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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

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

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

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

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

Steps in a Diminished Value Claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the common causes of drowning include:

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

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

Additional ways to prevent drowning include:

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

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

In part, A.R.S. § 36-1681 states:

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

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

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

(b) Open outward from the pool.

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

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

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

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

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

Stop at the Accident Scene

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

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

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

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

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

Check for Injuries

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

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

Police and Accident Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collect Relevant Evidence

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

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

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

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

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

dog bite laws arizona california colorado

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

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

Common Law and Colorado’s “One Bite Rule”

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

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

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

Arizona and California Dog Bite Law

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

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

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

Damages

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

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

Negretti & Associates Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laws Applicable to Intersections

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

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

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

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

Common Causes of Intersection Accidents

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

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

Ways to Reduce Intersection Accidents

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

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

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

uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

What is the difference between uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage?

  • Uninsured motorist coverage (“UM”) is designed to protect drivers and passengers if the at-fault driver in an accident does not carry automobile liability insurance coverage.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage (“UIM”) is designed to protect drivers and passengers if the at-fault driver has insufficient automobile liability insurance coverage to pay for your injuries.

For example, if you are in a vehicle accident and sustain $50,000 in damages due to injuries, but the at-fault driver only has the minimum $15,000 bodily injury coverage, UIM may help bridge the financial gap.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia require UM. Just fourteen states require UIM. In Arizona, Colorado and California, however, UM and UIM are not mandatory. Nevertheless, each state has its requirements with regard to UM and UIM.

Arizona law states that every insurer writing a motor vehicle liability policy must offer, in writing, UM and UIM to their insureds in an amount equal to the insured’s liability coverage. If the insureds reject this coverage, insurers must prove compliance with the statute by having their insureds sign a Department of Insurance-approved form that indicates selection or rejection of such coverage.

Colorado law states it is mandatory that the insurance provider offer collision, medical-payments, and uninsured-motorist coverage. Such coverage may only be rejected by the insured in writing.

California law requires insurers to include UM and UIM in automobile policies, unless the insurer and insured execute a written waiver in a specific format that is laid out in California law. If the insured does not sign the three-page waiver, UM and UIM are made part of the insurance policy.

Automobile accidents occur every day. In fact, more than 75,000 people are injured each day due to vehicle accidents in the US. So, whether you are heading out for a hike, going to relax by the ocean, or taking your family to a Spring Training baseball game, make sure that you understand and have implemented your state’s automobile insurance requirements.

Our attorneys understand this is a common fear and have structured our business to alleviate this problem. Negretti & Associates offers a no-fee assurance to our clients, operating on a contingency fee basis. This means that we are not paid unless and until we obtain a favorable settlement or verdict on your behalf.

The events following an accident may often feel like a painful blur, as doctors, police officers and insurance agents are all jostling for your time and attention. Many people feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to navigate the murky waters toward recovery. The last thing a person wants to worry about is if they can afford the assistance of an attorney.

A contingency fee agreement is a written agreement between the client and the attorney in which the client may hire the attorney without putting down an initial payment. Furthermore, if the case is ongoing, the client will not have to pay monthly payments and the attorney collects their payment from a percentage of the judgment or settlement once the lawsuit is complete. Contingency fee agreements are valid only in civil cases and are only valid if they are reasonable and equitable to the client.

A contingency fee agreement must state how the fee will be determined, including the percentage in which the attorney will be paid whether the case goes to litigation or is settled. Additionally, it is important that the fee agreement be in writing prior to the client hiring the attorney in order for the client to review the fee agreement breakdown.

A contingency fee arrangement has many benefits. The most common benefit is that a contingency fee agreement allows clients that do not have the money at the outset to pay an attorney’s hourly rate to obtain representation. Additionally, the same clients that do not have the financial ability to pay an attorney on the front end will not owe the attorney any fees on the back end, unless the fee agreement specifically states the client must pay named expenses. A contingency fee agreement also benefits clients indirectly, as their attorney will be more likely to keep on top of their case and work diligently to obtain a favorable outcome so the attorney will get paid.

Ultimately, if you have been injured, it is imperative to understand that you have options; a contingency fee agreement may provide an important vehicle for you to pursue the financial justice that you deserve.