Tag Archives: Best personal injury lawyer in Pensacola

Common Questions About Your Car Accident Injury Case.

zarzaur law common questions to ask during a car crash

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, you will face several challenges. Even if you think that you have a potential personal injury case to be compensated for your medical treatment costs, lost wages, property damage, etc, it can be difficult to know where to begin the process.

A “simple” car wreck case may involve many complex legal issues. Below are some common questions that our clients normally ask our legal team at Zarzaur Law, P.A.:

The At-Fault, Driver Did Not Get A Ticket. Do I Still Have A Case?

Whether a ticket was issued is not dispositive in a civil claim arising from a car crash. Often, the investigating officer is too busy to investigate the fault, unless the claim involves a fatality or near-fatality, or criminal conduct. Sometimes there are no witnesses, and the trooper simply does not have enough time to decide who was at fault. Regardless, if the other driver was at fault, you can still make a claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can develop the evidence needed to support the claim. Just because no ticket was issued, you may still have a case, especially if you were injured in the car accident.

Who Is Liable In A Personal Injury Case?

Many people are reluctant to sue the at fault driver or owner, even though they caused the injury. Rest assured that unless the driver or owner is extremely wealthy, their insurance company will pay the claim. If suit is filed, the insurance company is not a named party due to Florida law, but it will pay for the defense attorneys and any verdict. While you may have sympathy for the person who caused the wreck, rest assured, they will not have to pay the verdict absent very unusual circumstances.

What If The At-Fault Driver Has No Insurance?

In Florida, it is very common for drivers to have little to no coverage for personal injury liability. Florida does not require this coverage, so many don’t buy it. What then? If you are injured, you can make an uninsured motorist (UM) claim against your own insurance company. Making such a claim will not affect your rates if you are not at fault. This coverage can help reimburse you for your injuries. Make sure you get UM coverage!

How Do I Pay My Medical Bills?

If you are injured, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage from your own policy will pay for bills up to $10,000. Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection coverage.

Under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance law, most injured drivers seek reimbursement for accident costs from their own carrier, regardless of who caused the collision.

If your bills are higher, your own health insurance should pay for your additional medical expenses once your PIP has been exhausted.

If you do not have health insurance, some providers will treat you with an agreement to be paid out of your settlement. This agreement is set up between your lawyer and the medical provider.

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

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

Vehicle and personal property damage
Present and future medical expenses
Pain and suffering
Lost wages
Loss of future earnings
Wrongful death

Under Florida law, you must prove a permanent injury to recover money for your pain and suffering. Otherwise, you can only recover unpaid medical bills and lost wages. Proof of a permanent injury is often difficult to obtain and requires careful attention to the evidence by your lawyer.

How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?

Generally, all claims must be filed within a time period called the Statute of Limitations.” If the claim is not filed within that time, it is forever barred.

In Florida, the time for filing a claim is 4 years from the date of the wreck. If the case involves death, it must be filed within 2 years. As you can see, you should immediately contact a lawyer after a wreck so you preserve your rights to make a claim.

How Much Will An Attorney Cost Me?

In Florida, most injury cases are paid for with a “Contingency Fee.” That means, your lawyer will be paid from any recovery. If you do not recover, the lawyer is not paid.

The standard fee for Florida lawyers is 33.3 percent before suit is filed, 40 percent after suit is filed.

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

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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 auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

How to Collect Evidence After a Car Wreck.

Collecting evidence of your car wreck is a crucial part of your motor vehicle accident case. Inevitably, you are going to have to prove that you were injured, your vehicle was damaged, and that the wreck was not your fault.

How Exactly Do You Make Sure That You Are Collecting All The Right Evidence?

FIRST — always ALWAYS CALL THE POLICE. When you get into a car wreck, it is extremely important that you get a copy of the Florida Traffic Crash Report. This report will serve as evidence of the collision and also provide you (and your attorney) with important information about how this wreck happened. Having this document will make your future battle with insurance companies much easier.

SECONDTAKE PICTURES. One of the most common mistakes that people make following a car wreck is forgetting to take pictures at the scene. If you are able, take photos of EVERYTHING. Your car, the other driver’s car, the roads, the intersection, the scene, and yourself.

