Tag Archives: Destin car wreck lawyer

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

Why Should You Seek Medical Treatment After A Car Wreck?

You’re in a car wreck and people sometimes think it wasn’t that big of a deal. Maybe it is just a little neck pain or a little back pain and you don’t really want to go to the ER. People are going to make excuses for not going. If you’re having symptoms after a car wreck, you should absolutely go to the ER or urgent care. 

Reasons You Should Seek Treatment After A Car Accident

1. To Ensure Over All Well Being – Especially after the adrenaline from the accident has worn off.

There could be something going on more serious than you realize. And the ER is the place to diagnose that. The ER is not there to diagnose all of the issues that could be going on with you after a car wreck, they are only going to diagnose life and limb-threatening issues.

There are a multitude of injuries that could end up well into the six figures in value and are serious life-altering injuries that can cause you to lose value in your potential car accident case if you leave the ER and don’t follow up after you receive the standard “clean bill of health” or “cervical strain back strain.”

2. Treat “Invisible” Injuries – Injuries that show up a few days/weeks later – re: concussion. Don’t delay since the insurance company may refute.

The reason it’s important to go if you’re having symptoms is that the insurance company who’s going to be on the other side of all these claims, whether you have a lawyer or not, are going to make the argument that the longer it takes you to go to the ER or seek treatment, the less serious your injury must have been, or perhaps, maybe the cause of it was something other than the car wreck.

3. To Obtain Evidence- Medical Records Can Be Important Pieces Of Evidence To Help Establish Case.

If you don’t want to go to the ER simply because it’s the right medical thing, then it is certainly the right legal thing to do because it documents your injury. It documents the timing of your injury and symptoms, and it takes away the argument that you didn’t need treatment immediately.

Paying For The ER Visit and Treatment.

The other thing that comes up a lot of times is when people say they don’t want to spend the money on an ER visit because it’s really expensive and it’s going to cost a lot of money. In Florida, the status of the law right now in 2021 is that your car insurance by law, not your health insurance. Your car insurance has to pay the bills after a car wreck.

Why Does Your Car Insurance Have To Pay?

Florida has PIP law  (Personal Injury Protection) PIP covers 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from a covered injury, no matter who caused the crash.

Medical Costs

Most medical costs will be covered by PIP with the exception of popular, but not widely accepted practices such as acupuncture. In other states, PIP will generally cover the injuries of anyone in your household, but in Florida, you can choose whether you want your PIP to cover just yourself or other residents in your household. The following are eligible for a PIP claim:

  • Medical services and medication
  • Surgical services and hospital expenses
  • Rehab costs
  • Diagnostic services
  • Ambulatory services

What sets Florida apart from other states is that only 80% of your medical costs will be covered by PIP. So if you have injuries that cost $10,000, PIP will only pay for $8,000 of that. Furthermore, if your injury is not considered an emergency, you will only be entitled to $2,500 worth of benefits. If you have a good health insurance policy, it might take care of the rest of the costs, but you should make sure it will cover car accident injuries.

4. Counter The Claims Of The Insurance Company. 

The at-fault driver’s insurance company is going to make this argument, if you say, well, I didn’t know that I didn’t have to pay. Right. I was gonna have to pay something. The car insurance company on the other side of the case is going to say, well, you could have gone to seek treatment and it would have been free. Basically, your PIP would have paid the bill. Why didn’t you go?

You can’t say, well, I didn’t know. Or you can say, I didn’t know, but at some point, it’s not going to make sense for you not to go, especially after you’ve got a legal action started.

It’s always smarter, if you’re having symptoms and Florida, you don’t have the financial excuse because your car insurance pays that.

And as far as you not thinking, it’s that serious, right? Well, you don’t know because you have no idea what going on inside your body. But if you’re having symptoms after a car wreck and if you’re teetering on not going to the ER, you should go, okay. It’s that simple.


