Month: December 2014

How to Buy a Safe Vehicle: Part 1

If it’s time to buy yourself a new car, it is important to make sure the vehicle you buy is safe for yourself, spouse or child. This will be split up into two separate blogs, since it is the most important safety decision you will make for the coming years.

Safety research has shown that accidents happen when drivers are unable to safely control the vehicles they are in. They lose control from a steering or braking standpoint. By controlling these measures, it will most definitely minimize potential tragedies and accidents.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) uses sensors in the car (wheel speed, steering wheel, yaw sensors, etc) to determine which direction the driver wants to go and compares it with the direction the car is headed. If the sensors detect that the driver is going in a direction that the driver is not telling it to go, it can apply breaks on individual wheels to put the car back in control. ESC can safely recover from skids that the human driver cannot.

ESC is an important safety feature because it helps drivers from losing control in a panic swerve or while driving on slippery roads. Studies have shown that ESC has reduced single-vehicle crashes by 34% for cars and 59% for SUVs. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes by 56% and fatal multiple-vehicle crashes by 32%.

It is important to conduct some preliminary research on some vehicles you are looking to buy. Websites maintained by the IIHS and NHTSA provide various comparisons on vehicles and their frontal and side impact tests. They also have published test scores concerning “roof strength to weight ratio” of assorted vehicles. These safety features and test scores are VERY IMPORTANT to the overall safety of your vehicle.

In Part 2 of this topic, we will go over the comparative value of these test scores. Stay tuned!

Buying the Right Ski Equipment

By now, you’ve probably learned how to ski, but do you know which ski equipment is safest to use? It is very important to take the time to choose equipment that is safe and comfortable for you. There are many variables you must consider before buying your ski equipment, such as:

  • Gender
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Skill level
  • Expected terrain
  • Snow conditions


Whether you are skiing or snowboarding, your movements will be governed by your ankles and feet, and so it is important to start with boots before you buy skis. Buy comfortable boots that will be compatible with your skill level; your boot stiffness will increase with skill level. Make sure your bindings pair correctly with your skis or board.


Select your poles by turning them upside down and holding them by their baskets. The angle of your elbows should be at 90 degrees. If they are more than 90 degrees, try shorter poles, and if they are less than 90 degrees, try longer poles.

Helmet and Goggles

Make sure your helmet fits snugly but comfortably on your head with a comfortable chin strap. Your goggles should fit tightly with the front rim of your helmet. If there is a gap, your goggles will fog and it will impair your vision on the slopes.

Now you’re ready to safely hit the slopes

Choosing the Right Lawyer: Fees and Payment Options

When you consult with your lawyer, ask to see what fees and charges you will be responsible for. The California State Bar requires every lawyer to explain all of their fees, whether it is before or within a reasonable amount of time after he/she starts to represent you. Be sure you understand all of the fees and costs that may incur on your case.

There are a few different types of payment arrangements you can make with your lawyer. Berglund & Johnson operates on a contingency fee (“no recovery, no fee”) basis. This means that our clients can have their legal needs met without paying for an attorney’s time on an hourly basis. Berglund & Johnson will collect their fee as a portion of the settlement and, in most cases, costs incurred in pursuing the case will be paid out of the settlement upon conclusion of the case. If there is no recovery, there are no fees.

You can also pay a flat fee for your lawyer’s services. Many lawyers charge a flat fee for simple, straightforward cases, such as bankruptcy filings or uncontested divorce matters. Make sure you understand all that is included in the flat fee.

Some lawyers charge an hourly rate for the time worked on your case. Hourly rates will vary according to your lawyer’s expertise and experience. Although more experienced lawyers will most likely charge a higher rate, they may complete your case more quickly. Ask for a written estimate on the number of hours that will likely be required to complete your case.

A retainer fee is when you are asked to pay a fee up front. The lawyer can then use this deposit as a down payment for expenses and fees during the case. Be sure to review “your account” in order to see how your money is being used.

If you aren’t satisfied with the way your lawyer has worked on your case, you have the right to fire him or her at any time. As said in Choosing the Right Lawyer: Part 1, if you have already retained a lawyer for a Personal Injury case and are dissatisfied with its progress, Berglund & Johnson will take care of you and respond to your concerns. If you choose to change attorneys and retain Berglund & Johnson, you will not incur any additional attorney fees. Your prior attorney will be compensated for the work he/she has done out of the Berglund & Johnson standard contingency fees. In other words, it will not cost you any more in attorney fees to change lawyers and retain Berglund & Johnson.