Category Archives: Auto Accidents

Client Stories – Car Accident Victims Michael and Amber C.

Car Accident VictimsHurricane Sally struck the Gulf Coast on September 9, 2020. Not only was there the stress of post-hurricane clean-up, but at the time, the COVID pandemic was still lingering and making an already bad situation worse. For one Florida couple, this was made even more devastating when they were struck and then almost crushed by a Sewer Mac dump truck that not only hit them from behind but fell sideways on top of their vehicle. They contacted Zarzaur Law, P.A. for help with their car accident injury case.

This is their story.

Devastating Crash

So we were in a car accident in Pensacola, Florida during Hurricane Sally. A tanker truck fell on top of us. We thought we were dead that day, so it was a really bad accident. We’d never been in that situation before, and we didn’t know what to do. The accident happened over the weekend, and we contacted Zarzaur Law, and we got a call from Joe that Monday.

Immediate Response

We emailed Joe Zarzaur on Sunday evening, and then we talked to him on Monday, and it was really good because we didn’t know what to do, we didn’t know what to expect, or what the process was. We’d never sued anybody before, and we didn’t even know if we were suing somebody. We wanted to know what our next steps were.

Treatment Questions Answered

We knew I was injured and we needed protection, and we just wanted to make sure that we were protected. We’ve heard horror stories, so the nice thing about it was that their office walked us through everything. I suffered from PTSD through the process, and I remember our paralegal Jessica having to listen to me cry on the phone, but there were no doctors available at that time because of the hurricane.

So they actually helped us find a doctor to go to and to get things taken care of. So that was really helpful in the whole scheme of everything with it. But the thing I like most is our, our immediate phone call with Joe and knowing “You’ve come to the right place and that we’re going to handle all the steps for you.” As far as contacting physicians and saying “This doctor is going to see you and where you should go.” So we felt very at ease almost instantly. They’re professionals, and they know what they’re doing.

Joe took his time on the phone with us, so we didn’t feel rushed. We felt valued and we knew we were in the right place. We had so many attorneys trying to contact us after it hit the news and all that. So we were glad we chose Joe Zarzaur and Zarzaur Law.

We wouldn’t change anything. As we went through the process, they helped us. Once we got through the doctor’s part and got all the medical things done, we went on to the next steps. They walked that through with us as well.

We Knew Joe Would Fight For Us.

We knew, okay, we were injured more than we had thought, and I remember talking to Joe and saying, “Listen, I just need someone who’s got our best interests at heart and will protect us.” I remember talking with him on the phone about that, and the next thing I know, we’ve got people connected with us. Joe even gave us his own cell phone number to call if we felt we really needed it and all that. So through the whole step, all the way to the end, once we got into the settlement part of it and everything, we didn’t have to do anything.  Joe’s team told us exactly what to expect at each interval.

We were very well informed. The team was amazing. The entire team, everyone we came across was professional and good.

Then the outcome was better than what we had hoped for. Yes, we felt like we were being taken care of.

Michael and Amber C.

Watch Their Video On YouTube 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

GET MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT HERE AT OUR “Car Wreck Checklist” >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Two-Hour Car Seat Rule: What You Need To Know.

Did you know that when traveling with a baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you take your baby out of the car seat every two hours? Do you also know what the recommendations is for when you can start doing longer drives with your baby?

Surprisingly, many parents have not heard of the two-hour car seat rule. If you have never heard of this before, don’t worry; during National Baby Safety Month, we wanted to share important information about this recommendation.

 

At What Age Does The Two-Hour Car Seat Rule End?

The two-hour car seat rule age is not specific, but it should be followed until the baby is old enough to sit upright and control their head and neck movement.

Sitting Devices, Such As Car Seats, Strollers, Swings, Infant Carriers, And Infant Slings, Are Not Recommended For Routine Sleep In The Hospital Or At Home, Particularly For Infants Younger Than 4 Months. – AAP

 

What If The Baby Falls Sleep In Its Car Seat?

Many babies fall asleep in their car seats, but as soon as you get the chance, the baby should be moved to a flat-lying position.

If your baby has been sleeping for most of your trip, it may be even more important for you to take frequent breaks.

Sleeping In The Car Seat Is Actually The Most Dangerous Time For Your Baby, As They Can Slump Down And Restrict Their Own Breathing.

Moving your baby to a flat-lying position when sleeping is better for their spine and their breathing and heart rate.

Also consider what plans you have for your baby’s sleep at night throughout your trip. You should never allow your baby to sleep in their car seat in a hotel room or at home.

Only use car seats in the car when the car is moving. Other uses are not safe for the baby.

Over half of the infant deaths that occur in reclined sleeping devices happen in car seats.

Bottom line—if your question is, “At what age does the 2-hour car seat rule end?” The answer to that is more about the baby’s ability to sit correctly than age.

 

Buy The Appropriate Car Seat.

There are different types of car seats on the market. They are designed to be age, weight, and height specific.

Again, a suitable car seat is rear-facing. Read more on best choices here >

 

 

 

How Long Should I Keep My Child In A Rear-Facing Car Seat?

For at least two years, according to the AAP guidelines.

 

Important Child Safety Seat Reminders For Parents

As children grow, so do their restraint types (rear- facing, forward-facing, booster seat, or seat belt). Always use the one that fits your child’s current age and size.

Use the NHTSA Car Seat Finder located here > 

Every car and every car seat or booster seat has different installation instructions, so make sure you read both the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual.
Remember that children in rear-facing seats should never be placed in front of an active passenger air bag.

Use either the lower anchors and tether, or the seat belt and tether when installing forward-facing seats.

To get assistance with installation, find a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) at a location near you using NHTSA’s Inspection Station locator.

For Escambia County >

For Santa Rosa County >

For Okaloosa County >

For Walton County >

For Miami-Dade >

Remember to register your car seat or booster seat so you can be notified in the event of a safety recall.

Plan to use car seats or booster seats when traveling and riding in taxis or ride-share vehicles.

Find out when your child is ready to use an adult seat belt, reference the “Car Seat Recommendations for Children”. Be sure to read the information for Booster Seat and Seat Belt Use.

Keep children in the back seat until at least age 13. It’s the safest place to ride.

— NHTSA’s Research and Program Development

 

Avoid Long Journeys

Parents and caregivers are advised to avoid planning long trips until their baby is ready to withstand traveling for long hours. Besides long-distance travel, traffic in your city must be factored in to keep away from being stuck in one with a newborn baby in the car.

