Tag Archives: Destin Personal injury attorney

Top 5 Things You Should Do Immediately After a Boating Accident

Boating Accident in Pensacola FL








The great thing about living on the Gulf Coast is our proximity to various bodies of water.  Obviously, this also means when more of us are near water we will likely make use of those areas for our enjoyment and recreation.  We will go to the beach, we will ride on personal watercraft, we will go fishing, we will go water skiing and wakeboarding.  We will use the water for our enjoyment just as we use the land.

The unfortunate fact is that wherever we are enjoying activities (whether it be land or sea) it will be an area that may result in injury.

Boating accident injuries happen often in our area and when you or a loved one is a victim of a boating accident, it is imperative that the injured person or his/her family take certain steps to ensure they get immediate medical attention and that they do not sacrifice their legal rights in the process.

Florida had 836 boating accidents in 2020, which is 113 more accidents than in 2019, a 16% increase. A total of 79 people lost their lives last year in boating accidents, 14 more than the previous year

Top Contributing Factors of Boating Accidents (from the United States Coast Guard annual report)

  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  •  Improper lookout
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure
  • Alcohol use
  • Weather
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Hazardous waters
  •  Force of wave / wake

Top Common Injuries Sustained in Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can result in serious – and sometimes catastrophic – injuries or death. Some of the most common types of injuries sustained in Florida boating accidents include the following:

• Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
• Back and spinal cord injuries
• Soft tissue injuries
• Fractures and broken bones
• Permanent injuries
• Death

Boating Accident case in Pensacola












The Following Is A List of Things That Should Be Done Following An Injury From A Boating Accident:

1. Call 911

Any injury should be reported to 911 as soon as possible so that emergency help can be brought your way. When you are on the water, these calls will require a marine response and a land-based response.  It is imperative that this call be placed as soon as possible since many different agencies are involved in this response given that it has occurred on the water.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officers (“FWC”) have jurisdiction in nearly all of the waters unless the accident occurs many miles offshore. The FWC will need to respond to all boating accidents, and they will rely on land-based EMS to assist them with the transportation of the injured person from the scene to the hospital. Many times, the FWC will have to organize marine transport to a dock for purpose of transporting the injured person to the hospital.

The sooner the 911 call is made the more time all of this can be coordinated.

2. Get A Report

As with car wrecks, it never makes sense to not get law enforcement to investigate the incident and have it written up in a report.  This is equally true for boating accidents.  The FWC will be the investigating agency and it will always mean that someone will need to report the boating accident.  If possible and you do not need immediate medical treatment, it may also require that you remain at the scene until the FWC officer has completed their investigation.

3. Document The Scene And Injuries

It is important to document the scene of the boating accident.  Pictures that depict the damages to the vessel can be critical evidence of the heading (direction) that each vessel was on at the time of the collision.  In boating accidents, the heading of the vessel can define which vessel is the “stand on” vessel and which vessel is the “give way” vessel.

The “stand on” vessel has the right to maintain its course and the “give way” vessel must steer clear of the “stand on” vessel.  The damage to the vessel can indicate the heading of each vessel at the time of impact and can, in and of itself, can be helpful in determining which vessel was the “stand on” vessel.

In addition to documenting the damages to the vessels, parties involved in a boating accident should also document any injuries.

Obviously, the first order of business after an injury is to make certain that all of those injured are stabilized and under the care of the right health care workers. As soon as those injuries are stabilized, someone should take pictures of the condition of the injury since it will also be relevant later in the boating accident case.

4. Record Names And Contact Information Of All Witnesses

Amazingly, after people leave the scene of a boating accident, they began to come up with reasons why the boating accident is not their fault. Parties can readily accept responsibility at the scene and then as they get further and further away from the boating accident, they begin to minimize their contribution to the cause and start explaining the boating accident on other’s conduct, not just their conduct. This is one part of human nature and one part basically financial protectionism. This is why it is always a good idea to get all names and contact information for anyone reporting to have seen the event.

You can never have too many witnesses since most of the time there will only be a few that actually have a good testimony.

5. Seek Out A Lawyer with Boating Accident Experience

As we have discussed in prior blog postings, boating accidents usually trigger federal maritime law.  This body of law can be a land mine for inexperienced lawyers, and it is imperative that you or your loved one seek out experienced advice from a lawyer with maritime experience in personal injury cases.