MOST OF THE TIMES THE SYMPTOMS GET WORSE ON THE FOURTH OR FIFTH DAY.


Most of the time injuries that are permanent don’t go away. .

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

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

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

Nerve Damage Caused By A Car Accident

Nerves extend from your brain and spinal cord and control bodily functions. In many cases, trauma from a car crash can cause pinched nerves which will send warning signals such as pain.

A minor “whiplash” injury from a car crash can cause compression on the spinal cord and put pressure on the nerves from the cord. This damage may be minor or severe, temporary or permanent. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in these cases.

A pinched nerve occurs when there is compression or pressure on a nerve.

Nerves Are The Most Susceptible To Injury In Places Where They Travel Through Narrow Spaces And Have Little Soft Tissue To Protect Them.

– Central Nervous System

– Peripheral Nervous System

The spinal cord is a great example of this. If a person has degenerative changes in the spinal column, and most people do, the space may be narrowed even further, which can lead to a greater chance of compression and injury. The compression may occur when the nerve is compressed between ligaments tendons or bones. All of this may occur in even a minor car crash under the right circumstances.


INFLAMMATION OR PRESSURE ON A NERVE COMING FROM THE SPINE MAY CAUSE NECK OR LOW BACK PAIN.


Here Are The Most Common Forms Of Nerve Damage That Happen To Victims Of Car Accidents:

Pinched nerve. Also known as a compressed nerve, a pinched nerve is just that—a nerve that is pinched. Typically, it can heal over time through stretching and other treatment methods, but until then it can cause discomfort, pain, and numbness in different areas of the body, depending on where the nerve is located. This is one of the less severe forms of nerve damage that a car accident can inflict.

Whiplash. This is a common injury from car accidents and affects over 2 million Americans a year. While this injury is mostly in the soft tissue of your neck, like the muscles and ligaments, it can also cause nerve damage if nerves are stretched or compressed from the whipping motion.

Neuropathy. In the peripheral nervous system, nerves can become damaged or inflamed, which leads to neuropathy, or the disruption of nerve signals. Many different injuries from car accidents can cause neuropathy. Some symptoms are numbness and pain and can be anywhere from mild to debilitating.

Radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a specific form of neuropathy that occurs in the spine. When a nerve in the spine becomes compressed or pinched, and as a result, there is pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness through the nerve. 

Radiculopathy is most commonly in the lower back or in the neck, and a common example is sciatica.

Permanent Nerve Damage

If nerve compression lasts a long time, a protective barrier around the nerve may dissolve, and fluid buildup can cause swelling and scarring around the nerve root. This scarring may cause a permanent interference with the nerve’s function. Some of the most common symptoms of pinched or compressed nerves include pain, radiating pain, numbness and tingling, pins and needles type sensation, and weakness in the affected areas. These symptoms can be worsened with certain movements, even everyday activities.

Treatment For Pinched Nerves

As with most medical conditions, the severity and treatment of symptoms vary from person to person. Some may benefit from resting the injured areas and avoiding activities that aggravate their symptoms. If symptoms persist, more aggressive medical treatment may include medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, nerve ablations, and even surgery. Common invasive surgeries may be done to remove scar tissue, disc material, or pieces of bone that may be pinching on the nerves. This treatment may be very expensive and may require significant recovery time. However, in many cases, it will be required to avoid worsening long-term problems.

Nerve Damage, Expense, And Your Personal Injury Case

Nerve damages from a car crash or other injury can be a very expensive problem. It can result in substantial medical bills, lost wages, and loss of enjoyment of life. Many victims may require years to fully recover from their injuries, even with the best medical care and rehabilitation.

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.

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.

Carpal Tunnel Injuries Caused By A Car Wreck

When people hear about carpal tunnel they think of people that use computers such as secretaries or factory workers who are constantly using their hands. However, even though it is considered a repetitive use injury, it can be trauma-induced. Carpal tunnel from a car accident is possible and is referred to as CTS or acute or traumatic.

