All posts by Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Pensacola, Destin, & Miami, FL Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident, car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury attorney. Call us today 855-HIRE-JOE! Or email us: info@zarzaurlaw.com

The Importance of Finding a Board Certified Pensacola Injury Lawyer

If you are hurt at the fault of someone else, it’s important to know what you need to look for in a Pensacola injury lawyer. In the state of Florida, you should instantly weed out any personal injury lawyer who is not board certified.

While it is obvious that your Pensacola injury lawyer must be a member of the Florida State Bar, not enough people know about the specialized and advanced qualification of being board certified – a distinction of note that marks specific Florida lawyers among the best of the best in their particular field. Although there are over 90,000 lawyers in the state of Florida, board certification is a way for the best lawyers to differentiate themselves from other lawyers in their field, and to emphasize their practical abilities, character, and capability.

What Does it Take to for a Pensacola Injury Lawyer to Become Board Certified?

In order to become a board certified Pensacola injury lawyer, an lawyer must not only pass the bar exam in the state of Florida – one of the toughest in the United States – but also must have met several other requirements. These requirements are obviously quite stringent; otherwise every lawyer with any common sense at all would apply and pass just so they could have this on their resume. The number of board certified lawyers, especially in this area, is staggeringly low – it’s less than 1%. In the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton there are currently approximately 1,436 lawyers, and a mere 13 of them are board certified in civil trial law by both the state and the national certification organizations. Attorneys must truly earn this accreditation by their intelligence and their merit, setting them apart as the most qualified to handle your case.

So how exactly does your Pensacola injury lawyer become board certified? First, they must have over five years of experience actually practicing law. On top of this, each board certified lawyer must take an additional bar exam that deals only with questions related to their particular field. This test has a 40% fail rate. These lawyers must also be respected by their peers. Each applying lawyer must get signoffs and recommendations by judges who have presided over their trials – persons uniquely qualified to attest to the skill and character of each lawyer. Lastly, each lawyer attempting to gain board certification must submit favorable reviews from previous opposing counsel. At this point, the committee then takes test results and combines them with the various statements and endorsements of the lawyer’s ethics and skill in the courtroom, in order to decide if they want to grant certification.

Amazingly, it doesn’t end there. It is very important to ask your Pensacola injury lawyer if they have been re-certified recently. Board certification comes up once every six years. If the lawyer’s answer is no, they either have not had recent experience in the field, or have had other issues come up that would probably make them unattractive to you.

If you’re looking to get in contact with the best board certified Pensacola injury lawyer to handle your case, Joe Zarzaur is a great starting point. To find out more about Joe, his certification, and his proven track record, please feel free to contact the firm at 855-HIREJOE, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Florida Supreme Court Rulings on Red Light Camera Laws

In 2015 the Florida Supreme Court ruled that two local “red light camera” ordinances (Orlando and Aventura) were invalid since they conflicted with the Uniform Traffic Laws previously existing in the state. This is important, locally, as most of the red light camera laws are drafted in a similar fashion to those in Orlando and Aventura. The Florida Supreme Court held that these laws are invalid since they are expressly preempted by Florida’s, already existing, Uniform Traffic laws. This is a significant ruling since most all cities have similarly worded ordinances.

2018 update – A new ruling has come out on Thursday, May 3, 2018 by the Florida Supreme Court that states the use of traffic light cameras are legal to continue using.

Please consult with a criminal lawyer if you have an issue related to these laws. More importantly, do not try and beat yellow lights in the first place. Stop on yellow and this will never be an issue.

Zarzaur Law, P.A. does not handle traffic tickets or criminal cases. We recommend you contact an lawyer who handles these types of cases. If you have a Personal Injury matter, please do not hesitate to call Zarzaur Law, P.A. at 855-hirejoe or https://zarzaurlaw.com.

