Tag Archives: Destin Zarzaur Law PA

Escambia County Reports Record 25% Positivity Rate for COVID-19.

Today’s data release on current SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) cases in Escambia county marks two sequential days with record-high reporting of percent positivity, with a nearly 20% (19.9%) positivity rate released on August 7 and followed by a nearly 25% (24.9%) positivity rate with the release this morning.

Accompanying these findings is another grim statistic:  the highest single day reporting of 543 new positive results for Escambia county, surpassing the prior high of 467 reported for July 11.

While an explanation of these numbers is not immediately available the introduction of rapid testing protocol in the county would be a prime focus:  test integrity (reliability, accuracy) as well as evaluation of the pool of individuals tested at the rapid protocol facility – symptomatic vs asymptomatic, isolation parameters undertaken by those individuals (before and after testing), contact tracing of positive result individuals.

Bottom line – the message remains the same:  masking, distancing, hand sanitizer, and routine cleansing of common spaces should remain centerpiece to everyone’s daily habits.

COUNTY DATA FROM FL DOH 08/08/2020:

http://ww11.doh.state.fl.us/comm/_partners/covid19_report_archive/county_reports_latest.pdf

The Zarzaur Law firm remains fully operational and the staff is working hard on client’s behalf (safely and remotely). Attorneys will still be seeing clients either safely in office or via video conferencing.

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.
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, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
www.zarzaurlaw.com
(855)hirejoe
850-444-9299

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

Sources:
https://www.ghsa.org/resources/Pedestrians19https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/28/health/pedestrian-deaths-study-bn/index.html

https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/report-florida-among-states-with-highest-pedestrian-deaths

https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2019/03/13/navarre-pedestrian-killed-after-being-hit-truck-highway-87/3151753002/

Delayed Symptoms After a Car Wreck

After a severe car accident most people will feel pain from their injuries immediately, but this is not always the case. When your body is put in a dangerous situation, your adrenaline kicks in with fight or flight, and you may not even notice that you are injured right away. Some injuries will even take days, weeks, or months to show symptoms. You may even get a clean bill of health from the ER physician, but it is important to note that the ER physician’s job is to assess and make sure that you will not die or lose a limb in the next 24-48 hours. Many people think that just because they went to the ER and were checked out, that this is the end and there is nothing else to be done – this is not the case, especially with delayed symptoms.

Reasons Why Pain from Injuries Are Delayed
There are a few reasons injuries may take a little time to show symptoms. The first is swelling and inflammation. This takes place over time, so you may not immediately notice anything out of the ordinary. The second is that people normally “take it easy” from strenuous activities after a car accident, however when they return to daily life and activities, they begin to notice all kinds of injuries and pain. 

See Your Doctor
If you are experiencing no pain after a car accident, it is still recommended that you see your general practitioner or treating physician right away. This way, a doctor will be able to thoroughly examine you to ensure nothing is wrong, or they may discover an injury that would not have shown symptoms until weeks or months later. It is important to allow your physician to conduct these tests and then order additional, more thorough tests, with a referring specialist.

Symptoms Can Worsen Over Time
Many studies have found a significant number of individuals to be symptomatic for many months and even years after a motor vehicle accident. In one such study, 75 percent of individuals remained symptomatic 6 months after the accident.

Another study, published in the European Spine Journal, found that during the period of time between the first and second years following a motor vehicle accident over 20 percent actually had their symptoms worsen.

So what now? It’s not unusual for injury-related pain after a car accident to be delayed, and in many cases you may not even know you have a serious injury until later. 

Below are some guidelines to help ensure that you get the compensation you need if car accident-related pain doesn’t show up until days or even weeks after the incident.

Types of Pain After a Car Accident That are Often Delayed

Sometimes a headache is just a headache. But if you were recently involved in a car accident, neck or head pain could indicate a more serious injury that wasn’t discovered at the time of the accident or in the ER. If you have suffered any of the following types of pain after an accident, even if it’s delayed, get immediate medical attention.

