Why Every Driver Should Know About “Stop On Red” Week

by Staff | July 26th, 2021

Every year, hundreds of people are killed by drivers running a red light. In 2017, the annual death toll reached a 10-year high, with 939 Americans losing their lives in red-light running crashes. These impatient drivers also injure thousands of people every year.

Stop on Red Week is a national campaign to help save lives by educating drivers about the dangers of red-light running. This year, the movement is more critical than ever.

Post-Pandemic Dangers

After spending a year working from home, many drivers are returning to a daily commute. However, the roads they are driving may be more dangerous post-pandemic. Last year, the U.S. saw an 8% increase in motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries. The increase is even more shocking since the number of miles driven dropped by 13%. If the trend continues, each mile driven poses more risk for daily commuters.

The reduction in driving miles may have additional consequences. Your muscle memory and reflexive skills may have weakened from underuse during the pandemic. Drivers feel more stress and anxiety about traffic conditions because they are relatively unfamiliar with these situations now. As everyone readjusts to frequent driving, their skills will return. However, the adjustment period will increase the risks of the road in the short term.

Increased Speed Limits

It’s not just you; everyone is driving faster now. In the last year, the California state highway patrol doubled the number of citations issued for speeding over 100 mph.

Speeding is happening on local roads, too, not just highways. Road surveys have led to increased speed limits in many cities. This is because California used the 85th percentile method. State engineers measure the speeds of driving over a stretch of road, then base the speed limit on the rate that 85% of the vehicles are traveling.

Traffic Intersection Dangers

Intersection crashes are incredibly dangerous. They account for more than half of accident fatalities and injuries, even though intersection crashes only account for 35% of reported accidents. Red-light running and other risky behaviors lead to increased accident risk at intersections.

Some intersections are more dangerous than others. Trees and buildings may obstruct your line of sight, and speed limit changes may lead to driving too fast for the conditions of the road. Drivers may also turn to distracting devices while stopped and fail to return to full attention at the change of the light.

Additionally, drivers at intersections need to look for more than just other cars. Pedestrians and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable when involved in a traffic collision.

In 2018, pedestrians or bicyclists were involved in 28% of intersection accident fatalities.

Stopping on Red

Installing a traffic signal improves the safety of intersections, reducing the number of traffic accident injuries and fatalities. However, intersections with traffic signals still account for thousands of deaths every year, and red-light running causes about 25% of them.

Most drivers recognize red-light running as hazardous driving behavior. A traffic safety survey showed that 85% of drivers view the practice as very dangerous. Shockingly, nearly 33% of those drivers have run a red light in the last 30 days.

Red light running is primarily the result of distracted or aggressive driving. Many drivers choose to run a red light when they could stop safely. This may be because they feel they are unlikely to be punished for the infraction. Just under half of the drivers surveyed felt police would pull them over for running a red light.

Get Involved

You can do more to increase intersection safety than simply stopping at red lights. Stop on Red week is the perfect time to get involved with local and national lawmakers regarding road safety.

One way to support intersection safety is by campaigning for improved enforcement of red lights. Red-light cameras can reduce crash rates by 21% and fatalities by 14%. When installed at appropriate locations, red-light cameras save lives. 

You can also spread the word on the shocking statistics related to red-light crashes. The National Coalition for Safer Roads has social media posts that you can share on your accounts to increase awareness. The more people know about the dangerous and real-life consequences of red-light running, the more likely they are to stop safely.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Arrange Your Free Consultation

If you know firsthand the damage that red-light running causes, don’t suffer alone. The skilled San Francisco car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve after your accident. Contact us today for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

How California Might Tackle the Dramatic Increase in Road Deaths

by Staff | July 19th, 2021

In an unexpected turn of events, the 2020 pandemic and accompanying quarantine that kept drivers off the road has contributed to a rise in road accidents. Many of these accidents resulted in severe injury or death for the parties involved.

California is taking new measures to tackle the dramatic increase in road deaths and protect citizens as they get back out on the road after lockdown. Learn about these prevention measures and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you in the event of a car accident.

What Caused an Increase in Road Deaths?

