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how to talk to insurance claims adjusters after a car accident

Do you know how to talk to insurance claims adjusters after a car accident? Knowing how to provide the right information and having some negotiating tactics handy can prevent you from leaving money on the table.

In this article, where we discuss some of the more common questions surrounding how to talk to insurance claims adjusters, we highlight the importance of having a negotiating strategy when initiating an insurance claim.

Know the true value of your claim, maintain a professional tone, be mindful of what you’re saying, and only talk about the things that help your claim. You don’t need to become best friends with your adjuster!

How Do You Negotiate a Settlement with an Insurance Claims Adjuster?

First, you need to understand the full value of your claim. Claim value is a combination of a variety of factors, including but not limited to the severity of your injury, the duration of your recovery, any permanent or future medical needs, lost wages, impairments, and pain and suffering.

Understanding the value of your claim is an area where hiring a lawyer can be especially helpful. A good lawyer will take the time to work with you, understand the damages you have suffered, and properly present your case to the insurance company. At Negretti & Associates, we have developed a case valuation tool that helps us arrive at a settlement range for each case, based on specific facts.

Keep in mind that insurance companies have evolved toward using software to determine claim values. The software gives the insurance adjuster a range in which to settle the claim. These adjusters have an incentive to settle claims on the low end of the range. Therefore, you might be negotiating blindly and with someone who ultimately gets a bonus for paying you less.

Second, you need to have a strategy. There are a lot of great books out there about how to negotiate effectively. I like Chris Voss’s Never Split the Difference, which you can read online for free. Voss was a former hostage negotiator, so he has been involved in high-stakes negotiations. His techniques can be applied across the board.

Remember that you need to know what your bottom line is — and what you next move is, in the event that you can’t get to your bottom line. Some insurance adjusters negotiate fairly. Others do not.

What Should You Never Say to an Insurance Adjuster?

It’s not so much what you shouldn’t say. Instead, there are things you should be aware of when you are talking to an insurance adjuster.

People believe that the insurance industry is there to help them. That’s why we pay for insurance, right? Wrong. The insurance industry is there to make money!

Insurance companies make money by failing to pay full value on claims. Period. If you fail to make a claim or settle for less than the full value, then the insurance industry wins.

If you were going to sit down and play chess against someone, you wouldn’t start the game by telling your opponent your strategy. There is no difference here.

Once you initiate a claim with an insurance company, you are engaging in a chess match. Don’t give the insurance company your strategy by telling them things that don’t help you.

What Questions Should I Ask an Insurance Adjuster?

Simple questions you can ask an insurance adjuster are:

  • Have you ever been injured in an accident?
  • If you were in my shoes, would you honestly recommend the settlement that you’re asking me to accept?
  • Is anything else that I should know before resolving my claim, such as how health insurance subrogation and reimbursement works?
  • Is it your job to represent the other party, or to simply save the insurance company money?

How Do You Recognize a Low-Ball Insurance Settlement Offer?

It really depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your claim. However, the first offer is typically not the best offer. It is very unusual to get the highest offer right out of the gate. You have to be patient and diligent in your approach if you expect to negotiate up your offer.

If you have any questions regarding your car accident claim in Arizona, California, and Colorado, Negretti & Associates will be happy to help you find answers. We know how to talk to insurance claims adjusters, too! For a free consultation with our legal team, contact us online, call us at 1-833-827-3535, or send us a text.

arizona state-minimum car insurance requirements raised july 1, 2020

On July 1, 2020, something rather momentous happened in the state of Arizona. For the first time in nearly five decades, Arizona state-minimum car insurance requirements were raised.

The new law is codified in the Arizona Revised Statutes under Section 28-4009. Auto insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020 must pay at least:

(i) $25,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, one person in any one accident.
(ii) Subject to the limit for one person, $50,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one accident.
(iii) $15,000 because of injury to, or destruction of property of, others in any one accident.

These three numbers — $25,000/$50,000/$15,000 — represent new limits that are paid out to another person if a motorist is at fault in an accident. You cannot purchase insurance for less than these limits.

The Arizona Legislature passed the state bill that put these new limits into effect — State Bill 1087 — in May 2019. The bill was signed into law by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Friday, June 7.

