Tag Archives: best miami car accident lawyer

Why Video Evidence Is Important For Your Car Accident Injury Case.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, then there is most likely video footage of the area or the accident itself. Surveillance video can be the strongest evidence in your case. Video evidence can legally be presented as evidence and assist in your claim, especially If an insurance company is trying to argue fault for the accident. This videotape can help show how the accident really happened.

 

Because The Insurance Company Is Not On Your Side, Obtain Video Evidence.

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 certainly try to make this argument, especially if there is no video evidence that clearly shows fault, even if the accident report provides information on the “at fault” driver.

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. For this reason, getting the video evidence is of vital importance.

 

Where Does The Video Footage Come From?

Videos from dashcams are beneficial because they provide a clear perspective of the collision as it happened, serving as solid evidence of how the accident occurred. If your case goes to trial, the footage from cameras and photos taken at the scene may become part of the case.

 

 

Types Of Video Footage:

  • Dash cam
  • Video footage from a business
  • Video footage from a residence (home security devices)
  • Traffic light video camera
  • Smart phones

 

Video Evidence Can Show How An Accident Happened, The Cause Of The Crash, And Who Is Responsible.

Video footage can help determine how you were injured, by showing if you struck the dashboard, if broken glass from the windshield cut your face, if your head whipped back and forth, and other causes of your injuries.

 

Act Fast

Another tip is to act as fast as possible. The longer you delay, the higher the risk of not getting the footage you need. For example, many recording devices have limited memories, so their owners have to delete old files to free space for new recordings.

Secondly, cameras (such as surveillance cameras) are set up to automatically record over old footage after some time. According to hg.org, some surveillance cameras record over old footage after 72 hours or so. Thus, even a three-day delay is enough to make you lose such crucial evidence.

 

Requesting Video Footage:
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the desired footage.

Your lawyer:

Will be aware of the appropriate channels to use for their requests.

They might have contacts they can use to speed up the requests.
May get a subpoena to force the relevant parties to hand over the videos.

 

Do Take Pictures and Video Of Your Car And The Car That Hit You.

Take a lot of pictures and videos of the cars and people involved. An accident is extremely visual, and proving your injury case after a car wreck is no exception. The insurance company and, eventually, the jury will be impressed by the photographs of the injuries. Videos are sometimes even better.  If you are injured and are not able to take photos, ask a witness to take photos/video for you.

Inside Of Your Vehicle

That footage is especially moving in this context. Photos and videos of damage to the inside of your car can also be useful. If there are damages inside the passenger compartment, also document those. 

The Other Driver’s Vehicle

Many clients only take pictures or videos of their vehicle when the other car’s damages are also important. Document everything, and take more than you think you need because it is always better to have more than not enough.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC >

 

What Should You Do If You Are In A Florida Car Accident?

1. Call the police and file a report.
2. Swap information (including any insurance information they may have).
3. Gather details.
4. Take pictures/video
5. Gather the 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 Lawyer whose firm has been promoting community safety since 2007. AT ZARZAUR LAW, WE PRACTICE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, PRODUCT DEFECT, AUTOACCIDENTS, CYCLING ACCIDENTS, MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS, PRODUCT LIABILITY, WRONGFUL DEATH, COMMUNITY SAFETY, BOAT AND JET SKI ACCIDENTS, SLIP AND FALL. 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 we 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.

What If The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Coverage? 

A car accident is a scary situation in itself, especially if you have suffered injuries. What can be even more frightening is when the driver who caused the accident is underinsured. How can this be? Why doesn’t the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough auto insurance to cover your injury claim?

Unfortunately, in Florida, a licensed driver is NOT required to carry bodily injury liability insurance (BI coverage). Because of a strong insurance lobby, the Florida legislature has not seen the need to require drivers to carry insurance to compensate others for an injury. In fact, only Florida and New Hampshire have this situation.

When this happens, an experienced auto accident lawyer will ask if you or someone in your household has Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage. Hopefully, they (as well as you) will have this critical coverage.

 

What Is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage provides the same protection when there is a deficiency in the liability coverage. In other words, if your injuries are worth more than the coverage of the person who caused them, you can recover the difference. The purpose of this coverage is to allow an insured the same coverage that would have been available if the negligent driver had liability coverage equal to the insured.

 

So What Does This Mean In Real Life?

Under Florida law, if you purchase liability coverage, the insurance company must also offer you UM/UIM coverage in the same amount. A potential buyer can turn that down, or buy lower limits of coverage, and many do. That’s why they are surprised when it turns out they don’t have “full coverage.” The bottom line is that if you drive in Florida, there are a lot of drivers with no liability coverage or little liability coverage.

 

In Florida, Auto Insurance Is Required.

Driving without auto insurance can lead to all sorts of problems. Florida drivers must always have the minimum required car insurance. The minimum car insurance requirement in Florida is $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 for property damage liability (PDL).

If you drive without auto insurance in Florida, you should be aware of all of the unpleasant consequences you may face if you are caught by law enforcement or involved in an auto accident.

Examples include license suspension, license plate confiscation, and even potential criminal charges. If you want to protect yourself from these awful scenarios, you need to make sure that you always have auto insurance coverage, plain and simple.

 

You need to buy UM/UIM coverage to protect you and your family from these drivers.

 

Unfortunately, about 13 percent of drivers do not carry auto insurance, even though they drive regularly.

