Tag Archives: Joe Zarzaur

Half A Million ‘Hoverboards’ Recalled Over Risk Of Fire, Explosions

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerMore than 500,000 balancing scooters — better known as hoverboards, are being recalled because of the risk of fire or explosions.

The devices were extremely popular gifts this past holiday season. Online, they were hits in viral dance videos … and in less-impressive videos of people falling off their new toys.

But hoverboards made headlines for another reason — some of them were apparently catching on fire.

Now several manufacturers and retailers are recalling the devices over the hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday — adding that many devices not included in the recall should be discarded for consumers’ safety.

“There have been at least 99 incident reports of the battery packs in self-balancing scooters/hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding,” the CPSC says, “including reports of burn injuries and property damage.”

The full list of recalled devices is at the CPSC site. They were all sold within the last year or so, for between $350 and $900. About 501,000 devices are involved in the recall.

The CPSC advises people who own a recalled hoverboard to stop using it, and to reach out to the manufacturer or retailer for a refund, repair or replacement, depending on what the company is offering.

And if your hoverboard isn’t on the list?

Hoverboards sold on AliExpress.com and Alibaba.com by third parties will be certified by testing agencies from now on, the CPSC says.

Last December, as reports were emerging of self-combusting hoverboards, Carnegie Mellon University’s Jay Whitacre spoke to NPR about what can cause such fires.

Whitacre, a professor of materials science and engineering, explained that lithium-ion batteries have a flammable electrolyte in them. In most products, including in most hoverboards, the batteries are safe.

But powerful, poor-quality batteries can be dangerous, he said.

“I think a lot of [hoverboard makers] are using second-tier battery sources, which are going to have probably a higher rate of defects,” he said. “These things have more lithium-ion batteries in them than most things because they’re used to move you around. It takes more batteries to get you the power … to do that and as such there’s just more energy in a small space. And so if something does go wrong, it’s a bit more catastrophic.”

Whitacre advised consumers not to overcharge their hoverboards, and never to charge them or use them indoors.

Now, depending on the model, owners may have a third precautionary option: Sending the ‘board back for a refund.

July 4: The Deadliest Day on the Highway

Pensacola Auto Accident AttorneyAn analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that July 4 has been the deadliest day on the road in recent years.

The institute looked at accident statistics from 2004 to 2008 and found that on average, 148 people died in motor vehicle crashes on July 4, more than on any other day.

A typical day has an average of 114 traffic deaths.

July 4 was followed by Aug. 13 and July 15 (both averaging 143 fatalities) and New Year’s Day (140 traffic deaths).

So why is July 4 so deadly?

The Insurance Institute suggests that more people are on the road, driving longer distances. Alcohol plays a role too. Independence Day has the second highest rate of alcohol-related crashes — 41 percent — eclipsed only by New Year’s Day at 49 percent.

On a typical day, 31 percent of traffic deaths are alcohol related.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer
Crash Map Focused on Pensacola, FL Accidents

This year it was a particularly busy one on the roads.

AAA is projected that the number of Americans traveling last weekend would increase 17.1 percent from 2015, with approximately 34.9 million people taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home.

Like most other holidays, the vast majority of people — 90 percent — are expected to travel by car. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $2.76, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s up 12 cents from the same time last year.

AAA expects it will come to the aid of 520,000 stranded motorists during the holiday weekend. Batteries can be especially affected by heat. AAA anticipates it will replace 30,000 auto batteries on the roadside, and jump start an additional 60,000 during the holiday weekend.

The average distance traveled by Americans this Fourth of July weekend is forecast to be approximately the same as last year, 617 miles. This year’s spending is expected to be $644, down $50 from last year.

But let’s face it. The real hassle for most highway travelers is traffic.

IBM recently released a “Commuter Pain Study” that found 65 percent of drivers said traffic causes them health problems, such as stress, anger and reduced sleep.

Their top frustrations? Stop-start traffic (42 percent), rude and aggressive drivers (32 percent) and unreliable journey time (26 percent). The 8,192 motorists in 20 cities around the globe said that driving at low speeds was less of a frustration than was stop-start traffic.

ICopy of Copy of Copy of Copy of leader-f you got into an accident this past holiday weekend – call Joe Zarzaur, an expert at accidents involving Florida Drivers.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law 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.

