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defamation claims

When people hear the term “personal injury lawyer,” they typically think of auto accidents. It’s common to see personal injury lawyers in TV commercials talking about how they can help victims of auto accidents.

Yet, personal injury law is so much broader than car accidents. Of course, personal injuries can be physical, such as whiplash or broken bones sustained in a car accident. Yet, they can also be emotional in nature — especially when there is damage to one’s reputation.

When a reputation-damaging remark meets a series of criteria, it may be worthwhile to consider filing what is called a defamation claim.

Types of Defamation: The Difference Between Libel and Slander

What is defamation? At its essence, defamation is an umbrella term for a remark that is harmful to one’s reputation. There are two types of defamation: libel and slander.

  • Libel is when someone writes something about you that is defamatory and, in turn, harms your reputation. A written defamatory remark can be published in traditional media — such as a newspaper, magazine, or book — as well as in digital media, such as a text message.
  • Slander is when someone says something about you that is defamatory and, in turn, harms your reputation.

How Do You Prove Defamation of Character?

If you are the victim or a defamatory action, how do you prove that you have been harmed? There are three key elements to proving defamation of character. You have to prove that the defamatory statement was published or told to somebody else; that the statement was false; and that you were injured in some way

First, you have to prove that the information was published. As mentioned above, a written remark can be published in a newspaper or book, while a spoken remark can be told to someone else, in the presence of another party.

The spoken remark can’t simply be between two people. For example, if someone were to call you a liar in private, with no one else present, then you’ve simply been called a liar. Yet, if a third person is present for the conversation and listening, and someone calls you a liar, then the remark can be considered defamatory.

Second, you have to actually prove that the statement was false. When it comes to defamation lawsuits, there’s a common saying, that “the ultimate defense is the truth.” If someone says something that is truthful, that is the defense to a defamation claim. The party that has been harmed must prove the statement false.

Third, you must prove that the written or spoken statement actually led to injury, and that there was some harm. Again, in the context of defamation, injury can span emotional or financial injury — a dented reputation or a loss of job opportunities, for example.

If the three elements for proving defamation are met, then the victim has what is called an “actionable” defamation claim.

Opinions and Defamation

You will see a lot of defamation suits involving Hollywood actors and actresses. Because of their status, and because their reputations mean everything to them, actors and actresses are more likely to pursue defamation claims when negative things are written about them, or said about them on TV or online.

Yet, defamation claims can be hard to pursue. For a claim to be worth pursuing — in terms of time, money, and effort — one must have a substantial reputation to begin with.

Further, just because someone voices or publishes a negative opinion, and it is truly just an opinion, they may not have made a defamatory statement.

If you believe that you have been the victim or a defamatory statement, and some sort of actionable claim can be made, give Negretti & Associates a call, at 602-531-3911 in Arizona, 619-777-3370 in California, or 720-636-3444 in Colorado. Or, you can click here to contact us with our online form. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

Granted, you may have to put your pride on the sidelines for a minute as we reflect upon the three key elements of defamation: Was the statement published or told to someone else? Was it false? What are the injuries that you suffered as a result of the statement, and did it stop you from getting a job, or cause you to lose your job?

With roughly 210 million licensed drivers cruising around the United States, it is not surprising that over 15,000 of them are involved in vehicle accidents every day. Often, accidents may have devastating effects to drivers and passengers, however, even if nobody is physically injured in a vehicle accident, it is important to know that the participants may still have suffered a financial injury involving their vehicle, known as diminished value.

If you have been involved in a collision in which your vehicle has been damaged and then repaired, diminished value is the difference between a car’s pre-accident value and its value after the repairs.  Even if your vehicle is expertly repaired, with no signs of damage, the fact that it has a damage history or is considered a vehicle that has been in an accident, will make its resale value lower in the eyes of prospective buyer.

However, there is a way in which to recover the diminished value of your vehicle.  A diminished value claim is when you request an amount of money from an insurance company to compensate you for the difference between your car’s value before an accident and its value after an accident.  In some cases, this value may amount to thousands of dollars for newer vehicles.

Each state has their individual diminished value laws. California, Arizona and Colorado are all diminished value states, which means that you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle following an accident. The time period in which you must file a claim in order to bring a diminished value claim, or be barred from doing so, in Arizona and Colorado is two years, while in California it is three years.

