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defamation claims

When people hear the term “personal injury lawyer,” they typically think of auto accidents. It’s common to see personal injury lawyers in TV commercials talking about how they can help victims of auto accidents.

Yet, personal injury law is so much broader than car accidents. Of course, personal injuries can be physical, such as whiplash or broken bones sustained in a car accident. Yet, they can also be emotional in nature — especially when there is damage to one’s reputation.

When a reputation-damaging remark meets a series of criteria, it may be worthwhile to consider filing what is called a defamation claim.

Types of Defamation: The Difference Between Libel and Slander

What is defamation? At its essence, defamation is an umbrella term for a remark that is harmful to one’s reputation. There are two types of defamation: libel and slander.

  • Libel is when someone writes something about you that is defamatory and, in turn, harms your reputation. A written defamatory remark can be published in traditional media — such as a newspaper, magazine, or book — as well as in digital media, such as a text message.
  • Slander is when someone says something about you that is defamatory and, in turn, harms your reputation.

How Do You Prove Defamation of Character?

If you are the victim or a defamatory action, how do you prove that you have been harmed? There are three key elements to proving defamation of character. You have to prove that the defamatory statement was published or told to somebody else; that the statement was false; and that you were injured in some way

First, you have to prove that the information was published. As mentioned above, a written remark can be published in a newspaper or book, while a spoken remark can be told to someone else, in the presence of another party.

The spoken remark can’t simply be between two people. For example, if someone were to call you a liar in private, with no one else present, then you’ve simply been called a liar. Yet, if a third person is present for the conversation and listening, and someone calls you a liar, then the remark can be considered defamatory.

Second, you have to actually prove that the statement was false. When it comes to defamation lawsuits, there’s a common saying, that “the ultimate defense is the truth.” If someone says something that is truthful, that is the defense to a defamation claim. The party that has been harmed must prove the statement false.

Third, you must prove that the written or spoken statement actually led to injury, and that there was some harm. Again, in the context of defamation, injury can span emotional or financial injury — a dented reputation or a loss of job opportunities, for example.

If the three elements for proving defamation are met, then the victim has what is called an “actionable” defamation claim.

Opinions and Defamation

You will see a lot of defamation suits involving Hollywood actors and actresses. Because of their status, and because their reputations mean everything to them, actors and actresses are more likely to pursue defamation claims when negative things are written about them, or said about them on TV or online.

Yet, defamation claims can be hard to pursue. For a claim to be worth pursuing — in terms of time, money, and effort — one must have a substantial reputation to begin with.

Further, just because someone voices or publishes a negative opinion, and it is truly just an opinion, they may not have made a defamatory statement.

If you believe that you have been the victim or a defamatory statement, and some sort of actionable claim can be made, give Negretti & Associates a call, at 602-531-3911 in Arizona, 619-777-3370 in California, or 720-636-3444 in Colorado. Or, you can click here to contact us with our online form. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

Granted, you may have to put your pride on the sidelines for a minute as we reflect upon the three key elements of defamation: Was the statement published or told to someone else? Was it false? What are the injuries that you suffered as a result of the statement, and did it stop you from getting a job, or cause you to lose your job?

diminished value claim arizona - arizona diminished value law
Arizona is a diminished value state, which means you could be entitled to bring a diminished value claim after an auto accident. A diminished value claim provides a way for you to recover the lost resale value of your vehicle had it never been subjected to the accident. However, you cannot submit a diminished value claim if you were the at-fault party in an accident.

Why File a Diminished Value Claim?

If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, its value has decreased by more than just the repair cost. There are several reasons for this:

  • Replacement parts are usually never as good of quality as original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) parts.
  • Repairs can structurally compromise and weaken your vehicle.
  • There might be undiscovered (and unrepaired) damage to your car.
  • In some cases, it’s impossible to return a vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
  • A serious collision may even void your factory warranty.
  • Dealerships will not be able to sell your vehicle in a “certified pre-owned” program.
  • Buyers are typically reluctant to purchase vehicles that have been in an auto accident.

Specifics About Arizona Diminished Value Law

Here are some things to remember about diminished value claims in Arizona:

  • The statute of limitation for a diminished value claim is 2 years.
  • Diminished value claims require evidence describing the extent of the loss.
  • A diminished value claim can be handled as part of a personal injury claim or as a stand-alone property damage claim.
  • Your personal auto insurance almost never covers diminished value.

