tiger woods accident single-vehicle crashes
Workers move a vehicle after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (Getty Images / Mark J. Terrill)

Tiger Woods is on everyone’s minds because of the single-vehicle crash that he was involved in Rancho Palos Verdes, California — near Los Angeles — earlier this week. There are a lot of unknowns at this point. There’s a lot of speculation as to what might have happened.

I would like to talk about what a personal injury attorney may look at when considering a single-vehicle crash. This type of accident is less common; most automobile crashes involve two or three vehicles. Single-vehicle crashes typically raise questions as to whether there was something wrong with the vehicle itself, something wrong with the roadway, or a combination of the two.

In the case of Tiger Woods’ accident, the first responders said that the area in Los Angeles where the crash occurred is one that has many crashes. It’s a dangerous area. According to their description of the accident scene, it’s an area where a crash would not be unforeseen.

In a media briefing following the accident, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva explained the road’s conditions as follows: “Because it is downhill — it slopes and it curves — that area has a high frequency of accidents.” Further, he described accidents in that area as “not uncommon.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and others assess Tiger Woods’ recent rollover accident in Rancho Palos Verdes.

This is a huge problem for the governmental entity that designed the road, whether it’s the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County, or even the State of California. If the city designed a roadway that is hazardous for drivers, the city could bear some responsibility for crashes that occur on that roadway.

Of course, the argument can be made that the driver of the vehicle should understand or appreciate the dangers of that roadway and, therefore, slow down or drive with more caution. But this argument makes sense only if the driver has driven that roadway before, and has familiarity with that roadway and its dangers.

The problem is, if you’re not usually on that roadway or area of road — if you’re not comfortable with that area of road — and if you don’t understand the sharp turns or potential downhills and bends that may be present in Rancho Palos Verdes, you could argue that there’s a design defect with the roadway.

Roadway Design Defect Cases

Roadway design defect cases are extremely complicated and have a very, very high burden. In other words, the burden is what you, the plaintiff, would have to prove against the governmental entity that designed the road. You would have to show that there was knowingly a design flaw in this roadway, or that the city, county, or state was put on notice — or notified — about the dangers of this roadway.

It’s possible that multiple accidents occurring over a short period of time, or many accidents over a longer period of time, would give the city, county, or state notice that there’s something wrong with the road. A simple warning sign that says “slow down” may not be sufficient. The frequency of accidents should lead officials to consider a redesign of the road, or investigate how to provide a roadway that’s safer for the people who are driving it.

Jonathan Negretti’s perspective on the Tiger Woods single-vehicle accident is part of his Legal Beagle Podcast, which is available on Negretti & Associates’ YouTube channel and on Anchor.

The appropriate way to inform a governmental entity about a dangerous roadway is by filing a notice of claim. This must be filed within a certain period of time following an accident. In California, a notice of claim must be filed 180 days from the crash itself.

Tiger Woods suffered his rollover crash on February 23, 2021. He therefore has until August 22, 2021 to notify the city that he has an intent to bring a claim against the city or county for a dangerous condition: the design of this particular stretch of road.

In turn, the city would have the opportunity to evaluate the claim and then determine whether it is interested in resolving the claim with Tiger. If the city is not interested, then Tiger has an accelerated deadline — a statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to file a lawsuit or you lose the right to your claim. In more common language, it’s a deadline to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you can’t file a lawsuit. Tiger would have one year from the date of his crash to file that lawsuit. That’s assuming there’s enough evidence to support his claim.

Evidence Collection in a Roadway Design Defect Case

Where would Tiger find the evidence to support his claim? Well, he would have a law firm, like ours, work with an investigative team — engineers and roadway design experts — to look at the roadway. Together, the team would explore the following:

  • Whether the governmental entity that has jurisdiction over this roadway — city, county, or state — failed to mitigate these dangers.
  • Whether the city, county, or state failed to provide safeguards against these dangers.
  • The area’s prior crash history. This is a little bit more difficult to acquire, because not all accidents are public record. But you can find most of them, if there are police reports and things of that nature.

It would take time to investigate all of these factors and determine whether there’s a claim against the governmental entity. That’s an important determination that needs to be made pretty early in an investigation. You face an accelerated deadline to both let the governmental entity know about your intent to bring a claim and then you have that accelerated deadline to file your lawsuit, because normally you get two years. In California you get the years to file a lawsuit or you lose the right to do so.

A Potential Product Defect Case

Another consideration that a personal injury attorney might look at is what’s going on with the vehicle itself. Tiger was driving a Genesis GV80. This was a courtesy vehicle provided by the sponsor of the golf tournament that had just occurred in Los Angeles. Tournaments traditionally have vehicle sponsors, which provide vehicles to the golfers. In this case, Genesis was the title sponsor of the event. If you’ve seen the images of the accident, you can tell the vehicle was badly damaged. The whole front-end looks crushed. There is significant damage to the vehicle itself. Does that mean there is anything wrong with the vehicle? Maybe. You don’t know until you start to look, until you start to investigate.

