Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise as Vehicles Return to Roads

by Staff | November 8th, 2021

Despite more people staying at home, 2020 saw an increase in traffic fatalities. As people get back on the road, traffic deaths continue to rise, with a 16% increase in traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021. Fatal accidents also result in passengers with serious injuries.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should hire an attorney to help you pursue fair compensation. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California car accident lawyers have 40 years of experience helping accident victims file claims and ensure they’re properly compensated for their damages.

Why Are Traffic Deaths Increasing?

Unsafe driving practices and reckless drivers cause many traffic accidents and deaths. Speeding, distracted driving, road rage, and drunk driving are all large contributors to serious car accidents that can result in deaths. Failing to obey traffic laws and poor road conditions also contribute to auto accidents.

As the volume of traffic increases, the number of reckless drivers goes up as well. This raises the risk of you being involved in an accident. Protect yourself and your loved ones by taking action to stay safe on the road.

Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

Following these simple safety precautions can reduce the risk of getting into an accident.

●      Wear Your Seatbelt

Wearing a seatbelt can save your life. Since 1960, over 320,000 lives have been saved because they buckled up. Wearing your seatbelt protects your body from being thrown from the vehicle during an accident. In 2019, almost half of all fatalities in accidents were among passengers not wearing their seat belts.

If you have children, make sure they’re using the appropriate car or booster seat for their age and size. Your car seat needs to be installed and used correctly for your child to be properly protected in a crash.

●      Don’t Drive Distracted

Everyone has smartphones and newer cars come with touch screen options. Those are added distractions on top of listening to music or talking with other passengers in your vehicle. The more distracted you are, the more likely you’ll get in an accident. It’s estimated that 8 people in the US die every day from crashes involving a distracted driver.

Reduce the number of distractions while you’re driving. Keep electronic devices out of sight, so they don’t tempt you. If you have an important phone call, pull over and stop your car before you take it.

●      Follow the Speed Limit

Speeding is a major factor in crashes, with high speeds involved in one-quarter of all traffic fatalities. Higher speeds give you less time to react and can result in more serious crashes and injuries.

Speeding also includes driving too fast for the conditions. Rainfall, snow, and fog can lower a driver’s visibility and make the roads slicker. If you’re dealing with bad weather, you may need to drive below the speed limit to stay safe.

●      Move Over for Emergency Vehicles

In many states, including California, it’s the law to move over for passing emergency vehicles to the side of the road. This includes ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, and tow trucks.

●      Never Drive Under the Influence

Designate a sober driver if you’re going out for a night of drinking. Never get behind the wheel or in a car with a driver who’s been drinking or using intoxicating substances. Alcohol and drugs impair your ability to concentrate and make decisions. They slow your reaction time and can increase your risk-taking. Drunk driving caused over 10,000 deaths in crashes in 2019.

●      Check Your Vehicle for Recalls

Manufacturers send out recall notices when there are safety issues or defective parts involving your car. You can check your vehicle for recalls online by entering your VIN. You should check for recalls periodically and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer if You’re Injured

It’s important to contact a lawyer if you were injured in an accident. Your attorney will help prove if another’s negligence caused your injuries. They can help you file claims so you will be compensated for your injuries. Compensation covers your medical bills, lost wages, and damages to your property.

If you live in California, contact Berg Injury Lawyers. Our legal team can help you file the required paperwork and represent your interests, so you receive a fair settlement. Contact us today for a free case review.

What Types of Trucks Do You Need a CDL to Drive?

by Staff | November 1st, 2021

Since 1992 drivers have been required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate certain commercial vehicles. These include vehicles like semi-trailers, tanker trucks, and buses.

California requires truck drivers to have a CDL if they drive any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. You also need a CDL if you drive vehicles with a combined weight exceeding 26,000 pounds; the requirement also applies to those driving tractor-trailers.

