Tag Archives: Child Accident Attorneys

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

Parents And The Art Of Car Seat Safety

By: Hannah Domoslay-Paul
(Contributing writer for Pensacola Mom Collective)

Protecting The Smallest Members Of Our Families As We Travel Through Our Day-To-Day Lives.

As the mom of six, I cannot even begin to fathom the number of times I have needed to install a car seat and then buckle our children in to go somewhere. Our family travels have taken us near and far, from the quick trip to the store or school drop-off all the way up to a 7,000-mile road trip that we braved this past summer and pretty much everything in between.

A Mom’s Real Life Perspective On Safety.

Over the last 14.5 years, we have owned a grand total of 13 car seats (infant carriers, all-in-one convertible seats, and boosters), and while colors, patterns, and styles change, the number one factor purchasing each and everyone is this: Will it keep our children safe?


IN 2019, 608 CHILD PASSENGERS TRAGICALLY DIED IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS, MORE THAN 91,000 INJURED, AND OF THOSE WITH FATAL INJURIES, OVER 38% DID NOT GET BUCKLED UP IN A CAR SEAT.


While almost all parents engage in the well-meaning act of purchasing a car seat, we often fail when it comes time to install the car seats in our vehicles correctly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that almost 50% of car seats end up improperly installed in the United States. One sure-fire way to guarantee your seat is correctly installed and your child is traveling as safely as possible is to visit a car seat inspection station near you.

You can quickly access links to local sites by visiting the NHTSA website and searching with your zip code. If there is no location near you, Safe Kids Worldwide is also an excellent service that can connect you with techs, and some technicians allow you to schedule virtual visits.

What Car Seat Is Right For The Age Of Your Child?

Knowing what car seat is right for the age of your child is just as important as knowing how to install it properly, so here are a few quick tips to help you find the right seat:

  • Rear-Facing Through Age 2: Children should stay rear-facing for as long as possible; through age two is what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. The NHTSA even suggests keeping your child in their rear-facing seat until they reach the height and weight limits. One-third of the United States have passed laws requiring rear-facing through two and infant carriers, all-in-one car seats, and convertible car seats all fit the bill for rear-facing.
  • Different Types of Booster Seats – there are also many booster seats available, with the most common being either toddler, high-back, or standard boosters. Toddler booster seats typically have a five-point harness for use until the child reaches a certain height. High-back boosters help with proper seat belt positioning. Standard boosters are suitable for older children who do not yet meet the height requirements for seat belt positioning.
  • How Much Space Does Your Vehicle Have?  I recently had a friend discover, much to her chagrin, that the car seats she purchased for her twins would not fit in their vehicle. Having six many children myself, I discovered that the only seats I could fit properly with my vehicle’s seating configuration needed to be narrow, like those made by Diono.
  • How Long Does This Seat Last? Car seats, just like canned goods, have expiration dates, and if you are planning on buying a seat to last you through multiple children, one major factor in the difference in length of seat usage is construction. The more steel used in construction, the longer you have that seat because plastic degrades over time. Expiration dates on seats usually run between 6 – 10 years, and the information is contained on the seat label with the model and serial number.
  • Too Many Options, Too Many Choices.  Still looking for more help to pick the right seat for your family? Check out the NHTSA Car Seats and Booster Seat page, and you’ll find everything from support for selecting the right seat to a link to register the seat you ultimately choose for important safety recall updates and information.

Safe Buckling Practices

Finally, our responsibilities to the children in our lives cover so many facets and areas of daily living and sometimes we become complacent in certain areas.  One area to always making sure our children are buckled in properly to the car seat we ultimately chose. Please remember:

  • Is my child within the weight and height guidelines for this seat?  If your child is too small or too large for a seat, they can be at risk of injury in an accident.
  • Do I have the harness straps in the correct location?  It’s essential to read which position is suitable for your child’s current age and seat position. Harness straps should be just between or below the shoulders if rear-facing and just at or above shoulder height in a forward-facing car seat.
  • Is the chest clip in the correct position?  Ohhh, the chest clip, the first buckle my children mastered, and long the bane of my existence. Proper chest clip placement is paramount and can keep your child from being ejected from their seat in case of an accident. In many manuals, the chest clip, often referred to as a harness retainer clip should be positioned level across the sternum, approximately at armpit level on your child.
  • Is my child wearing unnecessary clothing or have I placed extra items in my child’s car seat?  The AAP again issues some sound guidance on the safety of any items that go over a car seat, beneath children and their car seat, and between their bodies and the safety harness. Heavy coats in the cold months are often talked about the most in this category. Still, it is essential to understand that replacement seat covers, head supports, and harness covers that do not come from the manufacturer often have the most potential for danger. They have not undergone testing for safety standards in crashes and the wisdom is that a product on the shelf for sale does not make it safe. Stretchy cap style covers that go over seats are not discouraged in the same way but always choosing one with adequate ventilation and openings over the child’s face is key to safe use.

