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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.

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.

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

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.

Get Involved

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.

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.

wrongful death lawsuit arizona colorado california

Losing a loved one is devastating. In an instant, life as you know it — for you and for family members alike — can be changed forever. Although monetary awards will never get close to reversing the pain of your loss, a wrongful death lawsuit may help cover the financial burdens following the horrible event.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that alleges that the deceased was killed as a result of negligence, a wrongful action of the defendant, or neglect, and the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

Under most states’ wrongful death laws, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by:

  • The spouse of the deceased;
  • The heir or heirs of the deceased;
  • The decedent’s designated beneficiary; or
  • The parent, or parents, of the deceased — if the decedent is unmarried and without descendants or a designated beneficiary.

Nevertheless, no matter who brings the action, such persons who are heirs of the deceased must share the judgment obtained.

Time Limits: Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

In civil law there are deadlines in which a plaintiff must file a claim or be barred from doing so. These time limits are called statutes of limitations.

A plaintiff must suffer some damage before the statute of limitations will begin to run. And, as a general rule, a cause of action for personal injuries will accrue (arise) on the date that a party knows or should have known of the injury and its cause.

Wrongful death actions generally must be filed within two years after death. Barring certain circumstances, the wrongful death statute of limitations in Arizona, California and Colorado is two years.

What Is Recoverable: Wrongful Death Damages

Generally, a jury may award economic (financial) and non-economic (pain and suffering, loss of consortium) damages in a wrongful death case. Examples of wrongful death damages that may be awarded include:

  • The cost of your loved one’s medical care prior to passing.
  • The value of your loved one’s pain and suffering.
  • The value of the deceased’s financial contribution to the family, including loss of benefits and inheritance.
  • The cost of funeral and burial services.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Loss of Society: a child could recover damages based on the value of a deceased parent’s companionship, advice, guidance, love and affection.
  • Loss of Consortium: a spouse may recover damages based on the benefits that would have been received from the continued life of the decedent.

In some states, a jury may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in cases of malicious wrongdoing to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from behaving similarly. However, the states which allow punitive damages have usually capped the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded, or have limited the types of cases where punitive damages may be awarded.

Establishing Fault in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In order to establish fault of the other party in a wrongful death lawsuit you must prove the party caused the underlying tort (the wrongful act). In most wrongful death cases the underlying tort is negligence.

Negligence is the failure to do something a reasonably careful person would do; or doing something a reasonably careful person would not do. In order to prove negligence the plaintiff must prove:

(1) The defendant owed a duty of care;

(2) That the defendant breached that duty; and

(3) That the breach caused the plaintiff’s harm.

Often, the death of a loved one may be the worst time in your life. It is important to know that you have rights, and the ability to pursue those rights through a wrongful death lawsuit.