A commercial driver’s license is important because these are heavy vehicles that require extra training and skill to operate. You must be appropriately licensed and certified, but even the most experienced and careful truck drivers get into accidents.

The size and weight of trucks make them harder to control and bring to a stop in heavy or fast-moving traffic. This makes large trucks more likely to get into crashes and collisions than passenger cars.

If you get into an accident involving a commercial truck and are injured, you’ll need an attorney specializing in truck accident cases. Consider hiring an experienced California truck accident lawyer.

Make sure before you get behind the wheel of any truck that you have the proper licenses. Learn if you need a Class A, Class B, or Class C license to operate a vehicle.

How are Trucks Classified?

Trucks are classified by gross vehicle weight (GVWR) and gross combination weight (GCWR). The type of CDL drivers need depends on the type of vehicle they will be driving.

●      Class A License

You will need a Class A license to drive vehicles that possess a gross combined weight (GCWR) of 26,0001 lbs. or more. Any towed vehicle in this class weighs more than 10,000 lbs.

The most common Class A trucks are tractor-trailers, also known as semis or 18-wheelers; these vehicles have a truck cab and a towed trailer.

Other vehicles in this class include tanker trucks, livestock carriers, and flatbed trucks.

Having a Class A license lets you operate most Class B and C vehicles.

●      Class B License

You need a Class B license to operate any single vehicle that is not hitched to a trailer. Typically, this is any commercial truck where the cab is attached to the cargo area. In this class, the combined weight of the cab and cargo exceeds 26,001 pounds.

Some of the most common Class B vehicles include box trucks, buses, and straight trucks. This license is also for trucks with a detached towed cargo trailer when the trailer weighs less than 10,000 pounds, such as a small trailer for a dump truck.

Drivers with a Class B license can operate some vehicles requiring a Class C license.

●      Class C License

Vehicles that do not fall into Class A or B are designated as Class C. Class C licenses are for passenger vans and buses. Any vehicle that can transport 16 or more people, including the driver, qualifies as Class C.

You will also need a Class C license if you transport hazardous material, as defined by the federal government.

Obtaining a CDL in California

Drivers in California must meet specific state requirements to qualify for a CDL. First, you must have a state driver’s license in good standing.

You must be 18 years of age or older and drive a commercial vehicle within state lines. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle over state lines, transporting passengers, or carrying any hazardous materials, you must be at least 21 years of age. You also have to be a resident of California and have permission to work in the United States.

You must pass written exams before you obtain a CDL. You will undergo a hearing and vision exam and additional medical tests. These requirements are for your safety and those on the road around you.

According to the National Safety Council, trucks make up 4% of the vehicles on the road but account for 10% of all fatal accidents, meaning truck drivers are more likely to get into a severe accident than the average driver.

Ensure that if you’re operating a large motor vehicle, you have the correct license and training to do so. If you hold a CDL and are in an accident where you or someone else becomes injured, seek legal counsel from a reputable law firm.

Truck Companies Can Be Held Liable for Unlicensed Drivers

Some trucking companies will hire drivers who are not licensed to drive a commercial vehicle or have the wrong type of license for the truck they will be driving, because they can pay the inexperienced or underqualified driver less money than they would an experienced and qualified driver. This is irresponsible and dangerous for both the driver of the truck and the drivers of the vehicles who have to share the road with that truck.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a driver who was not legally qualified to operate that vehicle, you may be able to sue the trucking company for your injuries and other damages.

Our Law Firm Wants to Help

If you’re involved in a truck accident, contact the team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Our skilled truck accident lawyers are on standby 24/7 to help with your case. Whether you were the victim of an auto accident or were injured on the job, we can ensure you understand your rights and are well-informed when pursuing legal action.

Is There an Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amount in California?

by Staff | October 26th, 2021

Clients frequently ask what the average wrongful death settlement amount is in California. Because each case is unique and every victim is different, there is no definitive answer. However, several common factors are used to determine a settlement amount, which can help estimate what you are owed.