  1. Headaches – Pay special attention to the location and severity of the pain. It could be stress-related or a sign of concussion, brain injury, whiplash, neck injury, or even a blood clot. A serious headache also could be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the accident.
  2. Pain in the Neck or Shoulders – This is often a sign of whiplash (a catch-all term for several different injuries), which is sometimes experienced right after an accident but sometimes doesn’t emerge until several days later. Neck and shoulder pain could also indicate a spinal injury such as a herniated disc.
  3. Back Pain – Back pain, especially in the lower back, may also indicate a whiplash-related injury. It also could signal a sprain, herniated disc, or other soft-tissue injuries (such as muscle damage). If accompanied by tingling or numbness, it could also point to pinched nerves.
  4. Numbness, Tingling, etc. – These types of sensations, in addition to weakness in the limbs, often indicate a herniated disc that pinches or presses up against nerves in the spine. This pinching can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and other sensations throughout the body.
  5. Abdominal Pain – Internal, soft-tissue injuries can be very serious — even fatal — if left untreated. If you experience abdominal pain after an accident (which may surface days after the incident), get immediate medical attention. Internal bleeding also may cause headaches, dizziness, and deep bruising.
  6. Emotional Pain and Suffering – After the initial post-accident chaos subsides, you may experience depression, anxiety, or even PTSD. This could be related to the actual incident, a result of physical injuries, or both. Brain injuries also may cause emotional pain or personality changes.

Do Not Settle Right Away

Following a car accident, the other driver’s insurance company may contact you and try to get you to sign a release of any claims you might have. The insurance company may even offer you a sum of money to entice you to sign the release.

You should wait until you have been fully evaluated by a medical professional,  and consulting with your lawyer, before signing anything the adjuster puts in front of you. You should also wait long enough to make sure all injuries from the car accident have fully manifested themselves. Your doctor can help you determine how long this needs to be. If you sign a release, and an injury shows up later, you cannot then go back to the insurance company and ask them to pay for your medical treatment. You waive your legal right to pursue that compensation when you sign the release. This is why consulting with a board certified civil trial lawyer specializing in personal injury law, like Joe Zarzaur, is important.

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

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and are suffering from delayed symptoms, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/what-if-my-pain-after-a-car-accident-was-delayed.html

https://www.arrowheadclinic.com/category/blog/3-common-myths-about-car-accident-injuries

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-if-my-accident-injuries-dont-show-up-right-away.html

Top pain treatments for the first 72 hours after an auto accident

7 delayed injury symptoms after a car crash

Auto Injury Related Statistics

How Long Do Florida Property Insurance Companies Have To Pay Insurance Claims?

September 10, 2018, marked the one-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Irma in Florida. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the estimate of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma is $50,000,000,000. Well over a year since its devastation across the state, Floridians remain resilient and committed to rebuild their lives, but now Hurricane Michael has delivered another major blow to Florida and its residents.

ZL_blog_property_ins_claimsGiven that Hurricane Irma came on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, many insurance carriers struggled to get enough insurance adjusters out to the affected areas. They often relied on third-party administrators and used either untrained or improperly trained adjusters in claim investigations.

Florida passed legislation this year making it a crime for any unlicensed (Defined as holding a Florida license) public adjuster to work on behalf of any Florida resident. In past years, unlicensed adjusters did less than honorable jobs for many Florida residents, and did them an injustice by not adequately documenting their claims. This resulted in many Florida residents being defrauded out of the value of their claims, while these unethical adjusters made away like bandits.

As of August 13, 2018, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, over 311,550 Hurricane Irma claims have been closed without payment and more than 82,449 claims remained open. In the course of representing policyholders in first-party property insurance claim disputes, they often ask about the insurance carriers’ claims handling time limits. Below are some important time frames insurance carriers must follow in Florida.

Acknowledgment of Communication within 14 Days
Florida requires that an insurance carrier upon receiving a communication regarding a claim, the insurance carrier must acknowledge receipt of such communication within fourteen calendar days. This requirement does not apply if the insurance carriers paid the claims within fourteen calendar days or if the failure to acknowledge the claims is caused by factors beyond the insurance carriers’ control.

Additionally, the insurance carriers must provide necessary claim forms, and instructions, including an appropriate telephone number.3 At this time, the policyholders should focus on preserving the evidence and gathering documentation regarding the claims, including, but not limited to, before and after photographs of the damaged property, receipts, proposals, estimates, etc. and promptly supplement their claims. Within ten days after the insurance carriers receive the proof of loss statements, they are required to begin the claim investigation.

Claim Decision (if covered)
Within 90 days after the insurance carriers receive notice of an initial, reopened, or supplemental property insurance claim from a policyholder, the insurance carriers shall pay or deny such claim or a portion of the claim unless the failure to pay is caused by factors beyond the control of the insurance carriers which reasonably prevent such payment.

