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.
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.
When asked about causes of vehicle accidents, most people immediately think of impairment, such as alcohol, or distracted driving, such as texting. However, drowsy, or fatigued driving kills, and is a major problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines drowsy driving as, “the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue,” and the National Sleep Foundation estimates that sixty percent of American adult drivers, about 168 million, say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, approximately 103 million people, have actually fallen asleep while driving!
Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, 12.5 billion in monetary losses and 846 deaths in 2014. However, these numbers are believed to be underestimated, as it is difficult to determine if fatigue caused driver error, and up to 6,000 fatal crashes may be caused by drowsy drivers each year.
The Warning Signs of Fatigued Driving
Disconnected thoughts or daydreaming.
Frequent blinking or heavy eyelids.
Persistent yawning or rubbing your eyes.
Feeling irritable or restless.
Trouble keeping your head up.
Trouble remembering driving the last few miles.
Missing your exit, road signs or traffic signs.
Hitting the rumble strips, tailgating or drifting into other lanes.
Fatigued driving is so dangerous because it impairs reaction time, reduces a driver’s vigilance and causes problems with processing information.
How to Determine a Fatigued Driver
In our fast-paced society people have learned to juggle many different responsibilities, including family, work and social life which may cause some to be exhausted by the end of the day. Although most people are prone to being fatigued at specific times, there are certain people that may experience a higher risk of fatigued driving, including:
Shift workers: People who work rotating shifts, nights shifts, double shifts or work more than one job are six-times more likely to be involved in a fatigued driving accident. Shift work may also lead to certain disorders, for example, according to the Alaska Sleep Education Center, shift work sleep disorder is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia. People who tend to work unusual schedules have their circadian rhythms disrupted, which may cause a number of physiological and mental problems.
Medication Side Effects: Many medications include sleepiness as a side effect. People that take these medications have a higher risk of fatigued driving. Examples of medications that have a sedating effect are: cold tablets, antihistamines and antidepressants, among others.
Drivers with untreated sleep disorders: Drivers that do not treat sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (“OSA”), narcolepsy and insomnia have a higher risk than the average driver for fatigued driving accidents. In all of these disorders the most common symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness.
Age: Young drivers, from teen years to 25 years old (especially males) are considered an age group that is most likely to be involved in a fatigued driving accident. According to the NHTSA, “drivers younger than 30 accounted for almost two-thirds of drowsy-driving crashes, despite representing only about one-fourth of licensed drivers. These drivers were four times more likely to have such a crash than were drivers ages 30 years or older.” There are many theories as to why young drivers are involved in such a high percentage of fatigued driving accidents, however, the most common theory is that inexperience combined with sleepiness and the tendency to drive at night increases risk.
Commercial Drivers: People that drive a large number of miles and drive at night are at a much higher risk for fatigued driver accidents. Commercial drivers have also been found to be at a high risk for sleep disorders.
Business Travelers: People who travel frequently for their jobs or for leisure who may be suffering from jet lag and crossing different time zones, or spending long hours behind the wheel are also at an increased risk of being involved in a fatigued driver accident.
Fatigued Driving Prevention
Many people believe that they can just “power through” a difficult driving situation by turning on the radio or rolling down their window to get some fresh air, however, these tactics do little to actually combat fatigued driving. There are better ways to prevent drowsy driving, before hitting the road drivers should:
Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
When taking longer trips plan to do the majority of your driving during the day.
If you are feeling fatigued, or notice signs that you may be drowsy, and you have a passenger in the vehicle, ask the passenger to drive.
If you are feeling drowsy, pull over and rest or sleep at a rest stop.
Use caffeine, which will provide a short-term boost, however, the effects may only last up to an hour and do not provide a long-term solution.
Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any possible sleeping disorders.
If you are driving a long distance, schedule regular stops every 100 miles or two hours.
The National Sleep Foundation sponsors Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, an annual, national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while tired. In 2016, Drowsy Driving Prevention Week was November 6-13. The campaign chooses a week in November every year; people that are interested in Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, or becoming a Drowsy Driving Advocate, may find more information here.
Many states require that passengers under the age of five be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. It is important for parents or legal guardians to always read and follow child car seat guidelines, as well as manufacturers’ installation instructions and weight and height guidelines.
Child Car Seat Guidelines – Newborns to 12 Months
Children weighing less than 20 pounds and under age 1 should ride in rear-facing infant car seats, or convertible seats used in a rear-facing position.
A rear-facing safety seat should never be installed in front of an active airbag.
A rear-facing safety seat should be installed to recline 30 to 45 degrees.