Unlike other types of settlements, wrongful death cases are extremely difficult to evaluate due to many variables. While you may be able to assign a figure to a loss of income, services, monetary support, or other economic factors, intangibles are more challenging to determine.

The tragic loss of a family member can have a devastating emotional impact, which is impossible to evaluate monetarily. In many cases, a loss of comfort or guidance may be more impactful than a lack of financial support.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit that occurs when someone dies due to a legal fault of a person or entity, be it intentional or accidental. Some of California’s most common types of wrongful deaths include medical malpractice and car accident cases.

According to California law, those entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit include the decedent’s spouse or domestic partner, children, or grandchildren. If there are no surviving members of the deceased’s family line, a wrongful death claim can be filed by someone who may be entitled to compensation by “intestate succession.” This is usually the deceased’s parents, siblings, or other relatives.

In some cases, wrongful death claims may be filed by someone who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased person.

What Factors Determine a Wrongful Death Settlement Amount?

Various factors influence a jury’s assessment of the wrongful death settlement amount. These factors traditionally include the financial losses resulting from the accident and the deceased person’s background and lifestyle.

Tangible Losses

Tangible losses are economic damages that cover all out-of-pocket expenses. These substantial losses might compensate a family’s lost health insurance, among other costs incurred by the death. These can include:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial costs the family incurred.
  • Loss of future wages and employment benefits that the deceased would have earned for the family if the loved one had lived.
  • The value of any gifts or inheritance the family would have received from the deceased.
  • Costs associated with household services provided by the deceased.

Intangible Losses

California law does not permit families to receive money for the poverty and grief, pain, or suffering they experience after a wrongful death. However, it allows them to recover other intangible losses known as non-economic damages, such as:

  • The loss of the deceased’s “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support.”
  • Spouse or partner’s loss of intimacy from the deceased.
  • Loss of the deceased’s guidance.

The deceased person’s life expectancy, habits, activities, and lifestyle can all be considered when determining the surviving family members’ settlement amount. The following factors are looked at when calculating intangible losses:

  • Whether the deceased left behind a spouse or small children.
  • If family members were close to the deceased person.
  • If the deceased person was an important member of their community and had a morally upright character.

Factors That Can Reduce a Settlement Amount

Some factors that might reduce the settlement are:

  • There were no or few close family ties and no surviving spouse for the deceased.
  • The deceased was elderly and retired.
  • Isolation from the deceased’s local community.
  • Contribution to the accident that resulted in their death.
  • Previous criminal background.

Aside from relying on these factors, jurors are advised to rely on evidence to come to a reasonable amount. Because of these reasons, determining the exact amount and value of a wrongful death settlement is challenging.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for 24/7 Support

For advice and guidance on settling a wrongful death case, contact San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyers, Berg Injury Lawyers. Our compassionate and experienced legal team can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Our attorneys understand what it takes to prove your wrongful death case, and we have years of experience negotiating favorable settlements on behalf of our clients.  

Contact us for a free consultation and to discuss how we can help you receive a fair wrongful death settlement in California.

How Long Should You Feel Sore After an Accident?

by Staff | October 11th, 2021

California has the highest annual number of fatal crashes in the United States, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As the most populous state in the country, California had more than 27 million registered license holders in 2019.

Car accidents are more common in high volume traffic, and even minor collisions can cause pain and soreness. Due to the shock and adrenaline after a car crash, it can take days, weeks, or even months to notice the full extent of your injuries.

For health and insurance reasons, you should seek medical attention immediately after an accident. If untreated injuries continue to cause pain and discomfort, you may find it difficult to claim injury compensation from an insurer without adequate documentation by a medical professional.

To avoid the common pitfalls of post-accident legal disputes and ensure you receive sufficient medical compensation for your injuries, hire the experienced California personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers.