Florida Supreme Court Cracks Down on Defendant Physicians

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice by an attending physician and are searching for a Pensacola personal injury lawyer, recent developments in the Florida Supreme Court should substantially aid your case and recovery. It is always important to stay aware of pro-plaintiff rulings at the highest level within the state as just few weeks ago, on July 10, 2014, there was a significant win for plaintiffs statewide.

All Pensacola personal injury lawyers should now be familiar with the ruling in Ruby Saunders, etc., et al. v. Willis Dickens, M.D. Without delving too far into the facts of this case, the main takeaway is this: where defendant physicians had previously been able to insulate themselves from liability with “testimony that a subsequent treating physician would not have treated the plaintiff differently had the defendant physician acted within the applicable standard of care,” this is now completely irrelevant. In fact, it is inadmissible and cannot, by law, be used to relieve a defendant physician of liability he or she incurred as a result of his or her own negligence.

What This Ruling Means to Medical Malpractice Victims

This is a huge win for Pensacola personal injury lawyers serving as advocates for clients who are suffering as a result of medical malpractice. With regard to causation, the burden of proof that the plaintiff and plaintiff’s lawyer must bear is now simply to show that “adequate care by the physician more likely than not would have avoided the plaintiff’s injury.”’ Obviously, this is much more straightforward. This decision also serves the higher goal of courts: repairing injuries that have been done to innocent citizens of the state of Florida who have been the victim of a doctor’s lack of care, expertise, or professionalism.

Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law is one of the few Pensacola personal injury lawyers who is board certified in civil trial, and he has an established track record of winning his clients verdicts in medical malpractice cases. Joe understands exactly what each medical professional’s “applicable standard of care” is, and he will hold them accountable if you suffer injury because they did not meet those standards. Joe is a zealous advocate for victims of medical malpractice, and will fight for their right to be justly compensated. To begin your road to financial recovery, and to find out more about Joe, please feel free to contact the firm at 855-HIREJOE, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Car Crashes are Expensive says NHTSA study

There was a recent article in the Friday May 30th edition of the USA Today discussing the costs associated with car crashes. This article was based upon a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and concluded that the annual price tag for car crashes was over $871 billion. This amount factored in the $277 billion in economic costs (medical bills and lost wages to the person) and $594 billion in societal harm from the loss of life and pain and decreased quality of life of accident victims.

Speeding, Drunk Driving and Distracted driving were the three major causes of these wreck and resulting economic losses. The study found that speeding contributed to 21% of wrecks, drunk driving 18% and distracted driving accounted for 17% of such losses.

This study was not measuring the amount recovered by victims only amount lost by them and those impacted by their death or injury. Unfortunately, most drivers do not have near enough insurance to cover their losses. Zarzaur Law, P.A. recommends that each driver carry as much as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as possible as these economic costs will be borne by the public sector if they are not insured against and many injuries parties are sent away from lawyers each month since they did not purchase enough coverage.

Recent Escambia County Court Order allows for punitives damages for smart phone just prior to wreck

Last week, an Escambia County Circuit Court Judge entered an order in a car wreck case permitting punitive damages against a driver who was using her cell phone at the time of the wreck. This particular driver testified that she was going 20 mph over the speed limit while using her smart phone to check Facebook, emails and text messages and that she never saw the Plaintiff prior to colliding with their car. Circuit Court Judge Ross Goodman found that these factors were sufficient to permit the plaintiff to amend their complaint to add a count for punitive damages against the defendant driver.

This is the first Escambia County order that Zarzaur Law, P.A. is aware of which permits a plaintiff to request punitive damages from a jury for the defendant’s use of a cell phone. Moral of this story is don’t speed and/or use your cell phone while driving. Zarzaur Law, P.A. has handled many cases where defendant drivers have been proven to be using their cell phones just prior to a wreck. In fact, studies suggest that driving while using a smart phone is as bad as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you or a loved one has further questions about car wreck involving distracted drivers, please feel free to call on Zarzaur Law, P.A. at 855-hirejoe or on the web at https://zarzaurlaw.com.

