Category Archives: Auto Accidents

The Number Of Fatal Car Accidents In The U.S. Is At Its Highest Since 2007.

Traffic Fatalities in The US

NHTSA REPORTS A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN TRAFFIC FATALITIES

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its 2020 annual traffic crash data, showing that 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide. That number marks the highest number of fatalities since 2007.

The estimated number of police-reported crashes in 2020 decreased by 22% as compared to 2019, and the estimated number of people injured declined by 17%.

Contributing Factors

While the number of crashes and traffic injuries declined overall,  fatal crashes increased by 6.8%.

THE FATALITY RATE PER 100 MILLION VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED INCREASED TO 1.34, A 21% INCREASE FROM 2019 AND THE HIGHEST SINCE 2007.

In 45% of fatal crashes, the drivers of passenger vehicles were engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors: 

– Speeding

– Alcohol impairment

– Not wearing a seat belt.

A National Crisis

“The rising fatalities on our roadways are a national crisis; we cannot and must not accept these deaths as inevitable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “People should leave the house and know they’re going to get to their destination safely, and with the resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, plus the policies in the National Roadway Safety Strategy we launched last month, we will do everything we can to save lives on America’s roads.”

“The tragic loss of life of people represented by these numbers confirms that we have a deadly crisis on our nation’s roads. While overall traffic crashes and people injured were down in 2020, fatal crashes and fatalities increased. We cannot allow this to become the status quo,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator.

In January, the U.S. DOT released the federal government’s comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

The strategy adopts the safe system approach and builds multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care. It is complemented by unprecedented safety funding included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Nationwide Statistics

2020 FATAL CRASH STATISTICS

NHTSA 2020 annual traffic crash data, as compared to 2019 data. The 2020 fatality numbers were the highest since 2007.

The 2020 crash data report also examines fatality data in key categories, as compared to 2019:

  • Injured people, including occupants and non-occupants, down significantly in most categories
  • Estimated number of police-reported crashes in 2020 decreased by 22%
  • Fatalities in speeding-related crashes up 17%
  • Fatalities in alcohol-impaired driving crashes up 14%
  • Unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities up 14%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities up 11% (highest number since first data collection in 1975)
  • Bicyclist fatalities up 9.2% (highest number since 1987)
  • Passenger car occupant fatalities up 9%
  • Fatalities in urban areas up 8.5%
  • Pedestrian fatalities up 3.9% (highest number since 1989)
  • Fatalities in hit-and-run crashes up 26%
  • Fatalities in large-truck crashes down 1.3%

Total vehicle miles traveled decreased by 11% in 2020, from 3,261,772 million to 2,903,622 million.

 

Watch Our YouTube Video On This Topic

Statewide Fatal Crash Statistics

STATE OF FLORIDA

FLHSMV Crash Dashboard

2021 vs 2020 total crashes in Florida – 17% increase

2021 vs 2020 total fatal crashes in Florida – 12% increase 

2022 is already at 132,053 crashes and 1,163 fatalities

Escambia County Fatal Crash Statistics

FLHSMV Crash Dashboard

2021 vs 2020 total crashes in esc county – 11% increase

2021 vs 2020 total fatal crashes in esc county – 37% increase 

2022 is already at 2,080 crashes and 25 fatalities

TRAFFIC FATALITIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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 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.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-transportation-secretary-pete-buttigieg-announces-comprehensive-national-roadway

https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-traffic-crash-data-fatalities#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20Department%20of%20Transportation’s,number%20of%20fatalities%20since%202007.

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

https://www.yoursun.com/study-us-41-us-17-most-dangerous-roads-in-area/article_f8867250-efdf-11ec-a493-638ddc206a7d.html

https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/auto/resources/most-deadly-roads-florida/

Pensacola Jury Finds Against ECUA And Awards Injured Party $802,000.

Pensacola Jury Awards Injured PartyPENSACOLA, Fla. (JUNE 20, 2022) —  A jury in Escambia County Circuit Court awarded $802,000.00 in damages to a 52 year-old man who was left permanently disabled after being hit by a 36,000-pound garbage truck managed by the Escambia County Utilities Authority (ECUA). 

The Accident

The client’s vehicle was hit from behind by an ECUA garbage truck. The clients’ car was totaled as well as causing significant physical trauma and injury to the client’s back. The wreck occurred when the ECUA driver operated his vehicle in a careless/negligent manner, causing the utility truck to slam into the client’s Ford Explorer; the impact caused considerable damage to all vehicles involved.