Dealing with Soreness After an Accident

Car accident injuries vary in severity. However, collisions between vehicles create a significant impact even at low speeds, so a certain amount of soreness is expected. Depending on the extent of your injuries, pain can last for several months and may even lead to chronic conditions, such as post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

Factors such as your position in the car, the speed of the vehicles involved, the size of your car, whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt, and whether the airbags deployed can influence the level of trauma you experience. Only a medical professional can advise how to treat your injuries and how long you should feel sore.

If you continue to feel discomfort after the recovery period outlined by your doctor, it may mean you have undiagnosed or more serious long-term injuries.

●      Delayed Pain

Delayed pain is very common following car accidents. This is usually due to shock or a specific type of injury. While adrenaline can help your body react to danger and minimize immediate pain, it may also make it difficult to detect injury right away. This is very dangerous because undetected injuries can worsen quickly.

Symptoms of concussion, traumatic brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries may not become apparent for several days after an accident. Your doctor may prescribe tests to assess your injuries, including body scans, X-rays, motion tests, or an MRI.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical assistance:

  • Neck pain or discomfort when you move or turn your head.
  • Persistent back pain or discomfort when you twist, turn, or crouch.
  • Dizzy spells or blurred vision.
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation in any area of the body.

Depending on your test results, your doctor may recommend medication, surgery, or physical therapy.

Common Injuries

Some of the most common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Torn ligaments or muscles
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Internal bleeding

What to Do After an Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, safety should be your priority. Whether you think you’ve sustained injuries or not, undergo a medical assessment as soon as possible. A medical report is critical if you wish to make an insurance claim.

The next step should be to contact our law firm. California abides by at-fault insurance laws for auto accidents. This means the person deemed responsible for the accident is liable to pay damages to cover the medical costs and property damage sustained by the other parties involved, depending on the percentage of fault. 

At Berg Injury Lawyers, our car accident attorneys can help you build a strong case in an auto accident claim. We work to ensure our clients collect medical payments to cover the necessary medical costs incurred by you and anyone else in your car at the time of the accident. We file all the required paperwork and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so you can concentrate on healing. 

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Injuries from an accident can be devastating, particularly if they cause long-term discomfort. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping our clients receive the compensation they deserve, including medical bills, loss of income, and non-economic loss. No matter the extent of your injuries, you shouldn’t have to pay for an accident that wasn’t your fault.

We are proud to offer the “No Fee Guarantee,” which promises you don’t have to pay if you don’t win a settlement. Contact our law firm for a free, no-obligation consultation and begin your healing journey today.

Is California a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

by Staff | October 4th, 2021

Each state has different laws for resolving accident and insurance disputes. For auto accidents, states have either no-fault or at-fault insurance laws. California is an at-fault state, which means the driver deemed responsible for the accident is liable for paying the costs of potential injuries and property damage sustained by other parties.

To receive compensation, you must be able to prove liability in your case. If you’re involved in an auto accident in California, contact California personal injury lawyers,  Berg Injury Lawyers, as soon as possible to ensure you file before the statute of limitation expires and to help preserve any evidence that can be used to establish fault in your case.

Difference Between At-Fault and No-Fault Law

Understanding the difference between no-fault and at-fault laws can help you choose the right level of insurance coverage to cover damage or injury in an auto accident and can help you know what to expect if your case goes to trial.

●      How At-Fault Laws Work

In an at-fault state, the party responsible for causing the auto accident, along with their insurance company, pays for the sustained injuries and damage in relation to their degree of fault.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can claim compensation from the at-fault party. However, you must be able to prove liability before you’re entitled to receive any compensation.

If one or both parties aren’t satisfied with the payouts or liability distribution, they can file a lawsuit or dispute the claim. The at-fault driver is liable for damages related to medical expenses, loss of income, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium or companionship.

●      How No-Fault Laws Work

For auto accidents in a no-fault state, drivers must make claims through their insurance policies, whether or not they’re at fault. No-fault states require drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their policy. 

