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In his Legal Beagle podcast, Jonathan Negretti talks about the three core beliefs of Negretti & Associates: No Pressure, Honest Evaluations, and Giving Back. Watch now to get the true meaning behind these words.


By Jonathan Negretti

This is the first in a series of articles designed to help new and prospective clients become acquainted with Negretti & Associates. We’d like to offer this “peek behind the curtain” to showcase the inner workings of our firm — how we work and what we believe in.

At Negretti & Associates, there are three tenets, or beliefs, that we stand for each and every day — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These are: No Pressure, Honest Evaluations, and Giving Back. Collectively, these are our core values.

No Pressure

When I started to do more personal injury work, I quickly realized how highly competitive this area of law can be. There are a lot of law firms. You hear them on TV. You see them on billboards, light-rail trains, and buses. There are a lot of people out there doing this work, and a lot of them are very good attorneys. The fact that they advertise or market their services takes nothing away from them or their work. However, because there are so many people doing this work, the search for new cases is highly competitive. It has also become high-pressure. Clients are encouraged to sign immediately with the first law firm they talk to. This didn’t feel right to me.

If I were injured and looking for representation, I’d want someone to talk to me like a human being. I’d want to have a conversation, and I’d want to feel like I have the opportunity to reflect upon what was said, talk to my loved ones, and then decide what’s best for me. I wouldn’t want to be put in a situation where I’d feel pressured — like a customer at a used car lot, where if I didn’t buy the car now, it would soon be gone. That’s just not the way that the legal profession works, and it’s definitely not the way that I think personal injury law should work.

For this reason, at Negretti & Associates we have a no-pressure environment. If you’d like to talk to us about your case? Great! And if you’d want advice? Awesome! We’re happy to help!

When you talk with us, you won’t be pressured into signing with us. We’ll tell you about what we charge. (We explain this on our website, too, and we’ll talk about that in a future podcast and blog post. Talking about fees is kind of a taboo in our profession.) We’ll share with you our thoughts about your particular situation, and then we’ll tell you to take time to think about our conversation.

If you want to hire us because you think we’re the right folks to be representing you, then great. We want this to be a marriage, in a way — a partnership where you’re just as committed to what we’re doing as we are to what you’re doing. That’s the only way this works.

So, no pressure!

Honest Evaluations

If Negretti & Associates can’t benefit your situation, then we don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction. There are many law firms that will take cases regardless of client fit, and the law firm will be the only party to benefit in the case. In such instances, the client won’t receive anything. But that’s never stated up front, or even discussed. Many law firms will gobble up a bunch of cases, to the detriment of the clients they represent.

We don’t do that. When we look at a case, we’ll tell you, in all honestly, whether we think there’s something that we can do. We’ll see if we can help you — and we’ll want to help you.

We handle a wide variety of personal injury claims. Personal injury is a big category of cases, spanning dog bites, automobile accidents, product liability (for example, airbags and fuel tanks that explode), medical malpractice, diminished value claims, electric scooter accidents, slips and falls, and more. We take on all of these types of cases. But, in order to perform well, we need to be honest with every client that we represent. We don’t take cases where we don’t think that we can benefit people.

We try to be a resource. We share lots of information with people. In the event that we can’t help prospective clients, we at least equip them with information they can take and move forward.

We don’t reject cases because of size. We don’t turn down clients because their case isn’t worth enough to us. We say, “Look, if we can’t provide a benefit to, and you can’t see a benefit, then there’s no reason you should be hiring us.” Honesty is the best policy.

Giving Back

Negretti & Associates has a charitable arm, called Negretti & Associates Making a Difference. Every year, we donate thousands of dollars to charities, both local and national. We partner with a different charity every quarter.

It’s really important to us as a firm to support these charities and do more than just write a check. While the money that we offer to these charities is incredibly important to them, so is the tangible work that we do. For example, we’ve had a partnership with a food bank, where we provided in-person volunteer work — filling bags of food, which we also delivered.

When a case reaches a conclusion, we offer our client the option to donate a certain portion of the settlement proceeds to the charity that we’ve partnered with during that particular quarter. When the client chooses to do give, we match the donation 100 percent.

After all, if the client is willing to forego some of the money that really was secured to make them whole — to put them back in the position they were before the personal injury — then we feel it’s only right that we match that. We’ll take some of the fees that we receive as the law firm and give those back to a charity.

While I do a lot of philanthropic work on my own, the Giving Back aspect of Negretti & Associates has been very important to us from the beginning. Over time, our charity mission has exploded. It continues to evolve and become even better each and every day.

If you have questions about your personal injury case, give Negretti & Associates a call. We’ll talk through your questions and make sure you walk away fully informed. For a free consultation with our legal team, contact us online, call us at 1-833-827-3535, or send us a text.

car accident claims - a wrong-way traffic sign

At Negretti & Associates, we’ve been handling car accident claims for many years. As prospective clients have approached us regarding legal representation, we have encountered a wide variety of misconceptions, myths, and bad advice about how to resolve car accident cases.

Let’s dispel those myths!

Myth #1: A traffic citation equals fault.

This is a common misconception. Traffic citations do not equate to fault.

In fact, the police officers who respond to a crash do not determine fault. They simply issue citations for committing a traffic offense, such as speeding. After evaluating the whole situation, the insurance companies involved will decide on fault. However, the insurance company’s decision is not final. Fault is really decided by a jury of your peers. Learn how fault is determined in car accidents.

You shouldn’t assume that you are in the clear just because the other party was issued a citation. Conversely, don’t think you are out of luck because you were issued a citation.

Myth #2: You don’t need to call the police at the crash site. You can just exchange information with the other driver.

This simply isn’t true. You should always call the police if you are involved in a crash. The police can be instrumental in helping to acquire information that will be necessary to pursue your car accident claim. Officers may also take photographs and document other evidence that could be utilized later on.

Parties involved in a crash may provide old, invalid insurance cards or licenses that don’t have up-to-date home addresses. People are less likely to do this with the police.

Myth #3: I need to give a statement to both insurance companies: mine and the other party’s.