In 2020, California went into lockdown. Pre-pandemic, congested traffic conditions forced motorists to slow down and be alert to issues on the road. Once the quarantine order took effect, the majority of drivers stayed home, leaving roads virtually empty. Consequently, this lack of traffic led to motorists driving at higher-than-average speeds and becoming less attuned to road conditions that they would typically pay attention to. This phenomenon has resulted in a 14% increase in fatality rates for car accidents nationwide.

How is California Approaching the Problem?

California lawmakers are working on ways to lessen the number of deaths in car accidents. Although there are many proposals in the pipeline, there are three standout solutions that may be enacted in the coming year that address the problem of dangerous speeding on California’s roads.

1.    Speed Limit Changes

In California, speed limits are set by agencies using Engineering and Traffic surveys (E&Ts). One of the most common ways of establishing a speed limit is by using the 85th percentile speed. This is when the speed limit is set at whatever rate 85% of traffic is moving at.

Lawmakers want to change this rule, allow municipalities more freedom to set speed limits, and require the E&Ts to consider areas that have formerly been overlooked, such as work zones, school zones, and areas where seniors or other vulnerable populations use the roadway.

2.    Installing Speed Cameras

Currently, California has a ban on automated speed enforcement. Automated speed enforcement usually takes the form of speed cameras. Lawmakers are looking into removing this ban and piloting speed camera programs in areas that pose the most significant risk to drivers and pedestrians. This includes putting cameras on dangerous streets and in school and work zones.

3.    Harsher Consequences for Speeding

During the first year of the pandemic, highway patrol officers issued 31,600 tickets for drivers going over 100 mph, almost double the pre-pandemic number of citations. California police departments continue to crack down on dangerous speeding by issuing higher fines in greater volume to deter drivers from being reckless.

Common Injuries That Result From Speed-Induced Car Crashes

Speeding is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents. Even if you survive a collision caused by speeding, you are much more likely to have serious, life-altering injuries. The types of injuries that are commonly sustained in speed-induced car accidents are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Permanent disfiguration
  • Spinal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of limbs
  • Death

The consequences of any car accident can be dire, but when speeding is a factor, the probability of severe, long-lasting injury increases exponentially.

What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident?

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, seek the help of a California car accident attorney. An experienced lawyer can aid you in seeking compensation for your injuries, so you don’t have to worry about paying medical bills while trying to heal.

Due to changing traffic laws brought on by the post-pandemic rise in traffic deaths, it is important to reach out to an attorney with knowledge about the evolving legal landscape surrounding car accidents. This can help ensure you don’t foot the bills for an accident caused by a speeding driver.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a car accident, contact the legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Set up a free consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys to review your case and determine the best course of legal action. We will fight for your rights and help you navigate California’s complex traffic laws, allowing you to receive the compensation you are entitled to.

How a Proposed Law Could Make Intersections Safer for California Cyclists

by Staff | July 12th, 2021

The Safety Stop Bill (AB 122) aims to make intersections safer for California cyclists by letting them treat stop signs as yield signs. When a bicyclist gets to a stop sign, and there are other vehicles, they must yield and give the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection. If there aren’t other vehicles, they do not have to come to a complete stop.

Among bicyclists, this is already a common courtesy. Many of them support it, including police officers and bicycle-related associations. While not everyone is for it, this proposed law protects everyone on the streets, including drivers.

An Explanation of the Safety Stop

Safety stops are known as the “Idaho stop” because Idaho was the first state to have this bicycle law passed in 1982, which some other states have already assumed. Idaho’s law allows cyclists to treat stop signs as a yield sign and red lights as a stop sign. The broader adoption of this policy is a first step toward recognizing that cyclists use the roads differently from vehicle drivers and adjusting traffic laws accordingly.

Benefits of Implementing this Law in California

For cyclists, this proposed law can make sharing the road with other bicyclists and vehicles safer.

●      Align Laws With Other States

Aside from Idaho, Delaware, Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, and Oregon also have similar traffic laws. Utah and North Dakota have recently passed similar safety stop laws as did Oklahoma.

Some of these states have already seen significant changes in bicycle safety as a result. For example, Delaware saw a 23% decrease in bicyclist injuries. California will join other states in policing bicycles on the streets and making the roads a safer place for cyclists.

●      Boosts Safety for Bicyclists

According to a 2010 DePaul study, most bicyclists slow down and pass stop signs instead of stopping entirely, with only 1 out of 50 bicyclists coming to a complete stop. Safety laws like Idaho’s yield law led to a 14.5% decrease in bicycle injuries a year after introduction.

