Tag Archives: Child Accident Attorneys

Important Information About Water Safety For Florida Parents

The month of May is a time to celebrate National Water Safety Month. The entire month of May has been officially dedicated as a time to bring awareness and education about water safety to the general community. This initiative is coordinated by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, with support from the American Red Cross, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association. Read on for more information on water safety for Florida parents

There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools and an additional 7.3 million hot tubs operating in the U.S.

Over the summer, 8 out of 10 Americans are planning to swim in a pool. For children and teens between the ages of 7 and 17, swimming remains the #1 most popular recreational activity.

Child Drownings In The United States Have Reached A Ten-Year High.

Pediatric drowning rates reached a 10-year record high. National Water Safety Month is May. Water is a “silent killer” for children. Child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among U.S. children ages 1 to 4, according to the CPSC. Three-quarters of those deaths involved children younger than the age of 5, and 83% of those occurred in residential pools.

Florida Set A New Low In 2021.

Florida hit a grim new record in 2021, reporting the most child drownings since at least 2009.

The Florida Department of Children and Families report shows that deaths rose from 69 in 2020 to 98 in 2021. Twenty-four of those children drowned in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Sarasota, and Manatee counties.

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water. The designated adult water watcher should not read, text, use a phone, or otherwise be distracted while watching children. This advice includes situations involving bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of barriers to prevent an unsupervised child from getting into the water. These measures can include door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on doors that access the pool and on gates of four-sided fences.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim. Contact your local YMCA about swimming lessons.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapment. Your pool or spa should have drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you’re not sure, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.

What About Beach Swimming?

Swimming in open water is much different than swimming in a pool, but most people are not aware of the dangers, especially for children. Florida’s beaches are a glittering playground made of sun and sand–and by all means, you should enjoy the water!

You can splash in the shallows, ride the waves, or just bob up and down in the surf.

But before you dip one toe in the ocean, make sure you know these simple ocean swimming safety rules to keep you safe.

Swimming in the ocean or a large body of water is different than swimming in a pool or most small lakes. You’ll need to watch out for:

  • Riptides and undercurrents
  • Unexpected changes
  • Drop-off water depths
  • Rocks, debris, and other hazards and obstacles.
  • Whether there’s local marine life that can sting or bite
  • Boats, ships, and other watercraft that may be in the water at the same time.
  • There is bad weather in the area, such as lightning or thunderstorms.
  • Hurricane warnings

What Do Beach Flag Colors Mean?

The list below outlines what the colored flags you’ll see posted at the beach generally mean. Your local beach may differ slightly, though.

Ask a lifeguard or beach patrol if you aren’t sure what the flag means before entering the water.

  • Double red flag: water closed, no public swimming
  • Red flag: high hazard of surf and/or currents
  • Yellow flag: medium hazard or moderate surf and/or currents
  • Purple flag: dangerous marine life such as jellyfish, stingrays, or dangerous fish
  • Green flag: low hazard, calm conditions
  • Black and white checkered flag: set up along the beach, usually as a pair, to indicate separate sections to help keep swimmers and surfers safely apart in the water

Florida Residential Pool Safety Act

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 your child has been injured or has been a victim of a drowning due to an unsafe pool, hot tub or proper, 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

https://www.today.com/parents/morgan-miller-shares-heartbreaking-plea-anniversary-daughter-s-drowning-t221539?cid=sm_npd_td_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR3BNhSgUz3eUJ2hz_biEVcXXGLsBXC60N4Dm4gg9SA8eJPR2hk0ihWCdTE

https://pinellas.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2022/04/water-safety-month.html

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2022/05/03/florida-health-offers-advice-for-national-water-safety-month

https://nwsm.phta.org

Water Safety

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html

https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/health-news-florida/2022-01-12/florida-reports-a-rise-in-child-drownings-in-2021

https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-beaches-ocean-swimming-safety-tips/

Florida hit a grim new record in 2021, reporting the most child drownings since at least 2009.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db413.htm

https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/98-children-drowned-in-florida-in-2021-a-record-number-according-to-state-data/

https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html

https://escambia.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/wellness-programs/health-messages/summer-safety/drowning-prevention/index.html

https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsReports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Death.DataViewer&cid=0105

https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsReports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Death.Dataviewer

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/drowning

https://www.safekids.org/watersafety

National Water Safety Month Is Celebrated The Entire Month of May

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers – Car Accident, Wrongful Death, Malpractice

Women’s History Month: Madeleine Albright – First Female Secretary of State

Madeleine AlbrightMadeleine Korbel Albright, sworn in as the 64th United States Secretary of State in 1997, after unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, became the first female Secretary of State and the highest ranking woman in the United States government. As Secretary of State and as U.S. representative to the United Nations before that, she created policies and institutions to help guide the world into a new century of peace and prosperity.