Do not give a statement to the opposing party’s insurance company without the assistance of an attorney. This could be fatal to your case.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point. Negretti & Associates once had a client who called the other party’s insurance company and gave them a recorded statement. When asked how our client was feeling, he said of his party, “We’re fine.” His response wasn’t meant to indicate that members of his party weren’t injured. He was simply responding politely. The insurance company later refused to pay for our client’s medical treatment claiming that our client was “fine” right after the crash.

Further reading: How to talk to insurance claims adjusters after an accident.

Myth #4: If I just get a chance to tell my story, the insurance company will do the right thing.

Don’t ever give an insurance company the benefit of the doubt. If an insurance company can find a way to pay you very little — or not pay you at all — it will do exactly that.

Insurance companies increase their profits be denying, rejecting, and failing to pay fair value on car accident claims. Thinking you can convince an insurance company to do the right thing is like thinking you can trust a thief with your wallet!

Myth #5: Initial offers made by the insurance company following an accident need to be accepted — or else, they will disappear.

The initial offer from the insurance company is going to be the lowest offer that they will ever make to you. Accepting it would be a mistake. Notwithstanding, the insurance company documents the file with the offer that they have made and places a range of value on your case. The initial offer will never disappear. It would simply be foolish to take it.

Myth #6: I get to keep everything the insurance company is offering as a settlement.

If the insurance company makes a full and final settlement for your car accident claim, that settlement includes your attorney fees, costs, medical bills, health insurance reimbursements, and any other outstanding balances or loans related to your case. If the insurance company makes an offer to settle your claim, the real question that you should be asking is, “What is the net amount to me?” This will tell you what get to keep.

Myth #7: Insurance companies will make a fair offer to settle immediately after the accident.

The word “fair” is subjective. What is fair to one person is not fair to another person. At Negretti & Associates, our experience tells us that most insurance companies will offer roughly $500 to settle your car accident claim sight unseen. That may seem fair at the time, but let’s play that out. A day or two after you settle your claim for $500, you start to experience terrible back pain. That back pain wasn’t there before the accident. You go to the doctor to get checked out and after trying conservative treatment option, you are recommended for surgery. After your surgery, your medical bills total over $100,000. You owe most of those medical bills out-of-pocket. At this point, would $500 still sound fair to you?

Myth #8: You should definitely go to the ER — even if you are not injured.

This bad advice probably originated from personal injury attorneys that really don’t understand injury law. If you are hurt, you should go to the ER. If the first responders recommend that you go to the ER, you should probably go to the ER. What you shouldn’t do is take an ambulance to the ER for the sake of doing so. It’s a waste of time, money, and resources. However, the adrenaline of an accident can mask the way that you are feeling right after an accident. If you get home and start to experience issues, don’t be afraid to go to the ER to get checked out.

Myth #9: If you’re not that hurt, you shouldn’t hire a lawyer.

Imagine that you were going to go play kickball against a really good team. Would you show up by yourself? Of course not! You would put together the best possible team so that you can beat the other guys. The same logic applies here. The insurance company is an entire team of people looking for ways to avoid taking responsibility and paying you for your losses. Don’t go into that game without help.

Myth #10: You can’t resolve your property claim until you resolve your bodily injury claim.

We often get called with this question. You can resolve your property claim before your bodily injury claim. In fact, you not only want to, but the law may require this. When you are involved in a crash, you have a duty to mitigate your damages. This means that you have to take responsible steps to avoid running up bills. You can’t go rent a car for a year and expect the insurance company to pay for it — absent a really unusual circumstance.

Myth #11: I can determine the value of my case by “Googling it.”

Sure, the Internet is a terrific resource. However, the Internet can also provide you with some bad information. Some personal injury attorneys have created what they call settlement calculators for you to use. These let you plug in your medical bills and lost wages, and the calculator will spit out a case value.

Unfortunately, these calculators are wrong. They try to use a one-size fits all approach for personal injury claims, which are entirely unique.

Do you know who else uses a one-size-fits-all approach? Insurance companies!

Don’t trust these calculators and don’t rely on generic articles that may be published by the insurance industry telling you what your case value is. Instead, hire an attorney and talk to her or him about how case value is determined.

Myth #12: You only have 30 days to make a car accident claim.

You typically have two years to resolve your claim or file a lawsuit to protect your rights to bring a claim. There is no legal requirement that you have to make a claim within a certain number of days. It’s probably important to put insurance companies involved on notice of your intent to bring a claim, but this is a fairly easy thing to do.

Insurance companies like to tell you what you have to do and how much time you have to do it. Don’t let them bully you around. Have a conversation with an attorney to get proper advice on how to put people on notice of your claim.

Myth #13: You shouldn’t make a claim with your insurance company if you are not at fault.

Oh, unlucky Myth #13 … This myth reflects the biggest disinformation campaign we have ever seen! It makes politics seem like child’s play! This myth was started by insurance companies to stop people from making claims, which obviously cost them money.

Why would you purchase coverage to use in the event of a crash, but then not use it if you have a crash? This makes no sense! Your insurance coverages are there to help you in the event that you have a crash.

Your insurance company might make it tough for you to use your coverages, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t available to you. In fact, there are laws in most states that prevent your insurance company from raising your insurance premium if you make a claim and you are not at fault for the accident.

Myth #14: The insurance company will pay all of my medical bills.

As stated above, insurance companies are only interested in one thing: keeping their money. An insurance company will not pay all of your medical bills. It is more likely to argue that the treatment that you received was unnecessary and that the billing for your treatment was unreasonable. In other words, it will contend that your medical provider charged too much.

At Negretti & Associates, we have experienced situations where insurance adjusters have told people that they will pay all of their medical bills, only to turn around later and refuse to make payments.

Don’t get trapped by an insurance company! Rely on an attorney to help ensure your medical bills are paid.

Myth #15: Personal injury claims resolve quickly.

Injury claims take as long as they need to. This ensures that the injury claimant is fairly compensated for what has happened to him or her.

Of course, the insurance company will be happy to pay you fast — as long as you are willing to take a huge discount on what you are owed.