Steps in a Diminished Value Claim

In most states, if you are at fault for the accident, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover the diminished value of your vehicle.  However, if you are not at fault for the accident, the first thing that you should do when pursuing a diminished value claim is speak with an experienced attorney.

An experienced attorney, like the ones at Negretti & Associates, will work closely with dedicated vehicle appraisers who can help to determine the amount of loss you will incur and the amount of the claim against the insurance company.  Insurance companies do not like paying for diminished value claims and will do everything they can to make it difficult for you to recover.  Many insurance companies save millions of dollars each year because accident victims do not know that they have the option of filing a diminished value claim.

You typically do not have the right to recover for a diminished value loss through your own insurance company.  This applies even when they repair your vehicle.  Therefore, it is extremely important that you put your own insurance company on notice of your intent to pursue a diminished value claim against the at-fault party.  If you do not do this, you could lose out on the property limits that are available to cover your loss.

Consequently, you will be making a diminished value claim through the at-fault party’s insurance company.  Diminished value claims can be very difficult to establish, so a professional evaluation from an appraiser that specializes in diminished value insurance loss is essential.  When evaluating your vehicle, an appraiser may look at things such as: what type of damage did the vehicle sustain, the condition and mileage of the vehicle prior to the accident, was the vehicle repaired to industry standards and has the vehicle been involved in other accidents.

Additionally, a trade-in value in writing from the dealership that you purchased the vehicle from can also help support your diminished value claim.  It is important to know, that in order to establish your vehicles diminished value, you do not have to sell your vehicle; the loss to you occurs at the time of the accident.

It is also helpful to take photos of each angle of your vehicle after the accident.  These photos can be used as evidence to help establish the damage done to your vehicle. It is also important to take photos of your vehicle after the accident to establish that your vehicle has been restored to its original condition.

Once your attorney has the pertinent information, they will begin negotiations with the at-fault insurance company. As mentioned above, diminished value claims are insurance companies unchecked lottery tickets, saving them millions of dollars a year.  Consequently, it may be very difficult negotiating with an insurance company regarding your diminished value claim making it very important that you contact an experienced attorney. The experienced attorneys at Negretti & Associates work with top industry appraisers and will fight for you as we pursue your diminished value loss.

Although swimming pools are a great source of entertainment and exercise, it is important for both parents and children to be educated about water safety and pool requirements in order to avoid unnecessary tragedy.

One of the countless benefits of living in Arizona is the many days of clear skies and sunshine.  Phoenix ranks fourth in the United States for annual days of sunshine, boasting 211 days of sunshine a year (Yuma, Arizona ranks number one).  With the amount of sunny days, it’s no wonder why the indoor-outdoor lifestyle is so common to Phoenicians.  Residents are accustomed to flip-flops year-round, daily applications of sunscreen, collections of sunglasses and swimming pools.

In most states, a swimming pool is a luxury, however, in Phoenix it is staple.  In fact, Phoenix ranks number one in the United States in residential pool ownership.

Two new reports from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“USCPSC”) cited that 390 children drown each year in the United States, with the majority of this number occurring in the summer. Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the USCPSC, puts that number into perspective explaining, “We are talking about 15 preschool classes lost in a pool or spa every year.”

In 2016 in Arizona alone, there were 157 water related incidents, 90 of which involved toddlers and infants, resulting in 16 deaths. In 2017 there have already been 44 deaths.  Subsequently, drowning is the leading cause of death in 1-4 year olds in Arizona.

Some of the common causes of drowning include:

  • Lack of swimming ability
  • No barriers surrounding the pool
  • Parents lack of supervision in the bathtub
  • Panic when in the water
  • Boating accidents
  • Fatigue
  • Concussion, heart attack or seizure while in the water
  • Alcohol use
  • Nonuse of lifejackets

Lori Schmidt, president of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, says the “ABCs” of preventing drowning remain the first and best line of defense when working at eliminating child drowning tragedies.  Schmidt states, “The No. 1 thing people need to understand is we can prevent drowning so we need to make sure we take those steps to lower our chances. Drowning prevention is a three-pronged approach with the key being adult supervision.” The three prongs (ABC) include: adult supervision, barriers to water access and life vests and coast guard approved CPR classes for adults.