The Case

Zarzaur Law, P.A. brought suit on behalf of the client, arguing that ECUA’s negligent driver was the cause of his injuries. At the time of the trial, ECUA refused to offer anything more than $30,000.00, arguing that all of the client’s injuries were pre-existing and unrelated to the crash. Zarzaur Law, P.A. knew that the client had never experienced back pain before the wreck, and emphasized that fact to the jury. Counsel for ECUA argued that the injured party was “exaggerating” and paid an expert $11,000.00 to come into court and suggest that fact.

The Evidence And Testimony

The jury heard evidence and testimony about how the wreck had impacted the client, learned about the medical treatment the client received, and about the long lasting and permanent effects of his injuries. The day prior to the verdict, lawyers at Zarzaur Law asked ECUA counsel if they were interested in a settlement in the range of $75,000 to $99,000. ECUA counsel rejected any suggestion for continuing settlement discussions.

The Verdict

The jury, after hearing the evidence and after considering all of the defenses from ECUA and its lawyer, ruled in the plaintiff’s favor and awarded Zarzaur Law’s client $802,000. The $802,000.00 verdict included damages for past medical treatment, future medical treatment, pain and suffering in the past, and pain and suffering in the future. ECUA claims they will appeal.

“THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A JURY PUTTING AN OBSTINATE DEFENDANT IN THEIR PLACE,” SAID ATTORNEY JOE ZARZAUR.

Every time a local jury holds a careless driver responsible, they make our community safer by deterring others from driving carelessly. This is especially true when they drive around 36,000-pound vehicles.”

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

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About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Medical Malpractice, 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

The 100 Deadliest Days Of Summer For Teen Drivers

Deadliest Days Of Summer For Teen DriversFrom FDOT.gov

For more information on FDOT Teen Driver Safety and related programs and grants, visit the Safety Office Teen Driver Safety page. Visit the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalitions’  100 Deadliest Days for Teen Driver’s Page for more.

The “100 Deadliest Days” is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal teen crashes increase dramatically. Nationwide over 7,000 people died in teen-related crashes from 2010–2019 during this summer period.

Teens drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, due to immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. Teenagers speed, they make mistakes, they wear their safety belts less often, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.

Florida teens (ages 15-19) make up approximately 5% of Florida’s licensed drivers. However, crashes with teen drivers typically make up 11% of all crashes in Florida. In 2020, there were 39,150 crashes with teen drivers, resulting in 97 teen-driver fatalities statewide.

Common Causes of Teenage Car Crashes

Teen driving statistics show that a number of factors contribute to the increased likelihood of a crash — not just one or two. By understanding the common causes, parents can talk to their teens about how each situation might be avoided.

  • Distracted driving. Distracted driving includes any behavior that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, such as eating, drinking, texting, applying makeup or smoking. About 9% of teen drivers ages 15-19 report driving distracted.
  • Texting and driving. Texting is a form of distracted driving, but deserves highlighting. Not only do most states have laws banning texting while driving, 38% of teens have admitted to texting while driving. (Journal of Adolescent Health)
  • Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to speed and drive too closely to the car in front of them. In 2019, 31% of male drivers and 17% of female drivers were involved in fatal crashes as a result of speeding. (IIHS)
  • Drunk driving. Teens are shown to have a higher chance of a crash due to alcohol, versus other age groups. In 2019, 15% of fatal crashes among drivers aged 15-19 involved alcohol use. (IIHS)
  • Inexperience is a significant factor for teen drivers, with many lacking the confidence and knowledge to handle certain driving situations. Newly licensed drivers (typically at age 16) have the least experience and the highest crash rate among teens. The crash rate per mile driven is 1.5 times as high for 16-year-olds compared to 18- and 19- year-olds. (IIHS)
  • Seat belts. Seat belt use is the lowest among teen drivers compared to all other age groups. Of all the fatal crashes recorded in 2019, almost half of teen drivers aged 16-19 were found not restrained. (IIHS)
  • Nighttime driving. The CDC notes driving at night is not only riskier for drivers of all ages, but especially teen drivers, which could be due to limited visibility, tiredness or impairment. Data shows in 2019, 40% of fatal crashes among teens aged 13–19 occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (IIHS)

Parents Are The Best Line Of Defense To Ensure A Safe Ride And Have More Influence On Their Teens Than They May Think.

What Can You Do?

  • Talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share some stories and statistics related to teen drivers and distracted driving. Remind your teen often that driving is a skill that requires the driver’s full attention. Texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at his or her destination.
  • Familiarize yourself with Florida’s graduated driver licensing law, and enforce its guidelines for your teen. View Florida’s laws on distracted driving, create your own rules if necessary. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have, or the hours your teen can drive, is a very effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver. Talk about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting on a phone while driving.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving. If your teen breaks a distraction rule you’ve set, consider suspending your teen’s driving privileges, further limiting the hours during which they can drive, or limiting the places where they can drive. Parents could also consider limiting a teen’s access to their cell phone—a punishment that in today’s world could be seen by teens as a serious consequence.
  • Set the example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your own driving behaviors. Novice teen drivers most often learn from watching their parents.