But, ultimately, the claims process should not be rushed. You only get one bite at the apple, so to speak, so resolving a claim too quickly could result in leaving compensation on the table.

When you hire an injury attorney, he or she will be as interested as you in resolving things expeditiously. Your attorney won’t get paid until you get paid.

Any good injury attorney will tell you to be patient, allow your medical treatment to play out, and don’t hurry to the finish line.

Myth #16: I don’t have health insurance, so I can’t get medical treatment.

Whether or not you have health insurance, there are always treatment options available to you, regardless of your ability to pay. If you find yourself in a crash and don’t have health insurance, you can still go to the ER and you won’t be turned away. If you need follow-up treatment, give Negretti & Associates a call, and we’ll give you some recommendations. Don’t suffer through your injuries thinking that you can’t see a doctor because you don’t have health insurance.

Myth #17: When I sue, I’m suing the insurance company.

Wrong! Incorrect! When you file a lawsuit related to your crash, you are suing the person who caused the crash. The insurance company of the person who caused the crash will hire and pay for an attorney to represent that person. The insurance company is still very much involved, but you are not suing it directly.

No one wants to sue or be sued. A lawsuit is borne out of necessity. It’s important to remember that the insurance company is forcing everyone into court — not the injury claimant (the plaintiff) or the person who caused the crash (the defendants).

Myth #18: You are “being greedy” when you ask for money to pay for your injuries.

You are not being greedy when you ask for money to pay for your injuries. Rather, you are asking to be made whole for what happened to you. This is your legal right.

Our judicial system is not an eye or an eye. We provide monetary justice. You get paid for what happened to you. You are allowed to recover, in the form of money, what you lost. It’s not supposed to be a windfall. You don’t win the lottery. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

You are not being greedy if you hire an attorney and pursue a claim. To the contrary, you are being smart.

Potential Myth #19: My past medical history has nothing to do with my current claim.

We would love to say this is a myth, but it remains a possibly true, on a case-by-case basis.

Your past medical history may not have anything with your current claim. However, if your injuries stem from prior issues, there may be a need to disclose parts of your past medical history. This can be a tricky situation. Having an experience injury attorney on your side is extremely important here.

What you don’t want to do is sign blanket authorizations for the insurance company and let it dig into your medical history. Not only are there privacy issues at play, but the insurance company is likely to point the finger at things that they find and say that your current injuries were not caused by the crash.

Potential Myth #20: I was a passenger in my friend’s car. Do I have to sue my friend?

This, too, remains a possibility — and not necessary a myth. Yet, this attitude reflects a misunderstanding of how things work. If you friend was at fault for the crash, then yes, there is a possibility that you will have to sue your friend to resolve your claim. But remember, as stated above, the insurance company for your friend would be the culprit here. If they would be fair and compensate you accordingly, there isn’t a reason to sue anybody.

If you have any questions regarding your car accident claim in Arizona, California, and Colorado, Negretti & Associates will be happy to help you find answers. For a free consultation with our legal team, 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.

negligence law definition

To arrive at a negligence law definition, we must understand four core negligence elements, which are as follows:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

To bring forth a negligence claim as a plaintiff, your case should have all four elements.

Let’s look at each of the negligence elements in greater detail, in the context of automobile accidents.

Duty means that people have a legal obligation to act as a reasonable person would. In other words, individuals are required to take reasonable care when they are out and about. In automobile accident cases, it is considered one’s duty to drive a vehicle safely, as a reasonable person should.

Breach of duty occurs when one is not driving a vehicle safely — whether it’s speeding, following someone too closely from behind, or turning left on a red light. Driving this way is breaching one’s duty to operate reasonably and use reasonable care.

Causation is when one’s breach of duty results in injuries or damages to another person.

Damages may include property damage, bodily damages, and pain and suffering.

All of these elements factor into a negligence law claim.

When a Determination of Negligence Is Unclear

Well what happens when you don’t have such a clear line of argument regarding the breaching party’s behavior? In such situations, it is important to look at two different types of evidence: circumstantial evidence and direct evidence.

I’ll use an example that stuck with me from law school, that I still think about today. (Thank you, Professor Sanders!) To explain the difference between circumstantial evidence and direct evidence in the context of negligence, let’s imagine that you wake up in the morning and everything is wet outside.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that it rained last night. You actually didn’t see the rain fall. You didn’t hear the rain fall. However, because everything is wet outside, you can draw the inference that it rained.

Direct evidence would be you watch it rain and then see everything get wet. This direct knowledge of the event enables you to affirm, “I saw it rain. That’s why everything got wet.”

The reason it’s important to understand the different types of evidence is because you can’t always a draw a direct line to the person that may have caused the harm.

Res Ipsa Loquitur and the Case of the Falling Flowerpot

Let’s imagine you are walking down the street and a flowerpot from an apartment above falls off the ledge and hits you in the head. There’s really no explainable reason why that would have happened.

negligence elements

Let’s look at how negligence elements apply to this example:

  • Duty: The person in the apartment who put the flowerpot on the ledge had a duty to operate in a reasonable manner. This does not mean they can’t put a flowerpot out on the ledge.
  • Breach: Where did the apartment dweller breach the standard of care? Well, probably in not securing that flowerpot in a way that it couldn’t fall from the ledge.
  • Causation: The flowerpot falls off the ledge because it is not secured.
  • Damages: The flowerpot lands on your head, causing you bodily injury.

Here, we can talk about the legal theory of res ipsa loquitur, which is Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.” We can use this concept to infer negligence in this case. We have circumstantial evidence to prove that the apartment dweller failed to secure the flowerpot.

A flowerpot is not supposed to fall by itself onto a sidewalk where people could be walking. At the same time, it is foreseeable that people will on the sidewalk below the flowerpot, traveling to and fro.

We can establish that the flowerpot is the reason for causing bodily harm. Ultimately, however, it is the apartment dweller who is responsible for the harm done. He or she did not properly secure that flowerpot and allowing it to cause the damage to a passerby below.

Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself.

Negligence Elements in a Retail Setting

I want to use a third example from one of my actual cases to illustrate a negligence law definition in the real world.