When long journeys are unavoidable, breaks should be scheduled in between hours to give the infant child a chance to relax before continuing with the trip.

Bottom line – Infant car seats should only be used in the vehicle.

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

 

GET MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT HERE AT OUR “Car Wreck Checklist” >

 

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If your child has been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.safekids.org/blog/5-tips-new-parents-during-baby-safety-monthhttps://momvanup.com/the-2-hour-car-seat-rule-when-does-it-end/

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20190520/putting-your-child-to-sleep-in-a-car-seat-is-risky

2 Hour Rule

https://www.momnewsdaily.com/family/2-hour-car-seat-rule-all-you-need-to-know/

https://www.safekids.org/blog/5-tips-new-parents-during-baby-safety-month

https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/best-infant-car-seat#our-pickshttps://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-safe-sleep-recommendations-back-is-best/

Dangers Of Drowsy Driving In Florida.

We are all familiar with the hazards of drinking and driving or even texting and driving, but many people underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving. Each year, drowsy driving accounts for about 100,000 car crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Drowsy driving contributes to an estimated 9.5% of all car accidents, according to AAA.

 

Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act

In the state of Florida, in partnership with the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), September 5-11 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

On September 5, 2008, 8-year-old Ronshay Dugans lost her life after a cement truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit the school bus she was riding. Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act was established in 2010 by the Florida Legislature, recognizing the first week in September as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in her honor.

“I pray that Drowsy Driving Prevention Week brings awareness to anyone who gets behind the wheel that didn’t get enough sleep. This week brings comfort to us letting us know Ronshay’s spirit lives on when someone hears her story. If you have to turn the air up or drink coffee to stay awake, this is a sign of drowsy driving. Our family is asking motorists this week, and every week, to rest before traveling and if you are sleepy, utilize rest stops.”
–Josie West, aunt of Ronshay Dugans

 

FLHSMV ESTIMATES THAT
3,991 REPORTED CAR CRASHES IN FLORIDA
INVOLVED DROWSY DRIVERS LAST YEAR.

 

Drowsy Driving Laws In America

Only two states (Arkansas and New Jersey) have laws directly classifying drowsy driving as a punishable offense.

California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, and Maine have adopted driver’s license restrictions for motorists with untreated sleep disorders.

Massachusetts, California, Alabama, Florida, and Texas all have weeks or days dedicated to spreading awareness of drowsy driving and how to identify the signs of driving while drowsy.

For more information on drowsy driving state laws, consult the full list of legal resources available at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

Drowsy Driving Vs. Drunk Driving

Studies show being awake for more than 20 hours results in impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit in all US states.

Drowsy driving killed 795 people in 2017.
In 2017, nearly 2,000 people died in alcohol-related accidents.

Even if you aren’t drunk, driving while tired can slow your reaction times and thought processes enough to cause a car accident.

 

How Often Do People Drive While Drowsy?

About 27% of drivers report driving while being so tired they have difficulty keeping their eyes open (AAA)

1 In 25 Drivers Admit To Falling Asleep Behind The Wheel (CDC)

 

47% OF THOSE WHO HAVE
DID SO ON A TRIP
LASTING ONE HOUR
OR LESS (NHTSA)

 

When Does Drowsy Driving Happen?

Most drowsy driving crashes occur between midnight and 6am or later on in the afternoon when the body regulates sleep (NHTSA)

Drowsy driving crashes often only involve a single passenger running off the road (NHTSA)

Drowsy driving crashes are more common on highways and rural roads (NHTSA)

 

Drowsy Driving Behavior By Length Of Drive

Respondents explain when they’ve ever displayed these drowsy driving behaviors.

 

Driver Fatigue Warning Signs

Specific drowsiness indicators signal that you should refrain from driving until you have had more sleep. However, driver fatigue may not always show itself in the same form, making it harder for some to detect.

Key warning signs of drowsy driving include:
1. You can’t seem to keep your eyes focused.
2. You can’t keep your eyes open and keep blinking.
3. Your head suddenly feels unbearably heavy.

These symptoms are particularly dangerous because they are so common, but it is critical that you do not ignore your body’s signals that it is tired.

 

Who Are The At-Risk Groups For Drowsy Driving Car Accidents In Florida?

Drowsy driving can happen to anyone, but it does affect some groups more than others.

These drivers that are at a higher risk of drowsy driving include:

Young And Inexperienced Drivers
Teens and young drivers have had less time on the road, so their skills are not developed behind the wheel. Younger drivers are also more likely to drive during late hours for work or social reasons, making them more susceptible to drowsy driving.

Shift Workers And Those With Extended Hours
Shift and night workers are often subject to long hours on the clock, and when it comes time to clock out, they are typically exhausted. A long drive home is the last thing they need, but many still trudge to their cars out of obligation and routine anyway. Those who work night, rotating, or double shifts have six times the risk of drowsy driving than other types of workers. Professionals who often work grueling shifts can include doctors, nurses, pilots, police officers and firefighters.

Commercial Drivers|
Those who drive for a living put more miles on the road than the average commuter. Commercial drivers are also at much higher risk of drowsy driving, given the long hours and unforgiving deadlines that many commercial drivers face.

Business Travelers
Those who travel the country regularly for business are at particular risk of drowsy driving, as they are often subjected to jet lag, changing time zones as often as ZIP codes. If you travel extensively for work, it can be challenging to get enough sleep to be safe on the road.

People With Sleep Conditions
Drowsy driving can be an everyday battle for drivers with sleep disorders. Narcolepsy or insomnia can leave some drivers feeling depleted and tired during the day, while those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are categorically more at-risk of drowsy driving. Some medications can also be counter-effective, making drivers sleepy when they need to be focused behind the wheel.

 

The Consequences Of Drowsy Driving In Florida

The most expensive cost of drowsy driving is the human toll that it takes each year. With over 100,000 crashes attributed to drowsy driving, future accidents can easily be avoided with just a little effort.

The consequences of drowsy driving in Florida can be pretty severe. Assuming you survive your car accident in Florida, you could still walk away with significant injuries that could require months or even years of medical care. You could also suffer from long-lasting cognitive or physical impairments that can impact your performance and physical health.

In an August 2016 report, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates that the annual societal cost of drowsy driving is $109 billion. Additionally, the study notes that property damages are not even included in this cost.