Enjoy the Water, but be Smart and Avoid the Vibrios

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerSmall wounds can happen easily when you are out fishing or enjoying some time on the beaches, for example, getting hooked on your own fishing tackle or stepping on an oyster shell. At the time, it may seem an insignificant injury.  But, the Vibrio vulnificus bacterium can enter through a new wound or through an existing wound, like a tiny cut, scratch or even a mosquito bite. For most healthy individuals, any infection or irritation is minor and hardly noticed. The case is different for people who have weakened immune systems. The bacterium invades the bloodstream, potentially causing a severe and life-threatening illness. Vibrio wound infections happen fast; symptoms may become evident in only four hours.

Dr. Evan Malone explains that Vibrio has always been in Gulf Waters. Here are some facts and tips about the bacteria:Pensacola Personal Injury LAwyer

  • Vibrio has always been in the Gulf waters
  • Vibrio thrives in warmer water months
  • Healthy, immunocompetent individuals are at low risk for becoming infected
  • Immunocompromised individuals are at increased risk of infection
  • Those with open wounds, independent of underlying health history, are at increased risk of infection

Swim. Enjoy the Gulf. 

Avoid the Gulf with open wounds or underlying systemic illness (uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, immunosuppressant therapy). 

If you are injured in or around Gulf waters seek medical attention, even if you “think it doesn’t need stitches” — these wounds need to be evaluated by a medical professional to determine the best treatment. 

Most people are unaware of a dangerous flesh eating  bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus, which thrives in our coastal salt water. Scientists have identified more than 100 distinct species of Vibrio bacteria.

But only a few are pathogenic and harmful to humans. Among those are  Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera which still kills over 500,000 people annually. CDC states that Vibrio parahaemolyticus causes on average about 45,000 cases of disease in the U.S. each year, 86% of which are food-borne gastorenteritis. By comparison, CDC estimates that Salmonella causes 1 million cases of gastroenteritis annually, Shigella 500,000 and Listeria 1,600. The V. parahaemolyticus death rate is low, about 2% for gastroenteritis and 20-30% for wound-related cases.

The CDC states that Vibrio infections may be under-reported. Since 1988, the CDC has maintained a voluntary surveillance system for culture-confirmed Vibrio infections in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Between 1988 and 2006, CDC received reports of more than 900 infections from the Gulf Coast states. In 2007, surveillance was expanded to national notification of infections caused by any Vibrio species. Wounds account for approximately 60% of all U.S. Vibrio vulnificus cases.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law 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.

11 E Romana Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

Check us out on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ZarzaurLawPensacola

 

Pensacola Product Liability: Ikea Recalls 29 Million Dressers and Chests

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerAt least six children have been crushed to death by toppling Ikea chests, prompting the voluntary recall of about 29 million chests and dressers sold by the popular retailer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. Pensacola product Liability Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur explains the products recalled include dressers from Ikea’s lower-cost Malm line, which has been plagued with consumer reports regarding injuries and deaths.

Ikea and the CPSC told ABC that at least 36 children have been injured by Ikea chests and dressers, which are prone to tip over when they aren’t anchored to the wall. The deaths — all children under the age of 4 — date back to 1989 and are as recent as this February, the CPSC said.

The company is offering a refund or repair kit for affected dressers, including the MALM and other styles, the CPSC said. Further details were not immediately available. Furniture manufactured between 2002 and 2016 will entitle customers to a full refund; consumers can receive a partial store credit for items manufactured before 2002.

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerUpon request, the company will send a crew to install the wall anchor for customers who don’t want to do it themselves, the CPSC said. In the meantime, the CPSC is encouraging consumers to store the dresser where children won’t have access to it. At least four of the deaths were the result of unanchored chests.

In a statement regarding the voluntary recall, Ikea said that “a child in the US dies every two weeks from furniture, appliances, or TVs tipping over,” stressing that it instituted a repair kit program last year “to communicate the importance of wall attachment, which resulted in the distribution of 300,000 kits to consumers who had not used their original hardware.”

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law and Pensacola product liability lawyer, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced a product malfunction, auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

“Since then, we have been in close contact with the CPSC to evaluate the success of the repair program and the impact it is having on consumers’ actions. We are announcing this recall today given the recent tragic death of a third child,” the statement said, referring to the number of children killed by MALM dressers. Three other children have been killed by other-style IKEA chests.

“It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes, and we believe that taking further action is the right thing to do,” Ikea continued in the statement. “We will continue to work collaboratively with the CPSC on tip-over prevention, development of the ASTM standard, and innovations that will enhance product safety and further reduce the risk of tip-overs.”

