When asked about causes of vehicle accidents, most people immediately think of impairment, such as alcohol, or distracted driving, such as texting. However, drowsy, or fatigued driving kills, and is a major problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines drowsy driving as, “the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue,” and the National Sleep Foundation estimates that sixty percent of American adult drivers, about 168 million, say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, approximately 103 million people, have actually fallen asleep while driving!

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, 12.5 billion in monetary losses and 846 deaths in 2014. However, these numbers are believed to be underestimated, as it is difficult to determine if fatigue caused driver error, and up to 6,000 fatal crashes may be caused by drowsy drivers each year.

The Warning Signs of Fatigued Driving

  • Disconnected thoughts or daydreaming.
  • Frequent blinking or heavy eyelids.
  • Persistent yawning or rubbing your eyes.
  • Feeling irritable or restless.
  • Trouble keeping your head up.
  • Trouble remembering driving the last few miles.
  • Missing your exit, road signs or traffic signs.
  • Hitting the rumble strips, tailgating or drifting into other lanes.

Fatigued driving is so dangerous because it impairs reaction time, reduces a driver’s vigilance and causes problems with processing information.

How to Determine a Fatigued Driver

In our fast-paced society people have learned to juggle many different responsibilities, including family, work and social life which may cause some to be exhausted by the end of the day. Although most people are prone to being fatigued at specific times, there are certain people that may experience a higher risk of fatigued driving, including:

  • Shift workers: People who work rotating shifts, nights shifts, double shifts or work more than one job are six-times more likely to be involved in a fatigued driving accident. Shift work may also lead to certain disorders, for example, according to the Alaska Sleep Education Center, shift work sleep disorder is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia. People who tend to work unusual schedules have their circadian rhythms disrupted, which may cause a number of physiological and mental problems.
  • Medication Side Effects: Many medications include sleepiness as a side effect. People that take these medications have a higher risk of fatigued driving. Examples of medications that have a sedating effect are: cold tablets, antihistamines and antidepressants, among others.
  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders: Drivers that do not treat sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (“OSA”), narcolepsy and insomnia have a higher risk than the average driver for fatigued driving accidents. In all of these disorders the most common symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Age: Young drivers, from teen years to 25 years old (especially males) are considered an age group that is most likely to be involved in a fatigued driving accident. According to the NHTSA, “drivers younger than 30 accounted for almost two-thirds of drowsy-driving crashes, despite representing only about one-fourth of licensed drivers. These drivers were four times more likely to have such a crash than were drivers ages 30 years or older.” There are many theories as to why young drivers are involved in such a high percentage of fatigued driving accidents, however, the most common theory is that inexperience combined with sleepiness and the tendency to drive at night increases risk.
  • Commercial Drivers: People that drive a large number of miles and drive at night are at a much higher risk for fatigued driver accidents. Commercial drivers have also been found to be at a high risk for sleep disorders.
  • Business Travelers: People who travel frequently for their jobs or for leisure who may be suffering from jet lag and crossing different time zones, or spending long hours behind the wheel are also at an increased risk of being involved in a fatigued driver accident.

fatigued driving

Fatigued Driving Prevention

Many people believe that they can just “power through” a difficult driving situation by turning on the radio or rolling down their window to get some fresh air, however, these tactics do little to actually combat fatigued driving. There are better ways to prevent drowsy driving, before hitting the road drivers should:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
  • When taking longer trips plan to do the majority of your driving during the day.
  • If you are feeling fatigued, or notice signs that you may be drowsy, and you have a passenger in the vehicle, ask the passenger to drive.
  • If you are feeling drowsy, pull over and rest or sleep at a rest stop.
  • Use caffeine, which will provide a short-term boost, however, the effects may only last up to an hour and do not provide a long-term solution.
  • Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any possible sleeping disorders.
  • If you are driving a long distance, schedule regular stops every 100 miles or two hours.