Teenage Driver Facts

  • Nationally, teen drivers were involved in approximately 955,913 crashes resulting in 4,000 fatalities and 359,268 serious injuries in 2018.
  • Florida has more than 400,000 registered teen drivers, age 15 to 19.
  • In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 59,301 crashes resulting in 290 fatalities and 2,256 serious injuries in 2018.
  • Teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone.
  • The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
  • Safety belts were not worn in one-third of the deaths and serious injuries involving these teen drivers.
  • More crashes involving teen drivers occurred on Friday than on any other day of the week.
  • Contrary to the perception that non-Florida residents are frequently involved in Florida crashes, only 3% of fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes involving a teen driver in Florida occurred with a non-Florida resident.

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.

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 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.fdot.gov/agencyresources/deadliestdays

National safety council Injury facts

https://www.flhsmv.gov/2021/10/18/florida-recognizes-national-teen-drivers-safety-week-aims-to-reduce-teen-crashes/

Memorial Day Weekend Driving and Safety Tips

Don’t Become A Statistic – Memorial Day Safety  Driving Tips

Memorial Day Weekend Driving Tips! According to AAA statistics, an estimated 34.9 million people will hit America’s roads for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That’s a 4.6% increase over 2021. 

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 450 people may die on U.S. roads this Memorial Day holiday period. Holidays are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often the cause of celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor vehicle accidents.

The Federal Highway Administration said motorists drove 277.4 billion miles (446.4 billion km) in March, up 7.9 billion miles over the same month in 2021, and up 5 billion miles over March 2019.

Driving in the United States first surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels in January, as Americans returned to work and businesses, and leisure travel continues to rise.

Driving in the first three months of 2022 was up 5.6%, or 40.2 billion miles, to 753.7 billion miles, and driving surpassed each monthly tally versus 2019. Drivers logged 753.1 billion miles in the first three months of 2019.

Some experts have warned that U.S. traffic fatalities may continue to rise in the face of increased driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5% in 2021 to 42,915, marking the highest number killed on American roads in a single year since 2005.

“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer—not a deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and CEO, National Safety Council. “If we pay attention, slow down, and be courteous, we can increase our chances of making it to picnics, beaches, and barbecues rather than emergency rooms.”

The NSC Has Identified Two Primary Factors Related To Memorial Day Weekend Fatal Collisions:

  1. Seat belt use: Approximately 250 lives may be saved this holiday weekend if all vehicle occupants wear their seat belts.
  1. Drunk driving: Alcohol-related driving fatalities spike during this time period. In 2016, 36% of fatalities over Memorial Day weekend involved an alcohol-impaired driver. It’s simple; don’t drink and drive. Plan your ride home from your event ahead of time. Many communities and regions offer sober-ride programs. AAA, for instance, offers a nationwide Tipsy Tow program. Call 1-800-222-4357 for more information.

 

A Road Trip Checklist

Before setting out on Florida highways this weekend, you’ll want to prepare the vehicle for the distance ahead. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers take these steps in the days leading up to a road trip:

1. Maintain and Inspect Your Vehicle

Routine maintenance is a must, and keeping up with your car’s maintenance schedule can help prevent costly breakdowns. Perform a basic safety check of your vehicle’s tire pressure, wiper blades, fluid levels, lights, and air conditioning. You shouldn’t put off regularly scheduled services such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations.

If you find anything is amiss, check our vehicle maintenance pricing and service schedules page to see if your car is due and what it may cost. It’s worth running it by a dealership or auto repair shop when you’re unsure whether any service is overdue.

2. Make child safety your number one priority.

All children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat. And be aware of the added risks that arise in warm weather. Heatstroke can occur when a child gets left unattended in a parked vehicle.

To understand more about child seat safety, take some time to review the importance of car seat safety.

3. Stock Your Vehicle With a Safety Kit

NHTSA recommends that drivers carry:

  • Cell phone, charger, and extra portable battery
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes
  • Essential repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak)
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Navigation options (Phone or car navigation systems or printed maps)
  • Emergency blankets, towels, and coats

4. Make Contingency Plans For Road Trips.

Plan your travel and route, and check road conditions, weather, and traffic to know what you can expect. But also be prepared for any contingency. Remember, a cell phone is the most critical emergency item since it allows you to call for help when and where you need it.

5. Examine for Recalls

Use Kelley Blue Book’s VIN recalls check tool to ensure your vehicle is ready to go. If you find a recall, get it fixed as soon as possible.