Pensacola Product Liability Lawyer

 

Some childhood injuries – bumps, cuts, and bruises – are a part of growing up. But if your child was hurt, you deserve answers. In cases of a serious accident resulting in substantial medical care or lasting impairment, you may need a Pensacola product liability lawyer or child accident lawyer to help get the financial compensation your family needs.

Zarzaur Law Firm can investigate the accident that caused your child’s injury. If it was a preventable accident, we can help you see to it that the responsible party is held liable under Florida personal injury or wrongful death laws. We can help you deal with the financial consequences of your child’s accident and provide further compassion and support as you deal with the emotional aspects of your child’s case.

Florida Drivers: Zarzaur Law Crash Report

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Florida DriversFlorida drivers earned the designation of “the worst” drivers in the U.S., according to a recent study from CheapCarInsurance. Surprise.

The car insurance comparison site surveyed 2,000 drivers across the U.S. and ranked the four most populous states to figure out where the rudest and worst drivers dominate the roads.

Florida had the worst drivers, with 13.9 percent of respondents calling the drivers terrible and 38 percent calling drivers fairly bad. New York drivers were rated the best, with 51.3 percent of respondents calling drivers average.

Florida also earned the designation of one of the rudest, with 15.8 percent of respondents saying drivers were very rude and aggressive. New York drivers, although they were rated the best, were also deemed the rudest, with 15.7 percent of respondents saying drivers were very rude and aggressive and 37.4 percent saying drivers were fairly rude and aggressive.

Board Certified Lawyer, Florida Drivers
Crash Map in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties

So there it is, a barometer for driving in Florida. Bad and rude seem to go hand-in-hand, although it’s not clear whether drivers are rude because it’s tough out there on Sunshine State streets and highways, or whether drivers are just plain bad and impolite. Perhaps that’s part of the reason car insurance in Florida is among the priciest in the nation.

If you happen to have a run in with a bad Florida Driver – call Joe Zarzaur, an expert at accidents involving Florida Drivers. Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Pensacola Law Firm: Zarzaur Law 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.

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.

Trucking Accidents: You Need a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer

Florida Truck Wreck LawyerTrucking Accidents and a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer

Anyone who is handling or screening a Florida Truck Wreck case will usually immediately seize upon one or two FMCSR’s which they strongly believe were violated by the truck driver or trucking company. In fact, a thorough investigation of most trucking cases will reveal one or more violations. Once violations are identified, a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer will then ask the  question: how can I best use the violation in the case?

Like so many legal questions, the answer is – it depends. You may use the violation(s) to establish a general pattern of negligent conduct or you may attempt to prove negligence per se based on the violation. In either case, you can develop a strategy for determining when such violations are advantageous to a Florida Truck Wreck Case case by considering the following:

1) Does the applicable FMCSR apply to the subject vehicle?

2) Is the FMCSR violation the result of an act or omission by the driver, by the company/employer or does it relate to the condition of the tractor/trailer?

3) Did the defendants also violate more stringent internal operating rules?

4) What are my potential theories of negligence based on the violations?

5) Were the violations likely a proximate cause of the collision and/or Injuries?

6) If so, what are the relevant authorities governing the use of FMCSRs for proof of negligence and/or negligence per se in the Eleventh Circuit or other relevant jurisdictions?

7) Will I need, or can I use, an expert, to establish the applicability of the FMCSRs, the violation, and/or proximate causation?

Determine Whether the FMCSR’s Apply to a Florida Truck Wreck Case

The FMCSRs apply to all commercial motor vehicles defined as:

any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C. (49 C.F.R. § 390.5)

Interstate commerce means trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States—

(1) Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);

(2) Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or

(3) Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.

Intrastate commerce means any trade, traffic, or transportation in any State which is not described in the term “interstate commerce.”1

A Florida court will have to first decide whether the “essential character” of the shipment was INTRAstate versus INTERstate before determining whether to apply the FMCSR’s to a Florida Truck Wreck Case.  The key question to determine is whether the FMCSR applies is again a surgery of the “essential character” of the particular shipment.  Texas v. NOR Co. v. Sabine Tram Co., 227 U.S. 111, 122, 33 S. Ct. 229, 233, 57 L. Ed. 442, 447 (1913).  Crucial to a determination of the essential character of a shipment, is the shipper’s fixed and persisting intent at the time of the shipment.  For example, whether at commencement a specific interstate destination for the shipment was definitely planned.  Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau v. ICC 867 F. 2d 458, 460-61 (8th Cir.).