At Negretti & Associates, we handled a single-vehicle crash case in which our client had a medical episode, ran off the road, hit a tree, and her airbags failed to deploy. That shouldn’t happen when you hit a tree at 45 miles per hour. Your airbags should trigger and should deploy. So, we had to start investigating and asking questions. We got experts involved, and we started to tear into that vehicle, look at the mechanics of that vehicle, the data the vehicle can provide, and tried to figure out what happened in that particular situation.

Tiger Woods would have the same potential claim here if there were something wrong with his vehicle. At this point, we just don’t know what exactly happened. I think I heard a news report that there are no skid marks on the roadway at the point where he veered off it. That’s suspicious. Typically, our reaction, as drivers, is to hit our brakes if there’s some sort of issue — whether it’s something that runs in front of you, or you were texting and all of a sudden you realize the vehicle’s going off the road. Either way, you still apply the brakes. In this case, there’s nothing like that. Did the brakes fail? We don’t know yet. Again, there’s a lot of speculation as to whether there was intoxication or other contributing factors — all of which could determine whether Tiger Woods has a claim.

What’s especially important is timing. These investigations have to happen quickly. As a potential plaintiff in a single-vehicle crash, you should not wait for the authorities to do their investigation before you begin yours. Sometimes, authorities will take an awfully long time to do their investigations. They may have to send things to labs. Simply coordinating evidence from different responders into a report can take a long time. They’re available to you once they are produced. Regardless, you don’t want to for it to arrive. You want to have your own investigative team looking at the accident as soon as possible.

If there’s suspicion that something may be wrong, you’ll want to call a personal injury attorney and explain what you think happened: “This is what I’m concerned about. Do you think we have a potential case here?” That’s what happened in the aforementioned airbag case that we had. The wife was incapacitated, because she was the driver. The husband wasn’t in the vehicle at the time, but he’s the one who called me and said, “This is all I know. My wife had a medical episode. She hit a tree, and the airbags didn’t go off. I’m just wondering what happened.” So, our firm got involved and said let’s figure out what happened.

Roadway Design Is an Important Factor in Tiger Woods’ Accident Case

To circle back to Tiger Woods’ case, it concerns me to hear officers give interviews to the media and say that the roadway is unsafe. It’s troubling for the governmental entity in which they actually work. In this case, it’s the county. It’s troubling because it sounds like the authorities know that this is a dangerous stretch of roadway and maybe there were not enough safeguards in place to eliminate these types of accidents.

There remains much more to learn in this case. I’m sure the media will keep us updated and informed on what is going on, not only with Tiger’s recovery, but the potential factors that created this crash event.

Until we learn more, I wanted to jump in right away to explain how we might evaluate this case — without knowing anything more than what we all know at this point. We wish Tiger Woods a speedy recovery. We hope that this case isn’t more complicated than perhaps some sort of mishap.

In conclusion, if you find yourself in a single-vehicle accident, don’t assume that it’s just your fault and that there aren’t other factors at play. There could be reasons that you have a viable claim to pursue. Call us at (602) 531-3911 in Arizona, (619) 777-3370 in California, or (720) 636-3444 in Colorado. You can also contact us online or send us a text.

state-minimum car insurance is not enough

This article on state-minimum car insurance is the first of a three-part series on car insurance. Other articles in this series are Full-Coverage Car Insurance Is a Myth and Should I Call My Insurance Company After an Accident?

Every time we get into our cars and drive somewhere, we’re exposing ourselves to the risk of getting into in a car accident. This is true whether we think we’re exemplary drivers or our driving record has room for improvement. Getting behind the wheel involves some degree of risk — of either causing an accident or being hit by another driver.

And this is why car insurance exists. We buy insurance to protect ourselves and others in the event of an accident — potentially an unimaginably severe accident, whether it’s our fault or not.

So, if we think about car insurance in its proper context — as protection against risk — how do we know that we have enough to cover ourselves and other motorists when it’s needed?

At Negretti & Associates, our legal staff works with the insurance industry every day. We’ve seen all types of insurance coverage.

Here, we’d like to offer our perspective on one approach to car insurance shared by many drivers: buying just the absolute minimum level of car insurance that states require drivers to carry. We’ll outline why this approach has many drawbacks.

We hope that anyone who reads this will carefully reflect on whether they’re properly protected in the event of an accident.

Topics that we cover in this article include:

Types of State-Minimum Car Insurance

Nearly every state in the U.S. has laws that require motorists to carry a minimum level of car insurance. However, state laws only require two types of car insurance coverage: bodily injury protection and property damage.

