it’s obscured or placed far away from the dangerous area, a person injured on the slick flooring can still make a strong case that the property owner failed to warn people about the danger.
Warning Signs Aren’t Always Effective
Wet floor signs, even if they’re placed near slippery surfaces, often go unnoticed. One notable study on the impact of these types of signs found that as few as 7% of people that passed by standard wet floor warning signs even notice them.
In some cases, people will move a wet floor sign or inadvertently push them out of the way to the point they’re no longer effective for the other people in the area. In other words, posting a sign and walking away does very little to ensure the safety of people in the vicinity of a slippery floor.
After a Fall-Related Injury, Always Explore Your Legal Options
Never assume that you are without a path toward compensation without first speaking to an experienced premises liability attorney. Slip and fall injuries are often caused by a property owner’s negligence, so if you’ve suffered serious injuries, it’s possible you’re owed a significant amount of compensation for the many damages you’ve suffered.
Don’t pay the price for someone else’s negligence. You have a legal right to pursue legal options for compensation, and you should exercise that right whenever you need it.
We Represent Slip and Fall Injury Victims in Northern California
Slip and fall accidents can cause devastating injuries. We’ve represented many clients in premises liability claims, and we know what it takes to hold negligent property owners accountable for damages facing a fall victim.
We want to meet with you to hear the details of your case. We’ll review your legal options and help you determine whether or not you have a case. If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, contact the California premises liability attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
November 9th, 2020|
The insurance industry is one of the most profitable in the U.S. These companies make steep profits, and that’s partly because they frequently offer policyholders and injured people far less than they deserve.
If you’re like us, you don’t like it when multi-million-dollar corporations get away with lowballing everyday people who work hard to pay their policies. As a law firm that regularly goes head-to-head with insurance companies, we can tell you that there are many strategies you can use to fight back.
Let’s look at some tips to make sure you’re not taken advantage of by insurance companies.
Consider Talking to an Attorney
Every day, we talk to people who are being given a raw deal by insurance companies. When someone is faced with the pain and stress of an accident or injury, the last thing they typically want to do is deal with the deadlines, paperwork, and endless legal complications surrounding injury claims and actually getting fair compensation.
Simply put, you probably have enough going on in your life without having to worry about playing hardball with the insurance company all by yourself. An experienced attorney can take care of the hard part for you.
Whatever you do, don’t accept an insurance company’s first offer without speaking to an experienced attorney.
Don’t Speak to Anyone Else’s Insurance Company
After an accident, you might be contacted by someone else’s insurance company. If so, you DO NOT want to speak to them. A representative of that insurance company will want you to make a statement on the record, and they’ll use that statement to find ways to deny your claim and offer you less than you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should notify your own insurance company. However, stick to only the basic facts, and avoid giving them any opportunity to offer you less than you’ll deserve.
It’s very likely you won’t know how much compensation you’ll need until you get a clear picture of the damages you’ve suffered, which can often take several weeks or months after an accident.
Keep Copies and Records of Your Damages
The accident-related expenses you’ll face will likely continue to add up over the days, weeks, and months following the accident. As the costs pile up, you should keep records of how much your injuries are costing you.
Keep copies of medical invoices, medication receipts, repair bills, or any other accident-related costs you encounter. Don’t forget to factor in how much income you lose due to your injury, as missed time at work or the inability to work can also be included in the damages you list in your injury claim.
Take Your Medical Care Seriously
After an accident, you should always seek medical care if there’s even a chance that you’ve been injured. Injuries often aren’t immediately apparent after an accident, so visiting a doctor helps ensure any injuries don’t worsen before they can be treated.
If you’ve suffered an injury, follow all your doctor’s orders and go to all your scheduled appointments, whether they’re check-ins, tests, or physical therapy sessions. Failure to do so could indicate to insurers your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim, and it could also lead to the worsening of your injuries and add to your overall expenses.
To thoroughly convey how your injury has disrupted your life, consider keeping an injury journal where you document all the challenges you face and the progress you make in recovery. These notes can help you and your attorney articulate exactly what you’ve gone through because of the accident.
Don’t Give Insurance Companies an Easy Win
Remember that everything you do and say publicly will be used by the insurance companies to reduce the compensation you receive. So, it’s vital to be cautious when talking about your accident or injury.
This is especially true on social media. Even innocent posts of you enjoying dinner or spending time with friends can be misconstrued by insurance companies. They might claim that your injury hasn’t reduced your quality of life in any significant way.
Instead of giving insurance companies this ammunition, refrain from using social media entirely until your claim has been resolved.
Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Claim
There are strict time limitations within which you must act in order to protect your rights. These time limits are complex and vary for different types of cases. You should avoid waiting too long before speaking to an attorney.
The injury claim process can be lengthy, and the longer you delay taking legal action, the more you could complicate your case. In the days, weeks, and months following your accident, there will be opportunities to maximize the value of your claim and potential pitfalls that could cost you dearly.
After you’ve suffered a serious injury in an accident, speak to an experienced, reputable attorney to ensure you’re doing everything you can to get a fair offer from the insurance company.