Achievements

Concentrating on a bipartisan approach to U.S. foreign policy, she attempted to create a consensus on the need for U.S. leadership and engagement in the world. Among her achievements were ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and progress toward stability in Eastern and Central Europe.

Albright dedicated her life to international study. After receiving her B.A. at Wellesley College, she studied international relations at Johns Hopkins University before earning her M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University. Before her appointment as Secretary of State, she had a diverse career.

A Diverse Career

Albright was Sen. Edward Muskie’s Chief Legislative Assistant; a Woodrow Wilson fellow; president of the Center for National Policy, a nonprofit research organization; and Research Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Women in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. During President Clinton’s first term, Albright served as the United States’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of Clinton’s National Security Council.

International Relations

As a refugee whose family fled Czechoslovakia, first from the Nazis and later from the Communists, Albright represents the highest ideals and aspirations of immigrants who come to America seeking to make major contributions to our society. As a leader in international relations, she has helped change the course of history and, in so doing, has also set a new standard for American women and for women around the world.

After the election of U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, in 1992, Albright’s political star began to rise, and Clinton named her ambassador to the United Nations in 1993. At the UN she gained a reputation for tough-mindedness as a fierce advocate for American interests, and she promoted an increased role for the United States in UN operations, particularly those with a military component. Her nomination to the position of secretary of state was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1997.

Champion of Democracy and Human Rights

During her tenure in office, Albright remained a proponent of military intervention and a forceful champion of both democracy and human rights. Notably, in 1999 she pushed for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombings in Yugoslavia to halt the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo by Yugoslav and Serbian forces. The Kosovo conflict, which some came to call Madeleine’s War, ended after 11 weeks of air strikes, when Yugoslavia agreed to NATO’s terms. Albright was also involved in efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear program, and in 2000 she became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country. However, her talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il failed to produce a deal.

The Albright Group

At the end of Bill Clinton’s second term in 2001, Albright left government service and founded the Albright Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. She later supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bids in 2008 and 2016. In the latter campaign, Albright drew criticism when she said that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” a sentiment she had often expressed over several decades. However, some believed she was implying that gender was the only consideration when choosing a candidate, and she later clarified her comments.

After leaving the Secretary of State post in 2001, she authored several bestsellers, launched a private investment fund, and provided global strategy consulting. In 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Drawn To Public Service

Before Dr. Albright, the inner sanctum of U.S. foreign policymaking had been an almost exclusively male domain. In many ways, her politically fraught early life — enduring Nazi and communist repression — impelled her rise to the highest levels of international politics.

Her family, which was Jewish, narrowly avoided extermination at the hands of the Nazis. They fled to England shortly after Hitler’s tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1938.

“I had this feeling that there but for the grace of God, we might have been dead,” Dr. Albright said much later. She said that she was drawn to public service to “repay the fact that I was a free person.”

Her ascent in the foreign policy establishment reflected the traditional roles of women in the 1950s and 1960s and her ambition, which was influenced by the nascent feminist movement that encouraged women to pursue professional careers.

Madeleine K. Albright, who came to the United States as an 11-year-old political refu­gee from Czechoslovakia and decades later was an ardent and effective advocate against mass atrocities in Eastern Europe while serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the first female secretary of state, died March 23 in Washington. She was 84.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

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

Sources:

Albright, Madeleine Korbel

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/madeline-albright-dead-/2022/03/23/e527816e-8cf5-11e3-95dd-36ff657a4dae_story.html

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Madeleine-Albright

Boppy Newborn Lounger Recall Alert!

Newborn Loungers Recall AlertAs you may know, on September 21st, 2021, The Boppy Company recalled over 3.3 million of their “Boppy Newborn Loungers” after eight reported infant deaths. These products pose a significant threat to infants, as the design itself creates an asphyxiation hazard. Specifically, asphyxiation caused by the position of the baby’s neck against the Boppy Newborn Lounger.

What Exactly is a Boppy Newborn Lounger?