 

Do You Know What To Do After An Accident With An Uninsured Motorist?

Following a car accident, many victims, especially those with injuries like spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injuries, have substantial medical bills to worry about. Not only that, their injuries may also prevent them from returning to work and generating the income they need to pay those bills.

If you have been injured in a car accident involving an underinsured motorist, and you have UIM or UM coverage, your personal injury lawyer can file a claim with your insurance company to compensate you for the harm you have suffered. Some damages that may be available for you to claim include:

Medical Bills – If you have been hit and have suffered injuries in an accident, you can make a claim to cover the costs of any medical bills resulting from these injuries. This can include bills for hospital appointments, transport to and from these appointments, and any future medical expenses you incur as a result.

Lost Wages – Your uninsured motorist coverage covers any financial losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident, including lost wages. This can include any potential future earnings you would have made.

Pain and Suffering – If you have UM coverage, you may be able to recover compensation for any pain and suffering as a result of the collision. In order to receive these damages, you must prove that your injuries meet a “permanent injury threshold,” as provided under Florida Statute 627.737.

Wrongful Death – A lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim under your uninsured motorist coverage to recover compensation for funeral costs and a loss of consortium.

 

What Steps Should You Take Right After An Accident With An Underinsured Motorist?

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

 

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our
“CAR WRECK CHECKLIST” >

5. Work with a trusted car accident lawyer.
A car accident lawyer, like the team at Zarzaur Law, can offer numerous advantages following an accident, including an accident with an underinsured motorist.

A car accident attorney can:

Provide you with the information you need.
An attorney can review your insurance policies and help you understand the compensation you deserve, investigate the circumstances of the accident to identify potentially liable parties, and give you a better idea of how your claim will proceed, should you choose to file one.

Negotiate with your insurance company.
Your insurance company may make it difficult for you to get the full compensation you need for your injuries, damages to your vehicle, and other financial losses. An attorney can help negotiate with the insurance company or even fight for you in court if needed.

Support you throughout the claim.
In many cases, an attorney can offer vital support that can help you navigate the claim process, obtain the compensation you deserve, and decrease your stress while you focus on your recovery.

Put together a claim for damages on your behalf.
The legal process is often complex, and the dueling interests of insurance companies, attorneys, and liable parties make it extremely difficult for an unrepresented plaintiff to obtain the compensation they actually deserve under the law. By partnering with an experienced car accident attorney, you can maximize your odds of a successful recovery from your injuries.

The laws on UM/UIM vary from state to state, so if you have coverage from another state, you need to let a board certified personal injury specialist review the policy for coverage.

The statute of limitations for making a claim against your UM/UIM coverage is 5 years from the date of injury. Again, this may vary from state to state, but it is very important to seek legal help as soon as possible after the crash or injury.

As you can see, UM/UIM coverage is very important.
In many cases, it may be the only insurance coverage available to protect you and your family if you are injured.

 

Watch Our YouTube 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 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.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/uninsured-motorist-coverage/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/uninsured-motorist-property-damage

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/STATUTES/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.727.html

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/hit-uninsured-motorist-what-you-should-know

Thanksgiving Travel In Florida Is Forecast To Be The Busiest Since 2005.

AAA forecasts more than 2.9 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. That’s 50,000 (2%) more Florida travelers than last year’s holiday and nearly 22,000 (0.74%) more than in 2019.

Nationally, 54.6 million Americans will travel
50 miles or more from home, slightly below
pre-pandemic levels.

 

Despite higher gas prices, 89% of all Thanksgiving travelers will drive. AAA forecasts 48.65 million Americans will set out for a holiday road trip. That’s 203,000 more drivers than last year.

In Florida, 2.7 million, or 91% of travelers, will take a road trip, that’s an increase of 28,000 people from last year’s holiday.

 

Leave Early

If you are hitting the road for the holidays, leave early. Travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion Monday-Wednesday afternoon and early evening. Traffic will be lighter during the morning and late evening hours and on Thanksgiving Day.

In addition to congestion on the roads, Thanksgiving travelers are likely to find long lines at the airport too. Nationwide, air travel is up nearly 8% from last year, with 4.5 million Americans flying to their Thanksgiving destinations this year.

 

Busiest Days to Travel

If you are hitting the road for the holidays, leave early. Travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion Monday-Wednesday afternoon and early evening. Traffic will be lighter during the morning and late evening hours and on Thanksgiving Day.

 

Thanksgiving Driving Safety

The Thanksgiving holiday is a peak travel period for Florida families coming together to celebrate. FLHSMV is committed to protecting you on our roadways, providing you with the information you need to travel safely.

 

Follow these tips to help ensure safe traveling this Thanksgiving:

  • Never drive impaired. Celebrate responsibly and do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking or took drugs that cause impairment. Plan ahead and find a safe way home every time – designate a driver or use a ride service.
  • Check your tires. Tires are a vehicle’s first line of defense on the road. Check your tire pressure, tread depth and spare tire especially before long trips. Do not over load your vehicle, it can result in premature wear and tire blowouts.
  • Buckle up. A seat belt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature. Florida law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18 wear seat belts or the appropriate child restraints. Seat belts save lives, so buckle up every trip, every time.
  • Register or update your Emergency Contact Information (ECI). ECI is a secure system allowing law enforcement, nationwide, to contact designated family or friends in response to an emergency situation.
  • Observe and obey all speed limits. Speed limits may change as you drive through different types of roadways, so make sure you adjust your speed accordingly. In Florida, the limit will never be over 70 mph.