Not only is it important to document the damage to the vehicles involved, but it is very important that you document your injuries as well.  Take pictures of your bruises, your scrapes, your swelling, and any other kind of injury you may have.

THIRD — Did anyone WITNESS this crash? If there are witnesses, be sure to get their contact information. This step is often forgotten but is crucial to your case.

FOURTH — maintain a careful log of any expenses you incur as a result of your wreck. Making sure you have DOCUMENTS that support any claim you may make is crucial to preserving your claims in the future.

FIFTH — DO NOT POST on SOCIAL MEDIA. Whatever you do, do not post about your wreck on Facebook or Instagram. By doing this, you are creating evidence that could ultimately hurt your case.

The Defense is always looking for a way to discredit your claim, and by posting on social media, you are giving them ammunition to use against you later.

For more info on the dos and don’ts of social media watch Top Personal Injury Lawyer Joe Zarzaur’s YouTube video HERE.

SIXTH –  Hire a BOARD CERTIFIED Civil Trial Lawyer to manage your case. Hiring an expert to help you navigate your injury case is the best way to ensure your case is handled the right way.


FOR A FULL LIST OF WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, GO TO OUR “CAR WRECK CHECKLIST”


Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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 auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Important Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury Case

“Time is of the essence” is a very well-known phrase. It generally means that something important must be done in a timely manner in order to preserve your legal rights. While it usually applies to cases involving contracts, it is also a very important rule for Your Car Accident Injury Case.

Seeking Medical Treatment Immediately

The most important thing to do if you’ve been in a car accident in Florida and have sustained injuries is to go directly to a medical provider/clinic / or ER to identify and seek to treat your injuries. Waiting to see a medical professional can significantly impact your personal injury claim. According to Florida Statute § 627.736, you have 14 days to see a doctor after an accident. If you fail to seek medical treatment for your auto accident injuries, the insurance company may deny your accident claim.

Filing An Accident Report

Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury CaseWhile it is best to contact the police and file an accident report at the scene and as soon as the accident happens (and all of the information is fresh in your mind), in the state of Florida, you have up to 10 days to file a car accident report. Typically, the police are called on-site when a car accident occurs. In this situation, the officer will file a police report. If an officer files a police report for a car accident, you are not required to file another report.

Hiring An Experience Car Accident Lawyer

Contacting an attorney experienced in car accidents directly after Your Car Accident Injury Case is a very important step towards winning your personal injury claim. The sooner you contact them, the better. This is because the more time your lawyer has to look over the scene, ask for medical records, negotiate with the insurance companies, and interview eyewitnesses the more time they have to build your case.

Contacting a lawyer within a week of the statute of limitations being up does not give the attorney enough time to adequately prepare and research your case.

Following Your Injury Treatment Plan

After you see a doctor for your injuries following an accident, they are likely to recommend a specific plan of action for dealing with any injuries and preventing any future pain from developing.

It might be overwhelming to start a new routine to take care of your body, but it is very important! Your body went through a very traumatic experience, so you want to be proactive to ensure it stays healthy.

Not only will following through with your treatment plan will ensure your body recovers, but it will also ensure your injuries are properly documented from start to finish. This will be important for Your Car Accident Injury Case. Be sure to ask your doctor for copies of all treatment documents throughout the process.

Statute of Limitations

All civil cases arising from car accidents are governed by “statutes of limitations” This is the period of time that an injured person has in which to file a lawsuit. The state legislatures pass laws that require such claims be timely filed, or the right to file a claim is forever lost. In other words, if you do not settle your claim, or file a lawsuit over your claim within a specified time period, you lose the right to do so.

The purpose of such laws is to protect wrongdoers from defending stale claims or claims so old that any evidence to support a defense has disappeared.

The time the statute begins running is the day of a car accident, or in the case of a wrongful death claim arising from a car accident, the date of death. In certain cases involving a minor’s injuries, the time begins to run from the day the minor becomes an adult. In such cases the statute of limitations is “tolled” or delayed to a certain date after the minor becomes an adult.