The variety of car seats for sale shows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for families. A properly installed seat, that a child has been correctly buckled in to, is what is safest to protect all small children.

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://portalskcms.cyzap.net/dzapps/dbzap.bin/apps/assess/webmembers/secure/manage?webid=SKCMS&pToolCode=CERT-SEARCH&pAdd=Yes

https://www.nhtsa.gov

https://www.aap.org

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#find-the-right-car-seat-car-seat-recommendations

 

About Hannah Domoslay-Paul
(Contributing writer for Pensacola Mom Collective)

Hannah was born and raised in West Michigan and made the move to Pensacola in 2015 with her oldest four boys after being widowed. Now remarried and with two more lovely children added to the family, a girl and boy, she spends her days trying to keep it together, usually with duct tape and ingenuity. During her daily hours spent serving as a taxi driver she often muses about how lost the world would be without moms and wonders if she’ll ever go a week without playing a game of “What’s That Smell” around her house and car. Hannah is an adult with ADHD, the daughter of an alcoholic, and the survivor of child abuse who doesn’t have too many off limits topics. She is a lover of books, sarcastic humor, and old houses and all three come in handy as she constantly works on projects in and around her 1866 Folk Victorian.

Who Pays For Medical Treatment If My Child Is Injured At School?

School InjuriesAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 20,000 children experience traumatic brain injuries, with many of the accidents that cause these injuries happening at school.


ADDITIONALLY, MORE THAN NINE MILLION CHILDREN GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM EACH YEAR, WITH MANY OF THESE INJURIES RELATED TO FALL ACCIDENTS.


Common Causes of School Injuries

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Playground injuries
  • Fighting

It’s a phone call every parent dreads—the call from their child’s teacher or principal saying that their child has been injured at school. The possibilities are nearly endless. Accidents can happen on the bus, in the classroom, on the playground, or in P.E.  It is easy to panic in this situation. However, it is important to preserve your and your children’s rights if they are injured at school. 

Below, we answer some of the more common questions that our clients have when their kids are hurt while at school. 

Tend To Your Child

The first step is obvious: tend to your child. Assess the severity of the injury. Is it something that can be taken care of with first aid, or is it serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or even the Emergency Room? 

Get Information About The Incident

– What happened

– Where and when the injury took place (During school hours? On school property? On a field trip?)

– Who was present at the time of the injury

– What actions were taken to help your child

– If any other children were involved

Many injuries may appear to be no big deal at first, but if they progress and cost you in the long run, you will want to have all of the details documented as soon as possible.

Hire A Lawyer

If the injury is severe enough, or treatment is costly enough, the next step is to hire a lawyer to represent you and your child’s interests. The school district has legal and risk management teams ready to help defend them the second a potential claim arises, so it’s important to fight fire with fire and hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. 

Common Types Of Injuries Sustained At School

The type of injury will largely depend on where and how the injury occurred. The most common injuries sustained on school grounds include:

– Cuts, scrapes, and bruises

– Sprains and strains

– Broken bones

– Head injuries

– Neck and back injuries

– Brain injury or trauma

– Dislocations

– Black eyes

– Emotional and/or psychological injuries

The Process of Bringing A Case Against A School

My Child was Injured In The School PensacolaOnce hired, your lawyer will navigate the treacherous waters of making a claim against the government. Suing the school district is not like suing anyone else. The government has put hurdles in front of anyone that wishes to sue it.

First, a successful claimant must send what’s called a “claim letter” to the agency they wish to sue within 3 years of the injury. They must also send a copy of this letter to the Florida Department of Financial Services. This requirement is separate and apart from the statute of limitations, which is generally 4 years for a personal injury. 

Once the claimant has sent a claim letter, the government has 6 months to respond to the claim. The government rarely does so, and the claimant must usually file suit to have the possibility of any recovery. Once in suit, the plaintiff is usually prevented by law from recovering more than $200,000 to $300,000 in damages, depending on the circumstances. If the plaintiff wants to recover more, he or she usually has to petition the Legislature to make up the difference. 