Download FLHSMV’s  Road Trip Checklist & Safety Tips for additional resources on how to be safe this holiday season.

 

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.

Sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/miami/news/aaa-thanksgiving-travel-in-florida-to-exceed-pre-pandemic-levels/#app

https://newsroom.aaa.com/2022/11/thanksgiving-travel-ticks-up-just-shy-of-pre-pandemic-levels/

https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/holidaytravel/thanksgiving-holiday-safety/

What Are The Dangers Of Driving Without Motorcycle Insurance In Florida?

Unlike other states, Florida doesn’t require riders to purchase motorcycle insurance. While It’s true that you aren’t legally required to buy a policy, it still makes sense to be insured. Motorcycle insurance can help cover your damages if you get into an accident and limit your financial liability. Insurance also protects you in other states, should you take your bike on a road trip. 

Is It Required To Have Insurance To Register A Motorcycle In Florida?

The registration process does not require a motorcycle operator to carry insurance to register their motorcycle. However, the driver is still financially responsible if charged in a bike accident.

THERE WAS A TOTAL OF 8,638
MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN FLORIDA IN 2021. THIS MEANS THAT 0.069% OF THE MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN FLORIDA IN 2021 RESULTED IN A DEATH.

SO WHY WOULD RIDERS NOT HAVE INSURANCE?

 

Does Florida No-Fault Coverage Apply to Motorcycles?

Florida is a “no-fault” state requiring personal injury protection coverage for your vehicle of four wheels or more. No-fault coverage ensures that all medical bills will be paid regardless of who was at fault in an accident. No-fault laws do not apply to motorcycles.

 

An Alarming Increase In Motorcycle Fatalities

The number of annual motorcycle fatalities observed in Florida has more than doubled over the past twenty years. Although there has been some decline since 2015, when a high of 584 was reached, motorcycle fatalities remain elevated, with an average of 550 per year from 2016-2021. Of additional concern, overall, traffic fatalities have increased by nearly 17% over the past five years, with motorcycle fatalities increasing by 3%.

 

Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Required in Florida?

While Florida allows motorcycle riders to drive without insurance, they are not absolved of their financial responsibility should they get into an accident (especially if the motorcycle rider has caused the accident). The state’s minimum liability coverage requirements for other passenger vehicles includes:

$10,000 for one person with bodily injury
$20,000 for two or more people with bodily injury
$10,000 per crash in property damage liability

While bodily injury liability insurance is not required it is recommended that you buy as much coverage as you can afford, since motorcycle accidents cause serious injuries and potentially high medical bills.

 YOU ARE 37 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT THAN A CAR ACCIDENT – NHTSA.GOV

 

What Happens If You Don’t Have Bodily Injury Liability Insurance At The Time Of An Accident?

If no liability coverage was in effect at the time of the accident, you could face significant penalties, including:

Having your driving privileges suspended
Having your registration and tag suspended
Being required to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for three years
Having civil judgments against you

 

ACCORDING TO SAFEROADS.ORG, THERE ARE 10 TIMES AS MANY UNHELMETED MOTORCYCLIST FATALITIES IN STATES WITHOUT UNIVERSAL HELMET LAWS (1,777) AS IN STATES WITH UNIVERSAL HELMET LAWS (170).

 

What Are Florida’s Helmet Laws, and Do They Impact Insurance?

While Florida doesn’t mandate motorcycle insurance in most cases, riders must purchase coverage if they choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. These riders must have insurance with at least 10/20/10 coverage. You can only legally ride without a helmet if you buy insurance beforehand.

 

MOTORCYCLE HELMETS REDUCE THE RISK OF HEAD INJURY BY 69 PERCENT AND REDUCE THE RISK OF DEATH BY 42 PERCENT.

 

Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) Coverage

Uninsured/underinsured (UM) coverage is vitally important if you ride a motorcycle. Most crashes result in serious injury and if the at-fault party has no bodily injury coverage or coverage with small limits, you will not be compensated for your injuries and losses. As Florida personal injury lawyers, we stress the importance of UM coverage for all drivers, and it is especially important for motorcycle riders. In Florida, bodily injury coverage is not required to drive, and many drivers in our area have not bodily injury coverage. When you buy insurance for your motorcycle, please request UM coverage, and buy as much coverage as you can afford. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and very important. This coverage will also afford protection to any riders who are injured on your motorcycle.

Since motorcycle crashes may often result in catastrophic injuries, please purchase liability and UM coverage. This is important to protect you and your family. A board-certified civil trial lawyer can advise you on coverage and can help you navigate through the complex laws involving motorcycle crashes.

Watch Our YouTube 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.

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 for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/motorcycle-accidents-common-causes-30330.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/motorcycle-accidents-road-hazards-30331.html

https://zarzaurlaw.com/motorcycle-accident/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/what-is-um-coverage-and-why-is-it-important/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/auto-accident/

https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/motorcycle/do-you-need-motorcycle-insurance-in-florida/

https://ridesmartflorida.com/crashes-over-time/

Florida Health – Important Vibriosis Outbreak Update

Courtesy of Florida Health

Vibriosis causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States every year. People with vibriosis become infected by consuming raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater. Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer.