Penalties for Non-Compliance
Whether insurance carriers must pay interest on claims after refusing or delaying payment of policy benefits was discussed by my colleague, Beaujeaux de Lapouyade, in her post, I Reported My Claim Eight Months Ago! Am I Entitled to Interest Upon Resolution.
In other words, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 627.70131(5)(a) assesses a penalty for failure to comply:
Any payment of an initial or supplemental claim or portion of such claim made 90 days after the insurer receives notice of the claim, or made more than 15 days after there are no longer factors beyond the control of the insurer which reasonably prevented such payment, whichever is later, bears interest at the rate set forth in [Fla. Stat. Ann. § 55.03]. Interest begins to accrue from the date the insurer receives notice of the claim. The provisions of this subsection may not be waived, voided, or nullified by the terms of the insurance policy. If there is a right to prejudgment interest, the insured shall select whether to receive prejudgment interest or interest under this subsection. Interest is payable when the claim or portion of the claim is paid. Failure to comply with this subsection constitutes a violation of this code. However, failure to comply with this subsection does not form the sole basis for a private cause of action.

Payment of Settlement
Where a policyholder and an insurance carrier have agreed in writing to amicably resolve a claim, the insurance carrier is required to tender payment in accordance with the terms of the agreement no later than 20 days after the settlement is reached. If the payment is not tendered within 20 days or such other date as the agreement may provide, it shall bear interest at a rate of 12 percent per year from the date of the agreement; however, if the tender of payment is conditioned upon the execution of a release, the interest shall not begin to accrue until the executed release is tendered to the insurance carrier.

Thousands of Hurricane Irma victims relied on their insurance carriers to timely and promptly tender insurance benefits due and owing under their insurance policies to put them back into the position they were prior to the loss as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, to date, many insurance claims remain unsettled or unpaid as policyholders face unreasonable delays. Several insurance carriers, have placed the requirement upon their policyholders to provide information that would alter their decisions.

Additionally, policyholders face new challenges to comply with policy conditions invoked by insurance carriers well over a year since the date of loss and are forced to retain insurance professionals to conduct a comprehensive investigation of their Hurricane Irma damages due to insurance companies’ failure to do so. If you believe that your insurance carrier unjustly denied or low balled your claim, do not hesitate to challenge its decision.

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

If you have any questions about Hurricane Michael claims, call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.
_____________________________________

RESOURCES:

1 S.Res.652: A resolution remembering the 1-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Irma in Florida.
2 Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 69O-166.024; Fla. Stat. § 627.70131.
3 Fla. Stat. § 627.70131(2).
4 Fla. Stat. § 627.70131(3).
5 Fla. Stat. § 627.70131(5)(a).
6 Fla. Stat. Ann. § 627.4265
7 Id.

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL112017_Irma.pdf

\https://www.floir.com

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.70131.html

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0055/Sections/0055.03.html

http://www.merlinlawgroup.com/lawyers/beaujeaux-de-lapouyade-esq/

Zarzaur Law: Keeping our Community Safe One Case at a Time

30A Review article
Sept/Oct 2018
By Mary Welch

To Personal Injury Lawyer Joe Zarzaur, there are two things: keep the community safe one case at a time; and the numbers. For community safety: since the onset, his practice has been 100% dedicated to personal injury and wrongful death cases. For the numbers, there is a list. The number of board certified civil trial lawyers in the state of Florida (one percent). The number of dollars he believes is a fair settlement for his client (the highest was $9.3 million against a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson). That’s his bottom-line point of view. And it’s worked for his clients.

Zarzaur, who heads Zarzaur Law, P.A. in Pensacola, is a personal injury lawyer who only takes on cases that involve serious personal injury or wrongful death. He fights for his clients to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve from those who do not take responsibility for their actions.

“I believe in quality, not quantity. I don’t want to work on every case,” he says. “I don’t take every case that comes in the office. I want to make a difference. I want to make things safer and if I can, I’m not going to let a client settle for a quick deal.

“Look, we’re enforcing community safety rules and they’re important. We want to make an impact and help our injured client make their life just a little better.”