Carpal tunnel injuries are surprisingly common in car crashes. When the hands are firmly gripping the wheel, or slung off into windshields or doors as a result of a crash, trauma to the area can cause inflammation leading to serious pain and loss of function. Even relatively “minor” crashes can cause these most serious and debilitating injuries.

Recent Case

In a recent case, our client was rear-ended with her hands on the wheel, causing a flexing type motion of both wrists. Within a few days, she had significant pain in her neck and shoulders and pain and numbness in her fingers.

She sought medical treatment, which included physical therapy and pain injections. She later had nerve conduction testing in her arms which showed nerve damage consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, she needed neck surgery which helped with the pain but continued to have carpal tunnel symptoms.

The physician initially recommended she wear a splint on both hands, to reduce pressure on the nerves. This was not helpful so her treating physician recommended surgery, a carpal tunnel release, where the ligaments are cut to lessen pressure on the nerves. This surgery often requires several months of rehab and can be very painful. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a very fair settlement for her, on the eve of trial.

What is CTS?

The carpal tunnel is a small space along the wrist that houses the median nerve, blood vessels, and several flexor tendons that run from the forearm to the palm of the hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that surfaces from damage to and pressure around the carpal tunnel.

When involved in a car accident, if the forearm, wrist, or hand sustain damage and the muscles become inflamed, the median nerve can become compressed which results in CTS. Typically this kind of injury occurs when someone braces themselves in an accident like gripping a steering wheel or placing their hands on the dashboard. With the force of impact, the wrist can become injured and the soft tissues can be damaged.

Symptoms of CTS Can Include The Following:

  • Aching pain
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in the hands
  • Reduced grip strength and a tendency to drop things

Proving CTS Was Caused By A Car Accident

This type of CTS can be a mild case or so extreme that it becomes debilitating for the patient. In order to prove that CTS was caused by an auto accident, a substantial amount of medical records will need to be turned over to insurance companies for them to cover the costs or to even support the case.

Some Treatment Options Available For Those Diagnosed With CTS Include:

  • Avoiding excess strain and not performing job duties and activities that aggravate the condition.
  • Icing and using wrist splints to support the area.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Receiving corticosteroids.
  • Using opioid pain relief for cases of severe CTS.
  • Receiving endoscopic or open surgery to correct CTS.
ADWAXF Bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

Even “simple” car wrecks can pose very complex legal and medical issues. A board-certified trial lawyer will have experience in dealing with all such issues, and with the help of cooperating physicians or experts, can get your case fairly settled. If the case does not settle, such lawyers can present your case at trial in the best possible light.

 

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur and Dr. Evan Malone  >

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.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-make-carpal-tunnel-injury-claim.html

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet

Use Of The Black Box Evidence In Your Car Accident Case

In many car crash cases, there are disputes over speed, movement of the vehicles, seat belt issues, braking, and other facts. Participants or witnesses may have faulty memories or even a reason to lie about what happened or what they did. For this reason, it is important to investigate the existence and data from the “black box” or the Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) that is installed in most modern automobiles and trucks.

An EDR is a device that stores data about the physical properties of a vehicle that is involved in an “event” which can include an accident or near accident. The EDR is the cousin of the flight data recorder or “black box” that is involved in airplane crashes. These have been used in aircraft since the 1940s but in automobiles since the late 1990s. Currently, almost all trucks and modern automobiles have these.

Where Is The EDR Located?

In an automobile, they are installed under the driver’s seat or under the center console. They generally are about the size of a pack of cards and are silver in color. The EDR unit is connected to the airbag system and collects two types of data. Non-deployment event data is about crashes that did not lead to the deployment of airbags. This information is wiped out after about 250 ignition cycles. Deployment event data is collected in the event of an airbag deployment. This includes pre-crash, crash, and some post-crash data. This information can never be overridden when there is airbag deployment.