Zarzaur Law has the necessary experience to maximize your recovery against the government. Two of three of the attorneys at Zarzaur Law are board-certified as Specialists in Civil Trial—a certification only held by 1% of lawyers statewide. The lawyers at Zarzaur Law have handled many claims against school districts for injuries as diverse as car wrecks, sexual abuse, and injuries caused by school bullies. Since every plaintiff’s law firm works under the same “no fee unless you win” structure, there is no reason not to hire a specialist. 

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.lawyer-monthly.com/2021/02/experts-advise-what-to-do-if-your-child-is-injured-at-school/

https://www.enjuris.com/children-accidents/injured-at-school.html

Attention: Parents with Children in Santa Rosa County School System – Important Child Safety Video (documents)

GULF BREEZE ELEMENTARY ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL KIM McCHESNEY DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT:

McChesney – Redacted

GULF BREEZE ELEMENTARY ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL KIM McCHESNEY DEPOSITION VIDEO:

RECORDS REQUESTED:

McChesney – Redacted

 Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur  >

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 Florida and Alabama.

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 Florida Bar Certified Civil 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.

Accidental Child Drownings And The Florida Residential Pool Safety Act

“Accidental Child Drownings and Pool Safety Act in Florida.”

Many homeowners in Florida utilize websites like VRBO and AIRBNB to list their properties for short-term rental.  There are, however, some serious safety issues related to such properties that have pools which could easily expose the homeowner to liability if a guest is injured or is killed because of accidental drowning.

The laws regulating pools in Florida are mainly categorized as residential or public.  This distinction is important since depending upon the pools’ classification, certain laws will and will not apply.

What is a Public Lodging Establishment?

A home listed on Airbnb may be considered a “public lodging establishment” if it is a “vacation rental.” Florida Statute § 509.242 (b) defines a vacation rental as “any unit or group of units in . . . any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment.” A “transient public lodging establishment” is defined as “any unit . . . dwelling . . . within a single complex of buildings which is rented to guests for periods of at least 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 509.013 (1).

Many of the home share properties in Florida will likely fall into the classification of a vacation rental given its transient use and its advertisement to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.

Though many of these properties would most likely be classified as a “public lodging establishment,” a short-term vacation rental’s pool would be considered a residential pool; thus, it would be subject to the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (“Act”).

A public swimming pool is defined as a pool that may be accessed with or without a fee and includes, but is not limited to, pools operated by public entities or pools which serve camps, churches, daycare centers, group home facilities of eight or more clients, or the cooperative living projects of five or more living units, such as apartments and hotels. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 514.011 (2).


FROM 2017 TO 2019 COMBINED, FLORIDA WAS RANKED THE HIGHEST IN THE U.S. FOR UNINTENTIONAL DROWNING DEATH RATE AMONG CHILDREN AGES 1 TO 4 YEARS (6.29 PER 100,000 POPULATION).


What is Considered a Residential/Private Pool?

This understanding is further confirmed by the Act’s definition of “residential,” which defines the term as a one-family or two-family dwelling. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.25 (10). A vacation rental home would likely be considered a single-family dwelling. Further, a residence’s pool would fit into the 514.011’s (Florida Statute) definition of a private pool. A “private pool” is defined by this Florida Statute as one which is used “only by an individual, family, or living unit members and their guests which does not serve any type of cooperative housing or joint tenancy of five or more living units.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 514.011 (3). During a rental term, a vacation rental’s pool is used only by an individual, family, or other temporary members of that living unit and is not open to the public or any non-guests of the tenants. The determining factor on the classification of a pool that serves dwelling units seems to turn on the number of units within the complex. If a vacation rental’s pool serves a single dwelling unit, it would likely be considered a private pool.

Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act

Under Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act, a residential (including those used in any home share program) pool must be equipped with certain safety features. To pass a final inspection, a residential pool must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. The pool must be equipped with an approved safety cover
  2. All doors and windows which provide access to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor
  3. The pool must contain an independently certified alarm that sounds upon detection of accidental or unauthorized access to the pool.
  4. Pools must be protected by a barrier

Pool Barrier Requirements

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.27

(1). Further, pools must be protected by a barrier. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.29

(2). Barriers must be at least four feet high without any gaps, openings, or other components which would allow a young child to circumvent the barrier. Id. A barrier must be placed “sufficiently away” from the water’s edge to prevent someone from immediately falling into the pool if they penetrated the barrier. Id. If a gate is used to provide access to a pool, it must be self-closing, self-latching, open outwards, and its release mechanism must not be placed in a manner of which a young child can operate it. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.29