Important Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury CaseStatutes of limitations vary from state to state. In Florida, a claim for personal injury must be brought within 4 years of the crash. In other states, such as our neighboring state of Alabama, the claim must be filed within 2 years. This means that the Alabama statute of limitations will apply if the crash is in Alabama, even if all the parties are residents of different states.

In Florida, a claim involving wrongful death must be filed within 2 years. In wrongful death cases, a personal representative must file the claim, so opening an estate and having a PR appointed can take many months. Thus, a crash involving death is even more time-sensitive.

To further complicate the law, claims for personal injury against your uninsured motorist carrier have a five-year statute of limitations. This is the standard “contract” period in Florida, and the claim arises from a contract, thus the 5 year period. Such claims arising from crashes in other states have similar time deadlines but are governed specifically by state law.

The statute of limitations for claims involving Florida governmental agencies, is 3 years, except for wrongful death claims, which is 2 years. This includes claims against law enforcement agencies, emergency services, sanitation services, and other governmental agencies that operate motor vehicles. Moreover, there must be a statutory notice sent out 6 months before suit is filed. The time periods and notice requirements may differ from state to state.

A claim against the Federal government must be filed within 2 years, whether for personal injury or death. Similarly, there is a statutory notice requirement before a suit is filed. Thus, you can see that time is even more of the essence when suing a state or federal governmental entity.

What Does This Mean For Your Accident Case?

In Florida, it means you must either settle your case or file a suit within the applicable statute of limitations. If you fail to do this, your claim will be extinguished, no matter how badly you are injured. As there are different deadlines for each state, and for claims involving the government, you need an experienced car accident lawyer to analyze your claim. Also, it means that you need to contact a lawyer immediately as the time begins running when the crash happens, not when you first talk to a lawyer.

Follow the CAR WRECK CHECKLIST for a comprehensive list of what to do right after a car accident >

 

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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 auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Who Is Responsible If You Are Seriously Injured in An Accident Involving a Lyft® Or Uber® Driver in Florida?

Rideshares such as Uber® and Lyft® have revolutionized the transportation industry. In the U.S. alone, there are hundreds of millions of rides every year.

According to data released by Forbes, the number of annual Uber trips has increased substantially since 2014:

  • 2014: 140 million
  • 2015: data unavailable
  • 2016: 1.8 billion
  • 2017: 3.7 billion
  • 2018: 5.2 billion
  • 2019: 6.9 billion

 


AS THE NUMBER OF UBER AND LYFT RIDES HAS INCREASED, SO HAVE THE NUMBER OF RIDE-SHARE ACCIDENTS – MANY LEADING TO SEVERE OR CATASTROPHIC INJURIES AND EVEN FATALITIES.


Studies have found that motor vehicle accidents have risen by about three percent since the widespread introduction of Uber. Uber is thought to cut down on accidents that would be caused by intoxicated drivers, who use Uber to get home rather than getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. However, on the other hand, Uber drivers are especially susceptible to risky behavior behind the wheel such as distracted driving due to drivers’ need to focus on their cell phones, or drowsy or fatigued driving due to many drivers working long and late hours.

Study By The University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business Reveals Some Troubling Statistics:

The University of Chicago’s ride-share accident report also included statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and compared accident rates in various major cities where the ride-share apps were first launched (relative to the total number of vehicle miles traveled).

  • Nearly 1,000 daily car accident deaths are due to the increasing number of rideshare vehicles on the road.
  • Uber vehicles were involved in 97 fatal crashes between 2017 and 2018.
  • Those crashes led to 107 total wrongful deaths.
  • 21% of those car crash victims were riders
  • 21% of those car crash victims were drivers.
  • The remaining 58% of those car wreck victims were third party drivers or passengers.

While the crashes may be the result of the negligence of others, serious injuries and wrongful deaths often occur.

Ubers’ Liability in Providing Insurance Coverage

Florida law regulates the insurance coverage required of ride share companies. Riders will be shocked to learn that they may be barely covered by insurance that may compensate them for injuries and losses in such crashes.