Neither party needs to prove who is at fault since both insurance companies cover the costs of their client’s medical expenses. Property damage laws can vary between states, with some states requiring drivers to submit a separate claim if their vehicle is significantly damaged during an accident.

While no-fault laws eliminate lengthy disputes and claims, insurance coverage is typically expensive.

California: An At-Fault State

If you’re involved in an auto accident in California, you’re entitled to file a claim against the responsible party for the injuries and damage they caused, provided you can prove liability. However, according to California law, all drivers must have liability insurance that adheres to the state’s minimum requirements despite being an at-fault state.

  • $5,000 coverage for property damage.
  • $15,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of one individual.
  • $30,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of multiple individuals.

California uses pure comparative negligence for car accidents. This means that responsibility can be shared when determining who is at fault. So, you may be entitled to receive compensation for injuries and damages even if you are partially at fault for a car accident.

This system is beneficial for both plaintiffs and defendants. Even if the plaintiff’s degree of fault exceeds the defendant’s, they can still recover a percentage of the damages awarded. For example, if a jury determines that the plaintiff is 80% at fault and the defendant is 20% at fault, then the defendant only pays 20% of the damages amount to the plaintiff.

Insurance companies determine the degree of fault based on the available proof. The more evidence you have regarding accident liability, the more likely you will collect a higher amount of compensation. Some forms of proof include photographs and videos of the accident scene, copies of medical and police reports, eyewitness accounts, driver and vehicle information, and receipts for medical and property costs.

What to Do If You’re Involved in an Accident in California

If you are involved in an auto accident in California, the state’s at-fault insurance laws protect you no matter the degree of fault assigned to you. However, to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and any damage to your vehicle, you need an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney to navigate the complex California legal system.

The car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help gather the evidence to determine liability in your case and represent you in court. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

How Do Attorneys Prove Psychological Suffering?

by Staff | September 27th, 2021

Psychological trauma refers to the mental anguish that one party inflicts on another. There is no exclusive lawsuit for psychological trauma, but it forms an important part of personal injury lawsuits involving emotional distress. If you have suffered psychological trauma, consider enlisting the services of lawyers to help you file a lawsuit. 

What Is Psychological Suffering?

According to the law, injury subjects a victim to two types of pain: emotional pain and physical pain. Therefore, in a personal injury lawsuit, the negligent party can cause both mental and physical injury. While physical injuries are easy to quantify, mental suffering can be more difficult. 

If you intend to file a case for psychological suffering, your lawyer must attest that the level of trauma meets the legal threshold for mental anguish. You need to provide sufficient evidence to show that you suffered severe mental trauma to cause lasting detrimental effects. 

California recognizes instances of mental anguish caused by a negligent party. The court awards damages for non-economic damages caused by the defendant willingly or unwillingly or through negligence. In this case, non-economic damages refer to non-monetary losses such as emotional distress, humiliation, loss of society and companionship, mental suffering, pain, suffering, injury to reputation, and loss of consortium.  

Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving Psychological Suffering

Since there are no lawsuits for mental suffering exclusively, it is included in some personal injury lawsuits. If you intend to file a lawsuit for psychological suffering, you must show that you have suffered mentally due to the defendant’s negligence. You can file for mental trauma in any of the following personal injury lawsuits:

  • Wrongful death
  • Medical malpractice 
  • Assault 

Usually, psychological suffering goes hand-in-hand with emotional distress. The jury considers the two conditions in personal injury trials. For instance, if you have suffered psychologically due to wrongful treatment, you can hire San Francisco personal injury lawyers to help you sue for wrongful treatment alongside psychological suffering. 

How Will an Attorney Prove Psychological Suffering?

If you are considering filing for psychological trauma in a personal injury lawsuit, here are a few ways that your attorney can help prove your claim.

●      The Intensity of Your Mental Trauma

Your lawyer will gather evidence to prove to the court that your condition was severe. The severity of mental suffering is evident if it manifests in conditions like PTSD, depression, or acute anxiety. A record showing any of these conditions can help strengthen your case.