The Florida Department of Health is observing an increase in cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections as a result of exposure to flood and standing waters following Hurricane Ian. As the post-storm situation evolves, please make yourself aware of the following reminders regarding reporting, testing, and treatment.

How Do Persons Get Infected With Vibrio Vulnificus?

People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish, particularly oysters. The bacterium is frequently isolated from oysters and other shellfish in warm coastal waters during the summer months. Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of Vibriosis.

How Can Vibrio Vulnificus Infection Be Diagnosed?

Vibrio vulnificus infection is diagnosed by stool, wound, or blood cultures. Notifying the laboratory when this infection is suspected helps because a special growth medium should be used to increase the diagnostic yield. Doctors should have a high suspicion for this organism when patients present with a stomach illness, fever, or shock following the ingestion of raw seafood, especially oysters, or with a wound infection after exposure to seawater.

What Type of Illness does Vibrio Vulnificus Cause?

Vibrio vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to warm seawater containing the bacteria. Ingestion of Vibriosis can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease. The bacterium can invade the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness with symptoms like fever, chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock) and blistering skin lesions. Vibrio vulnificusbloodstream infections are fatal about 50 percent of the time.A recent study showed that people with these pre-existing medical conditions were 80 times more likely to develop Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections than healthy people. Wound infections may also be serious in people with weakened immune systems. The wound may heal poorly and require surgery. Sometimes amputation may even be needed for recovery.

How Common Is Vibrio Vulnificus Infection?

Vibrio vulnificus is a rare cause of disease, but it is also underreported. Between 1988 and 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received reports of more than 900 Vibrio vulnificus infections from the Gulf Coast states, where most cases occur. Before 2007, there was no national surveillance system for Vibrio vulnificus, but CDC collaborated with Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi to monitor the number of cases in the Gulf Coast region. In 2007, infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus and other vibrio species became nationally notifiable.

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Some Tips For Preventing Vibrio Vulnificus Infections?

  • Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish.
  • Cook shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly.
  • For shellfish in the shell, either a) boil until the shells open and continue boiling for 5 more minutes, or b) steam until the shells open and then continue cooking for 9 more minutes. Do not eat those shellfish that do not open during cooking. Boil shucked oysters at least 3 minutes, or fry them in oil at least 10 minutes at 375°F.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of cooked seafood and other foods with raw seafood and juices from raw seafood.
  • Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
  • Avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to warm salt or brackish water, or to raw shellfish harvested from such waters.
  • Wear protective clothing (e.g., gloves) when handling raw shellfish.

How Is Vibrio Vulnificus Infection Treated?

If Vibriosis is suspected, treatment should be initiated immediately because antibiotics improve survival. Aggressive attention should be given to the wound site; for patients with wound infections, amputation of the infected limb is sometimes necessary. For more information on care and treatment specifics, please visit the CDC’s website. Information about the potential dangers of raw oyster consumption is available 24 hours a day from the FDA’s Seafood Hotline: 1-800-332-4010. For more information on Vibrio vulnificus, visit the CDC’s website.

Watch Our YouTube 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.

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.

National Teen Safe Driver Safety Week Facts That Every Parent Needs To Know.

Courtesy of US Department of Transportation and FLTeenSafeDriver.org

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 16–22, 2022! The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with local organizations to help empower parents to discuss the importance of driving safety with their young drivers.

Whether teens are driving a car, truck, or SUV, and whether they’ve just earned their license or have had it for a few years, the rules of the road stay the same. The greatest dangers for teen drivers are alcohol and other drug use, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and driving with passengers in the vehicle. 

Review the following information to help teens stay safe behind the wheel.

Be Empowered to Set Driving Rules!

Remember: You’re a parent first. It is your responsibility to protect your adolescents. Use this motivation to keep your teen safer as they start navigating their new role as a driver. 

Remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right.
As the parent, you’re in control. If your teen is following the rules of the road, the privilege to drive is theirs. If they aren’t following the rules of the road, they shouldn’t be freely given the keys to the car. 

Have a conversation with your teen driver about driving laws and safe driving habits.
Your desire to keep them safe never fades, so keep the lines of communication open at all times. Believe it or not, your teen is listening, and they depend on you to guide them and be there for them.

Become familiar with your state’s nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and all graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions in your state.

Surveys show that teens with parents who set and enforce firm rules for driving typically report engaging in fewer risky driving behaviors and being involved in fewer crashes. By knowing and enforcing the laws with your teen, you proactively promote safer driving for all road users. 

The responsibility for safe road behavior is shared: Be a good role model for your teen driver by demonstrating your own safe driving habits. 

Talk to your teen about cell phone use while in the car.
Encourage them to stow their phones while driving, designate a texter or navigator, or pull over before answering phone calls, texting, or engaging with any social media apps. Remind your teen that it’s not acceptable to record themselves or post on social media while driving. 

Know the Facts About Teen Driver Fatalities

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States.

In 2020, there were 2,276 people killed in crashes involving a teen passenger vehicle driver (15-18 years old), of which 748 deaths were the teen driver. 

Parents: You can be the
the biggest influence on your teen’s choices
when they are behind the wheel.

Take the time to have a conversation about some of the biggest driving risks for teens, including:

Impaired Driving: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol. However, nationally, in 2020, 19% of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system. But alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep your teen from driving safely: Like other drugs, marijuana affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings. Driving is a complex task, and marijuana slows reaction time, affecting a driver’s ability to drive safely.

Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including illicit or prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medication — could have deadly consequences.

It is critical that teen drivers understand that driving impaired can have consequences, that strict penalties may apply, that they may lose their license if they are caught driving impaired, and that they will face additional consequences for breaking rules they agreed to follow when they started driving. 

Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for everyone to be safe in a vehicle. Yet too many teens aren’t buckling up. In 2020, 52% of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in crashes were unbuckled. Even more troubling, when the teen driver involved in the fatal crash was unbuckled, nine out of 10 of the passengers who died were also unbuckled. 

In 2020, 52% of the
teen passenger vehicle
drivers who died in crashes
were unbuckled.

Distracted Driving: Distractions while driving are more than just risky — they can be deadly. In 2020, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 7% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. 

Speeding: In 2020, almost one-third (31%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, and males were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than females.

Passengers: Teen drivers transporting passengers can lead to disastrous consequences. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up dramatically in direct relation to the number of passengers in a vehicle. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

Remember The Rules Of The Road

1.    Don’t Drive Impaired.

Set a good example by not driving after drinking or consuming marijuana or other impairing substances. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and/or marijuana and driving don’t mix, no matter your age.

Also, remind them that driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs — could have deadly consequences.

2.    Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time. Everyone — Front Seat and Back. 

Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what (both in the front and back seats), even while in taxis or ride-sharing services.

3.    Keep Your Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel, and Mind on the Driving Task. 

teen safe driverRemind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving. Require your young driver to put their phones away and to turn on the “Do Not Disturb” or similar phone features when on the road. Distracted driving isn’t limited to phone use; other passengers, vehicle audio and climate controls, and eating or drinking while driving are all sources of dangerous distractions when full time and attention should be given to driving. Know your state’s law regarding mobile phone and texting while driving restrictions; 49 states ban texting while driving for novice drivers. Parents, take note: These laws aren’t just for teen drivers.

See Distracted Driving Law Chart. If your teen disobeys, enforce the penalties set with your teen before they started driving.

4.    Obey All Posted Speed Limits. 

Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who lack the experience to react to changing circumstances around their cars. Obey the speed limit and require your teen to do the same.

5. Limit Other Teen Passengers

teen safe driver pensacolaOther teen passengers can present one of the biggest risks for your new teen driver. A study by the AAA Foundation for Safety found that the risk of a crash doubles with one additional teen passenger in the vehicle. Two additional teen passengers can increase the risk of a crash by 158%. Three additional teen passengers can increase the risk of a crash by 207%. The same study found that having at least one passenger aged 35 or older in a [teen-driven] vehicle was associated with a 62% decrease in the risk of a crash. Notably, not all of us have a spare 35-year-old laying around to chaperone each trip your teen driver may make. That’s okay! The easiest thing to do is to enforce limits on the number of teen passengers your new teen driver is allowed to have in the car. By setting clear guidelines and outlining the appropriate behavior for when your teen does have another teen passenger in the car, you can help mitigate their risk of being involved in a passenger distraction crash. Some examples of passenger boundaries can be: no loud music, no dancing or singing; avoiding having emotionally involved or dramatic conversations; no acting wild; all vehicle occupants must be wearing safety belts, etc.

Two additional teen passengers
can increase the risk of a crash by 158%.
Three additional teen passengers can
increase the risk of a crash by 207%

Don’t Call {them} When They’re Driving

Duh, right? It seems like it would be a no-brainer… However, 53% of teens who reported talking on a phone while driving were chatting with their mom or dad, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. One of the best things you can do to avoid this parental faux pas would be to enable location software (such as Google Location Sharing) to help identify when your teen may be driving. Most simply, if you know they are driving, don’t call them! Set a rule with your teen that they must notify you before and after they drive to their destination if they are traveling to places outside of their normal routine. Other driving apps, such as “Life 360,” can even tell you your teen driver’s speed, as well as other important driver metrics*.

*This is not an endorsement of any driver safety app or product, merely a suggestion of tools that the author found helpful for monitoring.

Engage In Safe Driving Conversations Year-Round 

It is never too early, or too often, to discuss safe driving habits with your teen. You may choose to start the conversation during National Teen Driver Safety Week, but don’t be afraid to continue the conversation every day throughout the year. Even if it seems like they’re tuning you out, keep reinforcing these rules. They’re listening—your constant reminders about these powerful messages will get through. 

Get creative!
Having a conversation is just one way to discuss safe driving. You can also write your teen a letter, send email or text reminders, leave sticky note reminders in the car, or use social media to share your messages. 

Get it in writing.
Create a parent-teen driving contract that outlines the rules and consequences for your teen driver. Hang the signed contract in a visible place as a constant reminder of the rules of the road. 

If you and your teen are going somewhere together, let your teen drive.
This is a great time for you to evaluate their driving progress and to discuss safe driving habits. Make sure your teen is following the rules you’ve set.

Finally, be empowered.
Driving—for everyone, teen and adult alike—is a privilege, not a right. If your teen is having a difficult time following the rules, it may be time to take away the keys and review the basics. Safe teen drivers can mean the difference between life and death — for themselves, their passengers, and all other road users. 

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.

Sources:

https://flteensafedriver.org

https://flteensafedriver.org/safe-driving-tips-for-parents/

https://www.transportation.gov

https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/teen-safety/national-teen-driver-safety-week

Proving Permanent Injury In A Florida Car Accident Case

Let’s say you were injured in a car accident due to no fault of your own, and you called a personal injury lawyer like Joe Zarzaur to handle your case. It sounds simple, but is not. There are many complex issues in all personal injury cases, even those as seemingly simple as those described.