Previous Coverage Limits Had Become Outdated

When you receive your renewal notice for auto insurance — or if you are currently shopping for new insurance — the quotes you receive may look a little different. This is simply because Arizona state-minimum car insurance requirements have been raised.

The previous coverage amounts for motor vehicle accidents were $15,000 per person, per accident; $30,000 total accident; and $10,000 for property damage.

The problem with the old limits is that they were based on cost-of-living equations that were established in June 1972, when a McDonald’s Quarter-Pounder with cheese cost just 70 cents. These days, the same burger costs $3.79. Only the number of calories has remained the same!

Due to inflation, limits that seemed quite adequate nearly five decades ago had grown completely inadequate over time. Medical expenses and the cost of vehicles were much lower in 1972. Today, you can no longer step foot in an ER for less than a few thousand dollars.

Bill’s Passage Overcame Insurance Industry Resistance

The insurance industry was adamantly opposed to this move. Time and time again, this bill had been brought to the Arizona Legislature in one form or another by various organizations, including one that I belong to — the Arizona Association for Justice. Time and time again, it did not pass.

Why did insurance companies want to keep Arizona car insurance minimums so low? Frankly, under old amounts, they could pay out less, should someone be in an accident.

Because payout limits were so low, insurance coverage was not protecting people injured in automobile accidents. That’s why the Arizona Association for Justice and like-minded organizations fought so hard to increase these limits.

Accident Victims Have More Protections from Out-of-Pocket Costs

Assume that you’re in an auto accident. You go to the emergency room and get a normal workup. You may not have any broken bones, but you’re given some imaging, as a precaution. Later, you go through physical therapy, and start to feel better.

The cost of medical care just for these simple procedures and therapies could well exceed $15,000 — and possibly total $25,000.

  • Under the old limits, if someone only carried Arizona state-minimum car insurance, the most you could receive per accident was $15,000. If the person who caused the accident did not have any additional money to contribute to this claim, to help you pay off all your medical bills, you would be forced to pay the $10,000 out-of-pocket for an accident that was not your fault.
  • Under the new limits, insurance coverage would reimburse you for that $10,000 differential — up to the new $25,000 limit.

Keep in mind that this analysis does not account for pain and suffering or lost wages.

Of course, there are people who carry much more than the minimum limits. I encourage you to do the same, if your economic situation allows.

Vehicle Damage and Arizona State-Minimum Car Insurance

Today’s vehicles have more features than ever, which is reflected in higher sticker prices. Yet, this also means that vehicles’ values can suffer quite a bit more damage. Frame damage or deployed airbags can result in a total loss.

Unless you’re looking for an older model or a used vehicle, it’s very difficult to find a vehicle under $10,000 these days. Anything new costs far more than $10,000.

Now that property damage limits have been raised to $15,000 — from $10,000 — it’s more likely that Arizona state-minimum car insurance will more fully cover damage to newer vehicles.

Higher limits make it more possible to recover what’s called a “loss of use claim.” These are the expenses related to renting a vehicle while your vehicle is either being repaired or declared a total loss, as well as time needed to find a new vehicle.

Higher limits also allow more accident victims to be compensated for their diminished value claims. A vehicle loses value because of the simple fact that it was damaged in an accident. Even though it’s repaired, it’s still worth less.

Arizona law states that you do not have to wait until you sell your car to collect for that difference in value.

To illustrate how diminished value works, imagine the following scenario:

  • Let’s say that your vehicle was worth $20,000 before an accident.
  • After an accident, it receives $8,000 of repairs. The insurance company chooses to repair it and not declare it a total loss.
  • However, your vehicle is now worth less, because it was in an accident.
  • You order an appraisal from an auto expert, who tells you that your vehicle lost $6,000 of value due to the accident. Therefore, not only should the vehicle receive $8,000 in repairs, but you should also be compensated for $6,000 in diminished value.

In sum, the old $10,000 limit did not provide enough coverage to repair vehicles, compensate owners for their loss of use, or account for diminished value.