I once represented a gentleman who was shopping at a big box retailer. When he reached up to select an item from the shelf, he reached over his head, tipping a box toward him. My client was unaware that debris was on top of that box. As the box tipped, debris cascaded down, into his mouth, causing him to ingest some of that debris.

It turns out that the debris included glass shards. Having swallowed glass, my client was immediately transported to the ER, where his stomach was pumped. Afterward, he was monitored for potential issues for a few days.

We had the task of proving how glass got onto the box and why the big box retailer would be responsible for the glass falling into our client’s mouth.

Here, we once again find the concept of res ipsa loquitur — the thing speaks for itself. That glass should not have been present on the box when our client pulled it from the shelf. The falling debris is what caused the damages.

See Jonathan Negretti’s video podcast episode on the topic of negligence law definition and negligence elements.


As we investigated the scene of where the client was pulling down this box, we found light bulbs above it. Our concept was there was a possibility that light bulbs go out from time to time. As they are changed, bulbs may break. Perhaps an employee was on a scissor jack or a ladder changing lightbulbs, and set them atop the the box, for the purpose of finishing what they were doing. Perhaps the employee intended to come back and clean the mess, but may have forgotten and left the debris on top of that box. That is exactly the theory of res ipsa loquitur.

Key Takeaways

In negligence cases, it’s not always easy to point to the bad actor and say, “Oh, you hit me,” “You mopped that floor right there and left it wet without a wet floor sign,” “Your dog bit me,” or “You have a product that’s defective.”

As an attorney, while working through a case, you often find yourself returning to the core elements that comprise the negligence law definition. You have to be able to prove that the bad actor had a duty. You have to be able to prove that there was a breach of that duty. You have to go prove causation. You have to prove damages.

You may not be able to point directly to the defendant’s actions, but you certainly can infer their responsibility. In turn, you can infer that the defendant’s breach of that standard of care caused damages and injuries to the plaintiff.

If you have questions about negligence, give Negretti & Associates a call at (602) 531-3911. We’ll talk through your questions and make sure you walk away fully informed.

See Jonathan Negretti’s full interview with attorney Jonathan O’Steen, which was conducted as part of Negretti & Associates’ Legal Beagle Podcast.


Jonathan “Jon” V. O’Steen is an incredible trial attorney who has advocated for injury victims for the past 15 years. Recently, he assumed the position of president of the Arizona Association for Justice (also known as the “AAJ,” and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) — the largest group of plaintiff’s trial attorneys in the state of Arizona.

As part of Negretti & Associates’ Legal Beagle Podcast, Jonathan Negretti had a virtual visit with O’Steen to learn more about trial work, what AAJ is doing to help the community, and what he thinks is the biggest threat to plaintiff attorneys. Below is an excerpt of their conversation. See the video above for the full interview, and visit vanosteen.com to learn more about O’Steen’s work.

Jonathan Negretti: Jon, do you love to win or hate to fail more?

Jon O’Steen: I remember reading Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open — and if you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend it. But one thing that really struck out to me in that book was his statement that the losses stung far worse than the joy that he experienced from wins.

Jonathan Negretti: Other than Agassi’s book, what other books would you recommend that every trial attorney read?

Jon O’Steen: My favorite book is Polarizing the Case [by Rick Friedman]. I read that book before every trial.

Jonathan Negretti: Who do you admire in this profession?

Jon O’Steen: Geoff Trachtenberg would be probably at the top of my list. He has built a tremendously successful practice, which in and of itself is challenging. But I look at what he has done generally for the community. It’s pretty inspiring what he has done to make this a better place.

Jonathan Negretti: How do you respond to people when they call injury attorneys “ambulance chasers?”

Jon O’Steen: I just laugh. You know, I think people are quick to criticize attorneys until they need one. I’ve yet to have a client tell me that I’m an ambulance chaser.

Jonathan Negretti: Can you tell me a little bit more about Arizona Association for Justice — its mission and your ascension to the role of president?

Jon O’Steen: What we’re out to do is preserve the right to a jury trial and ensure that people who are harmed by the wrongdoing of people, corporations, and governments have a civil justice system that is prepared and equipped to meet their needs.

One of the things that I really appreciate about the civil justice system is that it is the one area where a person who doesn’t have resources and doesn’t have an education can stand toe to toe with the biggest of corporations in the world. That doesn’t happen in our other branches of government.

At the end of the day in Arizona, we’re going to be judged by eight jurors in our civil justice system. And I think that one of the things that’s really scary for corporations is that they don’t have the control. They can’t buy off a politician. They can’t buy off a judge. They can’t buy off the jury.

Jonathan Negretti: Do you believe in the good of a jury?

Jon O’Steen: Yeah, I think that juries can be a little more predictable than we give them credit for, and my experience with jurors is that they want to do the right thing.

Jonathan Negretti: What are some mistakes that you see young attorneys making?

Jon O’Steen: I think the biggest mistake that young attorneys will make from time to time is being somebody who they’re not. I think it’s important to really hone your skills and understand what your personality is and embrace that when you go to trial.

Jonathan Negretti: When you ask a jury for a big verdict, how have you made it less awkward to talk about money?

Jon O’Steen: I think any time you’re asking somebody for money, it’s an awkward situation. You have to be comfortable at it, though. If you’re nervous when you’re asking for that money, a jury is going to recognize that and they’re going to attribute things to your nervousness that may not be legitimate, like, “He’s asking for too much money because he’s nervous.” It is something that ultimately you have to be comfortable with.

Jonathan Negretti: Finish this sentence for me. The biggest challenge facing personal injury attorneys today is …

Jon O’Steen: A recent change to our ethical rules that will allow non-lawyers to own law firms. The idea was sold to the public as being necessary to expand the availability of resources to underprivileged or underserved populations in Arizona. I simply don’t agree that allowing non-lawyers to own law firms is what’s going to solve that.