If you fail to prove that the FMCSRs apply to the vehicle in your case, the court will likely refuse to consider charging the jury on the regulations or negligence.

Is the Violation the Result of an Act or Omission by the Driver, by the Company/Employer or Does it Relate to the Condition of the Tractor/Trailer?

In determining which regulations were violated, and by whom, it is important to remember that the FMCSRs set a minimum standard of care for the entire commercial trucking industry.

§390.5

d) Additional requirements. Nothing in Subchapter B of this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an employer from requiring and enforcing more stringent requirements relating to the safety of operation and employee safety and health.

§390.9

State and local laws, effect on.

Except as otherwise specifically indicated, Subchapter B of this chapter is not intended to preclude States or subdivisions thereof from establishing or enforcing State or local laws relating to safety, the compliance with which would not prevent full compliance with these regulations by the person subject thereto.

Did the Defendant Have More Stringent Internal Operating Rules?

Since the FMCSRs are the minimum requirements, a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer cannot succumb to a defendant’s ability to show that it simply complied with the regulations. Discovery and expert development should focus on whether the company: 1) actually complied with all relevant FMCSRs, 2) whether the relevant state laws require a higher degree of care, and 3) whether, like similar companies within the industry, the defendant developed more stringent internal criteria for drivers, record retention, inspection, maintenance etc.

What are the potential theories of negligence-based on the violations for a Florida Truck Wreck Case?

Negligent Operation

Failure to place (or provide) warnings near disable vehicle; placard placement; fatigued driver; improper securing of loads; improper driving during hazardous conditions.

Negligent Inspection and Maintenance

Improper brake calibration; tire tread; light and reflector placement; cracked windshield.

Negligent Hiring, Retention, and Entrustment

Failure to do background check; failure to properly train; allowing to drive after repeated violations; young driver without co-driver; log book violations; fatigue.

This potential theory should never be overlooked. The FMCSRs have detailed and stringent requirements for the hiring and training of all drivers. The regulations require an employer to maintain all employee records at the carrier’s principal place of business for as long as the driver is employed by that carrier and for three years after. The employer must administer, and the driver applicant must pass, tests covering FMCSRs and pass road tests demonstrating driver competence. The employer must also check the applicant’s driving record for the past three years in every state where the applicant has held a license. The employer must do an extensive background check on the driver including contacting prior employers for the past three years. The employer must conduct an annual driver review and take actions based on the driver’s performance.

Failure to comply with these regulations can lay the foundation for a theory that the company was negligent in allowing the driver to be on the road at the time of a collision. Consider the following case in which driving with falsified log books was considered unreasonable risk of harm and evidence of negligent hiring and entrustment

Osborne v. Pinsonneault, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29695 (W.D. Ky. 2008). Refusal to grant partial summary judgment on negligent hiring and entrustment claims where logbooks were falsified. Court found that such falsification showed trucking company created an unreasonable risk of harm to the Plaintiffs in its entrustment, hiring, training, and supervision of driver.

Florida Truck Wreck cases require attention to Spoliation of Evidence Issues

From the initial intake, Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer should be very concerned with the intentional destruction of evidence by the defendant Trucking Companies.  Florida has a specific tort for the intentional destruction of evidence but in order for this to apply to a Defendant Trucking Company, they must be placed on “notice” that the evidence they have in their possession, custody or control may be relevant to the Florida Truck Wreck Case being prosecuted.  The essential elements  a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer will look for in a spoliation of evidence case in relation to a Florida Truck Wreck case are the following:

1. Existence of a potential civil action

2. A legal or contractual duty to preserve evidence which is relevant to the potential civil proceeding.

3. Destruction of that evidence.

4. Significant impairment in the ability to prove the lawsuit;

5. A causal relationship between the evidence destruction and the inability to provide the lawsuit; and

6. Damages.

A Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer that knows this area of the law will be very aware of these concerns and will provide the necessary notice letters relating to spoliation concerns.  For more information about any Florida Truck Wreck case please contract Zarzaur Law, P.A. at 855-hire-joe or zarzaurlaw.com.

Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer , Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law 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 a trucking accident or are in need of a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer.

