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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.

It is estimated that in the United States alone, over 2.35 million people are injured and approximately 37,000 people are killed in vehicle crashes each year. With popular and growing states such as Arizona, Colorado and California seeing above average crash statistics, it becomes even more imperative for drivers to understand their state’s automobile insurance laws.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

Arizona, Colorado and California all function under a traditional “tort” or “fault” automobile insurance model. This means that drivers who are involved in a vehicle accident in which they sustained injuries, or property damage, may: file a claim with their own automobile insurance company, file a claim with the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance company, or file a personal injury lawsuit in court seeking damages from the at-fault driver.

Although automobile drivers from each state must legally carry automobile insurance on their vehicles at all times, it becomes even more important if they have been involved in an accident. Automobile insurance is extremely important because it protects a person from extreme financial loss due to an accident.

Arizona

Under Arizona law, drivers must carry liability insurance with at least the following amounts of coverage:

• $15,000 per person for bodily injury or death
• $30,000 per accident for two or more persons’ injuries or death, and
• $10,000 for property damage

Colorado

For motor vehicles, Colorado law requires the following minimum amount of liability insurance:

• $25,000 per person for bodily injury
• $50,000 per accident for two or more persons’ injuries or death, and
• $15,000 per accident for property damage

California

Under California law, the minimum liability insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles are:

• $15,000 per person for bodily injury or death
• $30,000 per accident for two or more persons’ injuries or death, and
• $5,000 for property damage

Using California as an example, the three amounts are known as split limits, and are generally broken down in the following fashion: 15/30/5. These numbers indicate the maximum amount that your carrier will pay out for each category. The first amount for bodily injury or death liability covers costs if you are involved in an accident in which you are considered at fault and must pay an individual victim’s medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering damages. The second amount for bodily injury or death liability is to cover the costs for all people involved in the accident, and the third amount is for the damage that you have caused to someone’s property.

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.

do i have a personal injury case

One of the most common questions the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates are often asked is, “How do I know if I have a personal injury case?”

“Personal injury cases all look different — we see auto accidents, medical malpractice, dog bites and a variety of other injuries,” stated Jonathan Negretti, founder of Negretti & Associates. “The common denominator throughout nearly all of our personal injury cases is that during our client’s initial case consultation, it is clear the case meets all three of the personal injury case criteria, including injury, fault, and a responsible party.”

Personal Injury Case Criteria

1. Injury: Did the incident result in an injury? This can be a temporary, long-term or permanent injury. Death is also cause for a personal injury / wrongful death case.
2. Fault: Was someone at fault in the injury? Was there another party that caused or could have prevented the accident or injury? This could be a driver, doctor or store owner — just about anyone.
3. Responsibility: Is there an entity or organization responsible for payment? This could include an insurance company.

If your injury does not meet the three criteria listed above for a personal injury case, it may be a difficult case to prevail on.

It is important to note that each personal injury case comes with unique circumstances. If you think you may have a personal injury case, contact the attorneys at Negretti & Associates for a free consultation. Call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to write to us.

arizona dog bite laws

Dogs are known as “man’s best friend.” But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

According to the American Humane Association, an estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year — and 800,000 of those bites require medical attention.

The personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates have experience in representing victims of dog bites.

“It is critical for dog owners and victims of dog bites to remember that Arizona is a ‘no free-bite state,'” explained Jonathan Negretti, founder of Negretti & Associates.

“Some states allow the dog owner to get away with the dog’s first bite. But not Arizona, where the owner can be held liable for the dog’s very first bite.”

What To Do If You Have Been Bitten by Someone Else’s Dog

If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, consider the following:

  • Gather the owner’s contact information and breed of the dog.
  • Gather the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
  • Take photos of the location where the bite happened.
  • Take photos of the injury immediately after the bite occurred.
  • Seek medical attention promptly and clearly describe what happened to medical professionals.
  • Continue to take pictures of your injuries throughout the healing process.

Strict statutes of limitations exist for dog bite cases. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, contact the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates to schedule a free case review today.

what to do after a slip and fall accident

If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident, your first priority is to seek medical attention, if you think your injury requires immediate medical assistance.

Beyond seeking medical attention, the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates recommend the following:

Gather contact information: Create a list of the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses, business managers, business staff members.

Ask to have an incident report generated: If practical, ask the business or place where the slip and fall occurred to create an incident report to memorialize the event.

Take pictures: Photograph the location where the slip occurred and its surrounding area.

Compile documentation related to medical attention: Be sure to give a detailed report to your medical provider about how and where the fall happened.

If you experience a slip and fall accident, you may be in too much pain to gather contact information or take photographs. If this is the case, ask someone who is with you or even an eyewitness to help you.

