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Tag Archives: negligence
Stethoscope & Gavel

The Basics of Medical Malpractice and Negligence

Medical malpractice is defined as improper, unskilled, or negligent treatment of a patient by a medical professional. Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances. It is important to know and understand what these terms mean for anyone who comes in contact with medical professionals. As a patient, it is your responsibility to make sure you are aware of your rights when dealing with medical professionals.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Stethoscope & Gavel

Medical malpractice occurs when errors are made in the treatment of a patient. This can occur for many reasons, but some of the primary ones are as follows:

  • A doctor making an incorrect decision, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • A medical professional practicing medicine outside of his or her field.
  • Failure to obtain the proper consent required by law.
  • Negligent treatment of a patient.

When any of these situations arise, the patient has the legal right to sue the appropriate medical professionals. In Arizona, according to the statute of limitations, a patient has two years after the cause of action accrues to file a medical malpractice case. Arizona does not limit the amount awarded for recovery of damages, as it is unconstitutional according to the state constitution.

What Is Negligence According to Arizona Law?

Negligence is a form of medical malpractice. It occurs when a doctor does not care for a patient in the way he or she should. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Expectations of a patient are two-fold: Doctors and hospitals are expected to provide medical treatment with all the knowledge and skill at their command, and secondly, they will not do anything to harm the patient in any manner either because of their negligence, carelessness, or reckless attitude of their staff.” When one of these expectations is not being met, it is possible that negligence has occurred. Negligence cannot be committed by a careful person who is being mindful and thoughtful in their duties.

One way a doctor can be guilty of negligence is failing to obtain the proper consent. Patients are required to give informed consent before procedures are performed unless they are not able to do so. In that case, usually a family member or delegated person is able to provide consent for the individual. In emergency situations when no one is available to provide consent, there is implied consent to save a person’s life unless the patient has documentation indicating other instructions, such as a DNR.

In conclusion, it is important to keep yourself well-informed as a patient. Knowing what to expect from your doctor and understanding his recommendation is not just important, it is your right in the state of Arizona. Staying educated and informed will ensure that you are getting the best care possible and that you have not fallen victim to medical malpractice.

Man Injured After Bike Accident

What is Negligence

Man Injured After Bike Accident

If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of someone or a business operation, ensure you get compensated for property damage, medical bills, plus pain and suffering.


A tort is a private or civil wrong, injury for which the court will and can provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages. Negligence is a type of tort and is distinguished from many types of torts because the conduct does not have to be intentional. Unlike an intentional tort, (i.e. assault) negligence is the failure to do what a reasonable person would do in a like or similar circumstances. Thus, a claim for negligence looks at particular facts and circumstances if the conduct fell below the standard of care for the protection of others.

Academically, negligence has been stated as the existence of a duty of care, the breach of the duty of care, an injury and the breach was the proximate cause of the injury. See, Flowers v. K-Mart Corp., 126 Ariz. 490, 497, 616 P.2d 955 (App 1980).

However, to prove a case of negligence one must show that:
  • a duty between the defendant and plaintiff existed;
  • the standard of care, such as to act like a reasonably prudent person
  • the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care;
  • the plaintiff was injured;
  • the harm was the cause in fact and would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s conduct;
  • the defendant’s conduct was the proximate cause for the injury.

An example of negligence is after mopping a storeowner fails to put up a sign stating “caution wet floor.” If customers arrives and slips and injures themselves on the wet floor, that customer could sue the store-owner for negligence. Applying the elements above, a storeowner has a duty to warn customers of any known dangers. A reasonable storeowner would put up a sign warning of a wet floor and this particular storeowner failed to do so. The failure of the storeowner to put up a sign caused the customers injury. But for the store-owners failure to put up a sign the customer would not be injured. Finally, the customer’s injury is reasonably related to the defendant’s failure to put up a sign.

If you have been injured by the negligent conduct of another contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier at 928-774-5400. We represent people throughout Arizona in all types of accidents, from car accidents to slip and falls. We have offices located in Flagstaff and Cottonwood and offer free consultation to discuss your case.