Florida Supreme Court holds that you can be held liable for car wreck if your name is on title even without access to car

Last month the Florida Supreme Court decided a case that can affect those of us who may share title to a car driven in Florida. The case that was decided was one that involved a car purchased by a married couple. The title of the car was registered in both of their names as co-owners. The couple was later divorced and the wife took sole possession of the car. She was the only one that had access to the car, it was kept in her garage, she had the only keys and the ex-husband never used the car. The title, however, remained in both of their names following divorce and there was never any effort for the husband to remove his name from the title of the car.

As some of you may or may not know, Florida has a law called the Dangerous Instrumentality doctrine that makes the title owner of a vehicle liable for injuries or damages caused to a third party by anyone who has the authority to drive the car. The Court noted that there are exceptions to this law such as if the car is stolen prior to the wreck or if the situation is one where the owner has “bare legal title” such as when you sign papers to purchase a car but the papers have not yet been processed by the title officials. The Court however noted in this case that the purpose of the Dangerous Instrumentality law is to saddle those in the best position to control who drives the car (the title owners) with the responsibility of only permitting those they deem as safe drivers to control the vehicle.

Eventhough the Husband did not have possession of the car and it was kept out of his immediate control, the Court reasoned that so long as he was title co-owner that he had the right to control and the right to access and that was enough to justify him being held responsible. Further the Court noted that there was a legal process for divesting yourself as title owner of a car and that the Husband failed to exercise that option. The Court also made note of the fact that the title was listed as “Sally or John Smith” which bestowed either with unilateral rights to the vehicle. The period of time between the titled being issued and the wreck was over 22 months.

So, the moral of this story is that if you are listed as co-owner of any Florida motor vehicle please understand that you can be held responsible for any injuries caused by any driver of that car even if you do not personally give permission to the driver. So long as the driver gets permission from any owner and an accident occurs, all persons appearing on title are potentially liable for damages.

If you have questions about this case, any car wreck case or anything questions related to the functioning of Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, please do not hesitate to contact Zarzaur Law, P.A. at 855-hirejoe or on the web at zarzaurlaw.com.

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Parasail Injury case handled by Zarzaur Law makes up part of basis for new law

For one Florida mother, parasailing regulation is long overdue – Legislature – MiamiHerald.com. Injuries sustained by tourist while on vacation in Florida can be devastating. Vacation is a time treasured all year by many and it is one in which we all suspend our everyday thinking for a more relaxed approach to life. Unfortunately, there are a minority of businesses that take advantage of this lassiez-faire mentality and some times it can result in serious injury or death.

First, let it first be stated that most parasail companies are comprised of good people who care about the safety of its customers and pride themselves in providing an excellent experience. Like nearly everything, however, there are a fair number parasail businesses that operate seasonally, have not real ties to the community and basically are running on a shoestring budget. These few bad companies have historically cut corners from everything involved in parasailing from the maintenance of use of the vessels used, failure to train parasail employees, failing to maintain or replace the parachute line and/or the failure to purchase insurance for injuries to their customers.

Thankfully, the Florida legislature has passed, much over due, legislation that will provide some “common sense” protections over parasail businesses. These laws will make sure that companies do not send customers up when the wind is over 20 mph or gusting over 25 mph (common sense to most but not all). The law also requires that these companies carry a minimum of $1 million dollars per customer in liability coverage. (Again, an assumption you would think for companies pulling human beings on a line over 300 feet in the air).

Zarzaur Law, P.A. has handled parasail cases and other watersport injury cases. “All of those cases were “fly by the seat of your pants” companies that because of this law would not be able to start such a business. We are happy that this law is been passed in Florida. My hope is that these changes will help prevent further injuries or deaths by those few irresponsible businesses that place profits over safety”, says Joe Zarzaur.