Florida Statue 627.748 outlines the insurance requirements for such companies. When the driver is logged onto the network, but not engaged in a ride, the insurance requirements are $50,000 per person and $100,000 for bodily injury and wrongful death per incident, and $25,000 for property damage. In other words, if a driver is driving the vehicle waiting to get a ride call, and negligently causes an injury or death, that is the maximum that the company is liable for.

Who’s Insurance Applies?

When the driver is engaged in a pre-arranged ride (which is defined as from the time the first rider enters the vehicle until the last rider exits the vehicle) the coverage limits must be at least $1 Million for injury, wrongful death, and property damage.

NOTE: Some coverages could include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), but this may be rejected by the insured under the policy. The insured under such policies is usually the company, although the individual driver may obtain a liability policy also.

 

If the individual driver causes the crash, injured riders will be covered by bodily injury insurance. Still, in cases involving catastrophic injuries, or multiple injuries, the million-dollar coverage may not be sufficient to compensate all victims.

If the driver/company has UM/UIM coverage, it may come into play. Similarly, if a non-passenger is injured by the negligence of the driver, there may be limited insurance.

That is why it is important to have your own UM/UIM policy for protection and hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you with your claim.

TUNE IN – Joe Zarzaur Explains The Importance Of UM Coverage:

https://youtu.be/x5TKLEE-QFc

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage https://youtu.be/M5J_E-qgsok

PIP Coverage from a Provider’s Perspective. https://youtu.be/UvzLC5tE0ao

When An Accident Is Caused By Another Driver

When the car accident is caused by someone other than the driver, and the at fault party did not have BI (bodily Injury) coverage, or inadequate BI coverage, the company’s UM (uninsured motorist) policy may come into play IF the company did not opt out of such coverage. Again, another reason for having your own UM/UIM coverage.

As you can see, crashes involving ride share are common, and present very complex issues of Florida law. If you are injured in such situation, there may be multiple potential coverages available to compensate you for your injuries. It is important to consult with an experienced Florida car wreck lawyer to make sure you are protected in such a situation.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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 auto accident in a ride-share vehicle, 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.technologyreview.com/2018/10/25/139300/uber-and-lyft-are-behind-a-sharp-rise-in-us-traffic-deaths/

https://news.uchicago.edu/story/ride-hailing-services-may-be-driving-traffic-deaths

https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-ride-hailing-increases-fatal-car-accidents-new-research-shows-2018-10

https://bfi.uchicago.edu/insight/research-summary/the-cost-of-convenience-ridesharing-and-traffic-fatalities/

Are Employers Responsible for Distracted Driving Accidents In Florida?

If the driver of a car, truck or other vehicle is using that vehicle on the job, then the driver’s employer could be liable for any injuries resulting from a traffic accident for which the worker was at fault. The same goes for any vehicle damage resulting from the accident. But the issue isn’t always as clear as it might seem.

A legal doctrine known as respondeat superior (vicarious liability) makes employers legally responsible under certain circumstances for the actions of negligent employees who cause injury to someone else.

In the past, with regard to crashes, this mostly meant suing the employers of professional drivers (truckers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers, etc.) or workers who were running job-related errands or traveling between two job sites.

Nowadays, this can include workers conducting in-vehicle video conferences, responding to work-related texts, taking client calls, firing off a work-related e-mail, etc.

Was the Driver ‘On the Job’?

Whether someone is on the job while driving is not always a simple question. In general, any time someone is performing any duties related to work, the person can be considered on the job even when he or she is also doing personal business and driving a personal car.

Was the Driver an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

Especially since the dawn of the so-called “side hustle” economy, it’s not always easy to sort out whether a worker is truly an employee of a given company. The differences between an employee and an independent contractor can seem vague from a practical standpoint, but it’s a crucial distinction in the eyes of the law.

Typically, if the person who caused your accident was working as an independent contractor at the time, there’s no company that will automatically bear legal responsibility (as an employer typically would).

But there can be a bit of a gray area in some instances (including accidents involving rideshare drivers) when a company provides insurance for its independent contractors. It’s important to consult with a Florida auto accident lawyer if you have been injured by a driver that is considered ‘On the job.’

Doing A Business Errand In Your Personal Car.

If your boss asks you to run an errand and drop off a package and you have a serious car wreck on the way, you are within the scope of employment since you are conducting business that benefits your employer. You are “On the job.”