Rolling through a stop sign makes the journey easier for cyclists than completely stopping and regaining momentum. For the sake of safety, using stop signs as yield signs benefits cyclists.

●      Protects Drivers

Many car accidents occur at intersections because of confusion among drivers and bicyclists. Drivers do not always come to a full stop, and bicyclists move at a momentum where they cannot always stop on time at an intersection. Sometimes, drivers do not see bicyclists before they make a turn at an intersection. As a result, drivers regard bicyclists as disrespectful of the law. 

If the Safety Stop law passes, drivers can fully understand that bicyclists must yield to other vehicles and wait until their turn. The law gives bicyclists a head start, making themselves visible to other drivers, preventing crashes if a driver needs to turn in the same direction as the bicyclist.

The Safety Stop Law is Safer for Drivers and Bicyclists

Approximately 70% of bicyclists who rode through stop signs did so for safety reasons, as reported in a recent study. The study also found that drivers more often break the traffic safety law.

Drivers will have to learn to adapt to the new law and better recognize bicyclists on the streets. Transportation is changing as a society pivots more toward walking and bicycling rather than a heavy reliance on vehicles. Legalizing the Safety Stop law will make intersections safer for bicyclists and drivers in California.

A Local Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Until the law passes, California still requires bicyclists to come to a complete stop and follow the same rules of the road as drivers. If you are injured in a car or bicycle accident in California, you need an experienced attorney in your corner. A car accident can result in serious injuries, incurring medical expenses, and wages lost for time off work. The consequences may be especially severe for a cyclist involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. California car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights following a collision. With four decades of experience, Berg Injury Lawyers are skilled in many related practice areas, including car accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury cases. Contact us today to request a no-obligation, free consultation.

The Surprising Ways COVID Made U.S. Drivers More Dangerous

by Staff | July 5th, 2021

In March 2020, governments worldwide instigated nationwide lockdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People stayed home, traffic lessened, and there were fewer cars on the roads. The National Highway Safety Administration reported traffic deaths decreased by 2% in the first six months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. After June 2020, the data showed a significant shift.

As traffic volumes decreased, the deaths per mile increased by 31%. Although staying home kept many people safe, the pandemic created unexpected dangers for people on the roads.

6 Surprising Ways Covid Made U.S. Drivers More Dangerous

The statewide lockdowns eased traffic in the early months of 2020. The open roads and the emotional state of drivers during the height of the pandemic influenced how people drove, making some drivers reckless.

●      Speeding

Since the number of cars on the road was lower during the COVID-19 pandemic, vast stretches of highways and streets were empty. The lockdowns also removed more risk-averse drivers who previously contributed to safer streets.

With fewer cars on the road, more people began speeding, putting other drivers, pedestrians, and themselves in danger. Many police departments around the country decreased the number of police officers patrolling the streets because of the lockdowns and for their safety. The reduced police presence and less traffic made for a deadly combination.

The California Highway Patrol noted an increase in speeding by 87% from March to April 2020. In San Francisco, unsafe speeding was the most common factor in fatal car collisions.

●      Impaired Driving

Lockdowns disrupted many people’s daily lives and routines. According to public health officials, some people began using drugs and drinking more alcohol to cope with stress, boredom, and anxiety.

64.7% of fatal car accidents involved at least one drug in the victims’ systems. Around the country, alcohol and drugs were contributing factors to an increase in car accidents.

●      Distracted Driving

Lengthy lockdowns made people more likely to be distracted while driving. After not driving for several months, it takes time to get back into defensive driving habits.

●      Pedestrian Accidents

In 2020, the U.S. saw 2,957 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, roughly a 20% increase from 2019. This number is particularly troubling when you consider there were far fewer drivers on the streets in 2020.

●      Increase in Aggressive Driving

The stress, anxiety, and depression from the COVID-19 pandemic can affect drivers’ mental state, leading to increased aggressive driving and disrespect for other drivers and pedestrians on the road. With more aggressive driving, there is an increased possibility of accidents and injuries.