11 E Romana Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

Check us out on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ZarzaurLawPensacola

Social Media Instructions for Injured People

Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, Pensacola Auto Accident Attorneys, Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyer, Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyers, Pensacola Auto Collision Attorney, Pensacola Auto Collision Attorneys, Pensacola Auto Collision Lawyer, Pensacola Auto Collision Lawyers, Pensacola Car Crash Attorney, Pensacola Car Crash Attorneys, Pensacola Car Crash Lawyer, Pensacola Car Crash Lawyers, Bicycle accident lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyers, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorney, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorneys, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorneys, Zarzaur Law Zarzaur Law Firm, Joe Zarzaur, Pensacola Zarzaur Law, Board Certified Lawyer, Florida Board Certified Lawyer10 Social Media Instructions for Injured People

Most of us today carry cell phones in our pockets with more processing power than the computers aboard the Apollo moon missions. Frequent news reports illustrate the dangers of thoughtless use of smartphones and social media. It has ensnared politicians and celebrities, sometimes crashing promising careers. This technology has created similar hazards for both plaintiffs and defendants in litigation who are careless about online social media privacy. While we are quick to look for the other side’s vulnerabilities, we must also play defense in protecting our clients from their own electronic blunders.

Many people today, especially younger ones, think nothing of sharing details of personal lives with the world through social networking sites. For this very reason, insurance companies, investigators, and defense lawyers may seek to compel access to social media accounts, computers, cell phones, and hard drives. Careless use of social media can be a kind of self-surveillance, a gift to the other side.

Information from such sources may be used to embarrass or discredit you when you are hurt. It may be used to falsely suggest that the your are exaggerating or that something else caused the injury. Even innocent joking between friends on social media might convince judges and juries that a plaintiff has been dishonest.

Here are ten precautions to avoid self-inflicted wounds through use of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Archive the content of current accounts.

Destruction of potential evidence may create bigger problems than the information itself. Therefore, it is important to preserve the current content of any social media accounts. Most social media sites include directions for archiving. We designate a staff person to help clients archive correctly.

Deactivate or discontinue using social media accounts.

If you are going to be the plaintiff in a personal injury case, consider deactivating your Facebook profile and other social media accounts.  If you are not willing to completely deactivate an account you should—after archiving content —remove any information related to your injury or activities and avoid future posts.

Turn on the highest privacy setting.

If you won’t discontinue use of social media, adjust privacy settings to the highest levels. This means making sure that only actual friends can see the information, rather than friends of friends or the general public. A useful tool is Facebook’s “View As” feature, which allows users to view their profile as it appears to someone else, whether a stranger or a Facebook friend. This might help you see exactly what is visible to the general public, something that isn’t always apparent from privacy settings. Be aware that Facebook publicly publishes “Interests,” even if accounts are otherwise private.

Beware of “friends.”

If social media use continues, it is important to edit “friend lists” so that only certain friends can see photo albums and status updates. Remove any “friends” you do not know well or at all, and accept only friend requests from people you know and trust.

Become invisible.

You can remove yourself from Facebook search results by selecting “only friends” under the “search visibility” option in their profile settings. You can also remove your Facebook page from Google by unchecking the box for “Public Search Listing” in your Internet privacy settings. Make comparable changes to privacy settings in all other social media accounts.

Take down photos.

After archiving current content,  remove and un-tag all photos of yourself that are not simple head shots.

Be cautious.

Assume that anything you write on your social media accounts—including status updates, messages, and wall postings—will at some point be seen by defense lawyers, judges, and juries. Think about how such things might be perceived when viewed out of context.

Preserve all computers, tablets, or cell phones.

If you lose or destroy an electronic communications device, opposing counsel could try to make it look like deliberate destruction of evidence. It is better to fight a battle over access to your devices than have a judge instruct a jury that it may assume the contents of the discarded or destroyed device would have been unfavorable to you.

Don’t send messages or information about the case.

Do not send emails, text messages, or “private” social media messages about your claim, health, or activities to anyone except your lawyers. Careless emails and electronic messages can destroy a case.

Don’t post on websites or web chat groups.

While you may find useful information in online support groups, you don’t own the information you post online. Such information you post is highly searchable. You should not enter any information on dating or insurance websites, post on message boards, participate in or comment on social media “private” groups or blogs, or use chat rooms.

This post is adapted from an article published in the January 2016 issue of Trial magazine by Ken Shigley, a double board certified trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. He has served as president of the State Bar of Georgia, chair of the largest practice area section of the American Association for Justice (Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section), and chair of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia board of trustees. He is lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice (2010-2016) and a chapter author of the 2016 edition of Handling Motor Vehicle Accident Cases, both published by Thomson Reuters.  He can be reached at ken@shigleylaw.com.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law 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.