However, if you stop at a drive-through after you have completed your work-related task and have an accident, your employer may not be liable.

WATCH AND LISTEN AS JOE ZARZAUR, BOARD-CERTIFIED CIVIL TRIAL LAWYER, DISCUSSES THIS TOPIC >

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

Sources:
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employer-liability-for-employee-car-accidents.html

https://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/respondeat-superior.html

 

Do You Know How to Navigate A Roundabout?

While roundabouts are designed with safety in mind, these traffic signal alternatives create a significant hazard for drivers. With many drivers having very little experience navigating these circular intersections, it is important to know both how to properly operate your vehicle while utilizing one and the dangers associated with roundabouts. 

How To Navigate A Roundabout

Roundabouts Function To The Right

This means that the flow of traffic comes from the left, and you must yield the right of way to the vehicle approaching from your left.  It is important to remember to ALWAYS yield the right of way to vehicles already in the roundabout.

Do Not Stop While In The Middle Of The Roundabout

One of the leading causes of car crashes while using a roundabout happens when a vehicle already inside the roundabout comes to a stop.  The beauty of a roundabout is that it keeps traffic moving, which is why it is important to never stop while in the roundabout unless you have to.

Do Not Speed While Entering The Roundabout

Research shows that a common crash that happens in roundabouts is vehicles striking the traffic circle.  This happens because motorists enter the roundabout at too high of a speed, and lose control of their vehicle.  By entering the roundabout at a safe speed, you are able to maintain control of your vehicle and keep from getting into a crash.

Check Your Blindspots

Another easy way to avoid a crash while using a roundabout is to always check your blindspots before entering the roundabout.  While you might think there is not a car coming, by failing to check your blindspot you might be wrong.  It is so important to navigating these roundabouts with caution, which means being extra diligent in checking for oncoming traffic.

It is not all bad news, though!


STUDIES SHOW THAT INTERSECTIONS THAT ARE CONVERTED FROM TRAFFIC SIGNALS TO ROUNDABOUTS REDUCE CRASHES BY ABOUT 40%.


Research also shows that these roundabouts are generally safer for pedestrians. 

 

Roundabouts NavigationImprovements In Traffic Flow

Several studies conducted by IIHS and others have reported significant improvements in traffic flow following the conversion of traditional intersections to roundabouts.

A study of three intersections in Kansas, Maryland, and Nevada where roundabouts replaced stop signs found that vehicle delays were reduced 13-23 percent and the proportion of vehicles that stopped was reduced 14-37 percent (Retting et al., 2002).

A study of three locations in New Hampshire, New York, and Washington state where roundabouts replaced traffic signals or stop signs found an 89 percent average reduction in vehicle delays and a 56 percent average reduction in vehicle stops (Retting et al., 2006).

A study of 11 intersections in Kansas found a 65 percent average reduction in delays and a 52 percent average reduction in vehicle stops after roundabouts were installed (Russell et al., 2004).

An Institute study of two-lane roundabout conversions at two intersections near Bellingham, Washington, found substantial declines in vehicle delays on the minor roads (33 percent and 90 percent) and the proportion of vehicles waiting in queues (35 percent and 43 percent) (Hu et al., 2014).

Overall intersections delays increased (12 percent and 22 percent), due to slightly longer delays on the major approaches as vehicles slowed to enter the roundabouts.


BECAUSE ROUNDABOUTS IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF TRAFFIC FLOW, THEY ALSO REDUCE VEHICLE EMISSIONS AND FUEL CONSUMPTION.


Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.iihs.org/topics/roundabouts

https://www.pensacolabaybridge.com/overview/17th-avenue-interchange

https://www.pnj.com/story/news/traffic/2021/10/25/17th-avenue-roundabout-pensacola-beach-complete-and-open-traffic/6172840001/

https://www.iihs.org/topics/roundabouts

What You Should Know About A Settlement Before Accepting It.

What you should know about settlement

An auto accident can be shocking and even life-changing. You are now having to deal with a vehicle that must be repaired or replaced, doctor appointments for your injuries, lost workdays, insurance company calls and letters, and managing life without a vehicle.