Get Involved

The National Sleep Foundation sponsors Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, an annual, national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while tired. In 2016, Drowsy Driving Prevention Week was November 6-13. The campaign chooses a week in November every year; people that are interested in Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, or becoming a Drowsy Driving Advocate, may find more information here.

wrongful death lawsuit arizona colorado california

Losing a loved one is devastating. In an instant, life as you know it — for you and for family members alike — can be changed forever. Although monetary awards will never get close to reversing the pain of your loss, a wrongful death lawsuit may help cover the financial burdens following the horrible event.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that alleges that the deceased was killed as a result of negligence, a wrongful action of the defendant, or neglect, and the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

Under most states’ wrongful death laws, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by:

  • The spouse of the deceased;
  • The heir or heirs of the deceased;
  • The decedent’s designated beneficiary; or
  • The parent, or parents, of the deceased — if the decedent is unmarried and without descendants or a designated beneficiary.

Nevertheless, no matter who brings the action, such persons who are heirs of the deceased must share the judgment obtained.

Time Limits: Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

In civil law there are deadlines in which a plaintiff must file a claim or be barred from doing so. These time limits are called statutes of limitations.

A plaintiff must suffer some damage before the statute of limitations will begin to run. And, as a general rule, a cause of action for personal injuries will accrue (arise) on the date that a party knows or should have known of the injury and its cause.

Wrongful death actions generally must be filed within two years after death. Barring certain circumstances, the wrongful death statute of limitations in Arizona, California and Colorado is two years.

What Is Recoverable: Wrongful Death Damages

Generally, a jury may award economic (financial) and non-economic (pain and suffering, loss of consortium) damages in a wrongful death case. Examples of wrongful death damages that may be awarded include:

  • The cost of your loved one’s medical care prior to passing.
  • The value of your loved one’s pain and suffering.
  • The value of the deceased’s financial contribution to the family, including loss of benefits and inheritance.
  • The cost of funeral and burial services.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Loss of Society: a child could recover damages based on the value of a deceased parent’s companionship, advice, guidance, love and affection.
  • Loss of Consortium: a spouse may recover damages based on the benefits that would have been received from the continued life of the decedent.

In some states, a jury may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in cases of malicious wrongdoing to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from behaving similarly. However, the states which allow punitive damages have usually capped the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded, or have limited the types of cases where punitive damages may be awarded.

Establishing Fault in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In order to establish fault of the other party in a wrongful death lawsuit you must prove the party caused the underlying tort (the wrongful act). In most wrongful death cases the underlying tort is negligence.

Negligence is the failure to do something a reasonably careful person would do; or doing something a reasonably careful person would not do. In order to prove negligence the plaintiff must prove:

(1) The defendant owed a duty of care;

(2) That the defendant breached that duty; and

(3) That the breach caused the plaintiff’s harm.

Often, the death of a loved one may be the worst time in your life. It is important to know that you have rights, and the ability to pursue those rights through a wrongful death lawsuit.

what to do after a slip and fall accident

If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident, your first priority is to seek medical attention, if you think your injury requires immediate medical assistance.

Beyond seeking medical attention, the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates recommend the following:

Gather contact information: Create a list of the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses, business managers, business staff members.

Ask to have an incident report generated: If practical, ask the business or place where the slip and fall occurred to create an incident report to memorialize the event.

Take pictures: Photograph the location where the slip occurred and its surrounding area.

Compile documentation related to medical attention: Be sure to give a detailed report to your medical provider about how and where the fall happened.

If you experience a slip and fall accident, you may be in too much pain to gather contact information or take photographs. If this is the case, ask someone who is with you or even an eyewitness to help you.

Remember, a slip and fall accident can require expensive medical treatment, but also may involve the loss of time and wages. If you or your loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the slip and fall attorneys in Arizona, California, and Colorado at Negretti & Associates to review your case.

One of the most common needs for a personal injury attorney is to recover damages from a car accident. However, personal injury attorneys handle much more than motor vehicle accidents.

Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates, explains other situations in which one may need a personal injury attorney.