Kudos to the Arizona Association for Justice

Higher Arizona car insurance minimums reflect values the Arizona Association for Justice emphasizes: to serve the community, to protect the rights of the public, and to make sure that injured victims are protected in the event that they get hurt due to someone’s negligence.

With that said, a big thank you goes to Jeff Trachtenberg of the Arizona Association for Justice. Jeff is a stalwart in our community and absolutely pushed hard to increase the limits in Arizona, so that they caught up with other states’ limits. He created a better environment for those who are injured in accidents, and those that need to take advantage of these new insurance limits.

If you have more questions about new Arizona state-minimum car insurance, or if you’re just curious about what kind of coverage you should have, give Negretti & Associates a call. We can help make sure you’re protected. Contact us online, call us at 602-531-3911, or text us with questions.

lyft driver accident claims

Driving for Lyft can be a fun and financially rewarding experience. But what happens if you are involved in an accident while driving for Lyft?

Negretti & Associates has prepared this guide to Lyft driver accident claims as a means of outlining potential issues that may arise when filing a Lyft car accident claim, as a driver.

If I get into accident when driving for Lyft, how do I file a claim with Lyft insurance? Should I report the accident to Lyft, even if the accident isn’t my fault?

Depending on your driver status at the time of the accident, you may have a requirement — pursuant to your agreement with Lyft — to report any accident to Lyft and cooperate with Lyft in their investigation of your accident.

The best way to report a claim is either through the Lyft website or through the Lyft app. However, you should be careful about what you write, because your statement could be used against you. For example, it is normal to understate injuries right after an accident. Often, it takes a few weeks under medical supervision to fully understand that scope of your injuries. If you were to tell Lyft claims that you don’t think you were hurt, and later make a claim for your injuries, they could use your statement against you to challenge the legitimacy of your damages.

That said, Negretti & Associates urges you to contact us before making a Lyft driver accident claim. We understand the ins-and-outs of rideshare contracts. A 15-minute phone call with us could save you thousands of dollars in losses.

Does Lyft cover drivers in an accident?

Yes and no. It depends on your status as a driver when the accident occurs.

  • Coverage when driver mode is off: your personal insurance policy applies.
  • Coverage when driver mode is on, but no ride accepted: 50/100/25 coverage, through Lyft ($50,000 per-person bodily injury liability coverage / $100,000 maximum bodily injury liability coverage / $25,000 property damage liability coverage).
  • Coverage from when ride accepted, through the time when the ride ends: $1,000,000 coverage per accident.

Who handles Lyft driver accident claims? What role does Lyft customer service claims play in the accident process?

Lyft typically employs a claims handling company to process all accident claims. These claims handling companies are not in business to help you. This may be surprising, considering you were driving for Lyft at the time of your accident!

Lyft and their claims handling company will be particularly critical of your claim. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Lyft is there to help you in the event of an accident.

How long will Lyft take to settle my injury case? What is the processing time for Lyft driver accident claims?

This really depends on you and how quickly you recover. At Negretti & Associates, your recovery is our primary concern. Once you get better, our focus becomes making sure you can resolve your Lyft claim fairly. It may take you months or even years to recover from your injuries. We want to ensure that you do everything you can to get yourself better before we attempt to resolve your Lyft claim.

What role does York Risk Services serve in Lyft claims? What does Indian Harbor Insurance Company do with Lyft claims?

The companies are hired by Lyft to process your claim. They have incentives to keep settlements low and avoid paying fair value, unless compelled to do so. These companies have been known to misrepresent their role in the claims handling process by stating that they have been hired by Lyft to take care of you. Do not be fooled by these statements.

What can I do if Lyft’s insurance company isn’t acting fairly or not responding to me?

Contact us. Not only are we familiar with Lyft and their claims handling process, but we can also use our skills to convince Lyft to respond in a timely fashion and resolve your claim for a fair amount.

If you have been involved in a Lyft car accident as a driver, it is important to contact an attorney at Negretti & Associates for a free consultation. Call us 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 Get in Touch form.

lyft passenger accident claims

Have you been in an accident involving Lyft? Were you the passenger? Do you need to make a claim?

As millions of people use rideshare companies to get around, there is a lack of understanding of what happens when being injured in a Lyft accident as a passenger.