Millions of Americans are driving cars that may have safety recalls. Dealerships will always perform recall repairs for free. But their service bays can get swamped ahead of a heavy travel season, so check as early as possible to see if your car needs any free repairs.

6. Understand Your Vehicle

You’re probably set on this checklist item if you’re driving your own car. If you’re renting a vehicle, pick it up a few hours before the road trip to familiarize yourself with it. Get familiar with the different types of driver assistance and safety features you can use.

On-the-Road Trip Safety Tips

Once you’re on the road, car safety is about paying attention to your surroundings and keeping yourself alert. To that end, don’t neglect these necessary safety precautions:

Drive at Non-Peak Times

Late afternoon and early evening can be the worst times on the road. Avoid peak traffic times for a long weekend by leaving early Friday or Saturday morning to be well on your way when the travel rush kicks in. For the trip home, leave early Monday, or give yourself an extra day and travel on Tuesday. That way, everyone else is out of the way.

Limit Your Nighttime Driving.

A National Sleep Foundation poll says 60% of adults drive cars when tired. It also found that 37%, or 103 million people, fell asleep at the wheel. Of those, 4% of adults caused a crash by falling asleep while driving.

If you feel fatigued coming on, stop and rest or switch drivers before putting yourself or other passengers at risk. But really, limit driving at night when it’s harder to see.

Let a Passenger Handle Traffic Apps and Entertainment

Memorial Day Weekend Driving Safety TipsWe’re big fans of Waze and Google Maps. These navigation tools can route any driver around traffic, provide updates on travel time, and even alert you of road hazards. But, for safety’s sake, remember to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Instead of multitasking, put a passenger in charge of the navigation and the music or podcast selection.

Take Frequent Breaks

Occasionally, getting out of the car is good for everyone, especially the driver. The best way to avoid feeling tired behind the wheel is to give yourself a regular change of scenery. And there’s no better way to do that than pulling over every few hours and stretching your legs.

Share the Driving

If your road trip involves multiple qualified drivers, let everyone take a turn handling the stress of driving and relaxing in the passenger’s seat. It’s good for everyone’s nerves and sets the right tone for the weekend.

Share the Road

Remember that traffic could be heavier than you’d expect, especially near attractions or vacation destinations. Good weather attracts many roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. While they share the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as every driver, they are more vulnerable. Their most significant disadvantage is that they do not have the protection that a car or truck provides. Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle — about 3 or 4 seconds’ worth.

Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop at shorter distances. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This courtesy allows other road users to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.

Buckle Up

Do we need to say this? According to the American Medical Association Journal, accidents remain one of the top leading causes of death for Americans. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the total number of miles Americans drove plummeted, traffic deaths increased. Give yourself and your loved ones a fighting chance and obey this critical safety law.

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.

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 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:
National safety council Injury facts

https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/22637-nsc-offers-six-safe-driving-tips-for-memorial-day-weekend

https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/child-passenger-safety

https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/council-makes-memorial-day-travel-plea-drivers

Click It or Ticket campaign underway

https://bringmethenews.com/minnesota-news/road-deaths-involving-unbelted-people-rose-again-in-2021

https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/road-trip-vehicle-safety-tips/

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/american-driving-topped-pre-pandemic-levels-march-2022-05-19/

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/22martvt/page2.cfm

What Is An EMC (Emergency Medical Condition) And Why Is It Important For My Florida Car Wreck Case?

What is an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) and Why It’s Important?

Florida is one of only 13 other states in the US that has no-fault car insurance laws. Basically, these states require each driver to purchase their own injury coverage for car wrecks. If a wreck occurs between Florida drivers, then both the at-fault party and the victim have “no-fault” or “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage. These PIP benefits are available for each party’s own medical bills and lost wages WITHOUT regard to fault. So even the at-fault driver is entitled to their own policy’s PIP benefits for their injuries and lost wages But, what about an emergency medical condition?

Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) From Accident and Personal Injury Protection Coverage.

When this law was first passed in Florida, all parties to a car wreck were immediately entitled to the entire $10,000.00 from the wreck until the entire amount had been paid out or exhausted. However, years of abuse of this benefit made the Florida legislature pass reforms to the PIP laws, making it harder to access the entire $10,000.00 benefit.

Under the current version of the PIP statute, parties are only entitled to $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00 PIP benefit at the outset. To access the remaining $7,500.00, the injured party must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, or “EMC.” 

EMC Is Defined As:

“Emergency medical condition” means a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:

(a) Serious jeopardy to patient health.

(b) Serious impairment to bodily functions.

(c) Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

An EMC can only be found by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, dentist, physician assistant, or APRN.