Florida No Fault Law

Florida is a no-fault automobile insurance state. This means that drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP) to pay for their medical expenses and other accident-related damages, regardless of who caused the collision.

In Florida, Treatment And Permanent Injury Diagnosis

If you are injured, you will start treatment with an appropriate specialist. Depending on the nature of your injury, it may be months or even years before you know the ultimate outcome of your injury. For soft tissue or whiplash-type injuries, it usually takes 6 to 9 months before the patient reaches maximum medical improvement. Clients must reach this stage of treatment before the doctor will give an opinion about the permanent injury. Under Florida law, (Florida Statute 627.737) states that you must have a permanent injury to recover from pain and suffering type damages, and you must have this opinion from a licensed physician.

What Is A Permanent Injury?

Florida law defines the term permanent injury. Under Florida’s no-fault law, which is §627.737, subsection two, a permanent injury is: a) significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; b) permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; c) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or d) death.

Under this law, if a claimant is able to show that the other vehicle was at fault and caused the plaintiff’s injuries, they will be able to recover any out-of-pocket medical bills incurred (the money owing after the PIP pays; usually PIP pays at 80 percent), any future medical bills, any lost wages, the loss of ability to earn money in the future, as well as any other out-of-pocket expenses legally shown.

How Do You Prove Permanent Injury In Florida?

A diagnosis of permanent injury must be made by the victim’s treating medical doctor.

In court, a permanent injury is generally proven by the expert testimony of the treating medical doctor or doctors. If the treating doctor testifies to a permanent injury, then the plaintiff has made a prima facie case for pain and suffering.

You Must Prove the Other Driver That Hit You Was Negligent

To receive any compensation for any losses, you must first prove that the driver responsible for the accident was negligent. While you may have to sue other parties involved, roughly 95% of car crashes result from careless driving.

[ ROUGHLY 95% OF CAR CRASHES
RESULT FROM CARELESS DRIVING ]

What Is The Tort Threshold In Florida?

The Tort Threshold, also known as the “No Fault” Threshold, is compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, paralysis, and other physical injuries that are known as non-economic damages. In Florida, most motor vehicle accidents will only provide the plaintiff with money if they suffer a permanent injury (diagnosed by a treating medical doctor). 

The tort threshold in Florida is a law stating that victims of personal injury accidents must sustain one of four types of injuries in order to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.

Injuries That Make Up The Tort Threshold 

a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function

b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement

c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

d) Death

What are Some Permanent Car Accident Injuries?

Some of the most common permanent injuries commonly seen in car accidents in Florida include the following:

Neck and back injuries

Lacerations

Burns

Soft tissue injuries

Bone fractures

Loss of limbs

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Head injuries

Nerve damage

What are the Possible Permanent or Long-Term Consequences of a Car Accident?

Victims of a car accident can experience a variety of long-term effects and health issues, including the following:

Cognitive problems

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety and depression

Chronic pain

Paralysis

Death

Financial problems

Strained relationships with caregivers or loved ones

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” >

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE 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.

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.

 

Sources:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.737.html

 

Triathlon Accidents And Injuries Are On The Rise

triathlon accidents TampaIt’s every triathlete’s and cyclist’s worst nightmare—(newbies and experienced riders alike)—and it’s happening with increasing frequency. When a vehicle enters the bike lane, runs a red light, or makes a right-hand turn in front of a bike, the outcome usually doesn’t favor the cyclist.

Growing Concerns

Over the weekend of September 24, 2022, an accomplished triathlete in Tampa, Florida was killed while on a training ride on her bicycle, and another Ironman World Champion runner-up finisher sustained significant injuries when she was hit by a car while training in Texas.  They are just the latest in the number of fatal accidents from car vs bicycle crashes.

Florida Leads The Nation In Bicycle Crash Fatalities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclist fatalities in 2020 were highest in Florida (170), California (129), and Texas (79). In 2020, there was a 9% increase in the number of bicyclists killed (938), compared to 859 in 2019.

“Florida Ranks Third
In Total Bicyclists Crashes
And Accidents.”

When Do Bicycle Accidents Happen Most?

Bicycle-related deaths peak in the warmer months, starting in May, and they remain high through October. In 2020, the most deaths occurred in August (157) and the fewest in February (53).

Each year, approximately 55,000 cyclists are injured by vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 30 percent of all bicycle accident injuries occur when a bicyclist is struck by a car.

In the stress and pain of the moment, it’s hard to know what to do if a car hits you while riding.

What to Do If You Get Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bike

In the unfortunate event that a motorist versus cyclist accident does occur, it should be treated much like any other motor vehicle accident involving attention to the health, safety, and wellness of those involved with the immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel and law enforcement.

Once immediate safety has been secured, someone should obtain (via notation, digital voice memo, or photographs):

Documentation of the scene, including details of the weather, road conditions, and time of day, including identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, date of birth, vehicle make/model/color, license plate, or tag numbers). Please identify any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information). Documentation of all bodily injuries, including helmet and clothing damage, as well as vehicle and bicycle damage

Bicycle Accident CheckList

1. Call the police and report the accident (even if you don’t think you are hurt).

2. Pay attention to and remember what the other party says about how the accident occurred.

3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, footwear, lighting, and other property.