●      Evidence of Treatment by a Physician

If you have sought treatment for your condition from a licensed physician, the attorney can provide this evidence in court. The evidence of treatment strengthens your claim, and you are more likely to receive compensation. Provide your lawyer with medical records that show doctor visits, prescriptions, and any other appropriate documents showing medical intervention. If possible, your physician can provide testimony during a hearing to further support your claim. 

●      Duration of the Symptoms

The longer you suffer from the symptoms of mental distress, the more likely the court will consider your condition to be severe. You must provide your lawyer with all records of doctor visits from the time your psychological suffering began to reflect the extent of your condition.

●      Physical Harm

Your lawyer will provide evidence showing the physical manifestation of your mental trauma. A physical injury is a more tangible measure of your suffering for the jury to assess.

The lawyer may gather information from friends, family, and colleagues to ascertain any changes in your personality. Physical manifestations of mental trauma include insomnia, body aches, extreme alertness, edginess, social isolation and withdrawal, loss of memory, and disorientation. 

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you are considering filing a psychological trauma case, a personal injury lawyer can support you through the process. An attorney can help you put together the required proof and present it in court in an organized manner.

Our team will talk to you about your rights and help you navigate the California legal system. If you are looking for a law firm to help you file a claim, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today for a consultation regarding your case. 

Is it Better to Settle or Go to Court in a Personal Injury Claim?

by Staff | September 20th, 2021

Most personal injury claims are settled before they proceed to trial. This is because there are often several immediate advantages to settling. For example, trials can be stressful, especially if you are still recovering from the accident that led you to file a personal injury lawsuit.

On the other hand, a plaintiff may be awarded much higher damages by a jury than by a defendant’s or their insurance company’s offer to settle the case. While there is no guarantee of this, the best strategy for maximum compensation depends on many factors related to the specific circumstances of your case.

The determining factor in whether to go to trial is usually the strength of your case and the amount you are being offered in a settlement. However, other factors may come into play. You must examine these with your attorney to determine the best course of action for your situation.

Benefits of Going to Trial

If you go to trial and a court rules in your favor, you will likely receive a higher financial reward than the settlement offer. This is because your case was noteworthy enough to be heard by a jury, who in turn are likely to award compensation with the seriousness of the matter and justice in mind.

Your case may also have broader social ramifications and may even lead to public policy changes. For example, a personal injury case against a health care provider can lead to reforms in the medical field that benefit the broader public. In this scenario, you might anticipate a higher financial reward because the jury will want to make an example of your case.

Benefits of Settling

A trial process is risky. A judge may throw out evidence, or decisions may be appealed, costing even more time and resources. In recent years in the United States, the number of cases proceeding to trial has been diminishing steadily, as both plaintiffs and defendants are finding settlements to be less risky, less expensive, and faster to resolve.

Other notable benefits of settlements are that they are private, unlike a trial, which is a matter of public record. You may not want your name permanently associated with a case publicly. Settlements are permanent, so a plaintiff doesn’t have to worry about the possibility of an appeal, while a defendant is not required to admit liability. Settlements are often in the best interests of both parties.

However, there are times when a plaintiff simply shouldn’t settle. If a personal injury is especially severe, or if a defendant’s negligence is insufferable, more than a financial amount may be at stake.

One of the most frequent reasons to go to trial despite the risks is when a defendant steadfastly offers far too little in a settlement in proportion to the damages you incurred, and there is no other chance of receiving the compensation you and your attorney know you are due.

Considering a Personal Injury Claim in San Francisco?

If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim in the San Francisco area, look no further than San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers. Our No Fee Guarantee means that you only pay if you win your case.

Because of this guarantee, proceeding with a personal injury lawsuit is no risk to you. Our legal team is available 24/7 to answer any questions regarding your case in California. We are also proud to offer multilingual representatives to ensure a language barrier does not prevent you from seeking justice.