Electronic Control Module/Electronic Data Recorder (ECM/EDR): A Small Computer That Collects Data In Modern Passenger Vehicles.

Under rules promulgated by NHTSA, an EDR must record some or all the following data:

– Vehicle speed

– Engine throttle/was accelerator pressed (5 seconds before impact)

– Brake use (5 seconds before impact0

– Delta V (change in velocity) at impact

– Safety belt status for the driver

– Frontal airbag deployment

– Number of crash events

– Time between crash events

The data can easily be downloaded by a vehicle technician, or law enforcement officer. The veracity of the data is well accepted as accurate.

A car’s black box records data about the vehicle’s functioning abilities in the moments before and during a collision. … Some of the helpful information that an EDR can provide includes the speed of the vehicle and any changes in speed before the accident.

Use of Black Box Evidence in a Personal Injury Case

EDR evidence is generally admissible at trial, assuming there is no indication of tampering or spoliation, or malfunction. So, what does that mean for your personal injury claim? In many cases, the data can corroborate your version of events and bolster your case.

For example, if the opposing driver or adverse witness claims you were speeding. This data can shoot down that claim. The “silent witness” testimony is generally unimpeachable, unlike human witness testimony. Moreover, the data can accurately establish the forces of impact in the crash, the delta force. This can support the severity of injuries and the mechanics of injuries. In certain cases where there are experts retained to reconstruct the accident, the data is of utmost importance. Often, in homicide investigations or crashes causing serious injuries, the investigating authorities will download the data.

The use of black box evidence can often be important to your case. It can prove your case and disprove the opposing party’s case. An experienced personal injury lawyer will use this information to your advantage in contested cases.

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’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.nhtsa.gov/research-data/event-data-recorder

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/auto_black_box_data_recovery_systems_by_taro.pdf

https://www.wral.com/how-a-black-box-can-tell-the-full-story-behind-a-car-crash-and-how-to-know-if-your-car-has-one/19045889/

 

What Is Diminished Value?

After a wreck, most people’s first thoughts are to take care of their own physical injuries. However, many of our clients also have issues with the injuries done to their property—most often their vehicles.

Below, we discuss the most common issue our clients face: obtaining not only cost of repair but diminished value.

What Determines Your Car’s Value?

Everyone has seen commercials for companies like CARFAX, which attempt to aggregate all available information about a car’s history. Repairs, wrecks, recalls, and other issues are reported and can all combine to affect your car’s value.

Common sense tells us that the resale value for a car that has been in a wreck is not as much as a car that has not been in one. The difference between the value of a car that has not been wrecked versus the same car that has been wrecked and repaired is called “diminution of value” or “diminished value.”

Florida Laws on Diminished Value

Florida law entitles a person whose vehicle was damaged through no fault of their own to obtain not only the cost of repairs from the at-fault party or their uninsured motorist insurer but also this “diminution” value.

How It Works

The amount of “diminution” or “diminishment” depends, of course, on the severity of damage and the repairs necessary to make the vehicle whole. Insurance companies frequently use a sliding scale to determine this value, based on the severity of the damage and the remaining expected life of the vehicle. For instance, most insurance companies will only initially offer to pay only a maximum of 10% of a car’s value as diminution. If the damage is less severe, this percentage may be even lower.


Many insurance companies do not want to volunteer this information. If you attempt to make these claims on your own without a lawyer on your side, the insurance company may NOT tell you about this important potential source of recovery.


The firm does not represent clients directly on these property damage claims because we find that, with some guidance, many clients are able to handle the issues themselves. However, we are always willing to give advice when clients are dealing with the property damage side of their claim, and are ready to get involved if negotiations go south.

Clients with property damage and personal injuries shouldn’t just hire any lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. 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. 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.

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’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.