Zarzaur is an AV Rated, Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist and recognized as such by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy; a distinction that he shares with only one percent of Florida Lawyers. To be board certified, an lawyer must pass a series of tests, among having 14 jury trials and recommendations from judges and other lawyers, that recognizes an lawyers’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law, professionalism, and ethics in practice.

“You have a handful of lawyers certified to do this work but you have hundreds more advertising for these cases. The Bar provides a way to discriminate and help educate people on whom they should hire. Most people hire someone because of a bunch of billboards. People must do due diligence before hiring a lawyer,” he says.
It makes little sense, he says, since all personal injury lawyers, regardless of background, record, and professionalism, generally charge the same fee — a percent of the settlement or, in case of a loss, no money. “It’s like walking into a store and the Rolex is the same price as a Timex. And, you choose the Timex,” he says.

Zarzaur’s biggest jury verdict came after almost eight years of litigation. He attained one of the highest injury jury verdicts in Escambia County history against a little known company known as Ethicon Endo Surgery a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. The verdict was $9.3 million, which was upheld on appeal. He also followed this verdict with other multi-million dollar jury verdicts and hundreds of million in settlements. “I think that once you get your first multi-million verdict, you know you’re doing the right thing. You know that this is where you should be,” he says. “That was my ‘Ahha’ moment. There’s only a handful of lawyers who have gotten verdicts over $9 million in Florida.”

Zarzaur is in the right place, something he knew since he was in high school. “I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and the idea of being a trial lawyer and in a courtroom was attractive to me.” He first gravitated to criminal law but found that was not his passion. In the end, he realized his talents and heart was in the personal injury side of the practice. “You have to find something that you’re good at and that you love. I don’t care what profession. Find something that makes you want to spend 10 to 12 hours a day doing nothing but that. And, if you’re OK with that, then do it.”

Zarzaur, who is also licensed in his home state of Alabama, says that appearing in front of a jury is a blend of tactics and performance. Rarely do you see the behind the scenes work put in by “Perry Mason”, “Aly McBeal”, or the gang on “Suits”. “I don’t like to think that when I’m in front of a jury that it’s ‘acting.’ But everything must be thought out — every movement, every word. The jury has to relate to you and your clients and if they think you’re acting you’ll lose. But, at the same time, if you don’t present your case in a fashion that is conducive to them, your client’s message may get lost in the mix.”

It’s a fine line; but one that Zarzaur recognizes. Bottom line, he is a lawyer passionate about the community, safety, and getting his clients what they deserve. And isn’t that what anyone would seek in a lawyer?

To reach Zarzaur Law PA, call (850) 444-9229 (Pensacola) or (850) 424-3236 (Destin). You can also go to www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Driver and Cyclist Crash-Risk Perception. Do You Know the Rules?

Florida’s roads and streets are the main scenario for the interaction between pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and more. We face the everyday hazardous act of sharing the roads, trusting in the driving and riding knowledge of everyone in traffic. But what happens when this knowledge is affected by a different perception of reality?

ZL_blog_Cars_&_BicyclesAccording to the Association for Phycological Science (APS), a 2012 study revealed there’s a difference between cyclists’ and drivers’ perceptions about road interaction. The study showed that cyclists look at the car-bike road interactions as risky and with a high crash propensity. On the other hand, the study found drivers look at the car-bike dynamic with less chance of accident and less risky than other automobile accidents. These hard findings make drivers think about the importance of complying with the regulations and, above all, the need to respect other users on the road. Cyclists must also engage in responsible riding and respect all motor vehicles.

Looking into the statistics published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the annual average number of bicycle accidents in the last five years is 6,800 and the number of bicycle crash fatalities is 135 per year. This fact makes it even more imperative for both parties to become aware of the dangers they face when driving and riding the public roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and bicycling.com reminds us to keep in mind the following guidelines when riding a bicycle to reduce the risk of accidents and avoid injuries.

BE VISIBLE – Use protective equipment such as a helmet, a white front light, and a red rear light. Don’t forget to use reflectors on the bicycle, helmet, and clothes.

GO STRAIGHT – Plan a safe route. Choose roads with less traffic and slower speeds. Always ride in a straight a line as possible so drivers can sense how far left they have to go to get past you safely. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

DON’T GET DOORED – Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road line with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.

USE COMMON SENSE – Do not use your cell phone or listen to music during your ride. It requires that your vision and attention stay focused on the road.

SIGNAL A WARNING – Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potential dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.

STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE – Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.

READ THE LIGHTS – Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.

KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY – If you have the right of way at an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling, but be prepared to stop.

Drivers should also keep in mind the following key points when sharing the public roads with other cyclists.

BE COURTEOUS – Give way to cyclists in the same way you would with another vehicle on the road.

RIGHT ON RED – Avoid hitting a cyclist when you turn right in red. Observe to your right and behind you to make sure there are no cyclists nearby.

OBEY SPEED LIMITS – Reduce speed if road conditions are hazardous and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

PASSING – Do not pass a cyclist too closely. Pass a cyclist only when it is safe if you need to cross into the adjacent lane.

Common Motorist Errors: How to Avoid them

TURNING LEFT AND CUTTING CYCLIST OFF – When a driver is turning left in front of an oncoming cyclist who is going straight through an intersection: Make eye contact with the driver and nod to indicate you’re moving forward.

RUNNING THROUGH A STOP SIGN – If a driver fails to obey a stop sign and pulls in front of a rider: Stand on your pedals at stop signs to improve visibility.

TURNING RIGHT AFTER PASSING – Keep your hand on the brake when a driver passes and look for a turn signal.

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

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

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

Sources:
Association for Psychological Science. (n.d.). Bicyclists beware: The psychology of car-bike crash risks. Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/motr/bicyclist-beware-cars-view-less-risk-in-crashes-with-bikes.html

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (2016) Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics [Statistics]. Retrieved from https://www.flhsmv.gov/resources/crash-citation-reports/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (n.d.). Bicycle safety. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

333 Secrets of the Lifetime Rider. https://www.bicycling.com

What’s at Stake with the ‘No Fault’ Repeal?

On January 2018, the Florida House of Representatives voted in favor to repeal the no-fault car insurance system through the House Bill 19 (HB19). The new bill seeks to increase the amounts of coverage through a form of civil liability benefiting both the plaintiff and the defendant in the event of a traffic accident. The bill also adds reforms to avoid possible frauds, a fact that is the main cause of the increase in the values of the policies.

ZL_blog_No_Fault
As explained earlier in a Zarzaur Law blog-post, the No-fault auto insurance allows policyholders to recover financial losses from their own insurance company, regardless of who caused the car accident. The minimum coverage amounts under the No-fault law are $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL). No-fault insurances also include a pain-and-suffering coverage in case policyholders suffer from physical or emotional distress as a result of the accident or is being sued by other parties affected in the accident for suffering this kind of distress.

Since the application of the no-fault law, PIP coverage, as well as pain-and-suffering, have represented the largest items of reimbursement in Florida (Ryan et al., 2017). This situation has led insurance companies to perceive being victims of frauds and abuses. Although reforms were made in 2012 through House of Bill 119 (HB 119), the measure has not been able to reduce the companies’ costs which will inevitably lead to increased policy prices. For this reason, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America propose the repeal of the No-fault system and replacing it with a mandatory $25,000/$50,000 bodily injured liability (BI) coverage, a $10,000 PDL as a prospective solution to the problem. Once the bill passed to the Senate, they included an additional $5,000 for Medical Payments (MP) coverage. In order to avoid future frauds, the proposal also includes a Bad Faith reform and a No pay, No play law which will prohibit drivers with no insurance to claim for financial compensations.

Car accidents leave thousands of people seriously injured every year. According to a study by the National Safety Council, the estimated cost of death, injuries and damages caused by traffic accidents was $432 billion in 2016. Expenses incurred by car accident victims not only are high, but other expenses also harm their quality of life, such as their inability to continue working and eventual loss of their jobs, as well as damage to their property. The minimum coverages are often not enough to cover all the damages, especially when it comes to permanent and irreversible injuries caused to a human being.

Although much has been said about the interest of lawyers for the repeal of the law, let’s not forget that lawyers have the moral and ethical imperative to serve their clients. It is the duty of lawyers to ensure that those who have financial responsibility in an accident comply with their part. Attorneys will always seek the welfare of the client with or without the repeal.

The fate of the bill is now in the hands of the Senate committee (SB 150). Their primary concern is the increase in the policies’ prices the new law would impose. Although the bill has been postponed, we hope discussions about this new policy moves forward so to improve the car insurance system for the well-being of all Floridians.

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

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.