●      Fewer People Wearing Seatbelts

22,215 vehicle occupants were killed in 2019 U.S. car accidents, and of those, 47% were not wearing a seatbelt. It’s evident that seatbelts save lives, but unfortunately, in 2020, fewer drivers in the U.S. buckled up, potentially contributing to increased fatality rates.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, between March 17, 2020, and July 18, 2020, 40.8% of drivers drove unbelted, compared to just 24.6% the previous quarter.

How to Stay Safe on the Streets During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide decreases and vaccination rates steadily increase, it’s inevitable that more drivers return to the roads. After long periods of inactivity, boredom, and staying home, some drivers may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors on the road.

Take steps to protect yourself and your family when driving by being wary of other drives on the road. You can drive defensively by anticipating the moves of other drivers and being aware of your surroundings at all times. Be on the lookout for drivers who speed, weave between lanes, or run red lights and stop signs.

Despite your best efforts, accidents can still occur due to negligence by another driver. If you’re  injured in a collision due to a driver’s reckless actions, our San Francisco car accident lawyers can help you file a claim for compensation.

Work With an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney

Many people have lost their lives during the pandemic, and tragically some of these losses are due to vehicle accidents. If you are involved in an auto accident, our car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can provide you with a no-cost review of your case so that you can hold a reckless driver accountable and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Can You Sue a Landlord for Injuries You Suffer in a Rental Unit?

by Staff | June 28th, 2021

In most states, the landlord of a property has a legal obligation to maintain the safety and security of the tenants they rent to. This means they must fix things such as broken stairs, weak railings, collapsing decks, or poor lighting to keep the rental free of hazardous conditions.

If your landlord fails in this regard and you become injured, they may be subject to premises liability laws and owe you compensation for your injury. Learn who can sue a landlord for personal injuries, how premises liability laws factor into your case, what type of compensation you may be entitled to, and how a slip and fall attorney can help.

Who Can Sue a Landlord?

A long list of people can sue a landlord for injuries incurred on the property. The list includes renters, tenants, visitors, workers, and even trespassers. Tenants or renters live on the property and are the most common plaintiff in landlord-tenant personal injury cases.

Visitors, such as family and friends of the tenant, may be entitled to compensation if they are injured while visiting the property. Workers such as landscaping crews, exterminators, and utility company employees can sue landlords for injuries they sustain while on the premises. Trespassers also fall under the list of people who may file a claim if they are injured in a rental property.

Examples of Unsafe Conditions

Many unsafe conditions may cause injury on a rental property. Common examples include:

  • Slips and falls on slick surfaces
  • Tripping on uneven stairs or obstacles that are hidden but easily fixable
  • Falling through rotted or weak floorboards
  • Falling on broken stairs
  • Injuries from exposure to dangerous chemicals
  • Injuries from a broken or weak railing
  • Burns from scalding water
  • Injuries from porch or deck collapse
  • Injuries due to inadequate or non-existent lighting

Slip and Fall Accident Injuries

The most common type of personal injury claim affecting tenants and landlords is slip and fall accidents. These types of accidents happen when a person slips or falls and suffers a personal injury because of unsafe conditions on a property. The types of injuries a person suffers due to a slip and fall range from minor to severe. Injuries might include broken bones, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, muscle injuries like strains, tears, sprains, scrapes, wounds, or bruising.

Premises Liability Laws

The most significant legal factor in determining whether or not you can file a slip and fall claim against the property’s landlord rests in California’s premises liability laws. To win your case, you must show that the defendant owns the property where the accident occurred, that they were negligent in maintaining the property, and that their negligence was a major contributing factor to your injuries.

Negligence occurs when the property owner fails to:

  • Repair the unsafe condition
  • Give an adequate warning about the dangers
  • Protect tenants, visitors, and workers from the hazard

Landlords in California are required to perform thorough inspections of their properties before renting to a tenant to uncover and repair hazardous conditions. If the landlord fails to discover, fix, and warn the new tenant of a hazard, they may be held liable.

Keep in mind that a landlord is not held liable for injuries that occur once you are in possession of the property. Landlords cannot perform surprise inspections on their tenants. Therefore, if a dangerous condition arises after you move in and you do not inform the landlord and then become injured, they are unlikely to be liable for your injuries.

The two exceptions to this situation are if your landlord is made aware of the hazard and fails to address it or if the accident occurs in a common area such as the hallway, stairs, or property elevators.