While in a rear-facing safety seat, a child’s head must be at least one inch below the top of the seat.
When using a seat in rear-facing position, use the harness straps and slots in the safety seat at or below shoulder level of the child.
Harness straps in the safety seat must be snug on the child. The harness clip — the clip on safety seat that goes across the child’s chest — should be at armpit level.
Child Car Seat Guidelines – Children Ages 1-5
A child should remain in a rear-facing safety seat until age 2, or until the upper weight or height limits of a seat have been met. When a child outgrows a rear-facing safety seat, he or she may transition to a forward-facing seat with a harness system.
Use the internal harness system of the safety seat until the upper weight or height limit has been reached.
Use harness straps and slots in the safety seat at or above shoulder level when forward-facing.
The safety seat’s harness straps should be snug on the child. The harness clip should be at armpit level.
When in a forward-facing safety seat, the top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the seat.
Child Car Seat Guidelines for Children Ages 5-8
Children should be secured in a forward-facing safety seat, with the internal harness system of the safety seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limits allowed by the manufacturer.
When a child outgrows the forward-facing seat, he or she may transition to a belt-positioning booster seat. In Arizona, for example, state law requires any child who is less than 80 pounds and less than four feet, nine inches tall to be placed in a booster seat while riding in a vehicle.
Booster seats must be used with the vehicle’s shoulder and lap belt — not just a lap belt.
The lap belt needs to lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.
If the booster seat has a back, the top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the back seat.
If using a backless booster seat, the vehicle’s head restraint must be positioned properly.
When the booster seat is not in use, make sure that the seat is secured with the vehicle’s seat belt.
How To Get Assistance with Installing and Inspecting Your Car Seat
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Despite the majority of people knowing the national, “Click It Or Ticket” enforcement campaign, and the staggering statistics showing that wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to save lives (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%) and reduce injuries, millions of people still do not buckle-up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thirteen percent of drivers still do not wear their seat belts.
Seat Belt Laws
The majority of seat belt laws in the United States are left to the states. However, the first seat belt law was a federal one. Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, requires all vehicles (except buses) to be fitted with seat belts in all designated seating positions. The law has now been modified to require three-point belts in all seating positions.
Although there is an over-arching federal law that involves seat belts, the states are free to create their own laws governing seat belt use. Laws requiring seat belt usage are either “primary” or “secondary” enforcement laws. Primary enforcement laws allow police officers to pull over drivers and issue a ticket just because the drivers, or their passengers, are not wearing their seat belts. However, secondary laws only allow police officers to issue tickets for seat belt violations once the driver has been pulled over for some other offense.
The age in which a driver or passenger is required to wear a seat belt varies from state to state. However, Arizona law requires that each front seat occupant must wear a lap and shoulder belt while the vehicle is in motions. A citation will be issued to the driver for each passenger under 16 years of age that is occupying the front seat and not wearing a seat belt. The exception to this rule is a child that is under five years old, which must be properly secured in a child restraint system.
Seat Belt Safety
The accurate way to wear a seat belt is to have the shoulder belt pulled over your shoulder (not under your arm or behind your back) and across your chest with the belt up close against the body.
Additionally, the lap belt should be close to the body and low on the hips. This positioning will allow the chest and the pelvis to take most of the force of a collision rather than other body parts, which may not be able to handle the impact.
Some of the common seat belt mistakes include:
• Not wearing a seat belt at all. Airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not to replace them. If you are not wearing your seat belt the impact could throw you forward while the airbag is being deployed and the impact may seriously injure or kill you.
• Wearing a seat belt that is too loose. If the seat belt is not close against your body, the impact of the accident could cause your body to slam against parts of the vehicle.
• Wearing the lap belt across your stomach instead of low on the hips. The stomach is not as equipped to sustain impact as the pelvis. If there is a collision, there is a good chance that there will be internal soft tissue injury if the seat belt is worn across the stomach. This is doubly important for pregnant women, who should not wear their seat belt across their stomach but should wear it lower toward their pelvis.
• Wearing the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. If there is an impact you are much more likely to slip through the seat belt and be thrown from the vehicle or slam into the inside of the vehicle.
• Making excuses to not wear a seat belt. Excuses such as: I’m not driving very far, the seat belt is uncomfortable to me or It’s not cool to wear a seat belt, may pose serious risks to the excuse maker and the other passengers in the vehicle. Studies show that 75 percent of accidents happen within 25 miles of the home. Furthermore, it is more important to be safe than a little uncomfortable and just because you are sitting in the back seat does not mean that you can’t be thrown through the windshield or hit other passengers.