The reality is that the person who lives in Kingman, Arizona, is in a bad situation, and has a potential claim against his landlord — those aren’t the cases where hedge funds want to jump in and provide assistance to.

lime scooter injury lawsuits

An electric scooter accident of any kind can be damaging both physically and financially — especially if your injury is significant. You may find yourself feeling very overwhelmed and unprepared to deal with the complexity of your case.

Even a highly experienced injury attorney will admit that scooter injury cases are unlike any other type of accident cases. They have many moving parts:

  • Cities’ scooter usage laws are constantly evolving.
  • The fine print found in scooter companies’ user agreements can be thousands of words long and difficult to decipher.
  • And, as medical bills pile up, it can be critically important to carefully examine medical coverage available in auto and homeowner’s insurance policies.

If you’ve sustained a Lime scooter injury, it’s best to find a lawyer with experience in Lime scooter injury lawsuits — such as an attorney at Negretti & Associates. Our attorneys know electric scooter laws, and we can review your case to determine liability and calculate how you can recover damages related to your accident.

To help guide you in your claim process, we offer these answers to commonly asked questions about Lime scooter injury lawsuits.

I have been injured while riding on a Lime scooter. What steps should I take after my accident?

First, get the medical care that you need. Not only will treatment speed your recovery, but your examination will document the scope and severity of your injuries.

Second, call the police and have a report written. Ask the police to impound the scooter.

Third, take photos of the scooter, the accident scene, and your injuries. Be sure to take a photo of the QR codes or other identifying information on the scooter.

Finally, call Negretti and Associates before contacting Lime to start a claim.

How do I prove liability for my Lime scooter accident?

Liability, or what is more commonly known as “fault,” is ultimately decided by a jury. However, you can certainly do things to strengthen your Lime scooter accident case.

For example, photographing and documenting important information related to the Lime accident can be very helpful in convincing Lime to accept fault for the accident. If your Lime scooter malfunctioned in some way, it is vitally important that you preserve that scooter, so that your attorney and expert have a chance to inspect the scooter before Lime tries to repair it.

Is it possible to sue Lime for my injury? How do I file a Lime scooter injury lawsuit?

Lime has a mandatory arbitration provision in its user agreement. It reads, “We each mutually agree to resolve any justiciable disputes between us exclusively through final and binding arbitration instead of filing a lawsuit in court.”

That closing phrase — instead of filing a lawsuit in court — clearly states that you cannot sue Lime in open court. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have a claim, it simply means that you may not be able to make your dispute public. At Negretti & Associates, our Lime scooter attorneys are familiar with this arbitration provision and how to navigate injury claims appropriately.

What am I entitled to as compensation for my injuries and costs?

If you are able to prove your claim against Lime, you would be entitled to medical expenses incurred and likely to be incurred in the future. You may also be able to recover for your past and future lost wages as well as pain & suffering. Your total compensation depends greatly on the severity of your damages. Make no mistake, Lime is not going to make this easy on you and will not willingly pay you for your injuries.

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

To answer this question, we must turn to Lime’s user agreement once again. Lime’s user agreement has a class action waiver, which restricts riders from filing and joining a class action lawsuit against the company. You surrender that right when you click through the app when you first sign up.

The waiver reads, “We each mutually agree that by entering into this agreement to arbitrate, we both waive our right to have any dispute or claim brought, heard or arbitrated as, or to participate in, a class action, collective action and/or representative action, and an arbitrator shall not have any authority to hear or arbitrate any class, collective or representative action (“Class Action Waiver”).”

Is there an average value for a Lime scooter injury lawsuit or claim?

No. Unfortunately, the values of these injury claims are all over the map. Additionally, since riders are bound to binding arbitration, and most settlement agreements contain confidentiality clauses, there isn’t a lot of information in the market about average claim value.

At Negretti & Associates we don’t worry about averages. You are not average and shouldn’t be treated as such. We believe your claim is unique to you and should be treated accordingly.

If you have other questions or would like a free case evaluation, get in touch with a Lime scooter attorney at Negretti & Associates now. Contact us online, contact us online, call us at 1-833-827-3535, or send us a text. We can ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps towards getting the compensation you deserve.

bird scooter injury lawsuits

If you have been injured on a Bird scooter, and the accident wasn’t your fault, you may be thinking about the possibility of filing a Bird scooter injury lawsuit. There are several steps that you can take to collect evidence related to your accident. Yet, there are larger issues to consider.

First and foremost, 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, and we have handled numerous Bird claims.

To help riders who have been injured on a Bird scooter, Negretti & Associates has prepared this list of answers to commonly asked questions regarding Bird scooter injury lawsuits. If you have any questions about your claim, you’re invited to contact us online, call us at 1-833-827-3535, or send us a text.

I have been injured while riding on a Bird scooter. How do I file a Bird scooter injury claim?

If you’ve been injured on a Bird scooter, Bird requires that you put them on notice by issuing a claim in writing, just as many other scooter companies do. Once a claim is initiated, you may be subject to a binding arbitration clause that is part of the user agreement, which every Bird user must agree to when signing up on the Bird app.

Is it possible to sue Bird for my injury?

Technically, no. Because of the binding arbitration clause in Bird’s user agreement, it is not possible to sue Bird in open court. The user agreement states that both parties must resolve claims before an arbitrator, rather than through the judicial court system.

The mandatory arbitration provision doesn’t mean that you don’t have a claim. It simply means that you may not be able to make your dispute public.

At Negretti & Associates, we have handled quite a few Bird claims. We are familiar with Bird’s arbitration provision and how to navigate Bird claims appropriately.

What steps should I take after my accident to prove my case?

First, get a police report. The police will collect valuable information that will help support your claim.

Additionally, take photographs of the scooter, as well as the surrounding area and any injuries. Be sure to take a photo or write down the scooter’s identifying information. Your scooter will most likely have a QR code or identifying information on the handlebar, or right above the front wheel.

If possible, secure the scooter so that you preserve the evidence that may have contributed to your injury. Yet, be careful — there is language in most user agreements that states that a rider does not have the right to keep a scooter after a ride. And, by failing to end a ride and lock a scooter, the rider is subject to additional fees.

Depending upon how your accident occurred, proving your claim can be a tall order. Contact us so that we can talk through your particular facts to see if you have a viable claim.