Omitted from this list are chiropractors, and it was the intent of the Florida legislature to remove chiropractors from the approval process in regards to PIP benefits.

EMCs can be diagnosed in real-time or later in your treatment. For example, if you go through the initial treatment and then realize that PIP only paid $2,500.00 since there was no documented EMC, So long as a physician is able to say that you “had” an EMC related to the car wreck at any point, then you will be eligible for the entire $10,000.00 benefit.

PIP Coverage Follows You No Matter What Car You Are In At The Time Of The Wreck. 

If you do not qualify for PIP under your policy and there is no auto policy in your house that you qualify for PIP under, then you may qualify for PIP in the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the wreck.

PIP coverage can assist you as an injured party in a car wreck. It can aid you in getting the treatment necessary to diagnose or be the diagnosed of your car wreck-related injuries.

Injuries And Medical Bills

It should be noted that “no-fault” insurance refers to injuries and medical bills. If your car was damaged in an accident, which means the other driver was at fault and you were not at fault the cost to repair your vehicle would fall to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

This is a significant issue for your case since these PIP benefits can be used to pay for valuable treatment related to your Florida car wreck case.

At the end of your case, all medical bills have to be paid, and if your health insurance pays for them, you will be required to reimburse your health insurance.  PIP benefits, however, do not have to be paid back or reimbursed.

So, it’s in your best interest to use all of these benefits before you start using your own health insurance or start accumulating medical bills to be paid out of your own pocket.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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 or a loved one was involved in a Florida car wreck and/or has Florida PIP questions, please feel free to reach out to our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855HireJoe.

Sources:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.736.html

Key PIP “No-Fault” Coverage Issues That You Must Know About After A Florida Car Wreck.

What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Or No-Fault Coverage?

There are only 13 states in the United States that require every driver to purchase and maintain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Florida is one of those 13 states. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000.00 in personal injury protection coverage, which is also known as “no fault” coverage. This coverage is personal in that it insures the policyholder for the benefit of the policy. 

Initial Medical Care Time Limit And PIP Coverage

An injured party must seek medical care within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident or they lose up to $10,000.00 in case value, F.S. 627.736 (1) (a).

Initial care must be provided by a medical doctor (M.D.), doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), dentist, chiropractor, hospital, facility owned by a hospital, or by emergency medical personnel (EMS) F.S. 627.736 (1) (a)1.

How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After A Car Wreck?

If you are injured, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage from your own policy will pay for bills up to $10,000. Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Projection coverage. Under Florida’s “no-fault” auto insurance law, most injured drivers seek reimbursement for accident costs from their own carrier, regardless of who caused the collision.

If your bills are higher, your own health insurance should pay for your additional medical expenses once your PIP has been exhausted. If you do not have health insurance, some providers will treat you with an agreement to be paid out of your settlement. This agreement is set up between your lawyer and the medical provider.

Emergency Medical Condition From Accident and Personal Injury Protection Coverage.

The $10,000.00 PIP limit only applies to a M.D., D.O., dentist, P.A., or APRN determining that the injured person “had” an emergency medical condition (chiropractors cannot do this). F.S. 627.736 (1) (a)3

If no emergency medical condition is documented by the proper professional, then you will only have $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00 PIP benefits. F.S. 627.(1)(a)4.

PIP cannot be used for massage therapists and acupuncturists. F.S. 627.736 (1) (a) 5.

What Type of Recovery Am I Entitled To After a Car Accident?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, some of the damages you may seek can include:

  • Vehicle and personal property damage
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Wrongful deathThe PIP death benefit is $5,000.00 in addition to the $10,000.00 of PIP coverage. 627.736 (1) c. F. S.

Pip Coverage Follows You No Matter What Car You Are In At The Time Of The Wreck. 

If you do not qualify for PIP under your policy and there is no auto policy in your house that you qualify for PIP under, then you may qualify for PIP in the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the wreck.

PIP coverage can assist you as an injured party in a car wreck. It can aid you in getting the treatment necessary to diagnose or be the diagnosis of your car wreck-related injuries.

It should be noted that “no-fault” insurance refers to injuries and medical bills. If your car was damaged in an accident, means the other driver was at fault and you were not at fault the cost to repair your vehicle would fall to the at fault drivers insurance policy.

How Much Will An Attorney Cost Me?

In Florida, most injury cases are paid for with a “Contingency Fee.” That means, your lawyer will be paid from any recovery. If you do not recover, the lawyer is not paid. The standard fee for Florida lawyers is 33.3 percent before suit is filed, 40 percent after suit is filed.