Negretti & Associates has prepared this list of frequently asked questions, as a way of helping riders understand the potential issues that may arise when filing Lyft passenger accident claims.

Should I report my accident to Lyft?

The answer is yes — but with the help of a personal injury attorney. Reporting a claim to Lyft is no different from reporting a claim to an insurance company. Yet, you should be careful about what you say, so that your answers are not used against you later. The same thing goes when reporting the accident claim through the Lyft app. Be careful about what you write.

A personal injury attorney can provide you with valuable advice before reporting your Lyft passenger accident.

How does Lyft handle accidents? What role does Lyft customer service claims play in the accident process?

Lyft typically employs a claims handling company to process all accident claims. These claims handling companies are not in business to help you, the passenger. They are in business to save Lyft money! If they can trap you into saying or doing something that is contrary to your interests, they will.
Be wary of the claims department, no matter how nice they may seem on the phone. For example, a claims adjuster may ask for a recorded statement. This may seem harmless. But that recorded statement can come back to bite you later.

Other common tricks include asking you to sign a medical authorization and failing to educate you on health insurance reimbursement rights.

How does insurance work with Lyft? If you are a passenger in a Lyft accident, even if another car caused the accident, whose insurance covers you?

This gets a little tricky. If another vehicle caused your accident, that vehicle’s insurance provider would be the primary payor of any losses you suffered.

Next in line might be your insurance company, if you have underinsured coverage (“UIM”). We call this the secondary payor.

Your medical payment provision may also apply, regardless of who is primary or secondary. If you do not have UIM insurance coverage, or your policy limits are not enough to fully cover your losses, Lyft has insurance that may cover you. Coverage applicability and limits typically depend on the status of the Lyft driver at the time of your accident.

How do you file a claim with Lyft insurance?

You have multiple options to file a claim. You can do so through the Lyft app, or you can contact Lyft through their website. Again, at Negretti & Associates, we wouldn’t recommend initiating a Lyft claim until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney, to better understand how to navigate the claims handling process.

What are average Lyft accident settlement amounts?

It depends. Settlement amounts or judgments (if a case ends up in a courtroom) can vary greatly. This is because no one claim looks exactly like another claim. Your pain and suffering will be different from someone else’s pain and suffering. Your specific medical needs are unique to you and effect your case’s total value.

Keep this in mind: Lyft will ask you for a confidentiality agreement if they settle your claim with you. We believe you should be compensated for keeping things confidential and have been successful in securing additional compensation if you are asked to sign this type of agreement.

What is the Lyft car accident statute of limitations?

The statute of limitations — the deadline to file your claim — is set by the state law, where the accident occurred. For example, in Arizona and California, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the accident. In Colorado, it is 3 years from the date of the accident.

Lyft does not accelerate these deadlines. If you make a claim within the applicable time limit, and/or file a lawsuit to preserve your right to do so, you will be fine.

What can I do if Lyft’s insurance company isn’t acting unfairly or not responding to me?

Contact Negretti & Associates. Not only are we familiar with Lyft and the handling process for Lyft claims, but we can also use our skills to convince Lyft to respond in a timely fashion and resolve your claim for a fair amount.

Bottom line, if you feel that it’s necessary to file a Lyft passenger accident claim, contact Negretti & Associates for a free consultation first. Call us 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 Get in Touch form.

tesla smart summon liability and insurance implications

In late September, car maker Tesla revealed a truly remarkable new technology for its cars, called Smart Summon. This software application enables Tesla drivers to use their smartphones — almost like joysticks — to order their cars to come to them.

With Smart Summon, you can walk out of a grocery store, pull out your smartphone, and request that your Tesla drive itself from its parking space to the curb where you’re standing, to pick you up.

Search the web for “smart summon” and you’ll already find hundreds of articles and videos about this new technology. The new self-driving feature has been met with immense curiosity and enthusiasm, as well as concern.

One of those articles has been written by Timothy Lee for arstechnica.com. After watching more than one hundred Smart Summon videos, Lee offers his impressions of the technology. “Smart Summon certainly has weaknesses (and I’ll discuss those in detail),” he writes, “but it’s important to first acknowledge that the technology worked in the vast majority of the more than 100 videos I viewed. I watched dozens of people successfully summon their cars from across parking lots without incident.”