As a Bird scooter rider, does Bird provide insurance?

Bird does have insurance. However, Bird’s user agreement has a lot of language that limits their liability. This means that they won’t pay you until you prove your claim. You assume the risk when you ride their scooters, so it is your responsibility to prove your claim.

What am I entitled to as compensation for my injuries and costs?

If you can prove your claim against Bird, you would be entitled to medical expenses incurred, and likely to be incurred, in the future. You may also be able to recover for your past and future lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.

Your total compensation depends greatly on the severity of your damages. Make no mistake, Bird is not going to make this easy on you and will not willingly pay you for your injuries.

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

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, all things related to Bird accident and injury claims hinge on the language of the user agreement. Bird’s user agreement does not allow you to start or join a class-action lawsuit. You surrender that right when you click through the app when you first sign up.

What is the average value of a Bird scooter injury lawsuit?

Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately pinpoint the average value of a Bird scooter injury lawsuit. The values of Bird injury claims are all over the map. Additionally, since riders are bound to binding arbitration, and most settlement agreements contain confidentiality clauses, there isn’t a lot of information available in the market about average claim values.

At Negretti & Associates, we don’t worry about averages. You are not average and shouldn’t be treated as such! We believe your claim is unique to you and should be treated accordingly.

Bird scooter claims can be complex. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced scooter accident lawyer. 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 toward getting the compensation you deserve.

patrick mcgroder, iv on criminal acts and personal injury lawOur Legal Beagle Podcast recently featured a conversation with Patrick McGroder, IV, a personal injury attorney with Beus Gilbert PLLC, regarding criminal acts and personal injury law.

McGroder has a wealth of knowledge about the interplay between personal injury law and criminal law. Early in his law career, for approximately four years, he worked for the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office, representing clients in more than 350 felony matters. While in law school, he spent two years prosecuting felony cases at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

In this interview, McGroder and Negretti & Associates Principal Jonathan Negretti explore how personal injury attorneys can work with criminal defense attorneys to achieve compensation for clients. McGroder also discusses the role of insurance in relation to victim compensation. Further, he offers his perspective on restitution.

Jonathan Negretti: Imagine that you get hit by someone who is cited for a DUI. Let’s just start with that premise. What do people need to know?

Patrick McGroder: It’s really important to get involved early with a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defendants have a wealth of information that personal injury attorneys can use in securing some sort of compensation for their clients.

The elephant in the room in every single personal injury case is whether there is insurance. We deal with cases where we walk into a hospital room with individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries and there’s no insurance.

For example, with a DUI, a few quick issues come to mind. Where was this individual drinking? Where was this person before the incident? This can raise certain issues regarding dram-shop cases. No one knows best than this criminal defendant.

To take your example to a new level, imagine that the individual that gets hit and is killed — whether it’s a vehicular manslaughter case, where this particular defendant is now facing prison time. Here in Arizona, about maybe about 10 years ago, the state enacted the Victim’s of Bill of Rights, which gives certain rights to victims here in Arizona. That being said, a victim in this case has a right to be heard. Has a right to present. Has a right to go to all the court proceedings and then has a right to be heard regarding recommendation for prison sentence.

Manslaughter here in Arizona carries a term of 7 to 21 years. When the prosecutor reaches out to the victim, wanting a recommendation on sentencing, victim input is essential. What we do — and what I think everyone should do — is get involved with the criminal defense attorney. Pick up the phone and say, “I have an angry victim here who wants justice. If your client is willing to do the right thing, and help secure some sort of insurance compensation for our client, then maybe we can do something about victim’s recommendation.”

Not every case is a case where you can get involved. Some victims want blood. Some victims want the death penalty or want a client to go away forever. But I have found that, by picking up the phone and reaching out to criminal defense attorneys, these particular defendants have a wealth of information.

Negretti: Do you take your client’s temperature first before you reach out to the criminal defense attorney?

McGroder: You have to. It’s all about managing expectations, in any case — whether it’s criminal, whether it’s a family law case, whether it’s a personal injury case. You’ve got to be pretty up-front with your clients early. Set expectations. Don’t over promise. It’s a very delicate process, and you have to tread very lightly. Victims and victims’ families are very angry, and they want justice.

What does justice mean, though? To certain families, it means the defendant goes away forever. Other families may be establishing a college fund for a grandson, or the child of a parent who was killed as a result of someone’s negligence. Justice has a lot of different meanings.

Negretti: Do you find that defense attorneys are receptive to these phone calls?

McGroder: They should be. The experienced ones should be. A newer attorney, like myself, back at the public defender’s office, should have an open mind. If they don’t have an open mind, then you can be straightforward with them. Say, “Listen here. My victim is willing to at least potentially hear you out in what you have. Here’s how you can help. We need the receipt from the bar. We need your client’s credit card statements. We need your client’s insurance policy. What does the homeowners policy look like?”

Homeowners insurance is a really interesting segment of our law. The common misconception is that homeowners protects you from a storm, or if your house gets run into, or has some sort of damage. Yet, homeowners insurance also protects individuals for individual liability, for committing negligent acts.

For example, if you and I are wrestling, and I throw you down the stairs and you break your neck, then there might be a situation where my negligence caused your your injuries. My homeowners policy may, um, cover your injuries.

Obviously, the other elephant in the room is intentional acts. Almost every homeowners policy has an intentional acts exclusion. A lot of attorneys will pass on cases that have criminal elements. My thinking — my words of wisdom — is to take a second look at these cases. Try to get involved when the criminal defendant pleads to something other than an intentional act.

In an aggravated assault case, you may write in a factual basis what happened in the case at the time of plea agreement, where it says someone recklessly discharged the firearm, instead of intentionally. This way, when it comes to presenting the argument to the adjuster, you’re asking the adjuster to look at this as a negligence-based act. Look at this plea agreement. That can just help you with moving forward against what will inevitably be the insurance company. It helps you by getting involved early.