With over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in San Francisco and the Bay Area, we know how difficult the recovery process can be and the challenges that accompany deciding to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help you get back on your feet. Contact us today for a free consultation without obligation. We will evaluate your claim and advise whether you have grounds to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. Our attorneys can also advise on whether you would be best served by settling or going to trial. With our vast experience, we are fully prepared to fight for your claim in court if it becomes necessary.

Why Do Insurance Companies Lowball Injured People?

by Staff | September 13th, 2021

If you’re dealing with an insurance settlement following an accident, it can be stressful. Often you need to pay several expensive bills for medical treatment, and you may not have the money to pay for them. Unfortunately, insurance companies know this and may try to take advantage of you.

The California personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the often-complicated insurance settlement process so you can focus on recovering from your injury.

Why Insurance Companies Try to Lowball You

Insurance companies are a business and need to make a profit. They make their money by collecting insurance premiums, investing those premiums, and not paying out a lot in claims. It’s in the best interest of their bottom line to lowball you.

Some common reasons insurance companies make low initial settlement offers to injured people include:

●      It’s worked for them in the past

People accept lowball offers all the time, whether because they need money quickly or just don’t know any better.

●      They are trying to avoid future bills

Once you accept a settlement, it’s impossible to reopen the claim if you receive more bills or a doctor determines you need additional treatment. To save themselves money, insurance companies will make you a settlement offer before you’ve completed treatment or received all the bills related to your accident.

●      They use computer-based estimates and haven’t considered your specific case

Large insurance companies receive thousands of claims, and they may not look at each case individually. Instead, they run claims through artificial intelligence software to compare it to previous cases they’ve settled to determine how much to offer you in your settlement.

●      They are taking advantage of your inexperience

Insurance companies don’t think you know enough to spot a lowball offer or hire a lawyer, especially if you’ve said the wrong thing while discussing the case with them. They hope you see the settlement offer as a take-it-or-leave-it deal and not a negotiation.

●      They use a “deny first” policy

Some companies will simply deny your claim altogether without looking at it, hoping you’ll just accept it and move on.

How to Tell if Your Settlement Offer Is Lowball

There are several ways to tell if the insurance company is lowballing you.

●      They actively discourage you from consulting a lawyer or pressure you to decide quickly

When you receive the settlement and say you can’t accept it until you’ve spoken with a lawyer, a disreputable insurance company will advise you not to get a lawyer because it will slow down the process. They know a good lawyer can spot their lowball offer and fight it.

●      You get the settlement quickly

Insurance settlements take time to research. There’s a lot of evidence to dig through and facts to sort before they can craft your settlement. If they’ve done it too quickly, that’s a sign they didn’t take the time to investigate your claim properly.

●      They ignore or dismiss evidence, blame you for the accident, or question the source of your injuries

If insurance companies tell you that specific evidence doesn’t matter or try to convince you that you are to blame for the accident, they are doing so to make their settlement offer sound more generous than it is.

This can also pressure you into taking their offer out of fear that you will lose that amount if you continue to push for fair compensation. They may also blame your injuries on other causes to prove that they aren’t liable for a payout.

●      They don’t explain their math

If you ask how they arrived at your settlement total, and they can’t provide that information, they are probably lowballing you. They know that if they explain how they arrived at your offer amount, you or a lawyer will see the amount is too low.

●      They suddenly become unresponsive

If you challenge the settlement offer, and the insurance company suddenly becomes unresponsive, they are probably lowballing you and hoping you will not want to draw the process out any longer and just accept the offer.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for Your Free Consultation Today

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you through the insurance claim process. We ensure you receive a fair settlement so you can focus on what’s important to you and get back to your regular life.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us today so you can receive the compensation you are entitled to.

What Is California’s Lane-Splitting Law in 2021?

by Staff Blogger | 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. 

What Are Your Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

by Staff | 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.

●      Precedence

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.