The Anatomy of a Personal Injury Case

The Basic Structure of a Personal Injury Case Has Three Distinct Component Parts: Liability, Causation,  and Damages.

Liability – Legal Term For “Fault”

For a personal injury plaintiff to have a successful case she and her lawyer must prove “more likely than not” that the other party is liable for the injury, that the actions of the other party caused the injury, and then the personal injury plaintiff must prove the extent of their injury and damages. If a personal injury plaintiff fails to meet its burden of proof on any of these three items, then the entire case fails.

Liability is a fancy legal term for fault.  Who is at fault and can you as the plaintiff in a personal injury case prove that the opposing party is legally responsible for the injury and damage?  Many times, in personal injury cases in Florida, the legal theory is negligence.  Negligence is a type of conduct that is unreasonable under the circumstances.  Stated differently, negligence is failing to act as a reasonable and prudent person would act under similar circumstances.

Liability/Negligence Examples

If an injury is caused by someone rolling through a stop sign instead of stopping, then it is negligence if the reasonable and prudent person would have stopped at the sign instead of rolling through it. Or, if this is a medical malpractice case, the measure of negligence is whether the reasonable prudent physician (of similar training and experience) would have made a different decision in the care and treatment of a patient.

Liability can also take forms other than negligence.  For example, you can establish liability against an opposing party in a Florida personal injury case by alleging violation of a statute, alleging strict products liability against a product manufacturer or seller, or alleging conduct that was even worse than negligence like recklessness.  Reckless or wanton conduct is acting in a way that you realize is likely to cause harm or damage and you act that way anyway.  In the stop sign example above, we noted how rolling through a stop sign might establish negligence but going 90mph through a stop sign at a known busy intersection would amount to something more than negligence, it would likely amount to reckless conduct.

So, the first building block of a personal injury case is liability or fault.  Initially, you and your Florida personal injury lawyer will have to decide what legal theory or theories are available to bring against the opposing party.  As referenced, most of the time this legal vehicle will be negligence, but all theories should be considered and if viable under your fact situation, should be considered by your legal team.

Second, in evaluating how successful your legal theory is there needs to be frank and candid consideration of the other two elements of a personal injury case: causation and injury/damages.

Causation – Ties Together Liability and Damages

Causation or legal causation is an examination of whether you as the plaintiff can show that the negligence or fault of the opposing party caused/or substantially contributed to your injury/damages.  Legal causation means that the actions of the opposing party must be linked to the injury or damage.  So, in the rolling through the stop sign example, the negligence would be rolling through the stop sign.  If that negligence caused a crash, then the legal causation requirement would be satisfied.  However, let’s assume that at the same time one party rolls through a stop sign another party at the four-way stop didn’t notice the stop sign and speeds through it striking your vehicle first before the car that was rolling through could even make contact and never contacts the car.  The car that rolled through the stop sign and never made contact was negligent, but that negligent conduct did not cause damage or injury since it never impacted the injured party’s vehicle.  The other vehicle that sped through the stop sign did make contact and would satisfy the legal causation since that driver’s negligence caused the damage/injury.

Damage / Injury Caused by the Other Party

Third, a successful personal injury case also involves the evaluation of the damages/ injury caused by the other party.  For instance, there are situations where an opposing party rolls through a stop sign and causes impact with another vehicle and doesn’t cause an injury.  So, then a plaintiff in a personal injury case could prove fault (rolling through the stop sign is negligence remember?) and could prove legal causation (the rolling car struck the client’s car) but if there is only damage to the car and there is no injury then you would likely not have a case worth pursuing since Florida law requires a permanent injury to have a successful car wreck case.

Likewise, if you are the victim of medical malpractice and let’s assume for purpose of this example that we can prove that the doctor was negligent (she did not act as the reasonable doctor would have acted under similar circumstances) and we can prove that that negligent act legally caused an injury to the patient, but we have trouble establishing that the severity of the injury will be sufficient to justify bringing the action.