Additional ways to prevent drowning include:

  • Educating your child about pool safety, including, but not limited to: where they can swim, what activities are appropriate, if they may dive into a pool, what to do if they are struggling in any way, where the pool ladders or steps are located, what to do if another child is struggling in a pool and how to deal with pool or spa drains.
  • Instructing your children on what drowning means.
  • Installing pool barriers (it is the law). It is not enough to lock the house doors, children of all ages can think of crafty ways to open a locked door, go through a window or out a doggy door.
  • Parents must educate themselves, including CPR, proper supervision, and correct installation of pool drains and covers.
  • Appreciating and knowing the environment, including water depth, water current and terrain.
  • Enrolling your child in swimming lessons, children are able to begin swimming as young as six months of age. Both Hubbard Family Swim School and Aqua-Tots offer classes to children as young as four months of age through advanced swimmers.  Additionally, both companies offer classes for special needs children.
  • Never consuming alcohol while operating a boat or any type of watercraft.
  • Knowing, and being honest, about you, or your child’s swimming level.
  • Understanding how to choose and fit a life jacket.
  • Recognizing the risk of a “dry,” or delayed drowning.

The Arizona State Legislature has recognized the importance of pool safety and passed A.R.S. § 36-1681 to prevent children from gaining unsupervised access to residential swimming pools.  The statute includes requirements such as: pool enclosure height (must be at least five feet high), door and gate measurements, when a wall or barrier is necessary and enclosure distance from the water’s edge.

In part, A.R.S. § 36-1681 states:

“A. A swimming pool, or other contained body of water that contains water eighteen inches or more in depth at any point and that is wider than eight feet at any point and is intended for swimming, shall be protected by an enclosure surrounding the pool area, as provided in this section.

  1. A swimming pool or other contained body of water required to be enclosed by subsection A whether a belowground or aboveground pool shall meet the following requirements:
  2. Be entirely enclosed by at least a five-foot wall, fence or other barrier as measured on the exterior side of the wall, fence or barrier.
  3. Have no openings in the wall, fence or barrier through which a spherical object four inches in diameter can pass. The horizontal components of any wall, fence or barrier shall be spaced not less than forty-five inches apart measured vertically or shall be placed on the pool side of a wall, fence or barrier which shall not have any opening greater than one and three-quarter inches measured horizontally. Wire mesh or chain link fences shall have a maximum mesh size of one and three-quarter inches measured horizontally.
  4. Gates for the enclosure shall:

(a) Be self-closing and self-latching with the latch located at least fifty-four inches above the underlying ground or on the pool side of the gate with a release mechanism at least five inches below the top of the gate and no opening greater than one-half inch within twenty-four inches of the release mechanism or be secured by a padlock or similar device which requires a key, electric opener or integral combination which can have the latch at any height.

(b) Open outward from the pool.

  1. The wall, fence or barrier shall not contain openings, handholds or footholds accessible from the exterior side of the enclosure that can be used to climb the wall, fence or barrier.
  2. The wall, fence or barrier shall be at least twenty inches from the water’s edge.”

Additionally, public swimming pools in Arizona must be in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act.  The Act was signed by President Bush on December 2007, to prevent public swimming pool and spa accidents.

It only takes seconds for tragedy to occur.  Make sure that you have educated your household about the crucial elements of pool safety, so that your family may continue to enjoy Arizona’s sunny days and all the benefits a pool has to offer.   Should you need any assistance with a pool related injury, please contact Negretti & Associates for a free consultation.

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a devastating and life changing event, not only for the people involved, but for their family, friends, co-workers and the community.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that in 2015 there were 2.44 million people injured in motor vehicle accidents with over ten million accidents that year.  Additionally, it is estimated that the average driver will file a claim for a vehicle collision every 17.9 years.

Although most drivers aim to be safe and defensive while driving, it is important to know what steps you should take if you have been involved in a vehicle collision.

Stop at the Accident Scene

The first step that you should take when you are involved in an automobile accident is to stay at the scene.  Many states, including Arizona, have laws that require a person involved in a vehicle accident to perform certain duties.  Arizona Revised Statute 28-663 requires a person that was involved in an accident to:

“1. Give the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving.

2. On request, exhibit the person’s driver license to the person struck or the driver or occupants of or person attending a vehicle collided with.