One of the most common questions the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates are often asked is, “How do I know if I have a personal injury case?”
“Personal injury cases all look different — we see auto accidents, medical malpractice, dog bites and a variety of other injuries,” stated Jonathan Negretti, founder of Negretti & Associates. “The common denominator throughout nearly all of our personal injury cases is that during our client’s initial case consultation, it is clear the case meets all three of the personal injury case criteria, including injury, fault, and a responsible party.”
Personal Injury Case Criteria
1. Injury: Did the incident result in an injury? This can be a temporary, long-term or permanent injury. Death is also cause for a personal injury / wrongful death case. 2. Fault: Was someone at fault in the injury? Was there another party that caused or could have prevented the accident or injury? This could be a driver, doctor or store owner — just about anyone. 3. Responsibility: Is there an entity or organization responsible for payment? This could include an insurance company.
If your injury does not meet the three criteria listed above for a personal injury case, it may be a difficult case to prevail on.
It is important to note that each personal injury case comes with unique circumstances. If you think you may have a personal injury case, contact the attorneys at Negretti & Associates for a free consultation. Call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to write to us.
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Dogs are known as “man’s best friend.” But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
According to the American Humane Association, an estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year — and 800,000 of those bites require medical attention.
The personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates have experience in representing victims of dog bites.
“It is critical for dog owners and victims of dog bites to remember that Arizona is a ‘no free-bite state,'” explained Jonathan Negretti, founder of Negretti & Associates.
“Some states allow the dog owner to get away with the dog’s first bite. But not Arizona, where the owner can be held liable for the dog’s very first bite.”
What To Do If You Have Been Bitten by Someone Else’s Dog
If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, consider the following:
Gather the owner’s contact information and breed of the dog.
Gather the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
Take photos of the location where the bite happened.
Take photos of the injury immediately after the bite occurred.
Seek medical attention promptly and clearly describe what happened to medical professionals.
Continue to take pictures of your injuries throughout the healing process.
Strict statutes of limitations exist for dog bite cases. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, contact the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates to schedule a free case review today.
If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident, your first priority is to seek medical attention, if you think your injury requires immediate medical assistance.
Beyond seeking medical attention, the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates recommend the following:
Gather contact information: Create a list of the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses, business managers, business staff members.
Ask to have an incident report generated: If practical, ask the business or place where the slip and fall occurred to create an incident report to memorialize the event.
Take pictures: Photograph the location where the slip occurred and its surrounding area.
Compile documentation related to medical attention: Be sure to give a detailed report to your medical provider about how and where the fall happened.
If you experience a slip and fall accident, you may be in too much pain to gather contact information or take photographs. If this is the case, ask someone who is with you or even an eyewitness to help you.
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One of the most common needs for a personal injury attorney is to recover damages from a car accident. However, personal injury attorneys handle much more than motor vehicle accidents.
Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates, explains other situations in which one may need a personal injury attorney.
When You May Need a Personal Injury Attorney
Traumatic brain injuries
Wrongful death lawsuits
Nursing home abuse and neglect
Medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries and injuries from dangerous drugs
Accidents on private property due to negligence
Accidents on tribal land
Injuries caused by a defective product
Injuries or illness caused by food poisoning
Injuries on state land
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents, including quads and motorbikes
The experienced attorneys at Negretti & Associates provide free case evaluations. If you have a valid case involving any of the scenarios listed above, contact us today. You won’t pay a penny unless the attorneys at Negretti & Associates win or settle you case.
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Unfortunately, people are likely to experience some type of car accident in their lives. Whether it’s a small fender-bender or a multiple car pile-up on the freeway, the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates have seen it all.
When you have been involved in a vehicle accident, hiring a personal injury attorney is not always the first thing that comes to mind. Many people are in a state of shock, overwhelmed by injury or the damage done to their car.
Plaintiffs without representation are often bullied by the insurance company’s legal team and will often settle for pennies on the dollar. It is common for accident victims to reach out to a personal injury attorney once they realize they’ve gotten in over their heads.
It is never too late to contact a personal injury attorney. However, if you contact an attorney immediately after the accident, your attorney will be able to better protect you.
It is also important to remember that there are statues of limitations in each state. A suit must be filed before the limitation has expired. In Arizona, victims typically have two years to file a personal injury case.
Bottom line, hiring a personal injury attorney levels the playing field with the legal team that an insurance company with throw against you.
For a free consultation with a Phoenix personal injury attorney at Negretti & Associates, call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to write to us.
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