Personal Injury Compensation

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident due to landlord negligence, it is best to speak with experienced California slip and fall attorneys as soon as possible. Premises liability laws are complex, and cases of this nature are best handled by knowledgeable personal injury lawyers who specialize in the practice area.

An experienced attorney can help get you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to landlord negligence, contact the knowledgeable team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. During your free consultation, we will go over the facts of your case and help you consider your legal options. We have been representing victims’ rights for 40 years and will work to obtain the settlement you deserve.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement Check?

by Staff | June 21st, 2021

If your legal team has finally reached a settlement regarding your personal injury case, you are probably eager to receive the funds, pay your bills, and move on with your life. It may have taken a while for the defendant’s insurance company to agree to the settlement amount, so the idea of waiting an additional amount of time is undesirable.

How long does it take to get a settlement check? The answer depends on the various processing steps and payments required before you get the check, but in most cases, you can expect to receive your funds in about six weeks. Knowing the steps that go into processing your settlement check can help you understand why it takes so long to receive it.

Signing Release Forms

The first step in receiving your settlement is to sign the appropriate release documents. These documents release the defendant and their insurance company from any further lawsuits or legal action in the case.

Depending on the terms of your settlement, your release forms may be simple or full of conditions. Go over them carefully with your lawyer to make sure you agree to all stipulations. In some cases, your legal team may wish to negotiate further on the settlement before releasing the claim. This can delay your payment further. However, it is better to wait than to accept terms you disagree with.

Insurance Company Processing

The next step is for the defendant’s insurance company to receive your release papers and sign them. Then, the company processes your payment. Payment processing does not typically take too long, but with larger settlements, the insurance company may drag out the process. Once the check is issued, the insurance company sends it to your attorney.

Trust Account and Payment of Liens

Once your lawyer receives the check from the insurance company, they are required to deposit it into a trust account. Your attorney pays off any liens or outstanding bills. This often refers to medical liens but can refer to other creditors that need to be paid. If you paid these expenses yourself, you may receive reimbursement during this stage, but this is not part of your victim’s compensation settlement amount.

Attorney Fees

Many personal injury attorneys offer to work on your case with the understanding that they don’t receive payment until you get paid. This is helpful because you don’t have to worry about money upfront to get compensation for your injuries.

At this point in the settlement process, your attorney deducts their fees from your settlement amount. This includes fees for court costs, taxes, expert testimony, and other legal expenses, as detailed in your contract. You can ask your attorney to send you an invoice of their legal fees so you know exactly how the funds were used. Once your legal team has received their payment, you are on your way to receiving yours.

Victim Compensation

The last step in processing your settlement is when you receive the funds. After paying all debts and fees, your attorney sends you the funds. You may opt to have the check sent in the mail or pick it up in your lawyer’s office. This last step can take several weeks as law offices handle many cases at one time. Always call your lawyer if you have specific questions about your settlement’s processing time.

Legal Counsel and the Settlement Process

Due to the complicated nature of personal injury cases, you stand the best chance of protecting your rights and receiving appropriate compensation if you work with a San Francisco personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can ensure that the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you by offering a quick and easy settlement that is a fraction of what you may be entitled to.  

Contact the Team at Berg Injury Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one is considering filing a personal injury claim, contact the experienced attorneys with Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Our San Francisco personal injury lawyers can walk you through what to expect in your personal injury case and see you through the settlement process.

With 40 years of experience, Berg Injury Lawyers are ready to assess your claim and represent your interests so that you win the compensation you deserve.

If You’re Rear-Ended, Is the Other Driver Automatically at Fault?

by Staff | June 14th, 2021

Because California is such a large, populous state, the number of vehicles on the roads increases the likelihood of being involved in a car crash. There were 3,316 fatal car accidents in California in 2019. However, most motor accidents are not fatal. One of the most common non-lethal types of car accidents is a rear-end crash.

Many people assume that because the car behind usually initiates contact with the leading vehicle, they are automatically at fault. While the rear driver is usually the liable party in rear-end collisions, there are some exceptions. With the adoption of comparative negligence in California law, there is always a chance that the lead driver is liable to some degree.

In any auto accident, the key to resolving fault is to determine negligence. In California, rear-end accidents fall under the rebuttable presumption that the second car holds liability for the accident. This means that while it’s likely to be the fault of the car behind, this presumption must be clarified before negligence is concretely determined.