3. Render reasonable assistance to a person injured in the accident, including making arrangements for the carrying of the person to a physician, surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if the carrying is requested by the injured person.”

Additionally, it is important to not leave the scene because criminal charges may be filed if you flee. Arizona Revised Statute 28-611 requires drivers that have been involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to stop and comply with Arizona Revised Statute 28-663, or they may be charged with a felony.

Check for Injuries

Once you are stopped at the scene it is imperative that you determine whether you, or any other person in the accident, has been injured.  If there is an injury to any person involved, call 911 immediately. If you are not injured and you can drive your car, and it is safe to do so, move your car to an area that will not be obstructing other traffic more than necessary.

It is also important to note that if you feel, at any point after the accident, that you have soreness or that you have a minor injury, you should visit a physician.  After an accident, the people involved may be confused and running on adrenaline, which may cause the body to ignore injuries that have been sustained due to the collision.  Additionally, you may have sustained injuries that cannot be detected by the naked eye, they may be internal.  It is important to visit a physician to get treatment for any injury, whether minor or major, as well as to rule out any internal injuries and to create documentation of your injuries that you may bring to your attorney and have for your insurance company.

Police and Accident Reports

Once you have taken the proper health precautions at the accident scene, you should call the police.  The police will arrive on the scene and file an accident report.

Each state has different laws pertaining to filing accident reports.  For example, in Colorado, each person involved in an automobile accident has a duty to report a traffic accident.  If the driver of the vehicle is physically unable to file a report, it is the duty of a capable passenger to do so.  If a person is involved in an automobile accident in which someone is injured and does not file an accident report, it is considered a class 2-misdemeanor traffic offense.

A traffic report may be important for many different reasons, however, especially if you file a claim because of injuries sustained in the vehicle accident.  Although the police report is generally not admissible in civil court, it is very persuasive and may assist in gaining leverage in informal settlement discussions with an insurance carrier or opposing counsel in your personal injury dispute.

The report may contain helpful information such as the date, time, weather conditions and location of the accident.  It will also contain the name, statements and telephone numbers of others involved in the accident, or any witnesses to the accident, which may prove invaluable when trying to prove fault.

Furthermore, the report will have the officer’s initial assessment of fault and if the officer has given a citation to the at-fault party.  This will include the officer’s written description of the details and causes of the accident, and usually includes a diagram. Causes of the accident may include negligence, violation of a vehicle code, or use of drugs or alcohol.

Once the police arrive on the scene they will ask pertinent questions about the accident; you should answer their questions.  However, stick to the facts.  The police will put their initial assessment of fault on a police report and many times during accidents people are confused and may admit things that they are not liable for.  Therefore, it is important to stick only to the facts, as liability will be investigated at a later time.

Collect Relevant Evidence

After you have answered the officer’s questions and cooperated fully, take time to collect the phone numbers and names of any persons involved in the accident or witnesses to the accident.  If you have the opportunity to speak with anyone at the scene make sure that make notes of their responses.  Additionally, try and document by writing, or photos (most people will be able to take photos using their phones), any injuries that you may have to your person, vehicle, or any other information that you believe is critical.

Shortly after the accident, take time to write down your own detailed account of what occurred.  It is important that this is done shortly after the accident so that every detail that you can remember is noted.  Many times, injury claims may take months, or even years, and people forget important details during that time.

Your description should include weather conditions, the time of day, a play-by-play description of how the accident occurred, any statements made by persons involved in the accident or witnesses, and any injuries that you sustained or emotions that you feel after being involved with the accident.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you are injured in an automobile accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  An attorney will be able to evaluate your case,  guide you through the personal injury process, analyze the information you have gathered, and speak with insurance companies, which will allow you to focus on what’s most important, your health.  Contact the attorneys at Negretti & Associates for a free case evaluation.

dog bite laws arizona california colorado

Dogs are considered to be part of the family, offering a wide range of benefits — companionship, unconditional love, lower blood pressure, exercise, and opportunities for children to learn responsibility. Dogs are especially loved in Arizona, which has the highest percentage of dog owners in the United States. Approximately 1.7 million (43.3 percent) Arizona households include man’s best friend!

However, what happens if your beloved family dog bites another individual?