Yellow Crosswalk Sign in Town

Notice of Claim

Yellow Crosswalk Sign in Town

Sometimes even our law enforcement officers fail to yield to pedestrians, as was the case with a Coconino County Sheriff’s deputy who hit a 61-year-old woman.


Recently, the Arizona Daily Sun, reported that a Coconino County Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a vehicle versus pedestrian accident in Page, Arizona while on duty. Specifically, the paper reported that the unnamed deputy had the right of way but hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Public Entity Liability – Notice of Claim

The pedestrian, a 61 year old woman, was not significantly injured. The deputy was cited for failing to exercise due care and is waiting to see if the Sheriff’s Department will take disciplinary action. Read the full Arizona Daily Sun article here.

This case is a clear example of public entity liability. Under Arizona law, public entities and public employees are responsible for their conduct. In this case: Coconino County, Coconino County Sheriff’s Department and the unnamed deputy can be sued for negligence and negligence per se. In essence the deputy and his employer can be sued for causing the accident. However, in order to sue the government and its employees you must strictly comply with A.R.S. § 12-831.01(A), the Notice of Claim Statute or you may be barred from filing a lawsuit in the future.

The Notice of Claim statute establishes the procedures a person must follow before they file a lawsuit against a public entity or employee.

Before you file a lawsuit, you must file a Notice of Claim with the proper agency. A Notice of Claim is a statutory policy of holding public entity and public employees responsible for their acts or omissions by establishing a procedure to follow to perfect a notice of claim and a subsequent lawsuit. A notice of claim allows the public entity/employee to investigate and assess liability for the claim and allow the possibility of settlement prior to litigation. Therefore, as a prerequisite to a lawsuit, a person must file a Notice of Claim within 180 days after the accrual of the claim. Specifically A.R.S. § 12-821.01(A) states:

A. Persons who have claims against a public entity or a public employee shall file claims with the person or persons authorized to accept service for the public entity or public employee as set forth in the Arizona rules of civil procedure within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues. The claim shall contain facts sufficient to permit the public entity or public employee to understand the basis on which liability is claimed. The claim shall also contain a specific amount for which the claim can be settled and the facts supporting that amount. Any claim that is not filed within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues is barred and no action may be maintained thereon.

The Notice of Claim statute also governs the timeliness of filing the Notice, when the cause of action accrues, what the Notice needs to contain and whom must the Notice must be served on. After a Notice of Claim is filed a lawsuit against the public entity or public employee must be filed within one year. Thus, the statute of limitations against any public entity or public employee is one year of the date when the person knew or should have known they were hurt.

If you have been injured by the negligence of a public entity or public employee you have to comply with the Notice of Claim Statute in order to proceed with a lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a public entity or public employee, contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier at 928-774-5400. We offer free consultation and can discuss how the Notice of Claim statute applies to your case. We have offices located in Flagstaff and Cottonwood and we serve all the communities of Northern Arizona.

Woman Riding Mountain Bike

Flagstaff’s Bicycle Attorneys and Arizona’s Bicycle Laws

Woman Riding Mountain Bike

Arizona bicyclists are protected under certain laws, but this is no excuse for not knowing and understanding the laws that bicyclists must obey in order to make the streets safer for everyone.


Flagstaff Bike to Work Week runs through May 20, 2013 to May 24, 2013. If you have been hesitant to bike commute in the past, this is a good time to start. Flagstaff is already known as a bike friendly community and Bike to Work just made biking a little bit easier. According to the Flagstaff Biking Organization, the goal of bike to work week is to “promote bicycling as a safe and attractive means of transportation and recreation Northern Arizona.” [i] In pursing that goal, last year over 150 workplaces and 1300 individuals participated in Bike to Work Week, with hundreds of newcomers enjoying bike commuting for the first time.

With the recession and high gas prices, biking as a means of transportation has increased in Flagstaff and throughout the United States. According to the League of Bicyclist, the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. has more than doubled from 1.7 billion to 4 billion from 2001 to 2009.[ii] In Flagstaff, approximately six percent of Flagstaff residents bike to work and school daily. With more bikes on the road, it can only mean more cars versus bike accidents. Generally, Flagstaff reports between seventy to eighty car and bicycle accidents a year.