(3). Barriers may not be placed in such a way that allows an extrinsic object to be used to climb over it. Id. A dwelling (part of the house) wall may serve as part of a barrier so long as it does not contain a door or window that would allow access to the pool. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.29

(4). If the dwelling barrier wall has windows, the windows must be equipped with an acceptable alarm, be screened, or protected and have a bottom sill height of 48 inches or more, or the pool must have the detection alarm. Fla. Bldg. Code R4501.17.1.9. Barrier wall doors would have to be self-closing and contain a self-latching mechanism at least 54 inches above the threshold or the pool must have a detection alarm system. Id.

Public Pool Requirements

There seems to be a little distinction among public and residential pools regarding safety requirements to prevent drownings. Public pools must contain the following safety features:

  1. An anti-entrapment system or a similar approved device
  2. A shepherd’s hook within 16 feet of the pool
  3. At least one 18-inch diameter lifesaving ring with enough rope to reach all parts of the pool from the pool deck.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 514.0315; Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 64E-9.00.

In sum, any home-share rental unit’s pool would likely be subject to the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act and not be considered a public pool. These two pool classifications have few distinctions relevant to the instant case with the public pools requiring lifesaving devices and devices to prevent persons from being entrapped by drains.

Many home share properties are not in compliance with Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act but despite this place their homes on the market.  Many times, these homes are seeking out tourists who are unfamiliar with pool safety and who are traveling with young children.

Protecting these young children was the reason the Florida Legislature passed the residential pool safety act and homeowners should make certain their pools are in compliance with the Act.

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur  >

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 or a loved one has been affected by any homeowner’s failure to comply with this act, 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.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/drowning-prevention/index.html

Florida statute – http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0515/0515.html

Hot Car Deaths and How to Avoid Them

In both 2018 and 2019, 53 children died in hot cars. These are the deadliest years on record in the past 20 years. Since 1998, almost 900 children have died from vehicular heatstroke; 24% of incidents occurred while a parent or caregiver was at a place of work.

Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these preventable deaths.

Causes Of Vehicular Heat Stroke

from NHTSA –

  • Most heatstroke cases stem from a caregiver forgetting about a child in the back seat.
  • Child gaining access to vehicle independently
  • Child is left intentionally in the car by a caregiver

Most cases stem from a caregiver forgetting about a child, and most occur on Thursdays and Fridays, then end of the workweek.

Rapid Increase Of Heat In A Car

On a day when is it is 75 outside, it only takes 25 minutes for temperatures in a vehicle to exceed 100 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Window Or Parking In The Shade Will Not Prevent Heat Stroke

Studies done show that even cars parked in a shady area can generate dangerous interior heat.

How To Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Several car manufacturers are stepping up in response to these deaths.

  • GM now has a “rear seat reminder” that lets a driver know when a rear door is opened.
  • Nissan has a rear door alert that detects when a rear door is opened before a trip and not opened again when the trip is completed. This gives the driver an alert to check the back seat.
  • Other manufacturers have integrated motion sensors to ensure all passengers make it safely out of the car. If a motion is detected after a car is locked, the car will honk its horn to attract attention and notify the owner via email or text.

Hot Car Act

Consumer Reports and other safety organizations are lobbying Congress to pass a “Hot Car Act” which will require manufacturers to incorporate safety technology in newer models.

What You Can Do

  • Simply affixing a note on the front dash can help.
  • Also, never leave a child alone in the car, even for an instant as their core body heat can rise so quickly.
  • Always lock your doors when not using the car.

What To Do If You See A Child Alone In A Vehicle

  • Make sure the child is responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents.
  • If the child appears to be in distress attempt to get in the car, even if it means breaking a window.

Most states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits in such attempted rescues.

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.bankrate.com/insurance/car/hot-car-safety/

https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/florida-ranks-no-2-nation-child-hot-car-deaths/RITX4ACZJBD3PDV2QLCROTTSWI/

Hot Car Deaths

https://www.nhtsa.gov/child-safety/you-can-help-prevent-hot-car-deaths

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney

National Bike Month – Florida Laws for Cyclists

About Florida Laws for Cyclists
Americans are increasingly bicycling to commute, for exercise, or just for fun – especially post COVID. By Florida Laws for Cyclists, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD FOR CYCLISTS IN FLORIDA? >

May is Bicycle Safety Month, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges bicyclists and motorists to share our roadways by obeying the traffic laws and respecting each other’s rights. Bicycle Safety Month was created to remind the public to put “safety first.