Common Law and Colorado’s “One Bite Rule”

Under the common law, a person that was injured by a dog could recover if they proved that the owner knew, or should have known, that the animal had a predisposition to cause harm. This was known as the “one bite rule.”

Under the Colorado “one bite rule,” an owner generally would not be held liable if his or her dog bit someone for the first time, because the owner would never have known that the dog had a predisposition to cause harm. However, once the dog had bitten someone (or growled and snapped), the owner would know that the dog had the ability to cause harm, and could be held liable if the dog bit a person in the future.

Colorado is included in a list of states that apply the “one bite rule.”

Arizona and California Dog Bite Law

Arizona and California, however, impose strict liability on the owner of a dog in dog bite cases. This means that in Arizona and California, dogs do not get “one free bite.” Owners will be held strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dogs without regard to an owner’s knowledge of the dog’s predisposition to cause harm.

Arizona Revised Statute 11-1025 and California Civil Code section 3342 govern dog bite cases. Arizona and California law explain that a dog’s owner is liable if his or her dog bites a person who is in a public place or lawfully in a private place when the bite occurs, “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.”

Two common defenses that may be raised in an Arizona or California dog bite case include trespassing and provocation. Since both laws require the injured person to “lawfully” be in a public or private place when the injury occurs, a person who is trespassing would be on the premises unlawfully. Therefore, the trespasser would be unable to recover damages. Additionally, the statute states that an injured person cannot recover if the person “provoked” the dog. Although provocation was initially directed at military or police dogs, it is a common defense for household pets as well.

Damages

Although the dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog, often their insurance company will ultimately pay for the damages. Additionally, rental, business and landlord insurance may also cover dog bite injuries. Some damages that may be recovered from a dog bite case include: lost wages, medical bills, future medical bills, therapy, pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.

Dogs add such a wonderful facet to life. Please take the time to review your state’s dog bite laws to keep your family, which includes your dog, and others safe.

Negretti & Associates Can Help

If you have been bitten by a dog, it’s important to get medical treatment right away. After that, you’ll need to begin collecting evidence as quickly as possible. Contact our team of dog bite lawyers so that we can evaluate your situation and help you determine if your case is worth pursuing.

On Thursday, June 15, the Negretti & Associates team, along with family and friends, came together to give back to those in our community who are less fortunate. Collectively, we packed 100 bags filled with food and other essential items — totaling more than 600 lbs. — for delivery to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Our firm is not only passionate about taking care of our clients, but also giving back. This is why we have teamed up with the Phoenix Rescue Mission to help make a change in our growing world.

Phoenix Rescue Mission began in 1952 and continues to serve the Valley of the Sun and its people to this day. Their vision is a “community mobilized to transform lives and end hunger and homelessness.”

Negretti & Associates didn’t want to stop at filling 100 bags. We have decided to offer clients the opportunity to get involved, as well. Each client will have the ability to “donate” a bag once his or her case has been settled. Negretti & Associates will match their donations.

We offer a huge thanks to Kneaders Bakery Café on Hayden Road, who opened their doors to our firm, allowing us to pack all of the bags and showing their support for the cause as well. We are a community UNITED!

Drivers of vehicles have a tremendous responsibility to assure that they are paying proper attention and following all traffic laws in order to keep other drivers and pedestrians safe. This responsibility becomes even more important when drivers are in an intersection as there are many different moving parts in which the driver must be aware. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), about 40% of the 5,811,000 crashes in the U.S. occur at intersections.

Crashes often arise at an intersection because it is a location where two or more roads intersect, and activities such as turning right, turning left, crossing over lanes, and running a stop sign or stop light have the potential to cause accidents. In fact, the NHTSA conducted a relative ratio analysis, which found that intersection related accidents are almost 335 times as likely to have “turned with an obstructed view” as the critical reason related to the intersection accident.

Each year, about 2.2 million accidents occur nationally at intersections. This accounts for over 700,000 injuries and over 7,000 fatalities. Understanding and being knowledgeable about your state’s current intersection laws will help drivers avoid accidents and will also help those individuals injured in intersections accidents to determine liability.

Laws Applicable to Intersections

Each state has different laws with regard to intersection safety. Below is a list of Arizona laws that relate to intersection safety:

28-771. Vehicle at intersection; exception; entering freeway
A. When two vehicles enter or approach an intersection from different streets or highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

28-772. Vehicle turning left at intersection
The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard.