The experienced auto accident lawyers at Negretti & Associates regularly handle diminished value claims for our Arizona clients. Schedule a free consultation for your diminished value claim, so that we can discuss your situation and evaluate your case.

arizona pedestrian accident lawyers

Arizona has the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the nation. In 2017 alone, 226 pedestrians were killed in Arizona vehicle crashes, while more than 1,500 pedestrians were injured, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Pedestrian accidents are common in places where people and vehicles are forced to share space — at crosswalks, intersections, streets, and parking lots for example. Other times, drivers are simply not paying attention to their surroundings.

Unfortunately, many pedestrians who are injured never receive the compensation that they were entitled to. They get stuck with expensive medical bills and even worse life changing injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you have the same right to recover money damages as drivers that have been in auto accidents.

There is no reason for you and your family to go this alone. The experienced Arizona pedestrian accident lawyers at Negretti & Associates are ready to fight for you.

Hit by a Motorist in Arizona?

In Arizona, motorists are responsible for yielding to pedestrians and paying attention to their surroundings. If the driver failed to do either of these two things and has caused you some injury, you will likely be able to bring a claim and collect compensation.

Here are some steps to take after you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident:

  1. Record the names, addresses, insurance information, and license plate number of all the vehicles involved.
  2. Be sure to get the contact information of all witnesses present.
  3. Photograph and document the scene of the accident and your subsequent injuries.
  4. Seek immediate medical attention for all of your injuries.
  5. Do not speak with insurance companies or sign any documents regarding the accident until you have discussed your case with an experienced Arizona accident attorney.

A Pedestrian Can Still Recover from An Uninsured Motorist

If you were a pedestrian injured by an uninsured motorist, you may be eligible for compensation through your own insurance provider and your insurance policy. You will want to contact an experienced Arizona pedestrian accident lawyer to help you navigate the process. Our accident attorneys are ready to assess the circumstances of your accident and convey options that are available to you. Learn how our firm can assist with motor vehicle accidents, in addition to pedestrian accidents in Phoenix.

How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

The outcome of your pedestrian accident can hinge on whether or not you have an experienced Arizona personal injury lawyer on your side.

There is no reason for you and your family to go this alone. At Negretti & Associates, we 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 and for the time you have to take off from work to deal with your injuries. We will work diligently to maximize your recovery and help you achieve the best possible settlement.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop at the Accident Scene

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

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

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

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

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

Check for Injuries

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

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

Police and Accident Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collect Relevant Evidence

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

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

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

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

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

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.

Our relationship with technological innovation is complicated and cuts both ways. Technology gives us the ability to stay connected through phone calls, text messages, emails and social media. Yet, it’s one of the leading causes of distracted driving, causing vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. In turn, we are finding news ways to use technology to curb distracted driving, through smartphone apps.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014 there were 3,179 people killed and 431,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention from the primary task of driving. Some examples of distracted driving include eating, drinking, reading, talking with passengers, and using a cell phone.

With the advent of the smartphone, drivers essentially have a computer at their fingertips, causing accidents from cell phone usage to skyrocket. According to the National Safety Council, smartphone-related accidents have increased for the third consecutive year in a row, with texting while driving making a vehicle accident 8-23 times more likely.

State Laws that Aim To Prevent Distracted Driving

In 46 states and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to text while driving. The table below shows the penalties that each state imposes for texting while driving.

preventing distracted driving

As of 2017, Arizona does not have a statewide ban on the use of cell phones while driving. Multiple localities have ratified their own bans on text messaging. In Arizona, the cities of Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson, and Tempe have banned the use of texting while driving. Additionally, Coconino and Pima Counties have banned the use of texting while driving.

Phoenix Municipal Code § 36-76.01 bans texting while driving. The law states, in part:

A. A person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a street while using a personal digital assistant to send or receive a written message while the motor vehicle is in motion.

B. This section does not apply to any of the following:

1. Law enforcement and safety personnel.

2. Drivers of authorized emergency vehicles.

3. Holders of commercial driver licenses while driving within the scope of their employment.

4. Public transit personnel.

5. A person who is reporting reckless or negligent behavior.

6. The use of a personal digital assistant for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation:

(a) An emergency response operator.

(b) A hospital, physician’s office or health clinic.

(c) A provider of ambulance services.

(d) A provider of fire fighting services.

(e) A law enforcement agency.

7. A person who believes the person is in physical danger if the person is the only adult in the motor vehicle.

C. For purposes of this section, “personal digital assistant” means a wireless electronic communication device that provides for data communication other than by voice.