It’s amazing to see Lee’s curated collection of perfect drives and near misses that have resulted from use of this new application.

Yet, while worthy of excitement, the new Smart Summon feature does raise many “what if” questions surrounding liability and insurance coverage.

What if a Tesla were to hit another vehicle, or is hit by another vehicle, while it is in the process of being summoned — and there’s no one physically driving the vehicle? Who is responsible?

Even worse, what if a Tesla were to hit a pedestrian while in Smart Summon mode? Is the “driver” — or summoner of the vehicle — at fault, or is the car’s manufacturer?

Watch a Tesla in Smart Summon mode try to navigate out of a parking space with a pedestrian nearby.

Insurance Policies Have Been Left in the Dust

Just like a fully loaded Tesla Model S zooming ahead of a diesel semi-truck after a light turns green, self-driving vehicle technology has raced ahead of state and federal laws. Insurance companies, too, have plenty of catching up to do.

Customarily, insurance companies cover the liability caused by the driver while utilizing a vehicle, as well as damages caused when another driver either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage.

Prior to the availability of Smart Summon technology, it would have been highly unlikely for insurance companies to seriously contemplate whether they needed to provide coverage for vehicles that were suddenly able to drive themselves.

In other words, a scenario in which a summoned Tesla gets into an accident while the insured “driver” navigates her Model S with her phone through a busy Home Depot parking lot, to pick her up at the curb, would have seemed pretty far-fetched just a few weeks ago.

To continue with that example, imagine that a human-operated vehicle crashed into the smart-summoned Tesla in a parking lot. The Tesla owner wouldn’t have an injury claim, but she certainly would have a property damage claim. Does the insurance policy afford coverage in that situation?

Arguably, at this point in time, the insurance company would have to provide coverage. Even though the car may be “driverless,” the assumption is that the insured would be the owner/operator of that vehicle — commanding her vehicle through her phone.

But this is only an assumption. Such scenarios haven’t been fleshed out in the court of law yet. Smart Summon is too new.

Until such cases develop, cause for concern will remain. Use of Smart Summon will continue to raise important questions about who is ultimately responsible for an accident.

Just as we will learn of updates that Tesla has made to Smart Summon, we will assuredly witness a constant evolution of other applications that are coming to market. Insurance coverages afforded to these vehicles will change, as well.

Parallels with Rideshare Insurance

It wasn’t that long ago when Uber and Lyft first made it possible for people to use their own cars for hire.

During the early days of Uber and Lyft, there were never exclusions in automobile policies. If you were driving your vehicle for hire, not being covered by your personal auto insurance policy was unthinkable. The need for a secondary or supplemental insurance policy, or coverage options from a rideshare company, was the last thing on an Uber or Lyft driver’s mind.

Today, a huge number of people drive for Uber and Lyft — many on a part-time basis. Yet, nearly every individual insurance policy excludes coverage for driving for a rideshare company, should he or she get into an accident while using a personal vehicle for a commercial purpose.

In the ridesharing industry, insurance policies eventually caught up with technology. We’ll probably see the same thing happen with Tesla’s Smart Summon application.

A Developing Story

When a revolutionary technology emerges, the story surrounding the technology will take time to develop. At the time of writing this article, Smart Summon is in its third week of use. Numerous companies are working on technologies that are similar to Tesla’s. It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen next.

Undoubtedly, insurance policies will evolve. We will witness challenges to insurance coverage. We are going to learn where responsibility lies with self-driving cars. We’ll find out whether insurance companies will assume responsibility and provide coverage, should a driverless accident or injury occur.

In the meantime, be sure to watch these newest Smart Summon videos. They are fantastic and captivating. The ability to order a vehicle to pull out of a parking space, drive in a crowded parking lot, navigate its way around cars and pedestrians, and pick us up in the front of a store, is mind-bending.

partial fault in an arizona auto accident

Receiving compensation after an auto accident largely depends on who was at fault. As a result, determining who gets compensation can be complicated when one or more drivers are partially at fault.