This contingency fee is standard across Florida and approved by the Florida Bar. Your lawyer generally cannot charge more, absent unusual circumstances.You can hire the most experienced expert in personal injury law for the same fee as a lawyer without similar expertise or experience. It makes sense to hire a board certified civil trial lawyer under these circumstances.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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 or a loved one is injured in a car wreck while “on the job” feel free to reach out to our firm for a free consultation at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

Sources:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.736.html

Injured In A Car Wreck While “On The Job.” How Is It Handled?

car accident on the job in florida

Injured in a car accident on the job?  Is it a personal injury case or worker’s compensation claim? Or both?

The Correct Answer Is Both.

In Florida, a motor vehicle accident that occurs while you are working is an injury that will be considered an “on the job” injury. This means that the law requires that the medical bill be paid through your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance coverage.

Does PIP Cover Injuries From An Accident While “On The Job”?

Typically, in a Florida car wreck case, your “no fault” or “personal injury protection” or “PIP coverage” will be the primary payment source for your medical expenses. This is NOT true when the wreck occurs while you are “on the clock” and working. When a motor vehicle accident occurs while you are working, you should report the wreck and the injury to your employer. Your employer then has an obligation to notify its workers’ compensation carrier. The workers’ compensation carrier will then arrange for your treatment to take place.

What Is Considered “On The Job?”

Keep in mind that driving to and from work is not considered “on the clock” and is generally NOT considered a worker’s compensation injury.  This is also true for lunch breaks and other breaks where you are not being paid at the time of the wreck.  Sometimes however if you are on a special errand for work and you are combining that with a lunch break or you are doing something for work on the way home, then it could be a worker’s compensation injury.

How Does Worker’s Compensation Work?

Consideration of the potential for worker’s compensation involvement is critical to your motor vehicle accident case. If you are the victim of a car wreck in Florida and you are working, all other insurance companies (including the at-fault driver’s insurance) will be expecting your medical bills to be paid by worker’s compensation. The at-fault driver’s insurance will not be required to pay the medical bills as the primary payor since the law requires the worker’s compensation carrier to pay those bills. If worker’s compensation is not involved when it should be, the at-fault driver’s insurance will argue that they are not liable for medical expenses because they should have been submitted to worker’s compensation.

Many Florida car wreck victims do not realize that worker’s compensation should be involved since they are usually not at their workplace when the wreck happens. Some employers do not understand that employees injured in car wrecks are actually suffering an “on the job” injury if they are on the clock at the time of the wreck. This is a critical issue and sometimes it requires that the employee direct their employer to notify the worker’s compensation carrier.

Do Not Delay Notifying Your Employer of the Accident and Injury.

Until the worker’s compensation carrier is involved, medical treatment will be delayed. This is sometimes not in the injured party’s best interest, and they are required to use their PIP coverage to get emergency care. These items need to be addressed at the outset of a case and must be handled properly or it could cause issues with both the car wreck case and the worker’s compensation case.

HOW LONG AFTER AN ACCIDENT DO I HAVE TO REPORT IT TO MY EMPLOYER?

You should report it as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days or your claim may be denied.

Reference: Section 440.185, Florida Statutes

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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 or a loved one is injured in a car wreck while “on the job” feel free to reach out to our firm for a free consultation at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

Sources:

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/employee/faq.htm

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

 

I Rented A Golf Cart And Was Involved In A Dangerous Wreck – What Next?

golf cart accident Pensacola

If you have visited any tourist destinations in Florida or any resort community living environment, you have seen these vehicles on the road. Several years ago, the Florida legislature passed a statute that allowed golf cart access to certain roadways. The law states that such vehicles must meet basic visibility and speed standards before they can be classified as “low-speed vehicles,” but if they do, they can be used on certain public roads. Keep reading to learn more about what to do when there is a golf cart accident.

What Is An LSV?

Section 320.01(41), Florida Statutes, defines LSVs as “any four-wheeled vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour, but not greater than 25 miles per hour.”  LSVs must be registered, titled and insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Any person operating an LSV must have a valid driver license in their immediate possession.

LSVs may be operated only on streets where the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less and must be equipped with the following safety equipment:

  • Headlamps;
  • Front and rear turn signals;
  • Stop lamps;
  • Tail lamps;
  • Reflex reflectors, red – one each side and one on the rear;
  • Exterior mirror on the driver side and an interior rear-view mirror or exterior mirror on passenger side;
  • Parking brake;
  • Windshield;
  • Seat belt for each designated seat; and a
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN).

Golf Carts

Golf carts are defined in section 320.01(22), Florida Statutes, as “a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.” Golf carts may be operated on roadways that are designated for golf carts with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less. Golf carts may also cross a portion of a county road which intersects a roadway that is approved for golf carts, or that intersects a golf course or mobile home park. In both examples, the roadway should have signs posted that golf carts share the roadway. The operation of golf carts on roads must comply with any more restrictive ordinances enacted by the local government and should be verified prior to operating these vehicles.