When You May Need a Personal Injury Attorney

  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Semi-truck accidents
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Wrongful death lawsuits
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries and injuries from dangerous drugs
  • Accidents on private property due to negligence
  • Animal attacks
  • Accidents on tribal land
  • Workplace accidents
  • Catastrophic injuries
  • Aviation injuries
  • Injuries caused by a defective product
  • Injuries or illness caused by food poisoning
  • Injuries on state land
  • Boating accidents
  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents, including quads and motorbikes

The experienced attorneys at Negretti & Associates provide free case evaluations. If you have a valid case involving any of the scenarios listed above, contact us today. You won’t pay a penny unless the attorneys at Negretti & Associates win or settle you case.

phoenix personal injury attorney

Unfortunately, people are likely to experience some type of car accident in their lives. Whether it’s a small fender-bender or a multiple car pile-up on the freeway, the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates have seen it all.

When you have been involved in a vehicle accident, hiring a personal injury attorney is not always the first thing that comes to mind. Many people are in a state of shock, overwhelmed by injury or the damage done to their car.

Plaintiffs without representation are often bullied by the insurance company’s legal team and will often settle for pennies on the dollar. It is common for accident victims to reach out to a personal injury attorney once they realize they’ve gotten in over their heads.

It is never too late to contact a personal injury attorney. However, if you contact an attorney immediately after the accident, your attorney will be able to better protect you.

It is also important to remember that there are statues of limitations in each state. A suit must be filed before the limitation has expired. In Arizona, victims typically have two years to file a personal injury case.

Bottom line, hiring a personal injury attorney levels the playing field with the legal team that an insurance company with throw against you.

For a free consultation with a Phoenix personal injury attorney at Negretti & Associates, call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to write to us.

manage insurance companies after an accident

Immediately after you’ve been the victim of a car accident, insurance representatives will contact you. It’s important to not say a word to them until you’ve consulted legal advice.

So says Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates Law Firm.

“Legal representation is critical to protect your rights and secure compensation for any damages that resulted from the accident,” he says. “That’s true whether you hire the experienced personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates, or hire another law firm.

“When you have been in a car accident, and the driver at fault has insurance, that person’s insurance representative will try to contact you immediately to secure a quick settlement. This could end up costing you!”

How to Deal with Insurance Companies After an Accident

Negretti advises the following tactics for dealing with insurance representatives following an accident:

1. Remain quiet. Let your attorney do all of the communicating with the insurance company. This protects your best interests. Often times adjusters will attempt to record the conversations in hopes that you will say a damaging comment that the insurance company can use against you in your case to pay you less money.

2. Have an attorney with you. When it’s time to make a statement, make sure to have your attorney with you. Again, this is to protect you and your case.

3. Do not grant medical authorization. Until your attorney tells you to do so, never give medical authorization to the defendant’s insurance company.

4. Do not accept checks. Inform your attorney of all attempts the defendant’s insurance company makes at issuing you a payment. Never accept a check that says “final payment” or “a release of all claims” until you are ready to settle your case.

Be careful not to fall into insurance companies’ traps. They often like to offer financial settlements quickly in hopes that you’ll settle right away. This does not allow you to get an adequate evaluation of the full extent of your injuries. Also, be wary of taking legal advice from friends and family members, always consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

If you have had the misfortune of being the victim of an automobile accident in Arizona or California, hopefully you were able to walk away from the accident without any bodily injury. However, if you have sustained an injury as a result of the accident, it is imperative that you follow the doctor’s orders.

Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates, explains why it is important to seek professional medical care following a car accident.

Reasons why to see a doctor following an accident and comply with their recommendations:

  • Immediate evaluation: Even if you don’t see or experience pain right after the accident, your physician should still give you an exam. Often, car accident victims feel worse the day after the accident. If you don’t seek immediate medical care following the accident, insurance adjusters may argue that the pain you feel as a result of the accident may have resulted from an unrelated event.
  • Go by ambulance: At the scene of the accident, if first responders recommend that you seek medical assistance at a hospital and suggest an ambulance, it is best to go by ambulance. Insurance companies will try to use the fact that you didn’t go by ambulance against you.
  • Timing matters: The longer you wait for medical care, the more difficult it may be to connect your injuries to the accident.
  • Keep your appointments: Do your best to attend every medical appointment you make. This especially includes physical therapy.
  • Articulate the pain: Each time you visit with your doctor or physical therapist, be very clear about the pain you are experiencing. He or she will document your symptoms in medical records. If you do not tell your doctor about your pain, it will not be documented.
  • Explain how it happened: When meeting with a doctor or medical professional, be sure to explain how the accident happened. Be sure to be truthful with your doctor about any previous injury you had to the same body part.
  • Follow the doctor’s orders: Fill and take all medications as prescribed, participate in suggested physical therapy, and follow your trusted doctor’s recommendations.