  • Nearly 700 cyclists died on U.S. roads last year. The vast majority were men, who comprised 80.1% of the victims. Women accounted for 12.8%. Unknown accounted for 7.2%
  • Hit-and-run accidents accounted for more than a quarter of the fatal accidents in 2020. That number was 26.1%.
  • The states with the most cyclist deaths were California (118); Florida (90); New York (44); Texas (44); and Louisiana (34). While populous states such as California and Florida had some of the most cyclist deaths per million residents, Louisiana tops that list. That state recorded 7.3 fatalities per million residents.

Things You must know about Florida Laws for Cyclists
For Motorists, “SAFETY FIRST”  Means That Vehicles Must Share the Road with Bicyclists.  NHTSA Strongly Advises Motorists To:

  • Always respect bike lanes and allow at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist
  • Be vigilant of cyclists before opening a car door or reversing in a parking lot
  • Check for cyclists before making a turn
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as instructed by road signage
  • Never drive under the influence or when you are distracted

The NHTSA Strongly Recommends That Cyclists:

  • USE A PROPERLY FITTED CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) APPROVED HELMET. For more information on fitting a bike helmet, visit your trusted bicycle store or the NHTSA website.
  • ENSURE ALL EQUIPMENT AND PARTS (BRAKES, TIRES, SEATS, HANDLEBARS) FUNCTION – and fit properly.
  • RIDE STRAIGHT AND USE HAND SIGNALS AT EVERY LANE CHANGE –  or turn so motorists can anticipate your movements.
  • ALWAYS OBEY ROAD SIGNAGE – as well as signals and lane markings. Travel with traffic in the same direction.
  • STAY ALERT FOR TRAFFIC AND OBSTACLES – Avoid the use of any electronic devices.
  • ENSURE VISIBILITY TO MOTORISTS  – by wearing bright, reflective colors and using bicycle lights at dusk or dark.
  • NEVER RIDE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR when you are distracted.
  • DON’T GET DOORED– Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road lined with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in the car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.
  • SIGNAL A WARNING– Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potentially dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.
  • STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE– Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or an instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.
  • READ THE LIGHTS– Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.
  • KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY– If you have the right of way in an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling but be prepared to stop.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, 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 or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is 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.wane.com/news/local-news/safety-tips-for-motorists-and-cyclists-for-national-bike-month/

https://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/

https://www.outsideonline.com/2420196/what-we-learned-tracking-cycling-deaths-year#close

What is Different When Car Wrecks Involve Children?

car wrecks that involves children

 

Car wrecks involving children are happening every day. They and their parents incur medical bills, and they often have serious, painful, and permanent injuries.

They may require substantial future medical care. In other words, their injuries may be the same as an adult, but the legal case for the injury of a child is much different.

Definition Of A Child

Under Florida law, a child is anyone under the age of 18 who has never been married or legally emancipated. This is common in most states. A person under the age of 18 cannot legally enter into a contract and cannot file a lawsuit in their own name. Most of the time a parent or other legal guardian must be responsible for their affairs, including their injury claims.

If a child is injured and the claim cannot be settled without filing suit, the suit must be filed by a parent, a legal guardian, or a court-appointed guardian if the circumstances require it. Similarly, the settlement documents for a claim must be signed by an adult or guardian.

Settling A Case For A Child

There are very specific rules for settling a personal injury or car wrecks involving children. The rules were enacted for the protection of the child and his or her financial interests. There is a sliding scale of rules that depend on the amount of the settlement.

If A Case Is Settled For Under $15,000 There Are No Special Rules And Court Approval Is Not Required.

The parent or guardian can sign the release presented by the insurance company, and there are generally no restrictions on the use of the net settlement funds.

While court approval is not required for such smaller settlements, the parent or guardian can petition the court for approval. If the claim goes to court, the settlement must be approved by the trial court judge.

For Larger Settlements, The Rules Are Different. 

1. If the total, not net amount, of the settlement, exceeds $15,000, there must be a case filed in the probate division of the county where the minor lives.

2. For cases where the gross settlement is greater than $15,000 but less than $50,000, the court may appoint a guardian to handle the funds for the child. Usually, the guardian is the parent or legal guardian of the minor. These are fairly routine proceedings.