Bodily Injury Protection: More commonly called liability coverage, bodily injury protection covers injuries to the other driver and his or her passengers. However, these amounts do not cover your own injuries.

Property Damage: Property coverage covers the damages that you cause to another driver’s vehicle. You can purchase collision coverage to protect your own vehicle in the event of an accident, regardless of fault.

Virtually every state mandates coverage amounts that drivers must carry for bodily injuries caused to other drivers and their passengers, as well as damages to other drivers’ vehicles and property.

Elements of State-Minimum Liability Insurance

Let’s take a more careful look at the types of liability protection that nearly every state requires: bodily injury and property damage.

Think of state-minimum car insurance as the maximum amount of liability coverage that drivers are required by law to purchase.

At Negretti & Associates, we are licensed to practice law California, Arizona, and Colorado. We’ll therefore use those three states as examples.

State-minimum car insurance in California is $15,000 / $30,000 / $5,000.

  • The first figure ($15,000) defines minimum per-person bodily injury liability coverage. In effect, California drivers must have policies that pay up to $15,000 for one person’s injuries in an accident. If you have California state-minimum coverage and cause an accident, the most that the other driver or any individual passenger could receive as compensation for medical bills would be $15,000.
  • The second figure ($30,000) specifies per-accident bodily injury liability coverage per accident. California drivers must purchase at least $30,000 in per-accident bodily injury liability coverage. If you have California state-minimum car insurance and were to cause an accident, $30,000 is the maximum amount that the other driver and his passengers could share as compensation for their injuries.
  • The third figure ($5,000) covers property damage liability per accident. In California, drivers must purchase at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. This would be used to repair damages incurred to the other driver’s car, or someone’s nearby property.

In Arizona, liability coverage amounts were raised — for the first time in decades — on July 1, 2020. Currently, Arizona drivers must carry at least:

  • $25,000 in per-person bodily injury coverage per accident.
  • $50,000 in per-accident bodily injury coverage.
  • $15,000 in property damage liability coverage.

Colorado mirrors what Arizona has in coverage: $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person, per accident; $50,0000 bodily injury coverage per accident; and $15,000 for property damage liability coverage.

What Does Liability Coverage Actually Cover?

Let’s look further at property liability coverage, which has numerous applications.

For example, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage can be used as a source of compensation for damages for any of the following:

  • Repairs made to the other driver’s vehicle.
  • Loss of use: the other driver’s car rental while his or her vehicle is being fixed.
  • A potential diminished value claim: the difference between what the other driver’s vehicle was worth before the accident and what the vehicle is worth after the accident.
  • Other losses that may occur related to the property claim.

Also, when a vehicle is declared a total loss — in other words, not repairable — the other driver must be compensated for fair market value of the vehicle prior to the accident.

How State Minimums Leave Drivers Barely Protected

When you list the possible uses of liability coverage, you quickly find that California’s minimum requirement of $5,000 for property damage coverage is extremely low.

It’s hard to find a fully functioning replacement vehicle for less than $5,000. Considering the ways in which vehicles are built today, as well as the labor needed to restore vehicles to pre-accident condition, just a small fender-bender can cost far more than $5,000 to repair.

Even in neighboring Arizona, where the cost of living is lower, the required $15,000 state-minimum property damage liability coverage does not stretch far. The average selling price of a used car is $21,000. Many cars on the road have values surpassing $15,000. State-minimum insurance often does not account for loss of use and diminished value.

It doesn’t take much math to conclude that purchasing state-minimum car insurance leaves drivers barely protected. Drivers who buy state-minimum insurance are merely complying with law. They are not even protecting themselves. This is an incredibly dangerous position to put oneself in.

If you have state-minimum car insurance and are deemed at fault in an accident, you may be liable for all expenses not covered by your policy. You may be expected to pay out of your own pocket to cover the difference between your insurance and the other driver’s actual expenses.

An attorney or a person injured in the accident could look to you personally to contribute to resolve a claim. The other driver can sue you, seize your assets, and have your wages garnished.

The Risks of Not Having Underinsured and Uninsured Coverage

Despite all of the insurance requirements written into states’ laws, the national average for uninsured motorists remains somewhere around 13%, according to a 2017 report from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). This means that one in eight drivers has no car insurance at all.

Remarkably, many people simply risk paying for insurance and hope that they don’t cause an accident. Either they don’t want insurance or can’t afford it. Some states have much higher rates of uninsured motorists. In Florida, 26.7% of drivers lacked insurance in 2015.

California, Arizona, and Colorado have uninsured motorist rates that mirror the national average. However, these three states do not have laws on the books that require drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), which cover damages to your own car or injuries you suffer because you’re hit by another driver.