You may be tempted to accept an offer from the insurance company when they are telling you they can give you a quick settlement and will cut a check to you. However, this also can mean a lot of essential pieces of information that may be lost that affect your potential personal injury claim.

Before accepting a settlement offer, you should be aware of these critical pieces that can make a difference in your case.

Things To Remember About Settlements In A Car Accident

 

Know What Your Case Is Worth

A fair settlement will compensate you for current and future expenses and damages, including:

Car repair bills

Car rental while your vehicle is in the shop

Reimbursement for daily tasks you would perform had the accident not occurred

Medical expenses

Costs of future medical treatment and therapy

Lost wages due to missed work

Expected future lost earnings

Mental health treatment

Pain and suffering

Injuries May Be More Serious Than They First Appear

The full extent of injuries from a car accident may not be known for a long time after the accident. This could be due to many reasons, including the following:

The injuries require more extensive treatment than anticipated

The wounds don’t heal as expected

Complications arise

Secondary infections set in

Before accepting a settlement, accident victims must know how their injuries will affect current and future employment opportunities, mobility and activity levels, overall health, and quality of life. They should also understand what ongoing care or treatment will be needed due to the accident. These things are usually known once a person has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).  A doctor will determine that the patient has achieved MMI or has a permanent injury.

Settling Your Claim Too Soon Can Be Costly

The insurance company may offer you a quick settlement for your car accident claim. In some cases, the company may issue an offer before you complete medical treatment for injuries.


BE WARY OF A SETTLEMENT OFFER BEFORE YOU COMPLETE TREATMENT FOR YOUR INJURIES.


Until you complete your medical treatment, you cannot know for sure how much your medical bills may be or how much money you might lose from being out of work. Lost wages and medical costs after a car accident can be substantial.

Car Wreck Settlement Process

 

Liability Release

Settlement agreements include a release of liability, which means the insurance company is not responsible for any payments outside of the settlement agreement. The victim cannot ask for more money in the future and cannot take the case to court. When you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, the settlement agreement is a final resolution of your claim. After you sign the agreement, you cannot demand more money for your claim.

Therefore, make sure that the amount you accept compensates you fully for all your damages. Damages in a car accident case include both economic and non-economic damages.

This is true even if the accident injuries turn out to be more serious than initially thought, if unexpected complications arise, or if the victim didn’t understand the full value of the claim.


FOR ACCIDENT VICTIMS, THE LACK OF COMPLETE INFORMATION IS ONE OF THE PRIMARY DANGERS OF A QUICK SETTLEMENT.


Hire A Lawyer To Work On Your Behalf

Meeting with the best personal injury lawyer gives you the opportunity to ask questions and understand your options. Your lawyer is looking out for your best interest and is your advocate when dealing with the insurance company. If you have suffered an injury understanding your rights and options for recovering the maximum compensation for your losses can be fully achieved with the help of a board-certified civil trial lawyer.

The Counteroffer

When making a counteroffer, your lawyer can make sure to highlight the severity of your injuries, including your pain and suffering. They will also make sure to place the responsibility for your pain and suffering.

It is common to go back and forth several times when negotiating a car accident settlement. The negotiation process could take several weeks or even a few months.

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Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Smart Road Tips for Halloween Safety

Tips for Halloween Safety By Consumer Reports.

There may be fewer ghosts, witches, and superheroes wandering along the roads this Halloween looking for candy and treat because of COVID-19 concerns, but it’s important that drivers remain vigilant and keep an eye out for costumed children darting into the road, crossing parking lots, or strolling along the streets.

The scary reality is that Halloween has been one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, especially children, statistics show.


THE RISK OF A PEDESTRIAN FATALITY WAS 43 % HIGHER ON HALLOWEEN


The risk of a pedestrian fatality was 43 percent higher on Halloween, based on a comprehensive study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that analyzed 42 years of data.

“Halloween night is like a ‘perfect storm’ of risk because it involves darkness, a huge increase in pedestrian traffic—especially children—and all sorts of distractions,” says Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. “Everyone needs to be ultracareful to not turn such a fun evening into tragedy.” 