 

Prevention: How To Stay Awake While Driving In Florida

1. Drive at times you are usually awake.
2. Take your time and don’t rush to get to your destination.
3. Eat a low-sugar, healthy diet before your drive.
4. Take energy-boosting vitamins.
5. Drink caffeine.
6. If you are sleepy, a 100-calorie snack may wake you up.
7. If you can’t make it, a 20-minute nap should suffice. That’s what rest stops are for!

“You can’t control what other drivers do, but you can control being drowsy behind the wheel,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Take steps to stay alert because it could save your life as well as the lives of innocent motorists.”

 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our “Car Wreck Checklist” >

 

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, MedicalMalpractice, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more.

Licensed in Alabama and Florida. www.zarzaurlaw.com

Offices in Pensacola, Destin, Miami and Tallahassee

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLHSMV/bulletins/32b01c0

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/drowsy-driving/drowsy-driving-vs-drunk-driving

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving

https://www.thezebra.com/resources/research/drowsy-driving-statistics/

https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/drowsy-driving-statistics/

The Prevalence and Impact of Drowsy Driving

What You Should Know If Traveling By Car in Florida Over Labor Day Weekend. 

According to The Vacationer, an estimated 137 million people will be traveling for Labor Day weekend, which is more than 53% of the country.

Last Major Travel Holiday Of The Summer: Increased Traffic To Pensacola and Destin

Labor Day also marks the symbolic end of the summer, and both Pensacola and Destin, Florida have been named as one of the top locations to visit during the holiday weekend, according to tripstodiscover.com. This will also mean increased traffic to our popular coastal communities and increased risk of car wrecks caused by drivers not familiar with the area or driving carelessly.

Unofficial End Of Summer

Labor Day weekend is a common signal to many as the unofficial end of summer, but for law enforcement across Florida, it signifies an increase in motorists traveling on the roadways and the importance of reminding drivers to stay safe and sober behind the wheel.

“As Labor Day approaches, please keep safety at the forefront of your travel plans. While many of us will take this long weekend to celebrate with family and friends, our FHP Troopers and first responders will be working to respond to and protect our safety,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Historically in Florida, more crashes occur on the Friday before Labor Day than any other day during the four-day travel period. No matter how far your destination may be, please remember to buckle up, slow down, and never drive impaired. ”

 

According to FLHSMV data, last year, 4,016 crashes occurred from the Friday before Labor Day through Labor Day across Florida.

During this four-day period, there were 41 fatalities from crashes—eight of which involved drugs and/or alcohol.

 

So as you prepare to travel here are some top tips and info that you can use to ensure a safe arrival to your Labor Day destination in Florida. 

 

When Is The Best Time To Leave For Labor Day Weekend Travel?

According to Transportation analytics company INRIX here is what you need to know in regards to best and worst times to travel for the Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday: Before 12:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Thursday: Before 12:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Friday: Before 1:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Saturday: Before 1:00 p.m. or after 5:00 p.m.

Sunday and Monday are expected to have normal to minimal congestion.

 

When Is The Worst Time To Leave For Labor Day Weekend Travel?

“Thursday, like three-to-four o’clock (p.m.) is probably the worst time to leave,”  Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for INRIX said. “That’s when you get commuters and people running errands, mixing with vacationers and schools getting out if they’re in session.”

Wednesday: 1:00-8:00 p.m.

Thursday: 1:00-8:00 p.m.

Friday: 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Saturday: 12:00-5:00 p.m.

What could help ease the pain on the road is taking state highways as opposed to an interstate highway. 

 

TOP 4 LABOR DAY WEEKEND DRIVING SAFETY TIPS

Focus on Driving
Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking.

Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving.

Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.

Drive “Defensively”

Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and expect the unexpected.

Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.

Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you.

Make that 4 seconds if the weather is bad.

Make a Safe Driving Plan

Build time into your trip schedule to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.

Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.

Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.

Practice Safety

Secure cargo that may move around while the vehicle is in motion.

Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor.

Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards and garage passes.

Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.

 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our “Car Wreck Checklist” >

 

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, MedicalMalpractice, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more.

Licensed in Alabama and Florida. www.zarzaurlaw.com

Offices in Pensacola, Destin, Miami and Tallahassee

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

Labor Day

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2022/08/30/best-worst-time-travel-labor-day-weekend/7939023001/

https://www.tripstodiscover.com/best-places-in-florida-to-visit-on-labor-day-weekend/

https://www.flhsmv.gov/2022/09/01/florida-highway-patrol-offers-tips-for-safe-labor-day-travel/

Motor Vehicle Accidents Remain The Leading Cause Of Workplace Deaths

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of workplace deaths in the U.S. These accidents involve many types of vehicles, from delivery trucks, tractor trailers, and garbage trucks to emergency response vehicles, farm equipment, and passenger cars.

EVERY 12 MINUTES, SOMEONE DIES IN A MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH

EVERY 10 SECONDS, AN INJURY OCCURS

EVERY 5 SECONDS, A CRASH OCCURS 

Many accidents happen during work.  Many of them occur on the way to and from work.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the US
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

In 2019, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives in car crashes. About 4.4 million people were injured seriously enough to require medical attention in crashes last year. 40% of motor vehicle accidents are work-related.
(Source: NSC and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40% of all work-related fatalities. (Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Motor vehicle accidents cost employers over $56 billion in 2017, with 53% of vehicle accidents causing employees to miss work. 68% of companies reported recent on-the-job accidents in company-owned vehicles, and 41% of companies reported recent on-the-job accidents in employee-owned vehicles. (Source: Motus Research)

US Dept of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics

Drivers, sales workers, and truck drivers had the most fatalities of any broad occupation group at 966. (Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Transportation-related incidents include those involving aircraft, railways, roadway collisions, and more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Dec. 16, 2021, 

From Highest To Lowest Fatalities:

Transportation-related incidents

Slip and fall.

Contact with objects, equipment

Violence

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

Fire and explosions

Key findings from the 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 

A worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury in 2020.

Transportation-Incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event, with 1,778 fatal injuries, accounting for 37.3 percent of all work-related fatalities.

“For the majority of people, the most dangerous thing they do while at work is drive on the public highway.”
(Source: Road Safety Observatory)

Driving for Work: Why Should Safety be Your Top Concern?

Motor Vehicle Accidents  Whether your work involves operating or driving machinery on or off-site, it’s vital to make sure that your personal safety is protected, both by your employer and through their and your actions. People who drive for work are often subject to tight schedules and quotas, putting pressure on them to get there on time or to move merchandise quickly.