Underinsured/uninsured coverage: In addition to liability coverage, approximately 20 states go a step further with laws that define minimum insurance amounts that drivers must purchase to protect themselves against uninsured or underinsured drivers. This covers expenses related to vehicle damage and injuries when at-fault drivers have no insurance or do not have enough insurance.

Medical Payment coverage: This insurance covers your own and your passengers’ injuries, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. MedPay can cover medical bill, transportation to appointments, and physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Some states mandate what is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) instead; this covers the driver’s own injuries, regardless of accident fault, and can include a loss of wages.

With MedPay or PIP, you have to be mindful of how much coverage you’re buying. Some states limit how much coverage can be used in an accident. Some insurance companies will require that they are paid back in full if you collect from another coverage under the at-fault driver’s policy.

If you were hit by an uninsured motorist and you don’t have UM coverage, then you are out of luck in terms of getting help from insurance to pay for your own damages and injuries. You might still be able to file a personal injury suit against the uninsured motorist, but you would not be able to collect from insurance.

By comparison, UIM exists to protect you when you are not at fault in an accident, and your damages and injuries exceed the other driver’s liability insurance amounts.

Imagine that you are in an accident in California, the at-fault driver had merely the state-minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000, yet your injuries totaled $100,000 in medical expenses. Without UIM coverage, you would have to find a way to pay the difference of $85,000. You could attempt to go after the other party personally with the help of a lawyer, and you may be successful in obtaining a personal contribution from the at-fault driver. However, it’s unlikely that the other driver would have enough assets to cover that difference.

A few years ago, Negretti & Associates represented a young woman who was seriously injured when hit by an intoxicated driver. The at-fault party only carried the state-minimum insurance of $15,000. However, our client’s injuries — including surgeries and rehabilitation — were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Our client was fortunate to have UIM, but only purchased $15,000 in coverage. The maximum amount of insurance money that we were able to collect for our client was $30,000. She deserved so much more. She told us that she wished that someone would have talked to her about how much UIM coverage to have before her accident.

What to Consider When Shopping for Car Insurance

When considering how much car insurance to purchase, start your analysis by asking yourself how much insurance you would want to carry so that you wouldn’t have to write a check from your personal bank account to pay for damages.

Do you own a home? Do you have a business? Do you have prized possessions? All might be in jeopardy if you were to cause an accident and were underinsured.

It might be uncomfortable to do so, but you have to think about worst-case scenarios — unthinkable situations, such as causing an accident that resulted in killing someone. Regardless of the policy you have, there’s really no way in which we can purchase enough insurance that would be sufficient for such an outcome. It’s difficult to put a dollar amount on a person’s life.

This considered, rather than choose state-minimum coverage, price-out a much larger plan — perhaps 10 times the state minimum — and then compare the two policies. Quite often, the difference in price may not be that much.

To illustrate, if you’re in Arizona, where the minimum liability coverage is $25,000, try to find out how much $250,000 in per-person bodily injury coverage would cost. On a per-month basis, the difference may not be significant. But coverage you get in return would be drastically different.

With quotes for the two policies in hand, you can go back to the original question: How much coverage do I want to protect myself and my family, along with my assets and belongings, to ensure that I’m not in jeopardy of losing what I have?

Even if you don’t have many assets to protect, you would still want to put yourself in a position where you are looking out for others.

As you shop around, remember that you can always reach out to an insurance broker, who can be great resource for recommendations on available policies. A broker can help you compare insurance from several companies all at once, so that you don’t have to solicit quotes from the insurers yourself.

You can also change coverage at any time. You don’t have to wait until your policy is up for renewal. You could contact your present insurance company today, even, and ask about different coverage. You can make changes immediately, if you are so inclined.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Umbrella Coverage

Do not overlook the importance of uninsured motorist coverage (UM). It can be a good idea to buy the same amount in UM as what you have in liability insurance.

For example, if you are going to purchase $100,000 per person, per accident in bodily injury coverage, try to purchase that same amount in UM for yourself. In effect, you’d be protecting another driver for up to $100,000 if you hit them and covering yourself for that same amount.

Umbrella insurance is another coverage type to consider as you shop for quotes. An umbrella policy is an extra layer of liability coverage that kicks in when your limits are met on the liability policy. Injuries can get into the seven figures. It possible to have anything from $1 million to $5 million in umbrella coverage.

It’s possible to have UIM and UM with added umbrella coverage. For example, you can have $250,000 in UM and UIM coverage, and then $1 million on top of that in umbrella coverage. In a scenario where the other party that caused the accident didn’t have enough insurance, an umbrella policy can ensure that you’re protected and that’s there is enough coverage for your own injuries and damages.