D. A violation of this section is a nonmoving civil traffic violation.
(Ord. No. G-4985, § 1, adopted 9-19-2007, eff. 9-19-2007; Ord. No. G-5034, § 1, adopted 12-5-2007, eff. 1-4-2008)

Distracted Driving Accident Liability

In order to prove liability in an accident involving cell phone use, it is very likely that evidence will be needed to prove that the driver was not paying attention. Three potential ways to prove the accident was caused by cell phone usage include:

  • Cellphone records proving the driver was on a call or texting during the accident;
  • Photos or video from a passenger cell phone, surveillance cameras or police dash cams; and
  • Police reports.

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

As distracted driving injuries and fatalities continue to rise, companies have started to create a variety of apps to encourage safe driving and block cell phone usage while driving.

Apps that encourage safe driving include:

1. Drivesafe.ly: A free mobile app that reads text messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without the driver touching the mobile phone.

2. SafeDrive: An app that starts awarding points once the driver exceeds 6mph and does not touch their screen. The driver may compete against other drivers or use their accumulated points on discounted products offered by responsible companies.

3. Drivemode: An app that turns your text messages into audio that your phone will read aloud with the touch of a button. There are prerecorded responses to send as responses back to the texts that the driver receives.

Apps that block cell phone use while driving include:

1. Live2Txt: An app that will block incoming calls and texts while driving. The app will silence incoming notifications and send a customized message alerting the person that you are unable to respond.

2. Cellcontrol: An app and device that is designed for parents and is subscription based. The device is placed under the vehicle’s dashboard and will block the driver from sending texts or phone calls while the car is moving. If the device is removed or deactivated the parent would receive an email or text alert.

3. TextArrest: An app that prevents emailing and texting while the car is in motion.

personal injury demand letter

One major element in a personal injury case is the complainant’s demand letter. At Negretti & Associates, our attorneys — who are licensed in Arizona, California, and Colorado — write personal injury demand letters on our clients’ behalf.

Personal Injury Demand Letter Format

A personal injury demand letter may include the following elements:

Your version of the story:

  • Timeline of events.
  • Fact-based, unemotional statements.

Reasons the other party is at fault:

  • Clearly and concisely articulate why the other party is at fault with fact-based, unemotional statements.
  • Never admit any wrongdoing of your own. This is the responsibility of the other party’s insurance company to discover.

Your personal injuries:

  • List in great detail all the injuries you’ve sustained.
  • Identify the duration (or projected duration) of the injuries including temporary, long-lasting and permanent injuries.
  • Don’t overstate your injuries but don’t down-play them either.
  • Use the correct medical terminology.

Your medical expenses:

  • List of every medical expense including the provider, cost, location of treatment, name of person(s) treating you, time spent per visit, driving distance, etc.

Your lost time and income.

  • List any time you missed at work as a result of your injury.
  • List why your work suffered as a result of your injury.
  • Letter from your employer with job description, pay level and a confirmation of time lost

Other hardships.

  • List any other losses — these can be non-tangible losses including: depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, embarrassment, inconvenience, the cost and time spent working with a therapist to treat emotional hardships, etc.

The settlement demand.

  • State the adequate monetary compensation required given all that you’ve claimed

The attorneys at Negretti & Associates will help you identify what that value of your case is worth. There are case calculations and negotiating strategies your attorneys will discuss with you to identify the right monetary value of the personal injury case.

The final component of a personal injury demand letter should include all supporting documents to verify the claims listed in the letter. These may include: police reports, eyewitness statements, medical records, bills, explanation of benefits, and employer letters.

If you’d like to schedule a free consultation about writing a personal injury demand letter regarding your case, please call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to write to us.

arizona statute of limitations for personal injury cases

By law, there is a limited amount of time in which a person can sue for an injury. This is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for personal injury varies by state.

In Arizona, the complainant typically has two years, as stated in Ariz. Rev. Stat. Sec. 12-542, the Arizona statute of limitations for personal injury cases.

“Discovery of Harm” Rule

While Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, the time does not start until the person is aware of the harm, or reasonably should be aware of it.

An example of this could be if a woman undergoes a Cesarean section and a doctor mistakenly leaves a small bandage in her abdomen. After she returns home from the hospital, she becomes severely ill. Days later she seeks medical attention, and the bandage is discovered in her abdomen. The statute of limitations would typically start on the day the medical team discovered the bandage.

However, in the above example, if the woman disregards the intense symptoms and goes months without seeking medical care, the statue of limitations may start not at discovery of the bandage, but at the onset of the pain.

There are other exceptions to the Arizona statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including — but not limited to — injury claims against the government.

If you or someone you know has been injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact the attorneys at Negretti & Associates immediately for a free case evaluation.

Even if your injury happened nearly two years ago, review your case with the Negretti & Associates attorneys to see if your case could hold up in court. For more information, please call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to email us.