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was placed on the market in January of 2004, and was designed for infants to “lounge” on. Many parents are familiar with the original Boppy nursing pillow, a product originally placed on the market to assist nursing mothers. What separates the two products is their intended use, with the Newborn Lounger designed for “lounging” purposes rather than as a nursing aid.

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was removed from the market in September/August of 2021. At that time, it was one of the leading products sold by the Boppy Company. The product had been called into question about a year prior by a journalist who noted that there were several deaths that were being associated with the pillow.

The Boppy Newborn Lounger is different from the original Boppy Pillow in that the original design was specifically designed and sold as a nursing aid. This nursing pillow has been used by many mothers to assist in the breastfeeding process. The company designed this Boppy Newborn Lounger by basically using the general pillow design and adding a piece of fabric to the center, and then encouraging it to be used as a baby lounging device.

Lounging Danger

But, if you have an infant, you know that they do not lounge. Infants spend the vast majority of their time sleeping, which is what makes this product so dangerous. In the event that an infant falls asleep on one of these loungers or is left unattended for too long, parents run the risk of suffocating their babies to death. Due to the shape and design of this particular product, it is far too easy for an infant to find itself in a position that blocks its airways.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, between December of 2015 and June 2020, eight infants died after being placed on the lounger while lying on their back, side, or stomach. Meaning, if the child is not placed perfectly inside of this product, parents run the risk of their baby suffocating.


If the child is not placed perfectly inside of this product, parents run the risk of their baby suffocating.


Previous Recalls

To make matters even worse, this is not the first product manufactured by the Boppy Company that has created such a potential for infant suffocation. In July of 2019, The Boppy Company again had to recall one of its products, this time the Infant Head and Neck Support Accessories. This particular product, shown below, features a similar design and, unfortunately, the same risk. Due to the head support area’s allowing for infants’ heads to become tilted too far forward, this product again posed a suffocation hazard.

Zarzaur Law has filed the first case in the United States against the Boppy Company. The allegations in the Boppy Lawsuit include allegations that the Boppy Newborn Lounger was defective by its design, manufacture, and inadequacy of warnings. The Boppy company is defending this lawsuit and is first contending that they are not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the court here in Florida. This particular issue is before the Court currently.

Review previous recall articles below:

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2019/The-Boppy-Company-Recalls-Infant-Head-and-Neck-Support-Accessories-Due-to-Suffocation-Hazard#

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2021/The-Boppy-Company-Recalls-Over-3-Million-Original-Newborn-Loungers-Boppy-Preferred-Newborn-Loungers-and-Pottery-Barn-Kids-Boppy-Newborn-Loungers-After-8-Infant-Deaths-Suffocation-Risk

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/23/1040203150/boppy-recall-infant-baby-deaths-suffocation-risk-sleep

 

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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 or a loved one is in need of a FREE legal consultation in regards to your wrongful death case, speak with Zarzaur Law’s Florida Wrongful Death Act experts. 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 Toy Safety Tips This Holiday Season

While wandering the toy aisles of your favorite store to find your favorite children the perfect holiday gift is a great way to choose what to put under the tree, it is important to remember to keep them safe.


IN 2020, THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) REPORTED THAT THERE WERE NINE DEATHS AND MORE THAN 149,000 TOY-RELATED INJURIES THAT WERE TREATED AT AN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.


What can you do to prevent the children in your life from ending up at the emergency department or wrongful death?

Shop Smart.

Always choose toys that are age-appropriate — that means making sure that the toys you put under the tree this year match the interests and abilities of the child. Don’t buy a toy with small parts for small children to avoid choking hazards and follow the labels on the packaging.

Watch Magnets.

Magnetic toys must adhere to a strong safety standard that prevents swallowing. But high-powered magnet sets that have small magnets are dangerous for kids. Keep building and playsets with small magnets out of the reach of small children.

Beware of Batteries.

Button batteries and lithium coin batteries (small, shiny round batteries) can cause serious injury if stuck in a child’s ear or nose or swallowed. Make sure that the battery compartments of all toys are secure and taped shut.

Toss Old Balloons.

Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8. Discard torn balloons immediately.

Keep Toys With Small Parts Away From Babies And Toddlers.

For children younger than age 3, avoid small balls and toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Also, stay away from toys with sharp edges away and toys with long strings, loose ribbons, or cords that could get wrapped around a child’s neck.