28-773. Intersection entrance
The driver of a vehicle shall stop in obedience to a stop sign as required by section 28-855 and then proceed with caution yielding to vehicles that are not required to stop and that are within the intersection or are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Common Causes of Intersection Accidents

The most common traffic violation associated with intersection accidents is running a stop sign or red light. This occurs when a driver continues through the intersection after not stopping at the stop sign or red light. Other common causes of intersection accidents include:

  • Negligence/Driver Error—Drivers may mistake a two-way stop as a four-way stop, or a no-way stop, and pass through the intersection while another car does the same.
  • Inattention—The driver is being careless or negligent and drives through the stop sign without noticing it. This may be caused by texting, reaching for an item in the car, lack of sleep and a variety of other reasons.
  • Mistaken Right-of-Way—This occurs when two drivers both believe that they have the right of way and both accelerate from their stop signs and crash into each other.
  • Weather—Severe weather such as heavy rain, snow, sleet, hail and sun may obscure the driver’s vision and cause them to run a stop light or stop sign. Additionally, icy or slick surfaces may cause a driver to slide through a stop sign or stoplight and crash into another vehicle that has the right of way.
  • Obstruction—As mentioned above, an obstructed view is 335 times more likely to be the reason for an intersection accident. If a stop sign is blocked or obstructed in any way by bushes, trees or graffiti a driver may believe that they do not have a stop sign and continue through the intersection.
  • Turning at an Intersection—A driver may believe it is their right of way and turn right or left in front of a car that is continuing through the intersection causing an
    accident.
  • U-Turns—U-turns (which are included in left hand turns) account for 22.2 percent of intersection crashes. Under Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-752, a vehicle cannot make a U-turn within 500 feet of another vehicle.

Ways to Reduce Intersection Accidents

Human error, or negligence, is the most common factor for intersection accidents. However, there are design procedures and road engineering measures that could assist towards safer intersections, including:

  • Roundabouts—Roundabouts are an effective way of reducing the speed of traffic at intersections.
  • Signage—Having clear road markings and signs are a lost-cost way to help reduce intersection accidents.
  • Photo Radar—Although controversial, red light violations can be enforced and offenders penalized with the use of photo radar.
  • Traffic Signal Timing—Improving traffic signal timing may reduce rear-end collisions.
  • Signal Visibility—Improving signal visibility, for example making the signals brighter and larger may reduce intersection accidents.
  • Two-way to Four-Way Stops—At dangerous locations the conversion of two-way, with four-way stop signs may reduce crashes.
  • Traffic Calming Measures—Implementing traffic calming measures such as street narrowing, rumble strips and speed bumps.
  • Speed Limits—Adjusting the speed limits on certain roads may be appropriate in reducing accidents.

Intersection driving can be intimidating, however, if a driver knows their state’s laws and pays proper attention while driving, they can navigate intersections confidentially and keep themselves, and others, safe.

child car seat guidelines

Many states require that passengers under the age of five be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. It is important for parents or legal guardians to always read and follow child car seat guidelines, as well as manufacturers’ installation instructions and weight and height guidelines.

Child Car Seat Guidelines – Newborns to 12 Months

Children weighing less than 20 pounds and under age 1 should ride in rear-facing infant car seats, or convertible seats used in a rear-facing position.

  • A rear-facing safety seat should never be installed in front of an active airbag.
  • A rear-facing safety seat should be installed to recline 30 to 45 degrees.
  • While in a rear-facing safety seat, a child’s head must be at least one inch below the top of the seat.
  • When using a seat in rear-facing position, use the harness straps and slots in the safety seat at or below shoulder level of the child.
  • Harness straps in the safety seat must be snug on the child. The harness clip — the clip on safety seat that goes across the child’s chest — should be at armpit level.

Child Car Seat Guidelines – Children Ages 1-5

A child should remain in a rear-facing safety seat until age 2, or until the upper weight or height limits of a seat have been met. When a child outgrows a rear-facing safety seat, he or she may transition to a forward-facing seat with a harness system.

  • Use the internal harness system of the safety seat until the upper weight or height limit has been reached.
  • Use harness straps and slots in the safety seat at or above shoulder level when forward-facing.
  • The safety seat’s harness straps should be snug on the child. The harness clip should be at armpit level.
  • When in a forward-facing safety seat, the top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the seat.

