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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

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

 

The Best Way To Find An Auto Accident Lawyer After A Florida Car Wreck.

Auto accident lawyers seem to be everywhere you look these days. Auto accident lawyer billboards, auto accident lawyer television commercials, auto accident lawyer radio and internet ads, and all sorts of other auto accident lawyer-focused promotions.

But What Is The Best Way To Select An Auto Accident Lawyer For Your Car Wreck Case?

Not all auto accident lawyers are the same. Not all auto accident lawyers have the same background, experience, training, and reputation. When looking for an auto accident lawyer for your car wreck case, look for those who are board-certified in civil trial.

Board Certification Matters

The Florida Bar allows for lawyers to become certified in their area of expertise, but to do so, you must have plenty of experience and success in that area first. Then you are required to take a board certification bar exam. Once that is successfully completed, then your background and trial experience are analyzed by the Florida Bar Certification committee and you may receive certification. This certification lasts for 6 years, after which it must be renewed and you have to provide proof that you have continued to be engaged in this kind of work and that you still have a great professional reputation.

Again, the Florida Bar checks with judges and lawyers that have worked with you, and it will determine whether the lawyer’s board certification should be continued.

Only 1% of Florida Lawyers Are Board Certified In Civil Trial

One of the first ways that you should narrow the field of potential auto accident lawyers in Florida is to find those that are Board Certified in Civil Trial. Among the entire Florida Bar, that number is only about 1% of Florida lawyers. Each community in Florida has probably closer to 15% of the auto accident lawyers who are Board Certified in Civil Trial.


Here is a link to the Florida Board of Certified Civil Trial Lawyers listing >


The Lawyer You Hire Should Also Be The Lawyer Handling Your Case

What Should I Expect from my Personal Injury lawyerThen, once you have narrowed the list to just those lawyers who are board-certified, make sure that that particular lawyer will be the one actually handling your auto accident case. So, some firms will have a board-certified civil trial lawyer as part of their firm, but is that board-certified expert going to be handling your case or will your case be handled by some lawyer in the firm that is not board-certified?

Remember, pretty much all auto accident lawyers charge the same, no fee, no cost unless you win, so hire an expert to handle your case if you can.

Ask Questions

Meet the lawyer handling your case and ask them all the questions that you and your family have. If they seem unsure about some topic, then you should probably not hire that lawyer. In Florida, you can almost never go wrong (or too far wrong) if the lawyer handling your auto accident case is board-certified in civil trial. They are considered experts in the type of law that includes auto accident cases.

We here at Zarzaur Law have three board-certified civil trial lawyers handling auto accident cases. So, make sure your auto accident lawyer is also an expert, or hire one that is.

If you have questions about an auto accident lawyer or an auto accident case, you can find our auto accident lawyers on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 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.