Avoid Flying Toys.

These can injure eyes in particular. Arrows or darts should have rubber suction cups or other protective tips to prevent injury.

When Shopping For Infants And Toddlers, Buy Toys That Are Larger Than The Child’s Mouth.

This will help prevent choking. If a toy is large enough but has smaller parts that could break off, do not give it to a young child. For example, a large stuffed bear may have beaded eyes that could fall off.

The CPSC reported that nearly 8% of all emergency department-treated injuries came from toy balls. While toy balls can make a great gift, it is important to remember that when you give small children (especially under the age of three) small toys, it creates a significant choking hazard.

Watch that younger kids aren’t playing with toys designed for older kids. Even if toddlers get upset after being told they can’t play with the same toys as their older sibling or cousin, it is better to play it safe.

RECALLS!

When shopping for toys this year, always make sure to check for recalls. The CPSC offers an easy way to search for product recalls here (www.cpsc.gov/recalls,). You can also look on safekids.org for a list of recalls.

Have Hand-Me-Downs Or Other Older Toys?

Although some of these toys may hold sentimental value, be careful before giving them to children. Older toys may not adhere to today’s safety standards. Toys like “Ralphie’s BB gun” from “A Christmas Story,” followed more lenient rules compared to toys made today.

Safety Gear.

While gifting a helmet may not seem like the most exciting present this year, it is one of the most important ones. Making sure that your child has a properly fitting helmet before getting on their new scooter, bike, or toy vehicle is crucial to keeping them safe this year.

Supervision Is Key.

The holidays can be exhausting, but always make sure to keep an eye on children while they are playing. Some of the most dangerous situations occur when a toy malfunctions or breaks, and it is important to be able to recognize the hazard as soon as it happens. If you notice that a toy seems to be dangerous, immediately take the toy and keep it in a safe place away from your child.

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 your child has been injured due to a defective toy, 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.eehealth.org/blog/2021/11/holiday-toy-safety/

https://www.safekids.org

https://www.cpsc.gov

 

 

How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

Drivers and vehicle owners faithfully pay their auto insurance premiums monthly or quarterly with the belief they will receive a fair claims payout if the need arises (e.g., after a car accident that was not their fault).

Unfortunately, far too many of our clients here at Zarzaur Law, P.A. learn the hard way that car insurance companies are primarily concerned with their own bottom line.

 

What Is Bad a Bad Faith Claim?

Sometimes, insurance companies like to push boundaries and see if they can get away with not investigating claims or not paying out money owed on a policy after an accident. This is called “bad faith.”

The duty of good faith in Florida provides that insurers owe a “duty to their insureds to refrain from acting solely on the basis of their own interest in settlement,” as was said in State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Laforet. Under Florida’s Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act.

 

Bad Faith Claims Most Often Stem From:

Unnecessary claim delays. Insurers are required to process claims in a reasonable amount of time and without unnecessary delays.

Policy cancellations. Our firm has seen cases where an insured files a claim, and the insurer immediately starts scouring their history for errors or any misrepresentation that might void the policy.

This is common when it comes to death benefits claims. Sometimes, it is for something as simple as a misspelled name – even though they had no problem collecting the monthly premium despite this error.

Misrepresentations of policy. Some insurers will attempt to avoid paying claims by mischaracterizing the terms, requirements, and policy provisions. Many insurance policies are crafted with complex language and insider jargon, much of which favors the insurer. But it is well understood that any ambiguity is supposed to be construed in favor of the policyholder.

Ambiguous policy exclusions. Insurance policies can have all kinds of exclusions. But if an exclusion is ambiguous, it should be decided in the claimant’s favor.

Denies paying for a valid claim on no reasonable basis. Insurers have a responsibility to pay valid claims and offer a reasonable basis when they deny them. Failure to do so maybe bad faith. The same goes for low-ball settlement offers that are not justified.

Low settlement offers are often made without justification and for the benefit of the insurance companies bottom line and without regard for the insured.

 


Bad faith insurance claims are complicated actions and involve a multitude of issues, and that is why it is important to hire the best personal injury lawyer who understands the tactics insurance companies use to delay or minimize the payment of benefits.


 

WATCH AND LISTEN AS JOE ZARZAUR, BOARD CERTIFIED CIVIL TRIAL LAWYER, EXPLAINS “BAD FAITH” >


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:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0624/Sections/0624.155.html

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.