As a bicyclist, you should know the applicable laws that apply to you when you are riding your bike on the road. Remember, Arizona Traffic Laws govern bicycles on the road and you will be held strictly liable for your actions. Thus, under the concept of strict liability you could be found guilty of violating the law without the State having to prove intent/mental state. Here is a small list of applicable Arizona State laws and city of Flagstaff ordinances governing bicycles.

Arizona Bicycle Laws

A.R.S § 28-101(6) defines bicycle as: a device, including a racing wheelchair, that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride and that has either:
(a) Two tandem wheels, either of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter.
(b) Three wheels in contact with the ground, any of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter.

A.R.S § 28-756. Method of giving hand and arm signals

A. Except as provided by subsection B, a person shall give all hand and arm signals required by this article from the left side of the vehicle in the following manner, and the signals shall indicate as follows:

  1. Left turn. Hand and arm extended horizontally.
  2. Right turn. Hand and arm extended upward.
  3. Stop or decrease speed. Hand and arm extended downward.

B. A person operating a bicycle may give a right turn signal by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

A.R.S. § 28-811. Parent and guardian responsibility; applicability of article

A. The parent of a child and the guardian of a ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit the child or ward to violate this chapter.
B. Except as otherwise provided in this article, this chapter applies to a bicycle when it is operated on a highway or on a path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

A.R.S. § 28-812. Applicability of traffic laws to bicycle riders

A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a shoulder adjoining a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter and chapters 4 and 5 of this title, except special rules in this article and except provisions of this chapter and chapters 4 and 5 of this title that by their nature can have no application.

A.R.S. § 28-813. Riding on bicycles

A. A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
B. A person shall not use a bicycle to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
A.R.S. § 28-814. Clinging to vehicle
A person riding on a bicycle, coaster, sled or toy vehicle or on roller skates shall not attach the bicycle, coaster, sled, toy vehicle or roller skates or that person to a vehicle on a roadway.

A.R.S. § 28-815. Riding on roadway and bicycle path; bicycle path usage

A. A person riding a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:

  1. If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  2. If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  3. If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards.
  4. If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

B. Persons riding bicycles on a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
C. A path or lane that is designated as a bicycle path or lane by state or local authorities is for the exclusive use of bicycles even though other uses are permitted pursuant to subsection D or are otherwise permitted by state or local authorities.
D. A person shall not operate, stop, park or leave standing a vehicle in a path or lane designated as a bicycle path or lane by a state or local authority except in the case of emergency or for crossing the path or lane to gain access to a public or private road or driveway.
E. Subsection D does not prohibit the use of the path or lane by the appropriate local authority.
A.R.S. § 28-816. Carrying article on bicycle
A person shall not carry a package, bundle or article while operating a bicycle if the package, bundle or article prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.

A.R.S. § 28-817. Bicycle equipment

A. A bicycle that is used at nighttime shall have a lamp on the front that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and a red reflector on the rear of a type that is approved by the department and that is visible from all distances from fifty feet to three hundred feet to the rear when the reflector is directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A bicycle may have a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear in addition to the red reflector.
B. A person shall not operate a bicycle that is equipped with a siren or whistle.
C. A bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
These are the most cited statutes pertaining to bicycles in the Arizona Revised Statutes. However, the legislative branch allows local government to regulate bicycles. Under the City of Flagstaff Ordinances, these are the applicable ordinances that apply to use of bikes within the City of Flagstaff.
Section 9-05-001-0001 Application of Provisions

A. The parent of a child and the guardian of a ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit the child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this Chapter.
B. The regulations of this Chapter in their application to bicycles shall apply when a bicycle is operated upon any roadway, path, or sidewalk subject to those exceptions stated in this Chapter.
C. The regulations of this Chapter shall not apply to exempt vehicles when they are used for the purposes for which they are intended.
Section 9-04-001-0002 Definitions

For the purposes of this Chapter:

A. “Bicycle” means a device, including a racing wheelchair, that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride and that has either:

  1. Two tandem wheels, either of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter.
  2. Three wheels in contact with the ground, any of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter.