Whatever your role as a driver entails, safety should be your first concern. No matter where you work, your employer is obligated to provide a safe working environment, which includes maintaining safe vehicles and machinery. Safety of staff is of paramount importance and should always be the first concern of workmates, employers, and sub-contractors alike.

Who Is At Risk of a Workplace Vehicle Accident?

According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the industry divisions with the highest fatalities include:

Transportation, Communications, and Public Utilities (TCPU)

Sales

Service

Construction

Manufacturing

Mining

Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing

Material movers

Laborers

Of course, these aren’t the only industries in which workers face the risk of a motor vehicle crash. Any profession that involves commuting or transporting goods or people presents a crash risk. Home healthcare workers, taxi drivers, and police officers spend significant time driving as well.

It isn’t only drivers who are at risk. Pedestrians can also be struck by a vehicle. Pedestrians are involved in approximately 16% of fatal transportation incidents.

What Are the Causes of Workplace Vehicle Accidents?

Workplace vehicle accidents generally fall into three categories:

Collision with another vehicle

Collision with a pedestrian

Collision with a stationary object on the roadside

Alcohol, other drugs, speed, lack of sleep, and driver distractions are factors in many work-related vehicle crashes. Distracted driving is becoming an increasing concern, killing an estimated 5,500 people and injuring nearly 450,000 each year.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Workplace Motor Vehicle Accidents?

Here Are A Few Things Employers Can Do To Help Prevent Workplace Motor Vehicle Accidents:

Check Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs).
On a yearly basis, verify drivers’ MVRs to ensure licenses are valid and that there are no outstanding violations. Additionally, only properly licensed individuals should be allowed to drive specialized vehicles.

Keep company vehicles in good repair.
Regularly inspect tires, brakes, lights, horns, and mechanicals as needed and replace or repair any problems. If a vehicle needs repair work, it should be marked as out of commission.

Create a corporate distracted driving policy.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving was responsible for 9% of total fatal crashes in 2017. Employees should always be focused on the task at hand: getting to their destination safely. Creating a corporate distracted driving policy provides employees with strict guidelines for avoiding cellphone use, including making calls or answering texts and emails, while they are behind the wheel.

Enforce safety measures.
It should go without saying that employees should be required to wear seatbelts at all times. They should also obey all traffic laws, including posted speed limits, understand how to check blind spots before switching lanes, and have basic defensive driving skills.

Allow drivers to take breaks.
Employees required to drive for long hours in the early morning or late at night may be more susceptible to drowsy driving and falling asleep at the wheel. Encourage drivers to take frequent breaks, at least every 100 miles or every two hours, especially when driving overnight. Before a long drive, employees should get plenty of sleep, and understand that if they start to feel groggy or irritable, they should pull over and get some rest.

Watch Our Video On This Topic >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources – 

https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/motor_vehicle_guide.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/motorvehicle/resources/crashdata/facts.html

Preventing Workplace Motor Vehicle Accidents

 

August Is Back-To-School Month And Child Safety Awareness Month In Florida

As students across Florida and in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties head back to school over the next week, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), reminds us that August is Child Safety Awareness Month. This awareness initiative reminds motorists to drive safely on Florida roads as children once again not only travel on school buses but also very close to roads and traffic on their bikes and use crosswalks.

In 2021, There Were
2,700 School Bus Crashes In Florida.
And 34 School Buses Crashed In
Escambia County

 

“Our morning and afternoon commutes will start to look different as the school year begins, but one thing that must remain constant is our commitment to driving safely,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “This Child Safety Awareness Month, and every month, I urge all motorists to be vigilant on the roads and remind parents and caregivers to ensure children are protected when in and around cars.”

IN 2021, THERE WERE
118,668 CHILDREN AGES 0 TO 17
INVOLVED IN A CRASH IN FLORIDA,
RESULTING IN 1,215 SERIOUS BODILY INJURIES
AND 167 FATALITIES.

As children travel to and from school, motorists must ensure they arrive safely by obeying school-zone speed limits, remaining attentive around child pedestrians and bicyclists, and properly stopping for school buses. In 2021, there were 2,700 school bus crashes in Florida.

“As we prepare for a new school year, FHP urges all drivers to exercise extreme caution on their daily commutes.” Slow down in school zones, do not drive distracted, and stop for stopped school buses,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Our children are our future, and they are depending on you to protect them.”

In 2021, 33% of child passengers killed in car accidents in Florida were not wearing any type of restraint. A seat belt or child restraint is a vehicle’s most important safety feature, but it only works if it is used and used correctly every time. Florida law requires the use of seat belts or child restraint devices by drivers of motor vehicles, all front-seat passengers, and all children under 18 riding in a vehicle. Florida law also requires children ages 5 and under to be secured properly in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.

According to a new AAA survey
of Florida drivers,
38% admitted to speeding
in an active school zone and
32% admitted to using their hand-held cell phones
while driving in active school zones.

 

Back-to-School Safety Checklist

Secure their future by buckling up and selecting the appropriate seat.

  • Seat belts save lives and are required to be worn by all drivers, front-right passengers, and anyone under the age of 18; however, FLHSMV strongly recommends seat belt usage for all ages.
  • The best car seat is the one that fits your child’s size, is correctly installed, fits well in your car, and is used properly every time you drive.
  • When installing a car seat in your vehicle, be sure to read the seat’s instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
  • Remember to check for car seat and booster seat recalls and signs up to receive any potential alerts in the future.
  • Watch our video on how to properly install a car seat >

 

Stop For School Buses And Slow Down In School Zones.

  • As of January 1, 2021, the penalties for failing to stop for a school bus and passing a stopped school bus on the side where children enter and exit doubled. It is imperative that all motorists properly stop for school buses so all of Florida’s children can arrive at school or home safely.
  • Using a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area is against the law and extremely dangerous.
  • Be alert and watch for children, especially near schools, bus stops, school buses, and in school parking lots. Pay extra attention to the lower speed limits in school zones. Only drive or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.
  • If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Never pass a bus stopped to load or unload children from behind – or from either direction if you’re on a one-way street.
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
  • The first ten feet around a school bus are the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to give them enough room to enter and exit safely.

 

Move Safely Together—Look Out Before You Step Out.

  1. Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one. If no sidewalks are present, walk against the direction of traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles.

2. Cross the roadway where pedestrians are expected, at corners or in crosswalks, and watch for traffic when crossing the street.