Role of Negligence in Car Accidents

All drivers have a duty of care for other road users. To prove negligence in an accident, you must demonstrate how one driver’s breach of duty led to the accident. Breaches of duty that can lead to car accidents include:

  • Failure to stop in a reasonable amount of time
  • Driving at an unsafe speed in relation to speed limits and road conditions
  • Inability to control your vehicle
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Not using indicator signals
  • Trailing a car at an unsafe distance

To receive compensation for a rear-end collision, drivers must prove that the opposing driver breached their duty, which caused the accident. You must also show that you sustained damages to your body or vehicle as a result of the incident.

Proving Fault in an Accident

To win a rear-end collision claim in California, you must prove that someone other than you was at fault. While it may be obvious whose fault the accident was, this must be indisputable in legal terms. For this reason, official proof is necessary to support your argument. Proving fault in an accident can be done using the following:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographic evidence
  • Video evidence
  • Vehicle damage
  • State traffic laws

Cases When the Lead Driver Is at Fault

Due to the positioning of vehicles on the road, the fault of rear-end accidents is generally with the rear vehicle driver. It is much easier for the trailing car to break the duty of care, causing an accident. All it takes is a moment of distraction or driving too close to the vehicle ahead to cause a collision.

However, there are circumstances where the lead driver is at fault in a rear-end accident. Some of the most common causes include:

  • The lead car reverses suddenly in a dangerous manner and without warning.
  • The lead car stops suddenly, signaling to turn but then fails to make the turn.
  • The lead car’s brake lights don’t work.
  • The lead car has a flat tire but doesn’t pull over and fails to use the hazard warning lights.
  • The lead car changes lanes dangerously, leading to a rear-end collision.
  • The lead car stops suddenly without a reasonable cause.

As with rear-end collisions where the rear driver is at fault, you must provide adequate proof to show negligence on the part of the lead motorist.

Comparative Negligence

California uses a pure comparative negligence system, meaning both parties can collect damages from a legal case as long as one person isn’t 100% negligent. However, you will receive less from your settlement if the court determines you hold part of the fault for the accident.

To successfully negotiate a motor accident claim in California, it’s essential to hire representation from a reputable lawyer, particularly if pure comparative negligence is involved.

Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we have a skilled team of experienced San Francisco car accident lawyers. We prioritize maximizing compensation for our clients and work to earn them reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages and earnings, pain and suffering, repairs and replacements, and more.

We’ve built a reputation as tough negotiators with insurance companies over the years, ensuring you won’t be taken advantage of. If you suffered an injury in a rear-end crash, don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule your free consultation. 

Does Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim Affect Your Insurance Rates?

by Staff | June 7th, 2021

Although California law requires every driver to have insurance, many drivers fail to comply. Whether they cannot afford the monthly rates, forget to renew their policy, or drive without a license, the result is the same. Having an accident with an uninsured motorist means you must file a claim with your insurance policy rather than theirs.

Many drivers worry that filing an uninsured motorist claim can increase their insurance rates. In California, legally, it cannot.

Too Many Uninsured Drivers on the Road

In 2019, 16.6% of California drivers didn’t have insurance. While not a majority, this high percentage makes it likely you’ll encounter an uninsured driver while on the road. If they hit you, their lack of insurance makes it difficult to get compensation.

If you have uninsured motorist insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company to pay for damages to your car and any injuries you sustain. Experienced California car accident lawyers can guide you through the process of filing a claim and can negotiate with your insurance company if you encounter problems.

Often, insurance companies take a long time processing claims or deny them for unjustifiable reasons. The team at Berg Injury Lawyers can ensure that you get the compensation you need from your insurance company as quickly as possible.

Prop 103

If you cause an accident and file a claim with your insurance company, that could cause your rates to go up. However, if someone else caused the accident, even if they are uninsured, Californians have protection against rising rates. Passed in 1988, Proposition 103 makes it illegal for insurance companies to raise your rates or drop you after filing an uninsured motorist claim.

However, many insurers have continued to do so illegally. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you avoid any illegal rate increases and expedite the claims process.

Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver

If your costs exceed the maximums of your policy, or you don’t hold uninsured motorist insurance, you may want to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve. However, many uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it. This means that although you may win your lawsuit, you won’t receive any money. Additionally, uninsured drivers face fines and possible jail time in California, so it could be challenging to receive your settlement from the driver.