About half of traffic deaths overall occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Driving at night is three times as risky as driving during the day,” says Matthew Brumbelow, a senior research engineer at the IIHS. The holiday should also serve as a reminder to motorists and pedestrians alike about the dangers.

The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 6,205 pedestrians died in traffic collisions in 2019.

Fortunately, there are clear steps that trick-or-treaters and drivers can take to improve safety for all. Below are tips from CR experts and NHTSA.

Tips for Trick-or-Treaters

  • Parents should accompany children younger than 12.
  • Children should walk—not run—from house to house.
  • Children should stay on sidewalks instead of walking between cars or on lawns, where there could be tripping hazards.
  • Parents should remind children to look for cars when crossing driveways.
  • Pedestrians shouldn’t assume they have the right of way, because motorists may not see them.
  • Go trick-or-treating before it is truly dark, especially with young children.
  • Parents and children should consider choosing costumes that are lighter in color, which makes it easier for drivers to see them. Adding reflective material to the front and back makes a costume easier to pick out. It can even be built into the design.
  • Avoid costumes that make it more difficult for a child to see, especially ones that include costume masks. Of course, because of the pandemic, children and chaperones should wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth, and they should practice social distancing.
  • Give children a flashlight to walk in the dark, so they can be more easily seen by drivers. Glow sticks can help, too.
  • Kids should keep their phones in their pockets unless taking photos on a porch. Walking with a device risks the child not being aware of their surroundings.

Tips for Drivers

  • Drive slowly in and around neighborhoods and on residential  streets, even if you don’t see trick-or-treaters around.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Drunk driving incidents increase on Halloween. NHTSA reports that 41 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2014 to 2018 were in crashes involving drunk driving. About one-third of all crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers, according to NHTSA.
  • Watch for children who may dart out into the street, and always yield to pedestrians. If you see one child, there are likely to be more ready to cross.
  • If you’re driving children around for trick-or-treating, make sure they’ve buckled up appropriately in a child car seat or with a seat belt. Make sure they buckle up each time they enter the car and check to make sure they’re secure before you drive to the next stop.
  • Parents transporting kids for Halloween activities may be tempted to buckle them in wearing their costumes. But some costumes may have added padding or hard surfaces that will make it difficult for the car-seat harness or vehicle seat belt to properly fit the child. Consumer Reports advises buying or making costumes without padding or hard surfaces or having your child change into their costume after arriving at their destination.
  • Pullover at safe locations to let children exit at the curb and away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your car.
  • Try to park in a spot where you won’t need to back up. But if you must, have an adult outside to make sure no children are in the way of your vehicle when you do.
  • Don’t use a cell phone or other mobile device while driving. Pullover safely to check voice messages or texts, if necessary.

By being cautious and mindful of safety this Halloween, you can make sure the holiday is a treat for all.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Conversations To Have With Your Kids Before They Are Old Enough To Drive

Parents of a teenaged driver Florida

The day is finally here…. Your child is finally old enough to get behind the wheel of a car.  While it is very exciting for your child, it can be absolutely terrifying as a parent of a teenaged driver.


TEENAGED DRIVERS ARE SOME OF THE MOST DANGEROUS DRIVERS ON THE ROAD, WITH 15,918 DRIVERS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 INVOLVED IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS IN 2019 ALONE.


What Can You Do As A Parent To Keep Your Child Safe On The Road?

Talk to them.  Take the time to explain to them the importance of driving safely, and not being distracted. Take the time to explain to them the dangers associated with their newfound freedom.

  1. Talk to Your Teen About the Dangers of Distracted Driving 

One of the biggest dangers associated with new and young drivers is driving while distracted.  Cellphones are perhaps one of the BIGGEST problems our new drivers face.  It seems all too easy to snap a pic, or respond to a text message.  But, those seconds matter.  Take the time to explain to your new driver that every second spent not looking at the road is a second that something terrible can happen.  That text message could be the difference between life and death.