For more information about the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates, please call us for a free consultation.

If you find yourself involved in a car accident, there are several steps you should follow while you are still at the scene of the accident. Following these critical steps will help protect your personal injury case.

Jonathan Negretti, personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates, shares these “must-do” steps to follow at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

  • Call the police.
  • Wait for the police to arrive before you move your vehicle.
  • If you feel any symptoms from the collision, request an ambulance. If the paramedics recommend going to the hospital for addition assessment, go.
  • Stay neutral. Do not accuse anyone, do not accept responsibility, and do not dismiss the other party’s responsibility.
  • Cooperate with the police.
  • If you are physically able, take notes of people’s names, phone numbers, addresses, license plate numbers and insurance information. This also includes attaining the contact information for any witnesses.
  • Take photos – lots of photos. Take photos from multiple angles. Include images of all the vehicles, the entire scene, tire tread marks, etc.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates for a free, immediate evaluation of your case. Even if you haven’t followed all of the steps listed above, Negretti & Associates will still fight to protect your rights.

Following a car accident, there will be many conversations, meetings and notes that need to be documented. If your personal injury case goes to trial, you may be asked to recall how you felt, or what someone said to you during a specific conversation. It may be helpful to keep an accident journal to document important notes following your Arizona vehicle accident.

Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates, shares the top items that may be helpful to document in your car accident journal.

  • Your version of how the accident happened.
  • The pain you felt at the scene of the car accident.
  • The names and contact information of all parties involved.
  • The names and badge number of the responding officers.
  • Following the accident, write down when you experience pain, make sure to include the date and specific details about what hurts.
  • Keep detailed notes when having conversations with insurance company representatives — include dates and names.
  • Document doctor and physical therapy visits — where you went, how many miles you drove, how long your appointment lasted, what the doctor said, how much work you missed for this appointment, etc. Keep a copy of each doctor’s business card in your accident journal.
  • Document time away from work and lost wages as a result of the accident.
  • If there are any bruising or broken bones, take pictures throughout the healing process.

If you hire the attorneys at Negretti & Associates for your personal injury case, we document all the necessary items to protect your case. However, we find it is helpful for our clients to also keep an accident journal to remind them to share information with the attorneys during their meetings. This helps the attorneys recoup every dollar you’ve lost due to the negligence of another party.

The attorneys at Negretti & Associates, a personal injury law firm, are committed to fighting for the rights of their clients. Whether it’s a car accident or a wrongful death case, the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates work to ensure they have the knowledge and resources to defend their clients against some of the most powerful defendants.

Jonathan Negretti, founder of Negretti & Associates, shares the top five mistakes to avoid when filing a personal injury case.

Top 5 Arizona Personal Injury Mistakes to Avoid

  1. While at the scene of your accident there are very specific and immediate steps that must be taken. Not taking immediate action at the accident scene can significantly damage your personal injury case. Read more here.
  2. After leaving the scene, NOT documenting everything that happened. Read more here.
  3. Not seeing your doctor or following the doctor’s recommendations. Read more here.
  4. Providing the insurance company a statement, signing any insurance documents or accepting insurance settlement money without first getting legal advice. Read more here.
  5. Not hiring a lawyer or hiring the wrong lawyer. Read more here. 

To read more about each of the top five personal injury mistakes to avoid, click on the link next to each mistake.

The personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates provide free consultations and evaluations of your personal injury case. They will sit down with you and listen to your specific situation then provide an evaluation of your case.