Your lawyer may advise you to include third parties in your lawsuit as well, if possible. These parties may include people like other drivers involved in the crash or the car manufacturer if you believe a defect caused the accident.

The sooner you speak with a lawyer about your accident, the better. Personal injury lawsuits can also take months or years to go through court, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. While your legal team will endeavor to reach a settlement outside of court, they may need to go to trial if the insurance company or driver refuses to cooperate.

Work With Berg Injury Lawyers

Even if you don’t need to file a lawsuit, having an experienced lawyer on your side when dealing with your insurance company can help streamline the process and ensure you get the total compensation you are entitled to.

It’s common for insurance companies to offer their customers low-ball settlements, hoping they will accept. Your lawyer can advise you on their offer and determine whether it’s enough to cover your costs. If your insurance company delays or reduces their offer, your lawyer can represent you in negotiations with them to maximize your compensation.

Call for a Free Consultation

With our No Fee Guarantee, you can trust the legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers. We won’t get paid unless you do, so you don’t need to worry about shelling out money when you’re already suffering after an accident.

Car accidents are stressful enough without the complication of an uninsured motorist. If you or a loved one is suffering after an accident with an uninsured driver, call Berg Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free consultation. We’ll review your case and determine what your next steps should be to get you the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Leading Causes of Traffic Deaths in California?

by Staff | May 31st, 2021

Traffic accidents often lead to fatalities and can devastate a family in seconds. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), during the first nine months of 2020, traffic deaths across the country increased almost 5% over 2019 statistics.

In California, over 3,000 deaths occur each year due to traffic accidents, often resulting from someone else’s negligence and reckless driving. When this happens to one of your loved ones, seeking legal advice is necessary to determine whether you can file a claim to get the compensation you need to move forward with your life and hold the negligent party responsible for their actions.

Berg Injury Lawyers has been assisting car accident victims and their families since 1981, and we understand the California laws surrounding them. We know how to thoroughly review and evaluate your case and advise you of your options, negotiate with the insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf.

Negligent behaviors of others abound when sliding behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. As a result, too many fatalities occur. In California, these negligent behaviors range from excessive speeding to several forms of distracted driving.

Leading Causes of Traffic Deaths in California

While many causes can contribute to a traffic accident, there are several which stand out in California as the leading causes of traffic deaths.


Driving too fast for the roadway conditions or excessive speeding are leading causes of traffic fatalities across the country and California. The IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) reports that speeding results in more severe accidents, often leading to catastrophic occurrences.

At higher speeds, a driver’s reaction time reduces, as does their overall control of the vehicle. As speed increases, so does the force of impact, creating a hazardous situation for other drivers. Attempts to slow down or stop to avoid a crash are limited, which increases the risk of deadly injury to all involved.


Driving while impaired is widespread and often leads to severe accidents. Impairment can be caused by alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs and can prevent the driver from acting responsibly, leading to thousands of crashes each year.

Alcohol impairment means that a driver has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. According to compiled statistics by the Centers for Disease Control, every 50 minutes, a death in a motor vehicle crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurs in the United States.

Drug impairment, whether from legal or illegal drugs, also contributes to deadly accidents each year. Prescription medications often lead to drowsiness, affecting the driver’s ability to drive responsibly, while illegal drug impairment often reduces reaction time or causes loss of attention.

Driver Distraction

With the advancement of technology, people’s attention is pulled in all directions, and this often leads to drivers who attempt to multi-task behind the wheel.

Driver distraction encompasses various activities, and new technology is only one cause of distraction. Examples of activities leading to distraction include:

  • Talking, texting, or internet browsing on a cell phone or other device
  • Talking or arguing with other passengers in the vehicle
  • Eating while driving
  • Grooming while driving
  • Distracted by other objects in the vehicle

While regulations exist to lower the number of distractions, it’s challenging to remove them entirely. For example, hands-free cell phones are helpful but don’t eliminate the overall distraction.

Careless Driving

Failing to adhere to common traffic laws often leads to accidents. Two that top the list of common causes of traffic deaths are failure to yield the right-of-way and the inability to keep to the proper lane. Failing to obey traffic signals and signs also contributes to deadly crashes daily.