3. Pay attention. Avoid headphones so that you can hear the traffic and pedestrians around you. Never text or look at your phone when crossing the street.

4. Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct route with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards.

5. Walk the route with your child ahead of time. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields, and other places where there aren’t many people around.

6. Teach your child never to engage in conversation with strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.

7. Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend, or neighbor.

8. Teach your children to obey all traffic signals, signs, and officers whether they are walking, biking, or taking the bus to school. Remind them to be extra careful in bad weather.

9 . When transporting children, try to deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible. Don’t leave until they are in the schoolyard or building.

10. If your child bikes to school, make sure he wears a helmet that meets one of the safety standards (U.S. CPSC, Snell, ANSI, ASTM, or Canadian). Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.

11. If your child rides a scooter to school, make sure she wears sturdy shoes, a helmet, kneepads and elbow pads. Children under age 12 should not ride motorized scooters, according to recent recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

12. Teach children to arrive at the bus stop early, stay out of the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street, watch for cars and avoid the driver’s blind spot.

13. Remind your children to sit at all times and to keep their heads and arms inside the bus. When exiting the bus, children should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, exit from the front using the handrail to avoid falls, and cross the street at least 10 feet (or 10 giant steps) in front of the bus.

14. Advise your child not to bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not notice him before the bus begins to move.

15. Be sure that your child knows his or her home phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to call 911 for emergencies.

 

Check For Kids And Pets.

  • As routines change, it’s imperative to remain vigilant and make sure all children are out of the vehicle and accounted for before leaving. Put your purse, phone, or shoes in the backseat as a reminder to check.
  • Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle. Florida temperatures are hot and will rapidly increase in minutes, even if parked in the shade or with a window cracked.

 

Remember – Our Children’s Safety Comes First!

Although all parents warn their children about the dangers of traffic, we need to remember that children are still young and still learning. With all of the distractions around them, it’s easy to imagine a child stepping off of the bus and not being able to hear or notice oncoming traffic. We are the adults; it is our duty to abide by the laws put in place, not be in a hurry, or be distracted.

For additional safety tips, resources, and data related to child safety, visit the FLHSMV Child Safety webpage.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.flhsmv.gov/2022/08/01/flhsmv-recognizes-august-as-child-safety-awareness-month-2/

https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/child-safety/

Pensacola Among Top Fatal Pedestrian Crash Hot Spots.

According to the Journal of Transport and Land Use, Pensacola has been named among the top cities with fatal pedestrian crashes and one of the top cities in the country for fatal pedestrian crash hot spots.

These statistics are no surprise to Zarzaur Law, P.A. Our firm has seen a dramatic increase in calls to our office in regards to accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities made up 22% of the total traffic crash-related fatalities throughout Florida in 2021, resulting in 817 deaths. 

Car and truck crashes continue to be a major public safety issue in Pensacola and the rest of Escambia County.

2021 reports show that Escambia County is among the top 25 Florida counties for pedestrian accidents.

 

In March of 2022 alone, four people were killed crossing Escambia County roads in one weekend, which has prompted The Florida Highway to work even closer with the Florida Department of Transportation to find a way to help combat this issue, specifically in Escambia County.

Some of those changes include upgrading the standard yellow pedestrian crosswalk signs to a brighter, more visible color.

In July 2022, A woman was crossing West Cervantes Street near “S” Street at about 4 p.m. when she was hit by a car traveling westbound, according to the Pensacola Police Department. The woman sustained serious injuries.

Pedestrian safety improvements are currently being made after several fatalities in recent years. In fact, 31 accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians (and cyclists) have occurred between 2012 and 2018.

Pedestrian fatalities are becoming more common in the United States and Florida, according to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The report crunched numbers from just the first half of 2021 and found a roughly 31% increase in pedestrian fatalities in Florida. Altogether, the state saw 444 pedestrian deaths in that time frame, which was the second-highest count in the country behind California.

Florida did, however, see the greatest difference in deaths between that period in 2020 and 2021.

The most dangerous streets for pedestrians are in Florida, followed by Alabama, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Delaware. Florida has seven of the 10 most dangerous metro areas, with Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford bearing the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous in the US.

Dangerous Pensacola intersections: Jackson Street between A street and Fairfield Drive

The roughly 5.5-mile corridor traverses a diverse and predominantly residential community between A Street and Fairfield Drive, connecting downtown Pensacola and the western portion of Escambia County. A lack of sidewalks, safe crossings, and dedicated bike facilities makes traveling the corridor challenging for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Jay Aber, a WSP senior transportation engineer and planner of the proposed Jackson Street improvement project , said one-third of accidents along West Jackson Street involved pedestrians and cyclists. Dangerous intersections include A Street, Fairfield Drive, New Warrington Road, Old Corry Field Road, Pace Boulevard, 57th and 65th.

Proposed improvements will complement the existing communities and address safety, mobility, and sustainable, long-term economic redevelopment.

Dangerous Pensacola intersections: West Cervantes Street Corridor.

A similar project to curb accidents in the West Cervantes Street corridor is underway. Planned improvements along West Cervantes Street include constructing seven lighted mid-block crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps, and a wider multi-use path. New traffic signals will be added at four intersections, and existing signals will be enhanced with upgraded pedestrian features.

Vehicle lane widths will be reduced, and the speed limit will be lowered to 30 mph. A raised center median with a low barrier and designated openings for pedestrians at selected locations will be constructed within the project limits. The project also includes enhanced lighting, landscaping, and irrigation improvements. In addition, crews will mill and resurface the roadway where median and signal work are performed.

All of these projects are an effort to curb the continued rise in pedestrian deaths in Escambia County.

To request traffic calming measures with Escambia County, go here >

The Causes of Pedestrian Accidents:

Many factors are involved in the rising number of pedestrian accidents in Florida. Especially considering the population, the urban design, and the number of people who walk to work, school, beaches, and other places daily. The street culture of Florida also has many people who are running, cycling, skating, or simply walking through busy streets for work, school, and other purposes; and who are most at risk for pedestrian accidents every day.

The causes of these accidents include, but are not limited to:

    •  Over-speeding on behalf of drivers 
    • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • Negligence while driving
    • Distracted drivers on cellphones or other in car devices
    • Careless pedestrians neglecting public safety
    • Breaking traffic rules at intersections and traffic signals by both drivers and pedestrians

Drivers and pedestrians distracted by cellphones and oblivious to each other could be the cause of this spike in pedestrian injuries and deaths.