Adequate Insurance Is Necessary for All

The next time you shop for car insurance, explore your options. Think about what kind of coverages you would want in the event that you had to tap into your liability coverage. Try to find ways of covering yourself well above state-minimum limits, which leave drivers barely protected.

Don’t wait for a bad outcome to happen and wish later that you had an adequate amount of coverage.

Regardless of your financial position, having car insurance is the law in virtually every state. Why not take the extra step and have a good amount of insurance, to protect yourself and others if you were to cause an accident?

This is truly a matter of personal responsibility and civic duty. Please consider purchasing more insurance than your state’s minimum — for your own benefit and other drivers’.

And let’s work toward reducing the number of uninsured drivers on the road from 1 out of 8 to 0 out of 100. Let’s make sure that everyone has insurance. Driving without insurance, or having too little insurance, is quite simply an extremely risky thing to do.

bird scooter lawyers in california

If you have suffered an injury while riding a Bird scooter, and you believe you have grounds for filing a claim, it’s important to find a lawyer who understands scooter accident law in California. The reason is simple: Bird’s user agreement requires that accident claims be handled under California law.

At Negretti & Associates, our licensed California attorneys know the ins and outs of California scooter accident laws. What’s more, our firm has won millions in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.

So, when you’re looking for Bird scooter lawyers in California, what considerations should you keep in mind? Negretti & Associates offers this list of frequently asked questions, to help guide your decision. If you have other questions or would like a free case evaluation, you’re welcome to contact us online, call us at 1-833-827-3535, or send us a text.

Why hire an experienced scooter lawyer?

Simply put, an experienced scooter attorney can help you navigate the claims process with Bird.

Bird has a pretty robust user agreement that really tries to limit their responsibility related to any injury that occurs while riding one of their scooters. An experienced lawyer who understands this agreement and can advocate on your behalf is worth his or her weight in gold.

How can a Bird scooter lawyer help me determine who is liable for my accident?

A lawyer who has handled Bird scooter accidents can help investigate the facts and circumstances of your particular accident to determine fault. Most lawyers also work with experts who can be hired to help determine fault.

Do I need to hire a Bird scooter lawyer near me, or where the accident happened? How does it help to have a lawyer who is familiar with local scooter laws?

It is very important to find an attorney who is familiar with Bird scooter accidents. It is probably just as important that you find someone who is licensed to practice law in the state where the accident occurred. Some user agreements have language that selects the state for you. Please be aware of this when researching attorneys.

Most important, you wouldn’t want to hire just any attorney — and you certainly don’t want to hire someone who isn’t licensed in your state.

At Negretti & Associates, we have offices in Arizona, California and Colorado. If you have experienced a Bird scooter accident in one of these states, please give us a call to discuss your claim.

Is there anything unique about Bird’s terms and conditions in relation to my case?

Yes. For example, Bird’s user agreement requires that your claim be handled under California law. In other words, if your accident happened in another state, you will be operating under California law. Therefore, it would be wise to have an attorney licensed in California who is familiar with California law.

Is there a Bird scooter class-action lawsuit? Why not join a class-action lawsuit?

Bird’s user agreement does not allow you to start or join a class-action lawsuit. You waive that right when you click through the app at the moment of signing up and accepting Bird’s terms of service.

Electric scooter accident claims can be complex. That’s why it’s important to hire experienced electric scooter accident lawyers, like the team at Negretti & Associates. Contact us online, call us at 1-833-827-3535, or text us with questions about your accident claim. We can ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps towards getting the compensation you deserve.

pain and suffering settlements

If you’ve ever been in an accident, you already may be familiar with “pain and suffering” as a legal term. Pain and suffering is the physical and emotional stress caused by an accident. Attorneys sometimes refer to this as the “hassle” factor for having to deal with the aftermath of an accident. It can include everyday aches and pains, as well as emotional distress that few may be aware of.

Ultimately, pain and suffering is a catch-all term used for classifying general damages. In Arizona, California and Colorado, for example, there are jury instructions that explain what specific types of damages a claimant is entitled to. In Arizona, juries are asked to consider “the pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of your injury.”

When determining the value of a case, pain and suffering is just one aspect the overall damage calculation. Beyond property damage, a client’s medical bills and lost wages — and other factors, such as physical impairment and emotional distress, as well as the physical location of the accident — also need to be considered.

By evaluating the totality of a situation, an experienced lawyer can place a value on a claim, and educate the client on what a fair settlement might be.

Average Pain and Suffering Settlements

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding pain and suffering settlements. Perhaps the greatest myth of all is that it’s possible to find an “average” pain and suffering settlement.

After all, numerous websites offer pain and suffering calculators. If you are an accident victim who is trying to determine what your case is worth, you may have already encountered a variety of articles offering guidance on settlement averages.