4. As soon as possible, report the accident to your own car insurance company. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accident claims (let your lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Seek medical attention. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills. Allow the ER or hospital to bill you for your car ins.

6. Keep documentation of the accident. Police report, photos of the bike (etc.), the scene, surroundings, other party’s vehicle

7. Maintain an injury log.

8. Don’t discuss the accident on social media.

9. Consult a personal injury lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

10. Always remember: you are invisible on a bicycle.

Seeking medical care for a thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional (emergency department, urgent care, primary care provider, medical specialist) should not be overlooked or delayed. The most common injuries, such as skin abrasions (i.e., road rash), may be a harbinger of an underlying injury such as fractures, dislocations, cardiopulmonary or vascular injury, or disrupted tendons/ligaments, while a broken helmet could be an indication that an evaluation for intracranial, neck or cervical spine injury may be warranted.

How Does One Law Firm Have A Staff That Has Collectively Raced And Finished Over 25 Full Ironman Distance Triathlons?

One word: perseverance. Zarzaur Law prides itself on hiring lawyers and staff that will not settle, people that are self-driven and pride themselves on achieving things that seem insurmountable.

Perseverance In Sport And Representing Clients Who Have Been Injured

The sport of triathlon is a challenging sport, even with the smaller distance events. The combination of three different sports and the need to train for multiple events requires athletes to be both fit and disciplined. High pain thresholds, mental toughness, time management, and devotion to a goal. All of these characteristics are necessary and valuable traits for the sport of triathlon but are also important in the business of personal injury litigation.

Insurance companies and their lawyers are like distance courses. They are in a war of attrition and their goal is to wear you and your lawyer down until you are willing to either give up or take next to nothing for your case. Our lawyers and staff are the perfect opposition to such a battle tactic. We have proven, even in our hobbies, that distance and discomfort are to be embraced and overcome.

Athlete / Triathlete Accidents and Injuries Are Special Types of Cases

Personal injuries that occur during triathlon activities such as swimming, biking, and/or running bring a special type of case to our firm. Our fellow athletes who become clients can’t help but become cases of special interest. We are you, and we understand what drives you and what places you in harm’s way. We have been on the road with crowded drivers who have no patience for cyclists; we have been in the races with hundreds of swimmers fighting for position around the first buoys; we have been on the run courses that traverse busy intersections with sketchy traffic control.  We have been there and we have thought about how easy it would be to be injured by such negligence.

Sporting events, including races, walks, and triathlons, can often yield many different types of injuries to participants. Injuries sustained from races may include:

  • Collision with other runners, swimmers, cyclists, automobiles
  • Wrecks due to improper racing conditions, like fog or damaged racing surfaces.
  • Hypothermia
  • E. coli contraction
  • Exhaustion or serious injury due to coaching negligence
  • Serious infection or disease caused by waterborne bacteria.
  • Respiratory infections
  • Road rash
  • Knee injury
  • Muscle strain
  • Torn ligaments
  • Head injury
  • Heat exhaustion

The Long-Term Effects (Physical And Mental) Of A Sporting Accident

We also know what a toll a serious injury can have on an athlete’s life. We have all had injuries if you have competed in any of the three sports that make up triathlon. Fortunately, none of us have suffered life-changing injuries, and most of our clients end up with this fate. This is not something we can speak about via personal experience, but it is something we can relate to given our experience with the sport and being injured and suffering temporary disabling conditions.

We understand the mental and emotional injury that is suffered a day in and day out when you cannot do the thing that you love and that your body craves. This helps us as a personal injury law firm. We have a taste of the disability and loss that you or your family’s sports-related injury has and will continue to have in the future.

Hire a Law Firm With Triathlon Experience.

Having a law firm that knows athletics and specifically knows the sports of triathlon not only assures you and your family that we will understand the facts of your case but also provides a guarantee that we will also appreciate how this injury or loss will continue to affect you and your family for years to come.

Pensacola injury lawyer Joe Zarzaur
and Dr. Evan Malone are active cyclists
and participate in triathlons
on a regular basis.

By hiring Zarzaur Law, you will hire a legal team that understands cycling, knows cyclist rights, and will aggressively help you fight for your rights. At Zarzaur Law, we handle bicycle injury cases, defective bicycle components, defective roadway conditions, as well as everything else related to bicycle accident cases.

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 in 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.

For more information review the links below and research the organizations specific to your locale:

CDC Bicycle Safety

https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/bicycle/index.html

NHTSA Bicycle Crash Stats

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813197

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.2065.html

Florida Bicycle Association

https://floridabicycle.org

Bike Pensacola

https://www.bikepensacola.org/

West Florida Wheelmen

https://www.westfloridawheelmen.org/advocacy

https://media.acg.aaa.com//content/1205/files/2019%20Q2%20Consumer%20Pulse_Bicycle%20Safety.pdf

Bicycle Deaths

In A Distracted World, Can Cyclists Ever Feel Safe?

Is My Personal Injury Settlement Taxable In Florida?

Is My Personal Injury Settlement Taxable In FloridaAt Zarzaur Law, we do get a lot of clients asking at the end of their case if their personal injury compensation is taxable. Normally, the compensation you receive for the physical pain and suffering associated with your car accident (or other type of accident that caused personal injury) and attendant injuries is not taxable. This compensation is considered to align with your compensation for medical expenses and, therefore, avoid tax liability. These personal injury awards are reportable, but not taxable.