Remember, a slip and fall accident can require expensive medical treatment, but also may involve the loss of time and wages. If you or your loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the slip and fall attorneys in Arizona, California, and Colorado at Negretti & Associates to review your case.

common slip and fall injuries in arizona
There is no shortage of active things to do in Arizona — there’s golfing, hiking, swimming, skiing, and biking, just for starters. But injuries don’t just happen while we’re playing sports or participating in physical activities.

The personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates have seen cases of slip-and-fall accidents that have resulted from a variety of events. Falls can happen anywhere — at grocery stores, gyms, neighborhood pools, doctor’s offices, and resorts.

Although Arizona attracts “snowbirds” during the winter months, it’s not just the 55-and-older generation that experiences significant injury as a result of a slip and fall accidents.

“No matter the age, if a person experiences a slip and fall accident, significant trauma can be done to the body,” stated Jonathan Negretti, founder of Negretti & Associates. “Each slip-and-fall case is so unique and the injury to the victim can be lifelong.”

Common Slip and Fall Injuries in Arizona

The most common injuries from slip and fall accidents include:

  • Head injury: Shattered eye orbital, road rash and concussions.
  • Back and neck injury: Spinal cord damage, broken vertebrae, and slipped disc.
  • Breaks and sprains: Arms, legs, ankles, and hips.

Many of these injuries require extensive medical treatment and aftercare. Unfortunately, some slip and fall accidents result in temporary or permanent paralysis, sometimes even death.

If you or your loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates to review your case.

One of the most common needs for a personal injury attorney is to recover damages from a car accident. However, personal injury attorneys handle much more than motor vehicle accidents.

Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates, explains other situations in which one may need a personal injury attorney.

When You May Need a Personal Injury Attorney

  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Semi-truck accidents
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Wrongful death lawsuits
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries and injuries from dangerous drugs
  • Accidents on private property due to negligence
  • Animal attacks
  • Accidents on tribal land
  • Workplace accidents
  • Catastrophic injuries
  • Aviation injuries
  • Injuries caused by a defective product
  • Injuries or illness caused by food poisoning
  • Injuries on state land
  • Boating accidents
  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents, including quads and motorbikes

The experienced attorneys at Negretti & Associates provide free case evaluations. If you have a valid case involving any of the scenarios listed above, contact us today. You won’t pay a penny unless the attorneys at Negretti & Associates win or settle you case.

phoenix personal injury attorney

Unfortunately, people are likely to experience some type of car accident in their lives. Whether it’s a small fender-bender or a multiple car pile-up on the freeway, the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates have seen it all.

When you have been involved in a vehicle accident, hiring a personal injury attorney is not always the first thing that comes to mind. Many people are in a state of shock, overwhelmed by injury or the damage done to their car.

Plaintiffs without representation are often bullied by the insurance company’s legal team and will often settle for pennies on the dollar. It is common for accident victims to reach out to a personal injury attorney once they realize they’ve gotten in over their heads.

It is never too late to contact a personal injury attorney. However, if you contact an attorney immediately after the accident, your attorney will be able to better protect you.

It is also important to remember that there are statues of limitations in each state. A suit must be filed before the limitation has expired. In Arizona, victims typically have two years to file a personal injury case.

Bottom line, hiring a personal injury attorney levels the playing field with the legal team that an insurance company with throw against you.

For a free consultation with a Phoenix personal injury attorney at Negretti & Associates, call us at 602-531-3911 or click here to write to us.

manage insurance companies after an accident

Immediately after you’ve been the victim of a car accident, insurance representatives will contact you. It’s important to not say a word to them until you’ve consulted legal advice.

So says Jonathan Negretti, a personal injury attorney and founder of Negretti & Associates Law Firm.

“Legal representation is critical to protect your rights and secure compensation for any damages that resulted from the accident,” he says. “That’s true whether you hire the experienced personal injury attorneys at Negretti & Associates, or hire another law firm.

“When you have been in a car accident, and the driver at fault has insurance, that person’s insurance representative will try to contact you immediately to secure a quick settlement. This could end up costing you!”

How to Deal with Insurance Companies After an Accident

Negretti advises the following tactics for dealing with insurance representatives following an accident:

1. Remain quiet. Let your attorney do all of the communicating with the insurance company. This protects your best interests. Often times adjusters will attempt to record the conversations in hopes that you will say a damaging comment that the insurance company can use against you in your case to pay you less money.

2. Have an attorney with you. When it’s time to make a statement, make sure to have your attorney with you. Again, this is to protect you and your case.

3. Do not grant medical authorization. Until your attorney tells you to do so, never give medical authorization to the defendant’s insurance company.

4. Do not accept checks. Inform your attorney of all attempts the defendant’s insurance company makes at issuing you a payment. Never accept a check that says “final payment” or “a release of all claims” until you are ready to settle your case.

Be careful not to fall into insurance companies’ traps. They often like to offer financial settlements quickly in hopes that you’ll settle right away. This does not allow you to get an adequate evaluation of the full extent of your injuries. Also, be wary of taking legal advice from friends and family members, always consult an experienced personal injury attorney.