While doing your part to follow traffic laws, others may not show you and your loved ones the same courtesy. Always be on the lookout for those careless drivers and give yourself plenty of time and space to react to their negligent actions. When you cannot do so, and injury or death occurs, you need to consider all your options.

Though filing a legal claim with experienced California car accident attorneys won’t bring your loved one back to you, it can provide peace of mind by bringing those responsible to justice and compensation for you and your family.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers to Arrange Your Free Consultation

Thousands of traffic accidents occur in California every year, leading to fatalities. When this happens to your family or loved one, the California car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here to help you achieve the justice you deserve and get you the compensation you need. If you’d like to speak to an attorney, contact our law office for a complimentary, no-obligation case review.

How Does a Brain Injury Affect Your Ability to Drive?

by Staff | May 24th, 2021

Brain injuries come in varying levels of severity, causing minor impairments with coordination and memory to patients who cannot care for themselves. If you’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it may affect your reaction time, depth perception, peripheral vision, and coordination when you drive. If you’ve suffered from TBI seizures in the last year, you may have your license suspended.

However, with time, physical and occupational therapy, and medication, you may be able to drive normally one day. Here’s what you need to know about how a brain injury affects your ability to drive and when you can expect to hit the road again.

What is a TBI?

Traumatic brain injuries occur due to an impact or force that damages the brain. They typically occur from sports injuries, violence, slips and falls, and car accidents. A TBI occurs due to direct blunt force trauma to the head or the head changing direction suddenly and violently, causing the brain to hit the skull.

Some TBIs can heal after several weeks, months, or a year. Any TBI that lasts for more than a year is likely to be a permanent impairment, although you can learn to compensate with proper physical rehab interventions. Some drivers may need adaptive equipment to get behind the wheel again.

For those who received their TBI in a car accident, you may require some counseling to help you overcome anxiety and PTSD from the crash and to regain your confidence.

TBIs can impact your cognitive, visual, and physical abilities when you drive, which can be dangerous and lead to an accident. If you experience any of these impairments, it’s important to seek medical clearance before driving again.

Cognitive Impairments

TBIs to the frontal or temporal lobe can cause cognitive issues in the accident or fall’s immediate aftermath. Common symptoms of cognitive impairments following a TBI include:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Problems with decision-making, planning, impulse control, memory, problem-solving, and communication
  • Distraction and difficulties concentrating
  • Inability to cope with unexpected weather events or construction detours

While these injuries typically resolve in three to six months, severe damage may cause issues to persist. Aggressive physical, occupational, and psychological therapy can help you overcome many of these challenges and give you critical coping mechanisms.

Physical Impairments

Damage to the cerebellum, parietal lobe, and brain stem can cause physical challenges when you want to return to your normal life. In addition to the damage your brain has sustained, other areas of your body may have been seriously injured in an accident or fall. You may need to learn a new way of moving your body and utilizing new adaptive tools to get around. Your brain is also healing and can cause impairments such as:

  • Hearing loss
  • Poor hand-eye coordination and muscle coordination
  • Limited muscle strength
  • A loss of sense of balance, or vertigo

Visual Impairments

Damage to the occipital lobe causes vision challenges that can make driving difficult or impossible. Many of these issues resolve with time, but some persist and may make getting back behind the wheel impossible. Visual impairments after a TBI include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Development of blind spots
  • Blurred vision, double vision, trouble focusing
  • Difficulty controlling eye movement
  • Slow processing of road signs or potential hazards

Getting Back to Driving

If your license was suspended as a result of your TBI, you will need to go to the DMV and participate in a re-examination interview or a physical and mental hearing.

An experienced personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you prepare for these steps and provide documentation from your doctors to support your case for license reinstatement.

Alternatively, if you are deemed unable to drive again safely due to a permanent traumatic brain injury, you may need financial assistance for transportation costs and medical bills. Not being able to drive severely limits your ability to earn a living wage, and you may have dependents who count on you for transportation. These are calculable damages you may be eligible to recover if your TBI resulted from another person’s negligence.

The Final Word

If you or a loved one have sustained a traumatic brain injury, don’t give up hope. With time and medical interventions, many TBI patients can heal and get back on the road again safely. Let our experienced California brain injury lawyers help you get back your wheels and your independence. We can also file a claim for damages from the negligent party, so you are financially secure.