Medical malpractice cases are expensive cases to bring since the laws in Florida require the injured party to spend about $100,000.00-$200,000.00 to bring and maintain a medical malpractice case.  Not every injury would make economic sense to pursue.  For example, let’s say you go in for surgery and the surgeon leaves a surgical sponge inside of your intestines, but the sponge eventually comes out and there is no permanent injury from the sponge being left in, but you suffer weeks of stomach discomfort and must see the doctor many more times than you otherwise would have.

However, if there are no significant and permanent medical issues that are the direct result of the negligent act (leaving the surgical sponge in the intestines) then you would likely not be recommended to pursue that case since it doesn’t make economic sense to do so.  The costs of the case would likely exceed or be equal to what the case is worth and then the client and the law firm net nothing or take a loss.

In sum, a winning personal injury case requires that the injured party and her lawyer prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).  This burden of proof requires evidence of three distinct elements liability, causation, and damages/injury.  The personal injury lawyer will be evaluating all three of these elements from the very first call.

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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/determining-fault.html

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/how-the-causation-element-works-in-florida-personal-injury-40575

 

Gov. DeSantis Vetoes No Fault Repeal Legislation

Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed legislation that would have ended Florida’s no-fault rule after mounting pressure from critics who argued the bill would push up rates for many drivers.

The bill DeSantis vetoed (SB 54cleared the Legislature in April, and landed on the Governor’s desk Monday.

The measure, carried through the Senate by Zephyrhills Republican Sen. Danny Burgess, sought to end the requirement that Floridians purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and would instead require mandatory bodily injury (MBI) coverage that would payout up to $25,000 for a crash-related injury or death.

“While the PIP system has flaws and Florida law regarding bad faith is deficient … SB 54 does not adequately address the current issues facing Florida drivers and may have unintended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and consumers,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter.

No-fault repeal has been a perennial effort in the Legislature. And part of the bill’s contents, namely bad faith reform, has been a target of some lawmakers for a decade.

DeSantis’ veto Tuesday means lawmakers will have to go back to the drawing board if they want to rework Florida’s auto insurance laws.

The no-fault system was established in Florida in 1979, along with the requirement of carrying $10,000 in PIP coverage. But, under the bill, the state would shift into a system where parties litigate over who caused accidents.

Although repeal was popular in both chambers — the House approved it in a 100-16 vote, and the Senate in a 37-3 vote — the legislation faced opposition from several lawmakers, as well as some insurance and medical groups.

Democratic Sens. Lauren Book and Jason Pizzo voted against it, as did Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, who argued the bill would increase the insurance rates on the poorest Floridians, possibly by half.

Several insurance and medical groups also voiced support for the current system, which compensates medical providers without drivers having to go to court to determine fault. Opponents of the bill have begun pushing for DeSantis to veto it since the legislation cleared the Legislature.

PIP coverage pays out regardless of which party is responsible for an accident and it does so quickly. MBI coverage, however, doesn’t pay out until a fault determination is made, which can leave health care providers or patients on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills while they wait for a claim to resolve.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has said he is “hesitant” to support the repeal, according to The News Service of Florida. Altmaier’s office Monday released an actuarial study that found repealing PIP would result in an overall increase in premiums of 13.3% for all coverages combined, or $202 a year for the average vehicle. The analysis was ordered by Altmaier and conducted by Pinnacle Actuarial Resources Inc.

The Florida Insurance Council, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, and the Florida Chiropractic Physician Association also took part in the veto campaign.

But, proponents of the bill, including plaintiffs’ lawyers and Senate President Wilton Simpson, argued that a majority of motorists, who already carry bodily injury coverage, would see rate savings. Supporters also argued that rates would go down because the change would reduce fraud that has long plagued the PIP system.

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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

 

Sources:

Content from The News Service of Florida was used in this report with permission.

Gov. DeSantis vetoes no-fault repeal legislation