SAFETY TIPS FOR PEDESTRIANS

1. Be safe and seen: make yourself visible to drivers.

2. Be smart and alert: avoid dangerous behavior.

– stay sober

– walk on sidewalks

– don’t assume vehicles will stop

– don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals, be alert to engine sounds and backup lights

3.  Look before you step!

– look both ways

– don’t wear headphones

– cross streets at marked cross walks

SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS

Be Alert and Watch for Pedestrians:

1. Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians or bicyclists.

2. Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing or bicyclists coming up the road.

3. Never drive while distracted or after using alcohol or other drugs.

4. Do not use your cell phone while driving.

5. Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians, especially small children, before backing-up.

6. Keep your windshield clean and your headlights turned on for maximum visibility.

 

Be Responsible and Yield to Pedestrians at Crossings:

1. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether they are marked or not.

2. When making a right or left turn at an intersection, yield to pedestrians.

3. Do not block or park in crosswalks.

4. Be Patient: Maintain a safe speed and avoid aggressive maneuvers.

5. Never pass/overtake a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.

6. Follow speed limits and stop completely at STOP signs.

7. Use extra caution when driving near children playing along the street or older pedestrians who may not see or hear you.

8. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at all times.

 

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you or your family member has been the victim of an auto vs pedestrian accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2021/03/15/sunbelt-leads-pedestrian-deaths

https://weartv.com/news/local/4-pedestrian-fatalities-over-weekend-prompts-florida-highway-patrol-to-combat-issue

US pedestrian deaths are reaching a new high

Reimagine Safety

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/driving-tampa-bay-forward/florida-ranks-2nd-for-pedestrian-deaths-in-us-for-part-of-2021-local-group-advocates-for-solutions

https://www.route-fifty.com/infrastructure/2022/07/deadliest-us-metro-areas-pedestrians/374107/

https://jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu/article/view/1825

https://www.vox.com/23178764/florida-us19-deadliest-pedestrian-fatality-crisis

https://www.ghsa.org/resources/Pedestrians22

https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/Pedestiran%20Traffic%20Fatalities%20by%20State%20-%202021%20Preliminary%20Data.pdf

https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

https://www.yahoo.com/now/escambia-among-top-25-florida-120231002.html

Don’t Sign A Release After Your Car Accident Until You Speak With A Lawyer

Courtesy of AllLaw.com

If you’re involved in a car accident and you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses, the car insurance company of the driver who was responsible for causing the wreck may contact you to try and settle the claim.

Your first reaction to a settlement offer may be a relief. Now you’ll get money to pay for your medical bills, and to get your car fixed and back on the road, all without having to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.

But don’t get too carried away, because you’ll also have to sign a document called a “release” before the car insurance company sends you any money.

What exactly is a release and what is the legal impact of signing one?

If the car insurance company offers to settle your accident claim, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before signing the all-important release.

There Are Two Types Of Releases:

1. Property Damage Release-Car Damage

2. BI Release-Bodily Injury

What Is a Release?

A release is a legal document in which an individual agrees to give up, or release, certain legal rights. A release is also sometimes called a waiver. The purpose of the release is to end a legal matter (such as a civil lawsuit) and allow the parties to move on.

In the case of car accident claims or lawsuits, a person who signs the release gives up the right to sue certain individuals or entities as they relate to the specific accident. This means, if you sign a release from the other driver’s car insurance company, you will shield the insurer and its driver from any further legal action arising from the accident. In return, you’ll receive a settlement check.

Bodily Injury Settlement

In the typical settlement of a bodily injury claim, the injured person receives money as compensation for their injury. In return, the injured person agrees to release the paying party from further liability for that injury and to terminate any lawsuit that has been filed seeking damages.

Bodily Injury Release

The release agreement is actually a contract that eliminates all claims of the injured party as to the parties released. It is critical to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate the full extent of your injuries. This forever ends your injury claim.

Diminished Value

Florida is a “diminished value” state, which means you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after an auto accident. “Diminished Value” is the loss in market value that occurs when a vehicle is wrecked and repaired.

Things To Consider Before Signing A Release:

When you receive the release from the car insurance company, do not sign it until you have taken the following five things into consideration.

1. Consult an attorney about your claim and go over the release.

Not only will an experienced attorney be able to explain exactly what the release says and answer any questions you may have, but there may be certain legal rights you aren’t aware of that will vanish if you sign the release. Your attorney will point these out for you.

For example, let’s say you confirmed with your doctor that the car insurance company’s settlement amount is enough to pay for all your medical bills. But you may have valid claims for other losses that you may have overlooked or failed to consider, such as lost wages or pain and suffering. You won’t know for sure unless you have an attorney review the release and ask you the right questions.

2. Before signing the release, obtain permission from your car insurance company.

You may need your car insurance company’s permission before signing the release. This is due to a legal concept called subrogation, which is very important in car accident cases, especially underinsured motorist cases. Here’s how it works.

Imagine you’re involved in a car accident with another driver whose car insurance policy limits aren’t enough to fully compensate you for your losses. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, your car insurance company should make up the difference, up to your UIM limits. Your car insurance company will then use the subrogation provision in your car insurance policy to recover (or, more realistically, attempt to recover) the difference directly from the other driver.

Subrogation is how your car insurance company uses your legal right to pursue the other driver for reimbursement for the underinsured coverage payment it just made to you.

However, should you sign a release without your car insurance company’s permission, your car insurance company’s ability to go after the other driver is now gone? As a result, your insurance company may try to deny your underinsured motorist coverage claim.

3. Make Sure You Understand What You’re Signing.

Legal documents can be intimidating, and you may feel like there’s no point in reading the release if you won’t be able to understand it. However, you will probably understand more of it than you might think, especially the most important terms, such as the settlement amount and the details of the settlement payment.

Additionally, don’t take the word of the car insurance company’s representative as to what the terms of the release are. Always check it over yourself to make sure there are no misunderstandings.

4. Ensure that the settlement funds cover all injuries and damages.

Just because you feel fine and all your medical bills are fully covered by the settlement check, doesn’t mean you have been fully compensated. Many injuries from car accidents aren’t discovered until a period of time after the crash. The last thing you want to do is agree to a settlement of $20,000 for medical bills when a month later it turns out you need another $10,000 in medical treatment for injuries that have only recently presented symptoms.