An experienced accident lawyer can help you navigate this process and begin the process of determining responsibility. Ultimately, your recovery will depend on what type of fault law the state of the accident has adopted.

Arizona Partial Fault Law Explained

Arizona is a pure comparative fault state. This means that fault can be apportioned to multiple people. Anyone found partially at fault is responsible for paying the relative percentage of damages.

For example, if Driver A is found to be 20% at fault for a car accident, the total compensation available to him will be reduced by 20%.

Now, imagine that Driver A were found to be 80% at fault for a car accident, and the jury awarded Driver A $100,000 in damages. Even though a majority of the fault is placed on Driver A, he may still recover. The $100,0000 award would be reduced by 80%, due to Driver A’s comparative fault. As a result, Driver A would only receive $20,000 of the $100,000 total award.

Recoverable Damages

Due to Arizona’s Partial Fault Law, don’t assume that you won’t be able to recover damages until you speak to an attorney!

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Arizona, you can recover compensatory damages. This includes property damage, pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress that results from your auto accident.

How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

The outcome of your case can hinge on whether or not you have an experienced Arizona personal injury lawyer on your side.

Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely provide fair compensation to accident victims. Insurance adjusters use partial fault to intimidate accident victims into either accepting unfair settlements or not filing a claim at all. Remember, insurance companies will always try to reduce its costs and save money.

Don’t let an insurance company take advantage of you. There is no reason for you and your family to go this alone. The experienced accident lawyers at Negretti & Associates regularly handle partial fault accidents in Arizona and can help you successfully navigate this process. Learn more about auto accident cases.

If you were injured in an accident and you were held partially at fault, you may still have a claim to recover just compensation. To learn more about your rights and options moving forward give us a call. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, please call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to email us.

diminished value claim arizona - arizona diminished value law
Arizona is a diminished value state, which means you could be entitled to bring a diminished value claim after an auto accident. A diminished value claim provides a way for you to recover the lost resale value of your vehicle had it never been subjected to the accident. However, you cannot submit a diminished value claim if you were the at-fault party in an accident.

Why File a Diminished Value Claim?

If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, its value has decreased by more than just the repair cost. There are several reasons for this:

  • Replacement parts are usually never as good of quality as original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) parts.
  • Repairs can structurally compromise and weaken your vehicle.
  • There might be undiscovered (and unrepaired) damage to your car.
  • In some cases, it’s impossible to return a vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
  • A serious collision may even void your factory warranty.
  • Dealerships will not be able to sell your vehicle in a “certified pre-owned” program.
  • Buyers are typically reluctant to purchase vehicles that have been in an auto accident.

Specifics About Arizona Diminished Value Law

Here are some things to remember about diminished value claims in Arizona:

  • The statute of limitation for a diminished value claim is 2 years.
  • Diminished value claims require evidence describing the extent of the loss.
  • A diminished value claim can be handled as part of a personal injury claim or as a stand-alone property damage claim.
  • Your personal auto insurance almost never covers diminished value.

The experienced auto accident lawyers at Negretti & Associates regularly handle diminished value claims for our Arizona clients. Schedule a free consultation for your diminished value claim, so that we can discuss your situation and evaluate your case.

california distracted driving law

It is no secret that distracted driving continues to be on the rise. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 80% of vehicle collisions involve some aspect of driver inattention.

According to California distracted driving law, anything that takes your full attention off the road is considered distracted driving.

Texting and Phone Use

Using a handheld device while driving is illegal in California. Judges and juries often award huge recoveries to those who are injured by a driver who was using his cell phone at the time of the incident.

Fast Food

Although eating while driving isn’t prohibited, it is still a major cause of distracted driving accidents. Foods that may require special attention, like the ones that you dip into sauces, are common culprits for distracted driving accidents.

Personal Grooming

Whether its touching up your mascara or shaving before an important meeting, any form of personal grooming while behind the wheel is considered to be distracted driving. Although countless drivers engage in this hazardous form of multitasking, it can also be a massive problem if it results in a car crash.

Rowdy Passengers, Children in the Backseat, Bending Down to Reach the Floor

As mentioned before, anything that takes your full attention off the road is considered distracted driving. Be wary of distracted drivers not looking or paying attention to the road and their surroundings.