Child Car Seat Guidelines for Children Ages 5-8

Children should be secured in a forward-facing safety seat, with the internal harness system of the safety seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limits allowed by the manufacturer.

When a child outgrows the forward-facing seat, he or she may transition to a belt-positioning booster seat. In Arizona, for example, state law requires any child who is less than 80 pounds and less than four feet, nine inches tall to be placed in a booster seat while riding in a vehicle.

  • Booster seats must be used with the vehicle’s shoulder and lap belt — not just a lap belt.
  • The lap belt needs to lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.
  • If the booster seat has a back, the top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the back seat.
  • If using a backless booster seat, the vehicle’s head restraint must be positioned properly.
  • When the booster seat is not in use, make sure that the seat is secured with the vehicle’s seat belt.

How To Get Assistance with Installing and Inspecting Your Car Seat

In Arizona:
View Raising Arizona Kids’ list of resources for help with car seat safety requirements, installations, and product recalls.

In Colorado:
Visit Carseats Colorado for information on stations that offer car seat inspections, to ensure that your car seat is fully operational and properly installed.

In California:
See the California Highway Patrol’s site for assistance with car seat safety requirements, installation, and product recalls.

Negretti & Associates encourages you to do your part in following your state’s seat belt laws and helping to save lives!

Despite the majority of people knowing the national, “Click It Or Ticket” enforcement campaign, and the staggering statistics showing that wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to save lives (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%) and reduce injuries, millions of people still do not buckle-up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thirteen percent of drivers still do not wear their seat belts.

Seat Belt Laws

The majority of seat belt laws in the United States are left to the states. However, the first seat belt law was a federal one. Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, requires all vehicles (except buses) to be fitted with seat belts in all designated seating positions. The law has now been modified to require three-point belts in all seating positions.

Although there is an over-arching federal law that involves seat belts, the states are free to create their own laws governing seat belt use. Laws requiring seat belt usage are either “primary” or “secondary” enforcement laws. Primary enforcement laws allow police officers to pull over drivers and issue a ticket just because the drivers, or their passengers, are not wearing their seat belts. However, secondary laws only allow police officers to issue tickets for seat belt violations once the driver has been pulled over for some other offense.

The age in which a driver or passenger is required to wear a seat belt varies from state to state. However, Arizona law requires that each front seat occupant must wear a lap and shoulder belt while the vehicle is in motions. A citation will be issued to the driver for each passenger under 16 years of age that is occupying the front seat and not wearing a seat belt. The exception to this rule is a child that is under five years old, which must be properly secured in a child restraint system.

Seat Belt Safety

The accurate way to wear a seat belt is to have the shoulder belt pulled over your shoulder (not under your arm or behind your back) and across your chest with the belt up close against the body.

Additionally, the lap belt should be close to the body and low on the hips. This positioning will allow the chest and the pelvis to take most of the force of a collision rather than other body parts, which may not be able to handle the impact.

Some of the common seat belt mistakes include:

• Not wearing a seat belt at all. Airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not to replace them. If you are not wearing your seat belt the impact could throw you forward while the airbag is being deployed and the impact may seriously injure or kill you.

• Wearing a seat belt that is too loose. If the seat belt is not close against your body, the impact of the accident could cause your body to slam against parts of the vehicle.

• Wearing the lap belt across your stomach instead of low on the hips. The stomach is not as equipped to sustain impact as the pelvis. If there is a collision, there is a good chance that there will be internal soft tissue injury if the seat belt is worn across the stomach. This is doubly important for pregnant women, who should not wear their seat belt across their stomach but should wear it lower toward their pelvis.

• Wearing the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. If there is an impact you are much more likely to slip through the seat belt and be thrown from the vehicle or slam into the inside of the vehicle.

• Making excuses to not wear a seat belt. Excuses such as: I’m not driving very far, the seat belt is uncomfortable to me or It’s not cool to wear a seat belt, may pose serious risks to the excuse maker and the other passengers in the vehicle. Studies show that 75 percent of accidents happen within 25 miles of the home. Furthermore, it is more important to be safe than a little uncomfortable and just because you are sitting in the back seat does not mean that you can’t be thrown through the windshield or hit other passengers.

arizona bicycle laws and safety tips

Cycling can be a great way to stay fit, have fun and benefit the environment. However, it can also be a dangerous hobby if cyclists, and drivers, do not follow certain safety protocols.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, 45,000 cyclists were injured and 818 cyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. As injury and fatality rates continue to rise each year, it is important for cyclists to be informed of local laws and ways to stay safe.