3. If the gross amount of the settlement is $50,000 or greater, then the court must appoint guardian ad litem to review the settlement. These guardians are often local lawyers who are familiar with such issues. They have an obligation to review the settlement and give guidance to the court about whether it is reasonable.

In all cases, the primary interest is that of the child, not the parents. The purpose of the rules is to make sure the funds are properly used/invested for the benefit of the child and preserved until the minor becomes an adult. The court has very broad powers to preserve the interest of the child.

While the cost of the court approval process can be substantial, insurance companies or settling parties often agree to pay the costs and fees associated with this. You should always attempt to get an agreement for this in order to preserve as much as possible for the child.

Wrongful Death Claims

If a child is killed in a car crash, a wrongful death claim may be filed. In Florida, such claims are governed by the Florida Wrongful Death statute, this is a very complicated area of the law and requires the expertise of an experienced trial lawyer.

These claims must be brought a court-appointed personal representation. In such cases, the parents of a minor child can recover from mental pain and suffering. They can also recover for medical expenses and other monetary costs associated with the injury and treatment of the injuries that led to death.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations for the death of a minor child is 2 years from the date of the death, in other words, the surviving parties much settle the claim or file suit within 2 years of the death, or it will be barred.

While the normal statute of limitations for injuries is 4 years from the date of the incident, there are special rules that extend the statute for minors.

If a child is a minor at the time of the incident, they may wait until they turn 18 to file suit. However, the absolute limitation to file such a claim is 7 years, regardless of when the child turns 18.

For example: If a child is 10 years old when injured, the case must be filed within 7 years, even though the child does not turn 18 during that period. This is a very complicated area of Florida law and requires the expertise and experience of a civil trial expert.

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 or your child have 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.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-parental-responsibility-laws.html

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer | Car Accident Attorney | Zarzaur Law

What Are The Five Most Common Injury Claims In The Springtime?

 

Like almost everyone else, we here at Zarzaur Law are welcoming the spring season. Longer hours and warmer weather mean that we can get back to all of our favorite outdoor activities. However, with everyone becoming more active and going out more, we also see an uptick in injury claims. Below are the five most common injuries that we see in the springtime:

1. Motor Vehicle Wrecks

This is the most common accident we see no matter what the season, but we do see an uptick in the spring. With more people traveling—to the beach, the park, the baseball field, the golf course, or just to their friend’s pool—traffic levels get higher and the frequency of wrecks rises. Drivers should exercise greater caution on these spring days with high traffic levels.


ACCORDING TO THE INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFETY (IIHS), DRIVERS ARE AT A HIGHER RISK OF BECOMING INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT DURING THE WARM MONTHS THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME OF THE YEAR.


2. Dog Bites

The frequency of dog bites spikes heavily in the spring. With more and more people out walking their dogs, and more kids and parents in the parks, dogs frequently get overstimulated and start acting aggressively. It is especially important in these situations to act carefully around unfamiliar dogs and to supervise children who might be too young to know better.

3. Slip and Fall

As we all know, spring also brings lots of rain to the Panhandle. As such, when people walk into restaurants, shops, and other buildings, they often bring rain, mud, and other substances with them. Clearly, these substances can cause others to trip, slip, and fall. Premises owners need to be especially careful to warn of wet floors and clean messes up proactively, and walkers need to be conscientious about where and how they walk.

4. Swimming Pool Accidents

These cases are among the most tragic that we see at the firm. Swimming pools are what we call an “attractive nuisance,” meaning that they are an object on the land that is likely to attract children. Homeowners can be liable for children’s injuries or deaths if they have not secured their swimming pools adequately—usually with fencing and latched gates. Crucially, due to the undeveloped nature of a child’s brain, the homeowner can be liable even if the child is trespassing on the homeowner’s land.

5. Playground Injuries

In a somewhat related vein, we also see lots of injuries that children sustain on playgrounds. Many injuries occur accidentally or when a child is misusing a toy or piece of equipment. Occasionally, however, injuries are caused by something else—for instance, some toys or equipment are inherently dangerous even when used as directed; and sometimes the government or person responsible for the playground’s upkeep has failed to maintain the playground in a safe condition. In this situation, the child and/or child’s parents may have a claim.

To protect yours and/or your child’s rights after an injury, it is important to call not just any lawyer, but a lawyer who practices in this field every day. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification, however, two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.

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

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:

100+ Car Accident Statistics [Updated for 2021]

Facts & Stats About Drowning