Since all personal injury lawyers have the same “no cost no fee unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason not to hire someone who is not a specialist.

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

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






Meet Our Summer Law Clerks: Payton Ford

Summer Law Clerks: Payton Ford

Payton Ford
Law Student at Cumberland School of Law – Samford University
Hometown – Marbury, Alabama

Payton Ford Q&A

1. School You Are Attending And What Year Of Law School Are You In?

I go to Cumberland School of Law and I just finished my 2L year!

2. What Area Of Law Are You Interested In Pursuing? When Did You Know You Wanted To Be A Lawyer? 

I really am interested in plaintiff’s personal injury. It all stems from my job as an office assistant at a personal injury firm in college. I saw people at some of the most difficult stages of their life, and knew that I wanted to make an impact with the clients. I have always wanted to help people, but I finally knew how after working there!

3. What Do You Hope To Learn While Interning At Zarzaur Law, P.A.? 

I hope to learn valuable research and writing skills, but also skills that they don’t teach while in law school: people skills, preparation, how to be a great lawyer!

4. Why Did You Choose Zarzaur Law, P.A.?

I chose Zarzaur Law because it made the most sense for me. I have always wanted to do plaintiff’s work, and I know the firm has a great reputation and does the best work for its clients.

5. Name Some Of Your Top Achievements Thus Far

During my 1L year, I participated in a competition for trial advocacy, known as the Williams, and won. I am also a member of the Cumberland National Trial Team and have competed in Syracuse National Trial Competition and Capitol City Challenge.

I am also the newest Online Editor for Vol. 45 of the American Journal of Trial Advocacy. 

6. What Do You Like To Do? (Hobbies, Sports, Charity Work)

I mostly like to read (boring, I know) but I also enjoy watching my siblings play sports!

7. Who (Dead Or Alive) Would You Like To Meet And Why? 

Harry Styles. As self-explanatory as this seems, it is because he is talented and seems genuine.

8. Why Do You Love / Like Pensacola? 

It has the perfect “home town” feel without feeling so small! There are so many opportunities here!

9. Pets? (Type And Names)

I (Payton Ford) have an Aussiedoodle named Knox and she is the best girl.

10. Best Piece Of Advice That You Have Ever Received? (By Who?)

My parents know me to be a worrisome and anxious person, but they have always told me that I am living in the exact moment I once prayed for, and to never take it for granted!


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

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

U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Highest in Three Decades.

A recent study has found that pedestrian deaths are at a 30 year high. The study published by the Governor’s Highway Association noted that there were over 6,200 pedestrian deaths in 2018 which was the highest amount of such deaths since 1990. The study focused only on those injuries or deaths that were the result of a car impacting a pedestrian.

Distracted Driving and Pedestrian Deaths

This is no surprise to Zarzaur Law. We have noticed in the last several years that more and more pedestrians are being seriously injured or killed at higher rate than recent past. We have noticed that the cause of these collisions with pedestrians, in many cases, is distracted driving. The association study also found that the uptick in pedestrian deaths were, in part, due to increased smartphone usage.

Interestingly, this uptick has been on the rise since 2009 reaching this highest amount in 2018. This increase occurred despite the fact that traffic related deaths for other reasons had decreased. The study attributed this increased in pedestrians deaths to more nighttime crossings, more distracted driving, and more alcohol/drug impairment by both drivers and pedestrians. 90% of the death rate increase was related to nighttime collisions.

This increase in pedestrian death rate has been noted to be as high was 35% more than in 1990. Here at Zarzaur Law, we are committed to representing this victims of careless drivers and have a long history of representing pedestrians (or their survivors) who are hit by distracted drivers.

These cases usually have significant issues related to fault and it is important that our legal investigation occurs soon after the event so that we can insure collection of all relevant evidence which can assist in proving who is at fault for the collision.

Zarzaur Law Represents Family of Pedestrian Killed

The firm recently represented a family of a pedestrian struck and killed on Gulf Beach Highway. The facts of this case were that our client was attempting to cross the Gulf Beach Highway in an area that was not well lit. As she crossed the highway, she stopped in the middle turn lane. At the same time, the defendant driver was headed towards Pensacola to meet friends at a downtown club. The impact with this pedestrian was so significant that she suffered fatal injuries and was rendered brain dead within hours of the impact. The at fault driver claimed that our client “ran out in front of her” and had a “death wish”. We took on the case and started to find that this story did not line up with the physical evidence. Our firm utilized our investigation team to collect evidence at the scene and to document the scene both during the day and at night to simulate the conditions.