11 E Romana Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

Check us out on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ZarzaurLawPensacola

Car Crash Statistics: Zarzaur Law Report Update

Car Crash, Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, Pensacola Auto Accident Attorneys, Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyer, Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyers, Pensacola Auto Collision Attorney, Pensacola Auto Collision Attorneys, Pensacola Auto Collision Lawyer, Pensacola Auto Collision Lawyers, Pensacola Car Crash Attorney, Pensacola Car Crash Attorneys, Pensacola Car Crash Lawyer, Pensacola Car Crash Lawyers, Bicycle accident lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyers, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorney, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorneys, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorneys, Zarzaur Law Zarzaur Law Firm, Joe Zarzaur, Pensacola Zarzaur Law, Board Certified Lawyer, Florida Board Certified LawyerCar Crash Statistics On The Rise

With Florida ranking number three in careless or reckless driving accidents, it’s no wonder car crash and traffic accidents are increasing in Escambia County. FIRES (Florida’s integrated Report Exchange System), reports on behalf of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It serves as a portal into the State of Florida’s repository for traffic crash reports completed by Florida law enforcement agencies.

The combined Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County auto accident reports for the dates June 4 – June 9, 2016, brought to you by Pensacola personal Injury lawyer, Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law and FIRES. The data includes total crash reports, crashes with injuries, total vehicles involved, total and driver injuries, and more. If you’re involved in an auto accident contact Board Certified Attorney, Joe Zarzaur of Pensacola Personal Injury Law Firm, Zarzaur Law.

Annual Global Road Car Crash Statistics

  • Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
  • An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
  • Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
  • Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
  • Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
    Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
  • Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.
  • Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

Annual United States Road Car Crash Statistics

  • Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year
  • An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled
  • Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
  • Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
  • Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad
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Crash Map in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties

According to FIRES, from January 1, 2016 to present, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County have experienced 5,102 total crashes with 9,577 total vehicles involved and 2,238 of those crashes involving injuries leading to 3,754 total injuries. Of these crashes, 35 have resulted in traffic fatalities and 20 were driver fatalities.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law 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.

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ABOTA Defends Federal District Court Judge Against Unfair Attacks By A Presidential Candidate

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Press Release: Judge Adheres To Rules Of Judicial Ethics And Is Unable To Respond Directly To Attacks From Presidential Candidate.

By Charles H. Baumberger National President

DALLAS (June 6, 2016) — The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is an organization dedicated to the preservation of a fair and impartial judiciary and the right to trial by jury. Recently, we have seen highly publicized attacks by presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, who is a litigant in a case pending before Judge Gonzalo Curiel in Federal District Court in California.

These attacks include charges that Judge Curiel, who was born in Indiana, cannot be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump also described the judge as a “hater” because he issued multiple rulings against him.

Mr. Trump is represented by highly capable lawyers who can invoke a legal process if Mr. Trump truly believes any judge is acting unfairly. The legal mechanism of recusal is available to all litigants if either a conflict exists or if there is a question of impartiality. The fact that his counsel have not elected to ask for the recusal of Judge Curiel demonstrates the political nature of Mr. Trump’s public comments.

The judicial code of conduct prevents the judge from responding to such attacks, so Judge Curiel’s silence on this matter demonstrates that he is following the rules. ABOTA has a long history of responding to unfair attacks on judges who cannot respond for themselves and believes that political and special interest interference in the judicial system is contrary to the American concept of justice.

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When attacks on a judge’s impartiality because of his ethnic background come from a litigant who is a candidate for the highest office in the land, such attacks unfairly misrepresent to the broader public the truly independent role of judges. One could view these highly publicized attacks by an individual who may become the President of the United States as an attempt to influence the judge in his rulings and make the judge bend to his will due to the candidate’s position of influence.

ABOTA stands for respect of our judicial system and the right of trial by jury as we believe such principles are fundamental to preserving our democracy. Our judicial system cannot function without the lawyers, the litigants and the courts treating each other with civility. We have a very diverse country made up of women and men from every walk of life, from every ethnic group and from many different points of view.

We have a federal judiciary selected from many of the best and brightest minds in the law and made up of individuals from many different cultural backgrounds who are overwhelmingly dedicated to being fair and impartial. It is a system upon which the public can have confidence in and accept the outcome of each case.

This should not be considered an endorsement for president of one candidate or another.ABOTA does not endorse political candidates nor does ABOTA become involved in political races. This commentary is limited to what ABOTA considers unfair attacks on the judiciary.