Did you know Sleepy Driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving?  – LEARN MORE HERE >

2.  The Dangers Of Having Passengers 

Studies show that teenagers are two and half times more likely to take a risk while driving when they have a friend in the car.  Add a second passenger, and your child is three times more leads to 3 times more likely to take a risk.  While you can not always control who gets in your child’s car,  you can take the time to explain to them the dangers of having other people in the car before they have experience.

Parents of a teen driver Florida

 

3.  Drunk Driving 

Perhaps the most important conversation you can have with your new driver is the dangers associated with drunk driving.   Studies show that 16% of fatal car crashes involving teenaged drivers involved alcohol.  It is so important that you take the time to explain to your child the dangers surrounding alcohol and getting behind the wheel.  What might seem like not a big deal to them can lead to catastrophic consequences?

But this conversation doesn’t stop with reminding them to not get behind the wheel while under the influence. It is also crucial that you spend time discussing with them the importance of not getting in the car with someone else who has been drinking and/or using drugs.

Seatbelt, Seatbelt, Seatbelt!! They save lives – 

4.  Be A Good Example 

While taking time to talk to your child about the dangers of driving distracted, with passengers, and under the influence is important, it is also crucial that you practice safe driving while they are in the car with you.  Your children are always watching you, and the best way to teach them to drive safely is to lead by example.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:
https://www.teendriversource.org/teen-crash-risks-prevention/car-accident-prevention/basic-facts-about-teen-crashes

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teen-driving

https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/crashreports/crash_facts_2019.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving

Disadvantages Of Trying To Handle Your Own Personal Injury Case

There is a wise old saying “A person who represents himself in a lawsuit has a fool for a lawyer.” In other words, it is much better to have a qualified professional represent you in a legal matter if at all possible.

Misconceptions

Despite the conventional wisdom, many people try and represent themselves in legal disputes. The reasons are many:

It’s a small matter and does not require a lawyer.

I can’t afford a lawyer.

Hiring a lawyer will not make my case easier or more valuable.

All of these reasons are not sufficient. If you have a legal claim that is important to you, you should at least consult a legal professional.

A Financial Mistake

Suppose you try and represent yourself in a personal injury matter, as many do. You justify that by saying you don’t want to pay a lawyer, because your net recovery may be less. That could be a very serious financial mistake.

Any claim for a personal injury requires investigation about liability or fault, injuries and causation for injuries, and availability of insurance or some other method of recovery. All of these issues present challenges to a layperson.

The Recorded Statement

If you represent yourself, the first thing an insurance adjuster will do is try and take your statement, to limit your positions on fault. In fact, they may hire a lawyer to take your statement under oath.


YOU MAY NOT KNOW THAT THE OPPOSING INSURANCE COMPANY HAS NO RIGHT TO TAKE YOUR STATEMENT UNDER OATH IN A STANDARD PERSONAL INJURY CASE.


If you are making a claim against your own insurance company, they have a right to do this. Regardless, a layperson is not generally able to represent themself in a complicated or contested liability case. Moreover, a lawyer will generally have a staff or an independent investigator to take statements of witnesses and document the scene. This is very difficult for a non-lawyer to do.

Proof of Injuries

Proof of injuries may also be an issue in a personal injury case. Again, this can be difficult in many cases. In Florida, you must prove a permanent injury, and without medical knowledge or access to proper physicians, this can be very daunting. If you cannot have a medical provider document a permanent injury, your case is not worth much over the out-of-pocket medical bills.

Availability And Amount Of Insurance Coverage

A very important factor in such cases is the availability and amount of insurance coverage. In Florida, insurers must document coverage if requested according to the procedures outline in the Florida Statutes.

There are also many different coverages available, including:
No-Fault (PIP)
Bodily injury liability
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage
Excess of umbrella coverages

There may also be additional at-fault defendants that are not readily apparent to a layperson. Again, an experienced lawyer can lead you through this process.

Hire An Expert

If you have attempted to handle your own case, and you think it’s a significant case, please consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Most, if not all, such lawyers will give you a free consultation.

In most cases, your claim may be much more valuable, and you may net much more from the claim if you hire an attorney. All attorneys in our area will handle your case on a contingency fee basis, and in most cases will maximize your financial recovery.

Refer to the car wreck checklist for more info on what to do right after you’ve been involved in a car accident.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.