A case Mr. Zarzaur handled was one of 23 other parasail injuries cited by the proponents of this new law in urging its passing. Mr. Zarzaur said that his case was settled for a confidential amount but that it involved the loss of an eye when old and worn out line was being used and it snapped during a flight and blinded the rider. “Reckless folks will be deterred from even engaging in this risky business and that is a good thing for community safety” Zarzaur said.

Florida Supreme Court strikes MedMal Damage Caps

Last week the Florida Supreme Court struck down damage caps in wrongful death medical malpractice cases. The case, Estate of Michelle McCall v. United States of America, at issue last week involved a mother who died during childbirth when the primary doctors did not think it was necessary to call in an obstetrician to assist with a complication delivery. Further, the young mother was allowed to bleed to death while the doctor order that her blood be taken for testing. In any event, the court was asked to determine whether damage caps in these kind of cases were constitutional. The Florida Supreme Court determined that such caps were not constitutional since they were not passed in an effort to further any legitimate government interest and their application was purely arbtirary.

The most relevant part of this Supreme Court opinion, in my view, was its discussion about the legitimate government interest or lack thereof. See, these caps were passed by the Florida legislature in response to what it deemed was a “medical malpractice crisis.” I am sure you all remember several years ago (and every few years on election cycle) when conservative politicians say things like “Florida Doctors are being run off by jackpot verdicts”, “Hospital Emergency rooms are closing due to the trial lawyers” or that “insurance premiums are so high in Florida because of the runaway verdicts.” These are the same items that the Florida legislature took testimony on and based the passing of these caps. However, the Supreme Court was tasked with examining the law and determining the adequacy of its basis from a constitutional perspective.

So the McCall Court looked to see if this claim of “crisis” was a legitimate state interest or not. Not surprising to me, it turned out to be nothing but “the underwriting cycle of the insurance industry”. Here are a few of the facts that were cited by the Court illustrating the fictatious nature of this “crisis”: Government reports have concluded that the number of Florida doctors has increased over the past decade not decreased, this is true for city doctors and those found in more rural areas; in a 14 year period only 7.5% of jury awards against doctors or hospitals was over $1 million dollars; there was no evidence from any source that established any person not being able to recieve medical care or being re-directed to another practicioner as the result of this medical malpractice crisis; despite the caps on medical malpractice damages insurance premiums for doctors have not been lowed but increased; insurance company profits have increased since the passing of these caps without these companies passing these savings on to their insureds. All of these items were laid out by the Court in its opinion with multiple references for each proposition. Most of the sources relied upon by the Court were governmental publications without ties to any special interest.

So, the Court held that given the complete lack of a rational basis the State of Florida cannot possibly have a legitimate state interest in making more money for the insurance companies. So, the next time you hear about an insurance crisis or any crisis tied to the insurance industry. Ask yourself if the solution being offered is one that will increase profits for anyone and your expense. In this case the insurance industry and its powerful lobby got away with some pretty healthy profit margins at many victim’s expense. Not anymore in this State.

For more information on this case or any personal injury matter or wrongful death case, please feel free to contact the firm at 855-HIREJOE or on the web at zarzaurlaw.com.

Pensacola Law Firm: Verdicts matter

What Differentiates Pensacola Law Firm, Zarzaur Law

Pensacola Law FirmYou’ve seen plenty of advertisements for a Pensacola Law Firm. In fact, our community is constantly bombarded with personal injury lawyers peddling themselves and their abilities. However, only a very few of us actually get verdicts to justify their professional suggestions. The fact remains that most every Pensacola Law Firm lawyer in this business charges the same contingency fee for their services but the trial records of personal injury lawyers differ greatly. Many personal injury lawyers advertising for injury cases have never seen a courtroom with a jury much less a verdict form. Ask before you hire a Pensacola Law Firm and personal injury lawyer whether they have recent verdicts. Verdicts matter.

Pensacola Law Firm