Regrettably, in reality, there is no such thing as an average pain and suffering settlement. This is especially the case for car accidents, because no two car accidents are exactly same. In fact, at Negretti & Associates, we sometimes represent multiple people involved in the same car accident, and each person’s injuries are different. Each person’s pain and suffering damages settlement will vary depending on his or her injuries.
Rather than trying to figure out an average settlement, accident victims really should be trying to determine whether their settlement seems fair, based on their individual circumstances.

Measuring Pain and Suffering

A measure of pain and suffering often comes by way of an impairment rating. At Negretti & Associates, when clients are injured to the point of being permanently impaired, we have them evaluated for an impairment rating. This rating typically comes in the form of a percentage.

For example, a client may have a 6 percent impairment in her wrist. This impairment is really a form of pain and suffering. Using our knowledge of impairment ratings, we are able to capture compensation that reflects the pain and suffering that the client would experience due to the impairment.

Pain and Suffering Due to Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is a recognized claim that can be made within the aspect of pain and suffering. Emotional distress is almost always felt and rarely seen. Sometimes the outward manifestation of an emotional reaction can be detected, but most of the time people suffer in silence.

One of the biggest emotional distresses that we see from our clients is anxiety after an auto accident. Our clients often tell us that they get really anxious driving after an auto accident and feel an overwhelmed and fearful that everyone is going to hit them. In some cases, this emotional distress becomes so debilitating that clients have to seek treatment from a medical professional for possible diagnoses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emotional distress is an important part of your pain and suffering claim. At Negretti and Associates we usually ask each client to write a victim impact statement, so that we can help the insurance company better understand the emotional distress that our client suffered.

In one pain and suffering case, Negretti & Associates represented a young girl who was traumatized from being locked inside of a store and not allowed to leave. We were able to work with our client to understand the root of her trauma. Through the medical professionals who treated her, we were able to better grasp the night terrors that she suffered from. Armed with this information, we negotiated a settlement that included the pain and suffering that this young girl experienced — and was expected to continue to experience.

Get the Help You Need

At Negretti & Associates, our team of experienced lawyers works to negotiate on behalf of our clients, to ensure that we reach the target value that we place on a case.

If you have a pain and suffering settlement question, call us at 602-531-3911 in Arizona, 619-777-3370 in California, or 720-636-3444 in Colorado. Or, you can contact us with our online form. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

car accident out of state while on vacation

Have you ever had the terribly unfortunate experience of having a car accident out of state, while on vacation? An otherwise perfect trip can be completely ruined in an instant.

You could be California resident who has had a car accident while on vacation to the Grand Canyon, or an Arizona resident on who has had an accident outside of Disneyland. Because you reside in one state and have an accident in another, you may face a series of highly important, but very common, questions regarding finding the right lawyer for your accident claim.

Watch Negretti & Associates’ Jonathan Negretti on AZTV 7’s Daily Mix show, discussing what you should do if you have a car accident out of state, while on vacation.

Negretti & Associates is a personal injury firm that is licensed to practice law in Arizona, California, and Colorado. We’re familiar with the laws of those three states, and we have handled many claims in each. We have helped many Arizona residents who have had accidents in California and receive treatment for injuries while at home in Arizona.

Experience has taught us this: If you have been involved in a car accident out of state, you will want to work with an attorney who is licensed both in the state where the accident occurred, as well as the state in which you live and are receiving post-accident treatment.

This is because there are different laws in all 50 states of the United States. What’s more, there be conflicts between state laws, and some states have little-known laws that can directly impact what you are entitled to, in terms of damages and recovery. It can be tremendously helpful to work with a lawyer who knows and understands the differences of “local” state laws.

Example: A Disneyland Trip Gone Wrong

Imagine that you and your family drive from Arizona to Anaheim, to take the children to Disneyland. You’re nearing the entrance to the Disneyland parking lot and suddenly you get rear ended.

You take the kids the hospital, to have them checked out. You quickly realize that it’s best to return home early. Vacation is over.

Once at home, you start looking for a personal injury attorney to help you with your accident claim. The accident happened in California, and the person who rear-ended you is a California resident. Yet, you are an Arizona resident who will be receiving medical treatment in Arizona.

Some questions start to bubble to the surface:

  • Should I hire an attorney in California, or an attorney in Arizona?
  • Does it matter whether the attorney in Arizona is licensed to practice law in California?
  • Does it matter whether the California attorney is licensed to practice law in Arizona?

These are normal, common questions to be thinking about in this situation. As the following legal cases show, a lawyer who knows and understands the differences in state laws can have an important impact on your accident claim.

Differences in California and Arizona Accident Laws

In the event that you are on that trip to Disneyland, and you don’t have auto insurance at the time of your accident, you may be limited on what you can recover as a claimant in that auto accident claim, because of a less-well-known law called Proposition 213.