Let Berg Injury Lawyers Help You
If you’ve been injured and you want an attorney to protect you from the insurance company, Berg Injury Lawyers is here to help. We’ve represented thousands of injured people in Northern California, and we know what it takes to get a fair offer for our clients.
November 2nd, 2020|
By 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California must be zero-emission vehicles, according to a September 23 press release from Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Though California is the first state in the U.S. to enact such a law, it’s joining 15 countries, including Germany and France, that have also vowed to phase out gasoline-powered cars.
Why Is California Taking This Step?
California has long been a leading state in the U.S. for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After a difficult year of wildfires, air pollution, and mass dislocation, this initiative aims to reduce the effects of gas-powered vehicles on California’s environmental well-being.
As Newsom said in his press release:
“Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
Newsom states the new rule will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35% in California.
Can You Still Own a Gas-Powered Vehicle After This Rules Goes into Effect?
Yes, the rule doesn’t prevent California residents from owning or driving gas-powered vehicles, nor does it prevent used gas-powered vehicles from being sold in California. It simply stops sales of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks within the state. The governor has also told state agencies to develop more charging stations throughout the state to accommodate the increased number of electric vehicles.
Does This Rule Face Any Opposition?
The stop-sales rule will likely be contested in one form or another. The federal government could challenge the rule in courts. It’s also possible that other legal challenges could be issued within the state, particularly if leadership changes hands in California and the new state government chooses to reverse the decision between now and the 2035 deadline.
Fracking Is Also Mentioned in the Governor’s Order
Newsom also ordered California’s legislature to eliminate new fracking licenses by 2024. Fracking is the process of injecting high-pressure mixtures of chemicals and other substances into shale rock to extract oil and gas.
Some environmental safety advocates say that Newsom’s order is meant to address criticism of his administration’s willingness to give permits to companies that drill and frack. By setting a new fracking license deadline of 2024, these advocates suggest that Newsom is passing that task on to his successor.
Are Electric Cars Safe for Drivers?
Because gasoline-powered vehicles contain much more combustible fuel than electric vehicles, safety advocates generally believe that electric cars are safer than their gas-guzzling counterparts. However, electric vehicles do contain lithium-ion batteries, which have proven dangerous in laptops, phones, and other consumer products.
The safety of California’s next generation of electric vehicles depends on the standards set by vehicle manufacturers. It’s important for these companies to prioritize safety in their efforts to meet California’s new standards.
If You Need Legal Help After a Crash in California, Let Us Help
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we’ve helped California residents with many different types of vehicle-related injuries. Whether you want to hold a negligent driver or a negligent vehicle manufacturer accountable for the damages you’ve suffered, we can help.
October 26th, 2020|
Knowing the dangers you face every day on California’s roads can make you a safer, more conscientious driver. It might surprise you to learn that one of the most dangerous and common dangers is something you probably encounter every day: intersections.
Intersections, both those with traffic signals and stop signs, present unique dangers to motorists. Though most people rarely consider these dangers, doing so can help ensure drivers know how to identify and avoid risks.
The following statistics illustrate just how dangerous intersections are.
National Intersection-Related Crash Statistics
- About 40% of crashes in the U.S. are intersection-related.
- Intersection-related crash deaths account for more than 20% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. every year.
- Around 96% of intersection-related crashes had contributing factors related to driver behavior.
- Nearly one-fifth of intersection-related fatalities involve motorcycles.
- Around 41% of pedestrian collisions occur at roadway intersections.
- Each year, an average of around 31% of intersection-related deaths occur at intersections controlled by traffic signals, and around 38% occur at intersections with stop signs.
Annual Intersection Crash Deaths by California County
In California, the most heavily populated counties have the highest intersection-related crash deaths. Here is the average number of crash deaths involving intersections for 10 of the most populous counties in California:
- Los Angeles County has an average of 259 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- San Diego County has an average of 2 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Orange County has an average of 4 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Riverside County has an average of 4 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- San Bernardino County has an average of 6 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Santa Clara County has an average of 6 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Alameda County has an average of 6 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Sacramento County has an average of 38 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Contra Costa County has an average of 6 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
- Fresno County has an average of 8 intersection-related crash deaths each year.
Why These Numbers Matter
Intersection crashes are common and deadly. For some of our most vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists and pedestrians, they’re even more lethal. The more drivers understand how important safety is when passing through intersections, the more we can expect these numbers to improve.
Intersection Safety Tips
- Never assume that cross-traffic won’t be an issue when your light is green. Many intersection crashes occur when a driver runs a red light.
- Never assume a pedestrian sees you coming. Always yield to pedestrians and drive slowly in heavily walked areas.
- When turning left, remember that oncoming motorcycles might be traveling faster than they appear.
- If turning right at a red light, be sure the vehicle in front of you turns safely before you accelerate. This will help you avoid rear-end collisions.
- Always come to a complete stop at stop signs, and make sure you wait your turn at four-way stops.
If You Need Help, Contact Berg Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one is injured by a negligent driver, whether it’s at an intersection or any other stretch of road, the California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help. Contact our team today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
October 19th, 2020|
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 2020?
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.