Zarzaur Law Investigation Proves at Fault Driver’s Responsibility

We then started to focus on the at fault driver and during litigation were able to discover that she was actually on several different prescription medications in addition to being under the influence of alcohol. At every step, the at fault driver took no responsibility and maintained that our client jumped out in front of her wanted to kill her self. However, the physical evidence and evidence of drug and alcohol use was too much for the at fault driver to handle. Ultimately, the at fault driver settled this wrongful death case for a confidential sum. While this settlement will do little to make up for the void created in this family, the fact that this driver had to account for her actions made this family whole and allowed some additional closure.

If you or a loved one was injured by a pedestrian v. car event, please feel free to contact us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or by phone at 850-444-9299.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, P.A., a Pensacola Personal Injury law firm, has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer. For more information, visit: https://www.zarzaurlaw.com

11 E Romana Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
Telephone: 850-444-9299
Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com




Jury Duty: A New Perspective – An Honor, Not a Burden.

The Jury Duty Misconception.
I had only been summoned for jury duty once, and it was right near the holidays a few years ago and in the middle of a couple of major deadlines. Needless to say I was irritated having to waste my Monday waiting around in a room with at least 200 of my fellow citizens feeling the same way. We were all trying to continue working in some capacity with all of our mobile devices. I did not get chosen to serve on a jury…. didn’t even make it to the first round of jury selection and was relieved to be back at work by noon.

Part of the Bigger Picture.
I work in a personal injury law firm, Zarzaur Law, PA, here in Pensacola, Florida. I have learned a lot about the law in the year and half I have been here, especially, the process and the time it takes to prepare for a case to go to trial. Prior to working at Zarzaur Law P.A. as the marketing manager, I worked in an ad agency…so I did not have a lot of exposure to law firms. I am fortunate to work for Joe Zarzaur, an award-winning board certified civil trial lawyer, who is a part of only 1% of lawyers in the state of Florida with these credentials.

Call it coincidence or perpetuity, but I received a jury summons as an employee at Zarzaur Law, PA. At first I thought this to be another burden, but then realized that I am getting to be a part of the judicial process. Since my job at the firm does not involve the practice of law, I was interested in being a part of the process.

A New Perspective.
We all started sitting in a very large room where Pam Childers welcomed us and proceeded to have us take the oath. We were informed that all cases on the docket that week were criminal cases. Ms. Childers then went on to explain our obligation as a citizen of our state and our country. Our form of government calls us to service as be a part of the judicial process. It is important for us to be here to keep the process moving forward. We are helping the court fulfill its responsibilities and maintain our rights for due process. This is our judicial system to help resolve disputes. Cases can be resolved even while we wait and we are here willing to take time to participate in this democratic process. I never realized that some cases do get settled prior to going to jury, just because of our presence.

The Juror’s Role.
Our role as jurors is to provide a fair, impartial and just decision based on facts received in case. All of this was certainly providing me an education first hand at what my firm does and must be prepared for. The amount of time and evidence that must be prepared is substantial. Also … it’s not like the TV show Law and Order – cases and trials could take as long as 6 months to a year to get on the docket. This is why having full juries are so important. We are final authorities on the facts, judge has final authority in the law.

It felt overwhelming but exciting. You are no longer watching TV, this is real life. A big responsibility is expected of you, and I felt honored to be chosen. The experience is humbling, intimidating and empowering all at the same time. Judge and lawyers and defendant asking questions and awaiting to see who will be the panel to hear the case, weigh the facts and provide the verdict. We hold the power of democracy and fairness in our hands. We decide the fate of a person who is considered innocent until proven guilty. We actively uphold the law and its ability to help keep our country free from minority tyranny.

A Rewarding Experience.
While I was not chosen for the case, it was an unbelievable experience. I was actually disappointed not to be chosen. I just hope those that served on this jury were fair and in the end made the decision that is based on the facts.