A lot of criminal cases have a shorter life span than civil cases. Here in Arizona, the Regional Court Center is a turn-and-burn type of program, where they get a complaint filed from the county attorneys, you get court within the month. You could potentially resolve that case in two months. So, it’s important that once your client steps in the door, and there’s an underlying criminal case, to check the Maricopa criminal dockets. See if there have been charges filed. See if the defense has retained an attorney. Reach out to them immediately.

Negretti: We talked a little bit earlier about victim’s rights. Talk to me about your opinion or your thoughts in restitution.

McGroder: Restitution is tough. It’s all about collectability. Let’s say that you have an individual who has significant insurance and you’re able to recover. You can’t double dip. So, when requesting restitution, it has to be something that the judge will approve in the criminal context — things that you haven’t been able to recover, such as additional property damage, that you didn’t get from the settlement. Whether or not there wasn’t enough insurance to cover lost wages, sometimes you can make that request.

I have a case right now where, an individual was struck by someone who was uninsured — no license, it wasn’t his car, and had zero insurance. My client’s million-dollar bills are just sitting there. We’re not going to try to get an order for this guy to pay a million dollars, because everyone knows we’re not recover from them. The catch is, it’s a vehicular crime with a felony attached to it. This individual gets placed on probation. There’s a specific court that handles probation for offenders who have high restitution. The court can supervise and make sure that the individual who caused the crash, that resulted in the client’s injuries, pays up. Some of the motivating factors are potentially extending probation — potentially incarceration, if there’s a willful nonpayment. But I’ve seen courts that come down on these criminal defendants and make sure that victims are compensated.

Negretti: I have one more question, about exclusions in policies. You talked about exclusions, or intentional acts, in homeowners policies. Can you talk just a second about exclusions for punitive damages in automobile polices? How do you deal when the insurance company is saying, “We don’t have to pay for punitive damages. We don’t care if our guy was drunk.”

McGroder: We haven’t come across that too much. But you know, when sending a demand out to an insurance company, we make sure to include a highlighted section about the gross punitive type negligence, in terms of what a jury will perceive this at trial and what would anger a jury. That this guy was a .3, and had prior DUI’s. We make sure to put it all in there and say, “This is your insured. You’re opening yourself up here, by putting this guy back on the street and insuring him.”

medical malpractice lawyer john agerIn a recent episode of our Legal Beagle Podcast, Jonathan Negretti, principal of Negretti & Associates, had the honor of interviewing medical malpractice lawyer John Ager. We — and many others in the legal profession — consider Ager to be one of the best medical malpractice attorneys in the state of Arizona.

Ager is a principal of Phoenix-based law firm Sandweg and Ager, which offers more than 70 years of combined experience litigating medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death cases.

In the following conversation, Ager defines medical malpractice, explores the elements that make a good medical malpractice case, and offers ideas on how to find a medical malpractice lawyer.

Jonathan Negretti: How would you define medical malpractice?

John Ager: Medical malpractice, in short, is where a health care provider does something wrong. There are standards that apply to all kinds of different health care professionals — surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians. They all have to obey the rules that apply to their treatment of patients. Medical malpractice is simply when they fail to do that.

Negretti: If someone thinks that they had something go wrong in surgery or in some sort of procedure, what do you look for as an attorney, who represents people in medical malpractice claims? What sorts of things do they need to have for you to say this is a case that we can take forward?

Ager: Just because somebody has a bad outcome after a visit with a health care provider — whether it’s a visit to a pediatrician or brain surgery — it doesn’t necessarily mean that there has been medical negligence. Bad outcomes happen in all kinds of situations, where nobody has done anything wrong. There are risks involved in health care. Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean someone was negligent.

Negretti: Let me stop you right there, because that’s an interesting point. People say it was a risk of the procedure. Can you dive a little deeper on what that means — “risk of the procedure”?

Ager: For example, let’s take an abdominal surgery. The surgeon is going into remove an ovarian cyst, and there happens to be a structure that is unexpected, because it wasn’t seen on CT. The anatomy of the person is a little bit different from what one might expect. There is something about the presentation that is a little bit unusual, and the surgeon lacerates an artery or some other organ unexpectedly. That’s not necessarily malpractice. That’s an example of perhaps a bad outcome happening without anybody really having done anything wrong.

Negretti: What basic elements need to be present for you to consider taking a case?

Ager: You need to have three things.

First, you need to have a healthcare provider that makes a mistake — and that means that they didn’t do something that they were supposed to do, or they did something that they weren’t supposed to do.

Second, you have to have a relationship between that mistake and a bad outcome. Not every bad outcome can be attributed to a mistake. Teasing out whether a bad outcome is a result of a mistake or a result of a natural consequence of something else is something that you need to look into.

The third thing is damages. Damages in medical negligence cases need to be significant. While anybody who has been harmed by any kind of conduct is going to have damages of some sort —and I feel badly for the people who have been damaged as a result of medical negligence — unless damages are very significant, it’s not a case. Very significant means in the $250,000 to $300,000 range — probably just to start, under most circumstances.

Those three stars absolutely have to come into alignment: Somebody doing something wrong, causing an injury, and significant damages.

Negretti: If someone thinks that they were wronged in some way during a medical procedure or surgery, and they don’t necessarily understand the legal components behind that, would you tell them to go online, do some research of their own? Would you tell them to call you and have a conversation with someone on your team?

Ager: Absolutely, I’d tell them to do both things. The Internet is a wonderful resource. Patients and physicians that I depose these days tell me patients go home after a diagnosis and, within 30 minutes, they know more than the diagnosing physician about that diagnosis. There are all kinds of excellent resources for patients, in general — and especially those who believe they may have been harmed by negligence — to get a better understanding of what’s going on and what the future might hold for them.

In terms of evaluating a particular set of circumstances in a medical-legal context, you absolutely need a skilled lawyer to do that. You need a lawyer that’s been doing this kind of work for a long time — preferably someone who is a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death claims, and who holds themselves out as doing this kind of work.

The Internet is a good place to go and find those types of lawyers. Especially if you are a moderately sophisticated consumer, you should be able to tell from looking at the Internet the people who are actually doing this kind of work and can give you good advice about whether you have a claim.