Charles H. Baumberger is from Miami and is the national president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an invitation only organization dedicated to defending the American civil justice system and elevating the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession. ABOTA members are represented equally between both plaintiff and defense lawyers and includes state and federal judges.

For more information contact: Brian Tyson at (800) 932-2682 briant@abota.org

Florida Cyclist At Risk

cyclist

In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Riding a bike is a healthy, fun and safe activity. However, it isn’t without some risk. As a personal injury lawyer, Zarzaur Law has dealt with a number of cases recently surrounding the cyclist and automobiles, path regulations and cyclist risk factors in the environment.

Zarzaur Law firm of Pensacola, FL focuses on all areas of personal injury – but has a special interest in athletic injuries. Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur and board certified doctor, and firm medical official, Dr. Evan Malone are triathletes and competitive Ironman contestants. Cyclist injuries and accidents are a topic that hit close to home, with both gentlemen being at risk in races and everyday training.

Did you know that every 6 hours a cyclist is fatally injured in an accident? Or that of those fatalities, 50% occur in children under the age of sixteen?

The following information highlights the law surrounding the development of public areas that may minimize that risk and have the potential to reduce conflicts between bikes and cars (and other traffic).

All laws & policies mentioned here were compiled as part of a research project for a case handled in the spring of 2016 by Joe Zarzaur and Zarzaur Law. They may be subject to change. Please help us keep them up to date by contacting clerk@zarzaurlaw.com with any updates.

Federal Policy

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Think about where each of these motorists is looking before crossing the sidewalk.

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) official policy is to give “full consideration” during the development of federal aid highway projects (e.g. bridges) to the safe accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians, to make every effort to minimize detrimental effects of current and anticipated pedestrian and/or bicycle traffic, and to encourage consulting with local groups of organized bicyclists regarding bicycle-related projects.  23 C.F.R. § 652.5.

Federal Bicycle/Pedestrian Path Safety and Maintenance Regulations

Federal standards for construction and design of bicycle routes are established by The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Guide for Development of New Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO Guide) or equivalent guides developed in cooperation with State or local officials and acceptable to the FHWA.  According to the literature therein, the purpose of the AASHTO Guide is to accommodate and encourage bicycling by providing “safe, convenient, well-designed, well-maintained facilities, with low-crash frequencies and severities.” (AASHTO Guide § 1.2)  AASHTO’s policy extends to roadways and bridges which should accommodate bicycles. (§ 4.12.3)  Throughout the AASHTO Guide, the agency reaffirms local departments of transport’s (DOT) duties to monitor and remedy unsafe conditions on bicycle paths. Given the severity of injuries that may be sustained by cyclists, the Guide calls for increased awareness and responsiveness in addressing bicycle path issues. “Due to bicycle operator’s physical exposure and the unique characteristics of their vehicle,” AASHTO states,”bicyclists are susceptible to severe injury in even minor incidents.” Thus, maintenance and safety protocols are prioritized as a leading concern regarding bicycle paths.

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Most close passing is a result of the motorist thinking he can squeeze past without changing lanes. Make sure a driver can clearly see that his car won’t fit within the same lane.

Safety considerations include quality of service evaluations (or Bicycle Level of Service (LOS)) used to evaluate existing bicycling conditions. (AASHTO Guide § 2.62).  Implementation of LOS studies includes documenting various factors of existing roadways and paths including pavement surface condition. According to § 4.2, “surface condition and pavement smoothness are important to bicyclist control and comfort . . . Gravel roads, loose material, cracks, bumps, and potholes on a paved roadway create an impediment for bicyclists.” Therefore, safety and maintenance evaluations of existing bicycle paths should monitor surface conditions as a component of LOS studies. LOS measurement is then used to evaluate bicyclists’ perceived safety and comfort while traveling in a roadway corridor. (§ 2.62).  AASHTO further stipulates that the detailed knowledge of local bicyclists and bicycle planners should be used to corroborate Bicycle LOS model results. (§ 2.62).  This emphasis on utilizing local bicyclists in the safety coordination is reiterated in § 2.6.7 which states that community bicyclists have the best knowledge of current conditions as well as opinions on areas that need improvement.