Sources:
CS/HB 19  – Motor Vehicle Insurance. (n.d.). Florida House of Representatives. Retrieved from https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=60053&SessionId=86

Insurance Information Institute (2014) Background on: No-fault auto insurance. Retrieved from https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-no-fault-auto-insurance

Ryan, T., Schaaffe, D. & Walsh, S. (2018, January 25). Florida personal auto insurance impact of repealing no-fault coverage. Retrieved from http://3o15h033zmpwracwx2i00rqx.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Impact-of-Repealing-No-Fault_Final.pdf

National Safety Council. (n.d.) Motor Vehicle Fatality Estimates. Retrieved from http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2017/12-month-estimates.pdf

Liability in Lending Out Your Car

Did you know car insurance follows the car, NOT the driver?

If you decide to lend out your car, your car insurance acts as the primary coverage and the driver’s insurance (if they have any) acts as the secondary or excess insurance. If your car gets in an accident, you will have to be the one to file a claim with your insurance, pay the deductible and most likely expect a rate increase.Does insurance cover others driving my car?

For example, let’s say you let your friend, David, borrow your car to go to the store for you. On the way, David causes a 4 car pile-up that goes beyond your insurance coverage, you can still be sued by the other people involved in the accident for medical and property damage costs. Even though you were not the one driving, the car is in your name, with your insurance.

 

Permissive v. Non-permissive Usage

Permissive

Giving consent to someone else to drive your car is usually no problem. There is an omnibus clause in your insurance policy stating any driver, family member who lives with you, and/or dependent children at school will be covered under your insurance if they have permission to use the vehicle. Your insurance will usually cover the driver if they have permission to use the vehicle. Again, contact your insurance provider for complete policy details and to discuss further for accuracy.

Non-permissive

If a driver does not have your permission to use the car, you will likely not be responsible for third party damages. However, you may still be liable for the damages to your own car. For example, imagine your car was stolen and was involved in an accident with a Mercedes. You would not be responsible for damages to the Mercedes, but would have to go through your insurance to fix the damages sustained by your own vehicle.

Additionally, if your friend borrows your car without permission and causes an accident, their insurance will be primary and yours secondary. However, if your friend does not have insurance then unfortunately, you are out of luck and will be liable for damages.

Keep in mind, unless you explicitly deny permission to a friend, or family member somehow, most insurance companies will assume permission was granted. It would be hard to prove otherwise, even if you did not verbally grant permission or give them the keys.

 

Excluding Driver on Policy

If you exclude a driver on your policy to not cover them on purpose, you will save on your premium. You likely chose to exclude these people because they are higher risk for causing an accident-whether it be their age, bad driving record etc.

Since Florida is a no-fault state, you will not be held liable for personal injury, but you and the excluded driver may be responsible for personal liability.

 

Using an Employee Vehicle on the Job

What if you borrow or use a company vehicle? An employer can be held liable for an employee vehicle being involved in an accident by an employee if the employee was driving for employment purposes or within the “course and scope of employment”. Moreover, an employer can be held liable for giving an employee use of their car if they know the employee is a reckless, incompetent and/or unlicensed driver.

For an employer to be held liable by the use of the car by an employee, it must be shown that an employer-employee relationship exists.

 

Having a Family Member Use Your Car

This usually only involves letting a minor child borrow the car. The head of the household or guardian will be liable for a minor’s reckless or negligent driving if they give permission for the minor to utilize the vehicle. In Florida, liability extends to the a parent or guardian who signed a minor’s application for their driver license. This is why it is imperative that parents and guardians of minors only allow these minors to borrow the car if they seem fit as a driver. Any bad habits, or bad driving tendencies known to the parents or guardian could lead to full liability of any accident the minor causes.

Things to keep in mind:
  • Contact your insurance company to make sure you understand the policy for lending out your car to other drivers.
  • Make sure if you do lend out your car that it is to someone with a valid driver’s license, and someone whom you trust with your car. If you know the person is reckless or unsafe on the road as a driver, think twice before letting them borrow your car.
  • Make sure your vehicle registration and insurance information are in your glove box.

Safety and prevention techniques reduce the likelihood of having an auto accident. If you have questions about the liability in lending your car to someone who got in an accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you.

We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.dmv.org/insurance/when-another-driver-has-an-accident-in-your-car.php
https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/personal-injury/auto-accidents/liability-law-and-loaning-your-car.html
https://pocketsense.com/happens-let-someone-drive-car-car-insurance-gets-wreck-18544.html