Prop 213 says is that if you are in an auto accident and you are not at fault, but you did not have auto insurance at the time of the accident, you are not entitled to recover for your pain and suffering. That drastically changes what you can recover for your injuries in an auto accident claim.

California attorneys would be very familiar with Prop 213. Yet an Arizona attorney who has never practiced in California may not aware of this law, because there is no equivalent to Proposition 213 law in Arizona. In effect, you could work with an Arizona attorney to pursue your claim, and all of the sudden you realize that you’re only able to be paid back for your medical bills — not additional pain and suffering.

In addition, there is also a California Supreme Court decision, called Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc., of 2011.

The Howell case decided that, in California, the auto insurance company only has to pay you for paid hospital or medical charges, not billed hospital or medical charges.

To illustrate, assume that you get into an accident in Arizona. You go to the hospital, and the bill for medical treatment is $1,000. Your health insurance pays $250. You submit the $1,000 bill and you get compensated $1,000 by the auto insurance company that insured the driver who caused the accident. They may argue about the reasonableness of that bill, but essentially, the argument would be that you should get paid for the $1,000.

In California, according to Howell, there are key differences. You would go to the hospital and be billed $1,000, and your health insurance pays $250. Yet, the other driver’s auto insurance company is only required to pay $250. This causes a number of problems:

  • Your health insurance company may have a right to be reimbursed for anything they paid on your behalf, which means your net result there is zero.
  • The hospital, itself, may record a lien, stating that it wants to recover the difference between what your health insurance paid ($250) and what the billed charges were ($1,000). As a result, you would owe the hospital $750.

Scenarios such as these frequently come into play when dealing with out-of-state car accidents. That’s why having an attorney who is familiar with local state laws can be helpful when you are in an accident in a different state.

Compensation for Unused Tickets and Reservations

Let us return to the Disneyland accident example for one moment. If you were unable to enjoy your theme park visit because of the accident, you should be compensated for the unused tickets, in addition to car damages and medical bills. The unused tickets are considered to be among your damages, which is a legal word for your losses that occurred as a result of that accident.

Yet, if you were in an accident and went into Disneyland anyway, and it wasn’t any fun for you, because you had a sore back, a claim of damages would be a tough argument to make. There would be no way to verify whether you didn’t enjoy yourself, or didn’t enjoy the park as much as you would have, had you not been involved in an accident.

Other forms of loss that you may have experienced — such as unused, nonrefundable hotel reservations, or having to purchase plane tickets to fly back home early, because you could not drive — may also qualify as damages. All sorts of out-of-the-ordinary things can happen with accidents while on vacation.

That said, if you are an Arizona, California, or Colorado resident, and you have a question about damages related to your out-of-state car accident — while on vacation in Arizona, California, or Colorado — contact Negretti & Associates. We’ll talk you through what compensation you may be entitled to.

Having Trouble Finding an Out-of-State Lawyer? Contact Negretti & Associates

If you get into an accident in a different state than where you live, and you are trying to find an attorney who is licensed in both those states, and it may not be easy.

If you cannot find a lawyer that is licensed in two specific states, give Negretti & Associates a call. We have access to a database of attorneys who practice all over the US. We will do our best to find you someone who is licensed where your accident occurred and licensed where you live.

We would rather have you put in the right hands — a law firm who understands local laws and can help you properly resolve your accident claim. You should achieve a recovery that’s commensurate with everything you endured with regards to your accident.

Please 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 form.

how pain and suffering damages are calculated

Within the field of personal injury law, pain and suffering is a general term that refers to classifying damages. It is the physical and emotional stress caused by an accident — the “hassle factor” for having to deal with the aftermath of an accident. It can include those everyday aches and pains, as well as emotional distress that others may not notice.

After an accident, a victim cannot “sue” for pain and suffering. However, one can file a lawsuit for the negligence caused by another party — and damages resulting from that negligence.

Factors Influencing How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for calculating what one should be paid for pain and suffering damages. That’s because pain and suffering is specific to each individual claimant. As individuals, we have different daily activities and we experience pain differently.

Many pain and suffering calculators are available online, but their calculations can be way off the mark. This is because online pain and suffering calculators often take a one-size-fits-all approach to valuing claims. They commonly do not take into account the state or county in which accidents occur.

The location of an accident is an important factor when calculating pain and suffering damages. A state or county with a more conservative population could award less in damages than a state or county with a more liberal population. By diving deeper into where an accident occurred and gaining a better understanding of the jury pool in a state or county, we can produce more accurate case valuations.

Additionally, online calculators don’t have a way to enter data related to pain and suffering. If a client requires treatment for more than one year before they are well again, that factor is vital to determining his or her pain and suffering.