While there are no bicycle-specific designs or dimensions for shared roadways, the AASHTO Guide states that special care should be exercised to install bicycling compatible features, such as good pavement and bicycle-compatible bridge expansion joints, and that such features should be implemented where they are not present. (§§ 4.3, 5.28). Further, bike lanes should have a “smooth riding surface.” (§ 4.6.1). In order to ensure bike lane smoothness, utility covers should be adjusted flush with the surface of the lane and drainage should be utilized to prevent debris accumulation and potential hazards for bicyclists. (§ 4.6.1).  Additionally, AASHTO encourages state-level agencies to development maintenance protocols that include regular sweeping of bikeways (§ 7.2.1), inspections of bikeways for surface repairs (§ 7.2.2), and corrections of pavement overlay drop-offs (§ 7.2.3).

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The most common reasons to leave a bike lane.

Furthermore, the FHWA provides training and informational materials titled Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation that details bicycle and pedestrian path safety precautions that should be exercised by state-level departments of transportation. “Lesson 16” specifically addresses bike path maintenance and states that bicycles and cyclists are “particularly sensitive to maintenance problems.” (§ 16.2).  The FHWA course highlights bicyclist safety concerns related to uneven paths: “ridges, such as those found where a new asphalt overlay does not quite cover the older roadway surface, can catch a wheel, and throw a bicyclist to the ground.” (§ 16.2). Section 16.4 describes the objectives of bicycle path maintenance plans and lists roadway surface patching and pavement overlays that “feathers” the new surface as primary objectives.

Implementation procedures involve routine inspection and repair, as well as the development of an “ongoing spot improvement plan” in which the bicycling community is solicited for suggestions and maintenance requests. (§ 16.7).  Lastly, FHWA University training lists common issues associated with bicycle paths. Amongst these are ridges and cracks which “should be filled or ground down as needed to reduce the chance of a bicyclist catching a front wheel and crashing.” (§ 16.8).

Federal Statutes

Similarly, federal statutes pertaining to the construction and maintenance of bicycle routes along highways emphasize a heightened duty of care for ensuring the safe travel of bicyclists.  According to 23 U.S.C. § 217(d), states receiving FHWA funding under §§ 104(b)(2) and 104(b)(3) shall use such amount of the apportionment as may be necessary to fund the State department of transportation (DOT) a position of bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for promoting and facilitating the increased use of non-motorized modes of transportation, including developing facilities for the use of pedestrians and bicyclists and public education, promotional, and safety programs for using such facilities (§§ 104(b)(2) and 104(b)(3) refer to the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and Highway Safety Improvement program, respectively). 

Moreover, 23 U.S.C. §§ 217(g)(1) and (g)(2) detail planning, design, and safety considerations regarding bicyclist and pedestrian paths.  Generally, bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State in accordance with §§ 134 and 135 (metropolitan transportation planning).  Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian use are not permitted.  § 217(g)(1).  Furthermore, transportation plans and projects must provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, including the installation, where appropriate, and maintenance of audible traffic signals and audible signs at street crossings.  § 217(g)(2). 

Federal Bridge Regulations

Where a highway bridge deck, on which bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of such bridge, is replaced or rehabilitated with federal financial participation, and the Secretary determines that the safe accommodation of bicycles can be provided at reasonable cost as part of such replacement or rehabilitation, then such bridge shall be so replaced or rehabilitated as to provide such safe accommodations.  23 U.S.C. 217(e). Bridge inspection procedures are governed by AASHTO Manual guidelines.  23 C.F.R. § 650.313.  The AASHTO Maintenance Manual for Roadways and Bridges describes broad guidelines to be followed by state DOT’s. Section 3.2.7.3 of the manual includes bridge inspection procedures.

As related to the instant case, the section includes procedures for the inspection of bridge “approaches.” According to the AASHTO Maintenance Manual, approaches are an adjunct to a bridge and should be level with the bridge deck. Failure to maintain a smooth transition between the approach and the structure allows for additional impact loads on the bridge that can cause extensive structural damage over time. Thus, AASHTO suggests that approach pavement conditions be checked for “unevenness, settlement, or roughness.” The presence of cracking and/or unevenness may indicate a void under the slab caused by fill settlement or erosion. Also, joints between the approach pavement and the abutment back wall, which are designed for thermal movement, should be examined to determine if there is adequate clearance and a proper seal. Shoulders, slopes, drainage, and approach guardrails should also be evaluated as part of the inspection of the approaches, as per AASHTO guidelines. (§ 3.2.7.3).

State-Level Regulations

Statewide transportation plans and improvement programs must provide for the development and integrated management and operation of bicycle transportation facilities.  23 U.S.C. § 135(a)(2). The Florida Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction, and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Green Book) contains standards relevant to the instant case.

 

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