While we are lawyers and not accountants, we always advise our clients to seek the advice of a tax professional with questions in regards to income from a settlement.

Below is some basic information to help answer this question.

Personal Injury Damages That Can Be Compensated For And Not Taxable Include:

Medical expenses 
Physical and mental pain and suffering
Permanent injuries and impairments

Handling Your Medical Expenses

According to an article by Picnic Tax, the tax treatment of settlements received for an injury depends on how you handle your medical expenses. If you did not deduct any medical expenses related to your physical injury on previous tax returns, the settlement money you receive is not taxable. The IRS won’t allow you to double-dip, however. If you deducted medical expenses related to your injury during the previous year, part of your settlement is taxable.

An Example:

Let’s say you were injured in a car accident in 2020. As a result of the accident, you required surgery that cost $30,000. You paid the hospital bill in 2020 and deducted $30,000 from your income taxes as a medical expense. In 2021, the lawsuit related to your accident was settled, and you received $50,000 for your physical injuries to cover both past and potential future medical expenses. In this case, $30,000 of your settlement is taxable and $20,000 isn’t.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress settlements related to your physical injuries aren’t taxable. In the car accident example, if you were unable to work for several months after your accident and had subsequent surgery, you were also unable to enjoy life as you normally would. This resulted in severe depression and emotional distress. In this case, your emotional distress settlement isn’t taxable because the distress was the direct result of your injuries.

However, compensation for emotional distress only, without a physical injury, may be taxable. 

Questions To Ask A Tax Professional About Your Injury Settlement

If you are concerned that your Florida injury settlement could have a negative effect on your finances come tax time.

Ask questions such as:

  • What type of information and documentation do you need from me?
  • Is any of the money I received taxable?
  • How does the IRS determine what is and isn’t taxable?
  • What impact does the injury settlement have on other taxes that I may have to pay?

A Florida tax professional can answer these questions, among others, to ensure that you’re making safe financial decisions.

Watch Our YouTube 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.

If you’ve been in 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.

Are Legal Settlements Taxable? Tax Implications of Settlements and Judgments

https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/tax-implications-of-settlements-and-judgments

What If I Lose My Job During My Injury Case? 

Personal injuries caused by an accident that was due to no fault of their own, can have significant effects on every aspect of a client’s life.  In many personal injury cases, these effects can include an impact on a person’s job or career.  The loss of a job means the loss of income for the injured person and those who rely on him/her.   Like every other item of damages associated with a traumatic injury, clients want to know whether wage losses or job losses are the types of damages that are available as part of a personal injury case.

Wage Loss And Accident Injury Connection

The key to whether such damages are recoverable in a personal injury case depends upon how much and what type of evidence you have which connects the wage loss to the injury.  For example, if you miss wages as a result of your personal injury (such as a car accident injury), then you must connect your injury or treatment to the wage loss. 

This can be done by showing the following:
1. Your medical appointments required an absence from work.

2. Your treating doctor restricted you from working and it is notated in a medical record. 

Either of these situations can be demonstrated by reference to the medical records or medical appointments. 

What About Job Loss Due To Injury?

Some clients not only miss wages as a result of their personal injuries but end up losing their jobs.  It may appear to be unfair that an employer in Florida can fire you for an injury that you did not cause.  Unless the injury was suffered while working (workers’ compensation injury), the employer has the right to terminate most employees for any reason, including their physical limitations that result from a traumatic injury.  Business owners can work with clients, but most will only tolerate absences and limited work performance for so long before they determine that it is no longer in their best interest to keep you employed.  

Obviously, if your employer can find some position that will allow you to continue your employment, that would be best for you.  If, however, your employer doesn’t have any roles that are less physically demanding  you may find yourself without a job and without an income while you are recovering from the injury. 

Proper Documentation And Proof Of Termination Due To Injury

Lose My Job During My Injury CaseIn order to be able to recover for wage loss associated with any personal injury case, you have to have evidence that connects your wage loss to the injury-causing event.  This means that your termination or resignation should be documented in a way that connects your injury to your inability to work.  These documents should reference a superior at your former employer so that you have not only a document as evidence but a witness that can be called to verify the basis of the termination/resignation.  Ideally, if you can coordinate your departure from employment while your injury case is pending, you and your personal injury lawyer can make it clear for evidentiary purposes. 

For instance, you and your personal injury lawyer can discuss the wording of the resignation letter or the termination notice and make sure that it references your absences since the injury, otherwise you would have remained gainfully employed.  

Mitigating Your Lost Wages

Once you are without a job, it is important that you just don’t give up on making money.  The law will require that you “mitigate” your lost wage damages.  Just like the law requires that you seek medical treatment for your physical injuries, the law also requires that you try and find a replacement source of wages.  This means only that you must make reasonable efforts to find a replacement source of income.  This does not mean that you have to find a job but it certainly means that you have to use reasonable efforts to find any job that you are physically able to do that could replace some of the lost wages. 

So, as you can see, losing a job while you are dealing with your personal injury case is not a simple business.  It is complicated and deserves the attention of a law firm that has professionals working for you and your family.  If you have questions about any personal injury matter, which would include a serious car accident injury, please feel free to reach out to zarzaurlaw.com or call our firm at 855HireJoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS SUBJECT

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 in 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.