Golf carts are not required to be titled or registered and, therefore, are not required to be insured with PIP. Golf cart operators are not required to have a driver’s license; however, to operate a golf cart on designated public roadways, a person must be 14 years or older.

Issues With Low-Speed Vehicles

Here is the issue with these low-speed vehicles: not only can they cause a golf cart accident, but they also are not safe on roads that are predominately comprised of regular vehicle traffic. If the roadway is not mostly full-sized vehicles, then it seems more appropriate to consider the limited use of these low-speed vehicles. 

However, resort towns are the worst for even regular vehicle collisions since people are not familiar with the roads or directions and are typically distracted by sightseeing or confusion.

A Dangerous Novelty

So if you know that tourist roadways are already a dangerous place to drive, even in a full-sized car, and you add to these roadways (many less visible vehicles), it could spell disaster. Then, considering these low-speed vehicles offer basically no protection from a collision with a full-sized vehicle, it should make the decision easy to reject outright. But people are on vacation, and they want to feel like they are on vacation. They want their families to have experiences that they would not be able to have at home.

Perhaps, they feel that riding a golf cart on a street that is covered with full-sized vehicles is such a novelty that it is too much to pass up. We would suggest that you also consider what is likely to happen to you and your family even if there is a low-speed collision with a full-sized vehicle.

What Happens In An Accident? 

What is likely to happen is that the golf cart or scoot coupe will be launched forward and perhaps over. The scoot coupe or golf cart will likely be crushed, and your family will have little protection from the crash. These vehicles (scoot coupes, golf carts) are not subject to testing for safety purposes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not dedicated to studying crash data between cars and golf carts or scoot coupes.

No Safety Features

Our country has made such great advances in vehicle safety in the last decade. These safety features include airbags, automated driving functions, blind spot warnings, and other features meant to help drivers avoid collisions or protect them once a collision occurs. Then we decide to go backward and allow the most unsafe vehicles on the road, along with cars and trucks. It almost defies logic.

Just Because It Is Legal Doesn’t Mean It Is Safe

Florida’s laws are controlled, in large part, by tourism interests. If the tourist lobby supports a law, it will likely get through the legislature. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it is safe. This is a prime example of that statement.

In the event that you or a loved one is involved in a collision between a low-speed vehicle and a car or truck, you have rights that need to be protected. Your car insurance may apply in this case, and the other driver’s car insurance will also likely apply. The rental agency may also share in the responsibility if the golf cart was not street legal or wasn’t actually a low-speed vehicle. If you are in need of a free consultation about one of these low speed vehicle, golf cart, or scoot coup collisions, our firm is available 24/7 and on weekends at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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.

Sources:

Car Wreck Checklist

https://www.flhsmv.gov/?s=low+speed+vehicle+accidents

https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/crashreports/crash_facts_2019_ada.pdf

Big Truck Wrecks, Why Are These Cases So Different?

18-wheelers, big trucks, semi-trucks, however you may refer to them, they are all potentially deadly when coupled with careless operators. When these Big Trucks wreck, they usually have life and death consequences. For this reason, trucking company insurance companies treat every collision in a much different manner than regular automobile insurance companies.

Big Truck Insurance Company’s Accident Response

For example, if you are involved in a wreck between passenger vehicles and the insurance companies are just typical automobile insurance carriers like State Farm or Progressive, they will rarely visit the scene and even less rarely hire law firms to assist with the accident investigation. Big truck insurance companies, however, do both. As soon as a Big Truck insurance company learns that a wreck has occurred, they will immediately dispatch an investigator to the scene of the collision. Within hours or a day or so, they will also usually hire a local law firm to help coordinate the investigation.

Big Truck Insurance Company Investigation

Having an investigation conducted before the injured parties even know the extent of their injuries gives the Big Truck’s insurance company a huge advantage over the evidence in the case. Having a law firm involved early also protects this information from being discovered later since investigations performed in anticipation of litigation are privileged and do not have to be disclosed to any opposing party.

The timing of the investigation is important in these big truck wrecks since the physical evidence and witness testimony will remain fresh for only so long. The sooner an investigation can be conducted, the more reliable the information will be for those conducting the review.


WHAT CAUSES MOST TRUCK ACCIDENTS?

According to truck accident statistics, a great majority of these accidents occur due to mechanical difficulties, especially those related to tires or brakes. Other than that, most accidents are caused by driver fatigue, lack of information regarding the route, as well as job pressure and aggressive driving.


Why It Is imperative For Injured Parties To Also Have An Investigation Done.