 

REMEMBER THAT ONCE YOU SIGN THE RELEASE, YOU CAN’T GET ANYTHING ELSE FROM THE OTHER DRIVER OR THE OTHER DRIVER’S CAR INSURANCE COMPANY.

 

5. Determine if anyone else could be responsible for the accident.

This tends to be an issue when more than one person or entity is responsible for the accident. For instance, let’s say you have a release that only applies to a commercial truck driver that hit you. The settlement amount isn’t enough to fully compensate you, but you’re not sure if you should reject the release and file a lawsuit to try to recover the full amount. If it turns out that you have legal claims against the commercial truck driver’s employer and another individual driver, you might be more willing to sign the release.

The decision to sign the release will depend on a variety of factors and circumstances. Make sure you have the whole picture before you make your decision.

Watch Our Video On This Topic >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/before-you-sign-a-release-in-your-car-accident-settlement.html

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/auto-accident/settlement-before-signing-release-5-things.html

Dangerous Intersections In Florida: North W Street and Massachusetts Avenue

Courtesy of WEARTV News.

Intersections are a prime place for an automobile accident to occur. More than 50% of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.

An estimated 165,000 accidents occur annually in intersections caused by red-light runners. Fatalities caused by red-light runners run from 700-800 a year.

Fatal Auto Accidents In Escambia County

On Thursday, July 7, a 56-year-old woman was killed and a passenger was injured after a driver went through a red light. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows a sedan crashing into an SUV Thursday night at the intersections of Massachusetts Avenue and North W Street in Pensacola, Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the driver went through a red light.

Alarming Statistics About The Intersection of North W. Street and Massachusetts Avenue

According to Florida Highway Patrol, since 2019, there have been 53 accidents, 22 hit-and-run crashes, 12 crashes with injuries and 19 crashes with no injuries at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and North W Street in Escambia County, Florida.

The area is congested with traffic, and people need to pay attention.

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CRASHES IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA IN 2021 JUMPED BY MORE THAN 1,600. THERE WERE ALSO 23 MORE DEATHS IN THE SAME YEAR.

Escambia County Has a Higher Rate of Fatal Accidents Than Florida as a Whole.

Dangerous Intersections In Pensacola FLAccording to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), while Escambia County accounts for a relatively small portion of the total number of fatal accidents in Florida each year, the county has a higher rate of deadly accidents than Florida as a whole. In 2020, only 0.08 percent of Florida’s car accidents were fatal. However, in Escambia County, this figure is closer to 1%. While this might not seem like a significant difference, it accounts for several needless accident-related deaths in Escambia County on an annual basis.

What Are The Most Common Accidents That Occur At Intersections?

The most common causes of intersection car crashes are disobeying a traffic signal and failing to yield the right of way. Running a red light, trying to get through the intersection on a yellow light, and even unintentionally misjudging the traffic signal are all leading causes of intersection car crashes:

  • SpeedingSpeeding is dangerous under any circumstance, no matter what the circumstances. However, when a driver is speeding through a busy intersection, this can cause serious accidents.
  • Violation of traffic laws: If a driver is attempting to make illegal U-turns, turns without checking to see if there is oncoming traffic, or fails to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists, this can cause serious intersection accidents.
  • Impatience: Drivers will see a traffic light turn yellow and hit the gas pedal to avoid having to wait for the red light to turn green again.
  • Texting, talking, reaching for something, or any other type of distracted behavior will keep them from paying attention to what is going on around them.
  • Drunk driving is obviously dangerous, and it frequently results in fatalities.
  • Drowsy Driving: In almost the same frame as distracted driving, drowsy driving reduces reaction times, and as a result, he or she may not be able to react fast enough to avoid another vehicle who runs through a red light.

Which Is The Most Common Crash Type, Accounting For 40% Of Crashes?

Most of these crashes involve left turns. Nationally, 40 percent of all crashes involve intersections, the second largest category of accidents, led only by rear-end collisions. Fifty percent of serious collisions happen in intersections and some 20 percent of fatal collisions occur there.

What Types of Accidents Occur at Intersections?

Running through red lights, rear-ending other drivers, and cutting off other drivers while making a left turn can result in serious accidents at intersections. The following are some of the most common types of accidents that occur at intersections:

  • Side-Impact or T-Bone Collisions: This type of accident occurs when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, usually at about a 90-degree angle. The occupant on the passenger side of the vehicle that was hit often sustains very serious injuries because there is no barrier protecting them from the impact of the crash. These accidents often happen when a motorist fails to yield to the right-of-way, runs through a red light, is distracted, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Head-On Collisions: These are some of the most devastating accidents that often result in fatalities, particularly when the vehicles were traveling at a high speed at the time of the crash. They occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another vehicle. At intersections, these usually occur when a motorist makes an illegal left turn.
  • Left-Turn Accidents: These occur when a vehicle that is making a left turn gets into an accident with a vehicle that is going straight through the intersection. In most cases, the driver making the left turn is liable for the accident since he or she must yield to the motorists who are driving straight through the intersection.
  • Rear-End Collisions: These are the most common type of accident, resulting in 1.7 million accidents, approximately 1,700 fatalities and 500,000 injuries each year. They usually occur when a driver is tailgating another motorist or is not paying attention to his or her surroundings. For example, a rear-end collision can occur at an intersection if a motorist fails to slow down in time to avoid hitting a car that is stopped at a red light.

What are the Rules for Right-of-Way at an Intersection?

Dangerous Intersections In FloridaAll licensed drivers have a responsibility to understand and follow the rules of the road, including the rules for right-of-way. At busy intersections, there are very clear rules as to who has the right-of-way and who must yield to another vehicle. Failing to follow these rules can result in a serious intersection accident. Many intersections have cameras that will capture the events leading up to the accident, including whether one of the drivers failed to obey the traffic rules.

The following are examples of right-of-way rules that all motorists must follow when navigating an intersection:

  • Controlled intersections: These intersections will have traffic lights, stop signs, and/or yield signs that are meant to help keep traffic moving in a safe and orderly fashion. Motorists must obey these signs and signals and yield to the vehicles that have the right-of-way.
  • Intersections are not controlled by traffic signals: Motorists must yield to vehicles that are already at the intersection. If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the motorists should treat the intersection as if there is a four-way stop sign, and yield to the vehicle on the right.
  • Intersections with multiple-lane roads: Drivers on the one or two-lane road must yield to vehicles on the multi-lane road.
  • T-intersection right-of-way: The motorist on the dead-end street must yield to the vehicles on the through street.
  • Highway exit ramps: Motorists who are driving on an access road with a highway exit ramp must yield to the vehicles on the access road. In addition, when a car is entering a controlled-access highway, the vehicle on the ramp must yield to the motorists on the highway.