Your Potential Distracted Driving Claim

No matter what state you are in, if you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, that person is at fault.

In these cases, the distracted driver and their insurance company are responsible for paying for your damaged vehicle, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you know if the other driver was texting, eating, meddling with passengers, or distracted for any other reason, it’s important to mention it the police officer writing up the report. Your truthful statement will help build up your future claim.

How An Accident Attorney Can Help You

Your recovery can hinge on whether or not you have an experienced accident lawyer on your side.

An insurance company will try to minimize your injuries to save themselves as much money as possible. Do not go it alone. At Negretti & Associates, we will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to get you the maximum compensation you deserve for your current and future medical treatment, property damage, and lost wages.

Our team of accident attorneys knows what it takes to win. We promise to fully investigate your claim and make sure you get the recovery you deserve. If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver in California, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with our firm by calling 619-777-3370 or contacting us online.

rideshare accidents

Have you been in an accident involving a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft?  Were you the passenger? Were you in the other vehicle? What if the driver was on his way to pickup a passenger? Is there insurance coverage in these situations? It depends.

As millions of people use rideshare companies to get around, there is a lack of understanding of what happens and the potential issues arise when being injured due to a rideshare accident involving a driver from a rideshare company. Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have transformed the public transportation industry.  Riders love the low cost, the convenience, the choices (luxury vehicle, SUV, fuel efficient vehicle), the overall friendly service and ability to rate their drivers.

When ridesharing companies first started about ten years ago, it was common practice for their drivers to use the driver’s own personal insurance policies for accident coverage. The problem with this practice was that most personal insurance policies did not cover the driver or their passenger(s) if the driver was operating the vehicle for commercial use. This left the victims of these accidents without a source of recovery.

As more serious accident began to occur, such as the death of a California woman while riding in a Lyft vehicle outside of Sacramento in 2014; rideshare companies and their drivers began to be more closely scrutinized by the public. The conversation about who was ultimately responsible for coverage (the driver or the rideshare company) forced changes in the industry.

Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft now provide their drivers with a $1 million dollar liability policy in the event of an accident. This means that the driver and their passenger(s) may be covered for damages. However, it is not that black and white. The coverage still depends on a variety of factors.

Both Uber and Lyft cover their drivers with a three-part insurance plan, which states:

  1. Driver Mode Off: If the rideshare driver is not driving for Uber or Lyft at the time of the accident, their personal insurance policy will provide liability coverage for accidents caused by the driver. This means the $1 million dollar policy does not apply.

Many insurance companies now offer specific coverage for rideshare. However, it is up to the rideshare driver to look into their personal insurance and add rideshare coverage to their  policy. If the driver fails to do so, they could be personally liable if they are involved in an accident.

  1. Driver Mode On Without a Passenger: If the rideshare driver has the driver mode on and is waiting for a ride request when they are involved in an accident, the driver is covered under both Uber and Lyft’s contingent liability coverage. The contingent liability coverage is used in the event the driver’s personal insurance does not provide coverage or does not provide enough coverage. Lyft’s contingent liability coverage is $50,000.00 per person or $100,000.00 maximum per accident and $30,000.00 for property damage.

However, some states, including California, have created legislation (Assembly Bill 2293) to mandate a higher excess liability coverage when accidents occur during this phase of a rideshare driver’s employment. In 2015, California mandated that third-party liability insurance covering the costs of injury, death, and property damage must be at least $200,000.000.

Additionally, the law clarifies that driver’s personal insurance can no longer cover this time period. It must be covered by the rideshare company.  The new regulations have been put into place to prevent ridesharing companies from claiming their insurance policies should not kick in because drivers have personal coverage.

  1. Driver Mode On With a Passenger: If the rideshare driver has the driver mode on and is driving a passenger at the time of the accident, the driver and the passenger are generally covered by the ridesharing company’s liability coverage. Both Uber and Lyft have $1 million dollar liability coverage policies as well as $1million dollars in uninsured and underinsured coverage.

Rideshare accidents may be complicated, involve multiple insurance companies and need expert investigators.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a rideshare company it is important to contact an attorney at 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.