Examples of Arizona bicycle laws include:

  • Stop for stop signs and red lights (ARS 28-644).
  • Always use a white headlight and a red rear reflector when you cycle before sunrise or after sunset (ARS 28-817).
  • Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks (ARS 28-792).

Bicycle Accident Liability

Most crashes between motorists and cyclists happen at intersections. Generally, when the accident is the fault of the motorist, it is because they failed to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist. Oftentimes, this occurs when the motorist turns in front of a cyclist, or pulls out from a stop sign, or driveway, into a cyclist’s path.

Many times, a cyclist is severely injured when they have been in an accident with a motor vehicle due to the drastic size difference and the cyclist’s lack of protection. If the accident is the fault of the driver, many times a civil suit will be brought against the at-fault driver based on negligence. Other possible claims include: hit-and-run, bike lane violations, tailgating, wrongful death, bicycle manufacturer defects, dangerous road conditions and drivers running stop signs or red lights.

Bicycle injury claims are generally regarded as personal injury claims and must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. Barring certain circumstances, Arizona has a two-year personal injury statute of limitations. However, this time limit can be shortened to as little as six months if a claim is brought against a governmental entity.

Bicycle Safety Tips

According to most states’ laws, cyclists have the very same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Therefore, it is important for a cyclist to understand that although vehicles should be on the lookout for them, they also have the same responsibility to look for vehicles and follow traffic laws. Other safety tips that cyclists should consider include:

  • Wear a helmet. Almost seventy five percent of fatal bicycle crashes involve a head injury. California’s vehicle code 21200(a) requires any person under 18 that is operating a bicycle on a street, bikeway or bicycle path or trail to wear a helmet. Although Arizona (some local municipalities have enacted their own laws) and Colorado do not have laws requiring helmets, it is a simple and effective way to help ensure safety.
  • Before each ride, make sure that your bicycle is ready to ride. Inspect your bike to make sure all parts are secure and working properly.
  • Check your tire pressure and inflate tires properly.
  • Always wear a visible piece of bright or reflective clothing when riding during the day.
  • When riding at night, always wear something that reflects light. Make sure that you have reflectors on the front and rear of your bike (lights are required).
  • Remember that a bicycle is considered a vehicle and must obey all traffic laws. Make sure to stop at stop signs, follow traffic signals, and stay within lane markings.
  • Bicycles do not have turn signals so it is important to signal your moves to others.
  • Before entering an intersection be proactive and look both ways to observe the traffic.
  • Stay alert at all times, watching for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
  • Although vehicles should be looking for cyclists, just as cyclists should be looking for vehicles, it is important to try and stay out of a driver’s blind spot.
  • Many cyclists get injured when a parked vehicle opens their door and hits the cyclists (getting “doored”). Make sure that you ride far enough from the curb to avoid unexpected parked cars. However, if you must ride close to the curb, look ahead at parked cars to anticipate if a driver or passenger may open their door.

Cyclists are not the only ones that need to be aware and proactive. Drivers also need to be aware of cyclists and follow certain safety protocols, including:

  • Understand that cyclists have the same rights on the road as vehicles.
  • Accept that cycling is a great transportation option, which is only gaining in popularity. Drivers need to adjust their attitude that cyclists are, “in their way.”
  • Cyclists and drivers have the same laws and share the roadways equally.
  • At intersections make sure that you have looked in your blind spots before making right or left turns.
  • Give cyclists at least three feet of clearance. Of course, cyclists cannot go as fast as a vehicle, respect their speed and do not tailgate them.
  • Be proactive when you drive and look around. Do not be on your phone.
  • Look before you exit your vehicle to eliminate the possibility of a cyclist getting “doored.”

Cycling has endless social, physical and financial benefits. Whether you are commuting to work, adventuring in the mountains, or cruising down the boardwalk, be proactive about your safety in order to keep you, and your family, from becoming a bicycle collision statistic.