Jurors perform a vital role in the American system of justice. … Jury service is a high duty of citizenship. Jurors aid in the maintenance of law and order and uphold justice among their fellow citizens. Their greatest reward is the knowledge that they have discharged this duty faithfully, honorably, and well. Jurors perform a vital role in the American system of justice. The protection of our rights and liberties is largely achieved through the teamwork of judge and jury who, working together in a common effort, put into practice the principles of our great heritage of freedom. The judge determines the law to be applied in the case while the jury decides the facts. Thus, in a very important way, jurors become a part of the court itself.

I challenge you to re-think jury duty the next time you receive your summons and not look at it as a burden, but as an honor and a right as a part of our Democratic society.

As one of the leading personal injury lawyers in Pensacola, Florida, Joe Zarzaur has dedicated his life to helping car wreck victims protect their rights. One major way that Personal Injury Law Firm, Zarzaur Law achieves this mission is by fighting extremely hard for the clients he represents. But a second and equally important component of Zarzaur Law Firm’s work is providing the community with the resources they need to keep themselves protected.

Read more:

Juries – Modern Juries – Jury, Court, Civil, and Trial – JRank Articles http://law.jrank.org/pages/22535/Juries-Modern-Juries.html#ixzz4yLbXuRNE


Golf Carts and the False Sense of Security

Relative speed and a distorted sense of safety are some of the reasons why golf cart accidents are on the rise. The emerging problem is attributed to the fact that golf carts are no longer used only on the golf course, but have become a means of transportation within gated and residential neighborhoods, hospitals, university campuses, malls, airports and more. Places like these usually concentrate a considerable number of people circulating on the perimeter of the facilities. Golf carts represent a desirable transportation for short distances because of their low levels of motor emissions and the cost advantages they represent when compared to a traditional car. Although the use of golf carts is regulated by state laws, there is no federal regulation that limits the operation of these vehicles.


Accidents related to golf carts occur frequently in Florida, however there is no up-to-date statistics on the number of physical injuries and fatal losses caused by the use of these vehicles in the United States. A study published by the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care in 2008 revealed that the age group with the highest incidence of golf cart accidents are adolescents within the 10 to 19 age range and adults over 80 years old. It is important to mention that Florida Statute 316.212 (7), prohibit the operation of a golf cart by individuals under 14 years old.

The study “Golf cart-related Injuries in the U.S.” (Watson et al., 2008) revealed that almost half of the injuries related to golf carts were due to falling out of golf carts or due to overturns. Golf cart safety features have improved over the years, but they are still insufficient in preventing passenger injuries. Golf carts moving at speeds as low as 11 mph could quickly force a passenger out of the vehicle if not operated properly. The rear seats of a golf cart are mainly associated with high passenger ejection rates. Often, golf carts do not have four-wheel brakes, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Damages caused by golf carts go beyond falls and injuries. Florida news reports, monthly golf carts accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol, collisions between golf carts and regular motor vehicles and even pedestrians being run over by golf carts has increased steadily over the years. Many of these accidents have resulted in fatal injuries and even death.

All drivers face risks, but effective risk prevention helps reduce accidents and injuries.

The following are safety measures you can take to prevent golf carts accidents:

• Drive the golf cart only along permitted roads.

• Lower the speed in every turn and avoid having to turn sharply.

• A golf cart can only be operated during the hours between sunrise and sunset.

• If you are going to drive a golf cart during the night, be sure that the cart is additionally equipped with headlights, directional lights and a windshield.

• Be sure the golf cart comes with efficient brakes, safe tires, a rearview mirror and red reflector warning devices on the front and rear.

• Ordinance restricts golf carts to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.

• Do not drink alcohol or ride in a golf cart with anyone who has been drinking alcohol while driving a golf cart

Who’s at fault?
When it comes to golf carts accidents, determining who’s at fault is more complicated. Remember that golf carts travel through golf courses, crossroads and places different from those on which a regular car travels. If you are dealing with a golf cart accident, check first that everyone involved is safe and call an ambulance if someone is injured. Remember to take pictures of the crash scene as well as collect witnesses data if any, and call the police.

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney, Joe Zarzaur works in all areas of personal injury including golf cart accidents, motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle and boating accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall and wrongful death.

We know accidents are 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. Offices in Pensacola and Destin.


McGwin, G., Zoghby, J. T., Griffin, R. & Rue, L. (2008) Incidence of golf cart-related injury in the United States. The Journal of TRAUMA Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 64 :1562–1566.