Since the Big Truck insurance companies are responding immediately, it is imperative that the families of injured victims also respond as quickly as possible. Ideally, the injured party wants to have an investigation conducted at the same time. If the injured party can get on the scene at least as fast as the big truck insurance company, then it will assure equal opportunities to discover and preserve the evidence and witness statements.

Witnesses and Video Evidence

These days, video evidence is also prevalent. Nearby businesses and vehicles close to the scene of the wreck are all potential sources for video evidence. These sources, however, will remain intact forever. Most systems will record over videos within a week, sometimes less. This means the investigation must contact these potential sources within the first several days following a wreck. As you can imagine, the footage from these big truck collisions can be quite compelling. If the footage is not helpful to the trucking company, you can bet it very well may never see the light of day. If, however, the injured party has their investigator working at the same time, there is less of an opportunity for any improper evidence collection (or destruction).

Five Must-Know Facts About Truck Accidents

  1. A 52% increase in these accidents has been noted since 2009.
  2. 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle cases include a large truck.
  3. Tire defects account for around 30% (the most common cause) of all truck-related accidents.
  4. Most of these accidents occur during the day — between noon and 3 PM, up to 19%.
  5. 68% of all truck fatalities are passenger vehicle occupants.

If you or a loved one is a victim of a big truck wreck, it is vital that you hire a law firm that has experience with these wrecks. This experience will bring with it a law firm investigator that will be on the scene and hopefully be there before the big truck insurance company’s investigator and law firm show up. Feel free to contact our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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.

Sources:

Car Wreck Checklist

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-car-accident-laws.html

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks

24 Disturbing Truck Accident Statistics (2022 Edition)

At Fault Driver Says It’s My Fault, What Do I Do?

at fault driver in car wreck

A very common issue and question – “I was involved in a car wreck with serious injuries and the other party is claiming it was my fault. Do I need a lawyer?”
The short answer is YES, but here’s some important information you will need to know.

Importance Of The Police Report

One of the main pieces of advice that we offer is to always get a police report following a wreck. Despite this admonition, many people involved in wrecks choose for convenience or because they think it is not necessary to wait for the police to come and do an accident investigation.

This means that once the parties leave the scene, there is no official record of what happened. There are only competing recollections offered by the two interested parties in a collision.


NO POLICE REPORT = NO OFFICIAL RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CAR ACCIDENT.


The Insurance Company Is NOT On Your Side

The insurance companies will always suggest that their insured is not responsible or will suggest that at least some responsibility lies with the other party. They will nearly always make this argument when they learn that there is no official wreck report.

As we have noted in several other blogs, insurance companies do not exist for the greater good. They exist to make money. To be exact, their main mission is to retain as much money as they can from the billions in premiums they collect each year. If they learn that there is a way to argue that a collision was not their insured’s fault, they will seize that opportunity because it will likely save them money.

An Evidentiary Battle

If you find yourself in a situation where the other party is now suggesting that you (the victim) are to blame for the collision, this will now become an evidentiary battle. It will be your account versus their account and, without more, each party will bear 50% responsibility for the event.

Without a wreck report, it will be imperative to seek out sources of independent evidence like witnesses or video footage that may have captured the event.

Steps to Take if You Don’t Have a Police Report

Having a police report form immediately after the wreck is very helpful, but the lack of a report is not fatal to your case.
A police officer who investigates a wreck and cites one party for a driving violation can be powerful evidence that the defendant driver is actually at fault. For instance, a defendant driver’s finding or admission of guilt in a citation hearing can be used as evidence of fault in a related injury case. However, because the officer most likely did not see the wreck occur, the report itself is hearsay and may not be admitted as actual evidence

Physical Evidence And Witness Testimony
If a police report is not available, you can still prove that the other driver was at fault, but the case moves into more of a “he-said, she-said” case. In this situation, you will have to rely on the physical evidence and witness testimony. For instance, you can prove fault by showing that the at-fault driver rear-ended you, which gives rise to a presumption that they were at fault. You can prove fault by testimony from other drivers who saw the accident and stopped to render aid.

Qualified Expert
Finally, in extreme circumstances, you can prove fault by hiring an qualified expert in accident reconstruction, who can show fault through complicated models that recreate the scene of the accident.

Only experienced lawyers are capable of navigating this process. Potential clients shouldn’t just hire any lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Three out of the four lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.

So, when potential clients ask us about whether or when to hire a lawyer after an accident, we remind them that only a Board Certified civil trial lawyer is a specialist in this area of the law. Since all injury lawyers have the same “no fee no cost unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason to hire someone who is not a specialist.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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.

Sources:

Car Wreck Checklist

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-car-accident-laws.html