Section 9-05-001-0003 Traffic Laws Apply

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this Chapter, except as to special regulations in this Chapter and except as to those provisions of this Chapter which by their nature can have no application.

Section 9-05-001-0004 Riding on Bicycles

A. A person riding a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
B. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
C. No person riding upon any bicycle, skateboard or play vehicle shall attach the same or themselves to any vehicle upon a roadway.
D. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
E. No person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing, or in excess of the posted speed limit.

Section 9-05-001-0005 Riding on Roadways and Bicycle Lanes

A. A person riding a bicycle on the roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:

  1. If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  2. If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  3. If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, snow and ice, or surface hazards.
  4. If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel side by side within the lane.
  5. When proceeding straight, through an area where a right-turn is permitted, in order to avoid conflicts with right-turning vehicles.

B. When parking is allowed along the roadway, then the “right side of the roadway” shall be deemed to be to the left of any parked vehicles or parking lane, including the area occupied by open car doors, or to the right of any parked vehicles or parking lane on the left side of one-way streets.
C. Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Section 9-05-001-0006 Equipment

A. Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500′) to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation, which shall be visible from all distances from fifty feet (50′) to three hundred feet (300′) to the rear, when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on motor vehicles. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet (500′) to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
B. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

Section 9-05-001-0007 Riding on Sidewalks

A. Where signs are erected giving notice thereof, no person shall ride a bicycle, skateboard, or play vehicle upon a sidewalk. This prohibition shall also apply to any bicycle, skateboard or play vehicle which is equipped with or assisted by a motor. Signs prohibiting such activity shall be installed at locations as directed by the Office of the Traffic Engineer.
B. A person riding a bicycle, skateboard, or play vehicle upon any public sidewalk shall be subject to the following provisions:

  1. A person riding a bicycle, skateboard, or play vehicle on a sidewalk shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and exempt vehicles.
  2. Such person shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian or exempt vehicle traveling in the same direction on the sidewalk.
  3. No person shall operate a bicycle on a sidewalk at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing.

C. Penalty. Violation of any of the provisions of 9-05-001-0007 by any person shall be a civil traffic offense punishable by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for each offense.

Section 9-05-001-0008 Riding on Paths

A. A person riding a bicycle, skateboard, or play vehicle on a path shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and exempt vehicles.
B. Such person shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian or exempt vehicle traveling in the same direction on the path.
Section 9-05-001-0009 Voluntary Bicycle Registration
The Chief of Police, or his or her designee, is hereby authorized and directed to issue, upon written application, bicycle registration tags. The Chief of Police shall designate and provide tags for the use of the registrant, direct the manner of placing such tags on the bicycles by the registrants, and keep a record of the name of the registrant, the number of the tag, the date of issuance of the tag, and pertinent information about the bicycle. A fee may be charged for registration and the tag.

Section 9-05-001-0010 Bicycle Helmets/Protective Equipment

A. It shall be unlawful for any person under eighteen (18) years of age to operate or ride upon a bicycle on any highway, street, road, sidewalk, bike-way or trail, unless that person wears a protective helmet that is properly fitted and fastened.
B. No parent or guardian of any unemancipated minor under eighteen (18) years of age shall knowingly allow the minor to violate this section.
C. Violation of this section shall constitute a civil traffic offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for each offense.
D. The first time a person is charged with a violation of this section the Court may dismiss the charge upon presentation of evidence that the person has purchased or obtained a protective helmet.
E. For purposes of this section “protective bicycle helmet” means a helmet containing a manufacturer’s certification that it meets the standards of either the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
F. Except as authorized by A.R.S. § 28-1599, a violation of this ordinance cannot be used as evidence of negligence or comparative negligence in a subsequent civil or criminal proceeding.

If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bike by the negligence of another person, call the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier. We are a plaintiff’s law firm, we are bike riders and we have successfully represented bikers in Flagstaff and throughout the State of Arizona. Remember that this article is not a substitute to the advice and consultation of an attorney. If you have any questions about your case call us at 928-774-5400 for a free consultation.

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