Always follow the speed limit, regardless of the type of intersection. When a driver exceeds the speed limit, he or she forfeits the right-of-way.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While At An Intersection.

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our “Car Wreck Checklist” >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://highways.dot.gov/research/research-programs/safety/intersection-safety

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811366

https://weartv.com/news/local/florida-highway-patrol-reveals-shocking-statistics-involving-escambia-county-intersection?fbclid=IwAR09jkEVmrl0SVRYfHEwiVhpPrG5LUZf8hEdv-j5BMJnXqLjMI6Bxs9rUpU

https://www.livestories.com/statistics/florida/escambia-county-car-accident-deaths-mortality

https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

NHTSA To Finally Require Side-Impact Testing Of Child Car Seats

Finally Require Side-Impact Testing Of Child Car Seats

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for collecting data about side-impact collisions and that data is alarming. Side impact types of accidents are especially bad for children.

In the last 20 years, the number of children’s deaths caused by T-bone collisions has gone up by 20 percent.

The increase in these accidents has been attributed to two factors: increased speed and more SUVs on the road. A side-impact collision was responsible for 29 percent of the 9,000 fatalities recorded in one year.

Did You Know That Until Now, Side-Impact Crash Testing Of A Child’s Car Seat Was Not Required?

Car seats for kids under 40 pounds will now have to pass a side-impact test that replicates a 30-mph T-bone-style side collision, although manufacturers have three years to comply.

 

In 2021, a group of 17 state attorneys general wrote a letter to NHTSA that said not having side-impact tests in place “unnecessarily endangers children on the road and does a huge disservice to families.”

 

It has taken longer than safety advocates, Congress, and many state attorneys general wanted, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finally issued a rule for updated side-impact crash tests involving child safety seats used on passenger vehicles.

Before the new rule, child safety seats were only required to prove their efficacy in tests that simulated 30-mph front impact crashes. The new rule adds a 30-mph side impact test, also known as a T-bone crash, to the list.

Side-Impact Car Accidents and Children

Side-impact accidents are sometimes called broadside collisions or T-bone crashes due to the nature of the way the vehicles hit each other and form a “T” shape. These accidents occur when one vehicle’s front end directly impacts the side of another car or truck.

Some of the most common causes of side-impact car accidents are:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding and red-light running
  • Improper lane change
  • Drowsy driving
  • Distractions such as texting or using a mobile device, in-vehicle technologies and helping backseat passengers while driving
  • Pile-up accidents

Injuries may manifest differently in each crash depending on the speed, force of impact, type of vehicle involved, and age of those injured, particularly children who are seated in a car seat that is not in compliance to side-impact crash safety standards.

Injuries to children that have been associated with side-impact car accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion, neck injuries, or whiplash
  • Broken bones in the face, hands, legs, arms, ribs
  • Internal and external decapitation
  • Spinal cord injury or paralysis
  • Death

 

Test Dummies “Tossed Around” in Earlier Testing

Side Impact Testing Of Child Car SeatsThe problem with the previous system, as CBS News and ProPublica reported in 2020, was that NHTSA gave some booster seats passing grades even though “the test dummies were violently tossed around during the tests,” CBS News claimed this week. The problems CBS and ProPublica reported on led to a House Oversight Committee investigation that found that some booster seat manufacturers were “[endangering] the lives of millions of American children and misled consumers about the safety of booster seats by failing to conduct appropriate side-impact testing.” CBS published some dramatic footage of these crash tests.

In July 2021, 16 state attorneys general and one from the District of Columbia wrote to NHTSA about the administration’s failure to implement side-impact standards for child booster seats, even though Congress had mandated such a rule over 20 years ago. “As a result of NHTSA’s inaction, there is currently no government standard for side-impact testing in the United States for any child restraint system,” the attorneys general wrote.

“The failure to promulgate side-impact testing standards unnecessarily endangers children on the road and does a huge disservice to families.”

Child Safety Seat Makers Have Three Years to Comply

NHTSA did say in 2014 that it would work on a side-impact rule for child seats, but it wasn’t until after all of this official and public pressure was applied that NHTSA finally made it official in a 265-page PDF. NHTSA now says child seats sold in the U.S. will need to “provide proper restraint, manage side crash forces, and protect against harmful head and chest contact with intruding structures.” The child seats will also need to “withstand crash forces from a side impact without collapsing or fragmenting in a manner that could harm the child,” NHTSA said.

“Side-impact collisions cause serious injuries and deaths in young children each year,” NHTSA administrator Steven Cliff said in a statement. “By establishing more comprehensive testing requirements, we are advancing child passenger safety and assuring parents that the safety seat they choose for their child must meet the highest safety standards.”

The affected seats are those meant for children who weigh up to 40 pounds and are up to 43.3 inches tall (basically, kids up to around age four). Previously, NHTSA regulations said children over 30 pounds could use simple booster seats instead of the safer child restraint systems under discussion here.

Child seat manufacturers will have three years to comply with the rule once it is officially published in the Federal Register and any petitions for reconsideration have been taken care of.

Important Child Safety Seat Reminders For Parents

  • As children grow, so do their restraint types (rear- facing, forward-facing, booster seat, or seat belt). Always use the one that fits your child’s current age and size. 
  • Use the NHTSA Car Seat Finder located at www.nhtsa. gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats. 
  • Every car and every car seat or booster seat has different installation instructions, so make sure you read both the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual. 
  • Remember that children in rear-facing seats should never be placed in front of an active passenger air bag. 
  • Use either the lower anchors and tether, or the seat belt and tether when installing forward-facing seats. 

— NHTSA’s Research and Program Development 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

 

GET MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT HERE AT OUR “Car Wreck Checklist” >

 

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If your child has been injured as a result of a side-impact car accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Offices in Pensacola, Destin, Miami, and Tallahassee.

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/right-seat

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a40397047/nhtsa-child-safety-seats-side-impact-changes/

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0900-0999/0960/Sections/0960.001.html

https://law.lclark.edu/live/files/4936-florida

https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-improves-child-safety-seat-testing-standards-final-rule-side-impact-protection

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813122

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5045916/