Negretti: What if my wife had a procedure, and I just had some questions about whether or not it was done correctly. I don’t know that I want to sue anyone. Would you say I’m still okay to call your office and talk to someone?

Ager: Absolutely. I’m happy to speak to anyone, and I think our profession owes it to consumers, generally, to take the time to let them know whether they have a case or not. Even if they’re not very confident that they do, or even if it’s a small case that might not, off the cuff, look like it is much. My staff and I will take the time to talk to anybody who believes that they have been harmed by medical negligence, and we will take the time to tell them at the conclusion of our interaction — whether it’s at the end of a phone call, at the end of looking at medical records, at the end of having them reviewed by an expert, whatever it may be — to let them know within an exceedingly high degree of confidence that they don’t have a case and the reasons why, if we’re not able to move forward.

Negretti: That’s amazing. I want to pause there for a minute, because there are a lot of attorneys that shy away from telling people, “You don’t have a good claim,” regardless of whether it’s medical negligence or just ordinary negligence related to a car accident. And you’re telling me you’ll sit down and, and tell people, “Look, based on our review of everything and the records that we’ve looked at, we don’t think you have a good case, and here’s why.” Is that safe to say?

Ager: I believe that a good lawyer has an ethical and professional obligation to the profession and to the community to take the time to shoot straight with a potential client. I understand that there are lawyers out there that are afraid of medical malpractice, or of legal malpractice lawsuits, who are giving bad advice.

The code words that you would hear are, “You know, I’m too busy,” and “You know, I just don’t have time for your case.” That’s code for “You don’t have a very good claim.” But it doesn’t help the potential client out. It doesn’t help the community out, to send people off to somebody and with some degree of hope that they shouldn’t have. If you’re hearing something like that, you know that is probably what it means. You really need to hear from somebody — who knows what they’re talking about — “Unequivocally, I don’t believe that this is a case.” When that happens, I always encourage folks to get a second opinion.

Second opinions from lawyers are like second opinions from folks in every other profession. Not everybody sees things the same way that I do, and I don’t see the same things that other people see. So, it’s important, I think, to get at least a few people on board, if you do have a significant claim, or if you have some concerns, to make sure that you’ve heard from a few people the same type of thing.

People who have been harmed by medical negligence — people who have been harmed by any kind of an injury — have had their lives likely significantly affected, in probably more than one way. It’s important that at the end of the day that they know that they’ve done everything in their power, that they’ve done everything reasonable, to pursue a claim — if that’s something that they wanted to do, or something that they were considering. If you wait too long, you’re going to lose the opportunity to pursue a claim. The last thing that anybody wants to be thinking about at some point in the future is, you know, “Gee, did I have a claim, and should I have pursued it?” once it’s too late.

Negretti: Out of a hundred cases that your team reviews for possible representation, how many of those will you take?

Ager: I think that our intake is probably consistent with most lawyers doing this type of work. Based on what I hear from my colleagues, it’s around one in a hundred.

Negretti: One out of a hundred!

Ager: It takes quite a bit of time to do this kind of work. It’s important work. It’s important that we look carefully at these cases. Again, it’s important for the folks that come to us, to know why it is that they don’t have a case in those 99 times, that they don’t. And that’s just as important as it is for us to help the folks, in the one case out of a hundred that we’re able to take.

Negretti: What is the expected cost? I know this could vary greatly based on the complications of the case, but what would you expect someone to spend on a medical malpractice claim?

Ager: Well, first of all, if you are speaking with a lawyer who wants to spend any of your own money on anything, run the other direction as fast as you can. No reasonable lawyer will require that of a client. No reasonable lawyer will put the client on the hook for any of that lawyer’s costs.

At the end of the day, a client could be responsible for the costs of a defendant who is sued and prevails. There are a lot of ways to prevent that from happening, but that is a risk. Clients need to be told that up front.

In terms of what it costs someone like me, the range can vary. If we are investigating a case, it may be as simple as spending a couple of hundred dollars to look at medical records before we’re able to conclude that there is not a case and explain, with a high degree of certainty, to a potential client why there is not. It may be hiring an expert witness to take a look at the medical records and offer us an opinion. And that could be maybe $5,000, maybe more than that depending on the number of experts that you need.

Taking a case all the way through trial, depending on the number of experts that are required — and that’s the main cost in these cases, is getting experts to talk about those issues that I mentioned earlier: doing something wrong and causing damages. You need experts on all of those things, and if you have a whole lot of experts in a case, going through trial could run you easily over $100,000. I have heard lawyers spending upwards of $300,000 and $400,000 on getting a case through trial.

To contact John Ager, visit sandwegandager.net or call him directly at 602-648-3210.

making your case simple

From the beginning, Negretti & Associates has wanted to change the way personal injury cases are handled. We have sought to simplify the process and make it easier for our clients to understand what’s happening with their cases.

We explain things in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. Our thought is that if we deliver information in way that makes sense to our clients, then our clients can make educated decisions about their cases.

There Is No “I” in Team

Representing a client in a personal injury case requires a collaborative effort. We see our clients as teammates and collaborators. Everyone has different responsibilities and no one is more important than anyone else.

When we are hired by a client, we feel like we are being asked to join their team. We want to be the very best teammate that we can be. We use our legal education and experience to provide valuable insight to help our clients. We explain things with plain language and never talk down to our clients. There is no “I” in team.

Our Culture

At Negretti & Associates, our firm has embraced a culture of efficiency and communication. Our team works remotely on a daily basis.

Rather than wasting time commuting, we are answering emails, sending text messages, and making early morning phone calls. We believe this is one of our greatest strengths. We can be available and responsive when others are not.

As a result, we’re able to be nimble where other firms move slowly. Our team members are excited about the work that we do, and this ultimately means that we’re able to focus more on helping our clients.

Why Choose Negretti & Associates?

  • We will make your case simple for you.
  • We are a people-first personal injury team serving those injured in Arizona, California, and Colorado.
  • Not all news is good news, but we promise to be honest and update you in a straightforward fashion, in a way that you will understand.
  • 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 injury attorneys 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.