Online calculators simply don’t have a way to capture that information and provide an accurate assessment of case value. Online calculators often give false expectations and, as a result, tend to leave clients disappointed and confused.

How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?

There is no such thing as an average settlement for a car accident. That is because no two car accidents are exactly same. In fact, at Negretti & Associates we sometimes represent multiple people involved in the same car accident, and each person’s injuries are different. In other words, each person’s settlement will vary depending on his or her injuries.

Rather than trying to figure out an average settlement, you really should be trying to determine whether your settlement is fair to you, based on your specific set of circumstances.

How Much Do Insurance Companies Pay for Pain and Suffering?

The amount insurance companies pay for pain and suffering depends greatly on the type of injury suffered and the specific facts of a case. For example, someone who has neck pain would be compensated differently from someone who breaks a leg. Additionally, someone who goes to urgent care and doesn’t follow up with any other treatment would be paid differently from someone who goes to the ER and then follows up with 8 weeks of physical therapy.

The Pain and Suffering Multiplier

Decades ago, it was customary for insurance companies to pay a so-called pain-and-suffering “multiplier” to accident claimants. Insurance companies would “multiply” medical bills to determine pain and suffering.

Insurance companies stopped valuing claims with a pain and suffering multiplier after realizing that they were losing too much money. Instead, they developed sophisticated software programs that analyze data and compute case values. Software completely removed the human element from the process and has dramatically changed the way cases are valued.

If someone has told you that you should “look into collecting on a pain and suffering multiplier” for your accident claim, you will be disappointed to learn that insurance companies no longer do this.

Currently, you will be compensated based on factors such as the severity of the injury, the length of treatment, and the pain and suffering experienced. This will not equate to a multiplier of your pain and suffering.

Can You File a Pain and Suffering Claim Without a Lawyer?

You can certainly file a claim to recover for pain and suffering without a lawyer. However, without a lawyer, you will most likely collect much, much less. This is not because a lawyer has a magic set of skills. It is because a good lawyer will take the time to work with you, to understand all of the damages suffered, and how to properly present those to the insurance company.

Additionally, a great lawyer will work on the back-end of the settlement, to reduce the money that the client may owe to third-parties — for example, medical providers — and to ensure the client nets the best possible result.

At Negretti & Associates, we pride ourselves on our honest approach to your case value. Through experience we have developed a case valuation tool that helps us arrive at a settlement range for each case, based on specific facts.

Please give us a call to discuss your settlement and we will do our best to give you valuable feedback, so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to settle your claim.

Call us in Arizona at 602-531-3911, in California at 619-777-3370, and 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.

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.

california wildfire lawyers

Wildfires often cause irreparable damage to the environment, public health and your personal property. You can be both directly and indirectly affected. Even those who are far away from a wildfire can be adversely impacted by the air quality it produces.

Wildfires are not always caused by natural forces but sometimes by electrical and power companies who fail to follow safety regulations and protocols.

Recently, the victims of the devastating Woolsey Fire have filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison alleging that the company was negligent in failing to turn off the power prior to the wildfire. The lawsuit also states that Edison shut off power four days after the fire started, which may have caused further, unnecessary harm.

As such, attorneys representing the Southern California residents are seeking just compensation for victims’ injuries, damaged property, lost wages, and attorney’s fees.

Potential Claims for Wildfire Victims

If you think you have been injured by a wildfire, it could have been due to the negligence of a power or electrical services company. If so, you are entitled to pursue a personal injury claim against negligent companies.

These companies are expected to take proper safety precautions in order to prevent disastrous accidents like wildfires. When they do not adhere to state and federal safety protocol, innocent people can become seriously injured.

How An Attorney Can Help You

Your recovery can hinge on whether or not you have an experienced California 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, our California wildfire lawyers 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.

We will vigilantly defend your rights and pursue any rightful claims for damages, medical expenses, and compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured. We also understand the importance of securing compensation for future medical treatment. We will also help you collect compensation for time you have to take off from work to deal with your injuries.

Our team of California wildfire lawyers knows what it takes to win. We promise to fully investigate your claim and make sure you get the recovery you deserve. 

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.

Negretti & Associates had another incredible turn out for our second Fill-A-Bag party for the Phoenix Rescue Mission on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

A huge thank you goes out to our incredible clients who have shown nothing but love and support donating to our endeavor to help make this world a better place.

We were able to donate 104 bags (1,012 lbs.) of food along with 25 bags (63 lbs.) of dog food to the mission this time.

We also want to thank Kneaders Cafe and Bakery in Scottsdale for letting us come and take over half of their restaurant to fill all of the bags.

From all of us at Negretti & Associates, we thank you!

day of giving 2017 day of giving 2017 day of giving 2017