Watson, D. S., Mehan, T., Smith, G. & McKenzie, L. (2008) Golf cart-related Injuries in the U.S.. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35(1) 55-59.

State Uniform Traffic Control, 2017 Fla. § 316.212.7 (2017) Retrieved from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.212.html

Mohn, T. (2017, March 4) The (Mostly) Safe Golf Cart. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/04/business/retirement/the-mostly-safe-golf-cart.html


Guaranteeing a patient’s health and safety during surgical procedures requires mandatory care measures that must be considered before, during, and after the operation. In the past, surgical procedures were performed in hospitals, with more than enough staff and equipment to aid patients regardless the type of surgery required. Among the many operations, there are those that need post-operative care without the need for hospitalization, allowing patients to return home a few hours after the surgery. This type of procedure is known as ambulatory surgery.

ZL_blog_Ambulatory_Surgical_CentersThe growing population, new medical discoveries, and increased demand for medical attention has resulted in the lack of enough operating rooms in hospitals. This fact led physicians to open their own Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) in order to offer non-invasive surgeries to patients who do not need an overnight stay. This cost-effective solution for outpatients met federal regulations and approved. Currently, many surgical specialties can be treated on an outpatient basis. Health programs as Medicare began to certify the centers that meet the requirements to provide care to their insured. As of today, there are 5,480 ASCs that have been certified by Medicare (Rechtoris, 2017).

As the number of surgery centers has increased throughout the years, so have the risks. According to an investigation by USA Today in conjunction with Kayser Health News, “Florida has counted at least 335 life-threatening or fatal medical ‘adverse events’ since 2013 at ambulatory surgery centers.” Yearly, 911 receives thousands of calls per year from these surgery centers requiring help for patients with both minor and fatal complications. The exact number of people who have died in these centers during a surgical procedure is unknown since there is no official report.

Four factors you need to consider
If you or a family member is planning an outpatient surgery at a surgery center, it is vital that you consider the following aspects.

1. Health Risks involved – Health disorders can represent risk factors resulting in complications or death after surgery. Among them: overweight, obstructive pulmonary disease, and hypertension. Make sure that your current health condition does not represent a risk for the surgery that is to be performed.

2. Emergency crash carts – Emergency equipment is mandatory in any operating room as well as qualified staff that knows how to operate this equipment during a life-threatening situation. Make sure your surgery center has an emergency crash cart.

3. Anesthesia – Health conditions such as obesity, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems can affect patients during surgeries because of the anesthesia. Previous evaluations serve to find if the patients present those conditions. If so, they might need a hospital instead of a surgery center. Remember that all procedures that involve general anesthesia should be performed with an anesthesiologist present.

4. Infections – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted an infection control audit in a total of 68 ASCs to assess compliance with recommended practices in 2010. The results, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggested that infection control practices in these ASCs were deficient and not specific for the given state.

According to medical reporter Sandra G. Boodman, studies have found that approximately 1% of patients in surgery centers develop severe complications that require transfer to a hospital during or immediately after a procedure.

There is no way to predict that you will be one of these patients. Inform yourself and ask all the necessary questions to your doctor before undergoing an outpatient procedure in a surgery center.

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

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured during a procedure at an Ambulatory Surgery Center, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents and injuries can be devastating 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.


Gluck, F. & Jewett, C (2010) .Florida surgery centers not always prepared to handle life-threatening medical emergencies. USA Today and Kaiser Health News. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2018/03/02/florida-surgery-centers-not-always-prepared-handle-life-threatening-medical-emergencies/1084132001/

Koenig, L., Doherty, J., Dreyfus, J. & Xanthopoulos, J. (2009). An analysis of recent growth of ambulatory surgical centers: Final report. KNG Health Consulting

Rechtoris, M. (2017, February 21). 51 things to know about the ASC industry | 2017. Becker’s ASC Review. Retrieved from https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-turnarounds-ideas-to-improve-performance/50-things-to-know-about-the-asc-industry-2017.html

Boodman, S. (2014) Popularity of Outpatient Surgery Centers Leads to Questions About Safety. Medpage Today. Retrieved from https://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/publichealth/49213

Jewett C. & Alesia, M. (2018, March) As Surgery Centers Boom, Patients Are Paying With Their Lives. Kayser Health News. Retrieved from https://khn.org/news/medicare-certified-surgery-centers-are-expanding-but-deaths-question-safety/