Tag Archives: Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney

Is My Personal Injury Settlement Taxable In Florida?

At Zarzaur Law, we do get a lot of clients asking at the end of their case if their personal injury compensation is taxable. Normally, the compensation you receive for the physical pain and suffering associated with your car accident (or other type of accident that caused personal injury) and attendant injuries is not taxable. This compensation is considered to align with your compensation for medical expenses and, therefore, avoid tax liability. These personal injury awards are reportable, but not taxable.

While we are lawyers and not accountants, we always advise our clients to seek the advice of a tax professional with questions in regards to income from a settlement.

Below is some basic information to help answer this question.

 

Personal Injury Damages That Can Be Compensated For And Not Taxable Include:

Medical expenses 
Physical and mental pain and suffering
Permanent injuries and impairments

 

Handling Your Medical Expenses

According to an article by Picnic Tax, the tax treatment of settlements received for an injury depends on how you handle your medical expenses. If you did not deduct any medical expenses related to your physical injury on previous tax returns, the settlement money you receive is not taxable. The IRS won’t allow you to double-dip, however. If you deducted medical expenses related to your injury during the previous year, part of your settlement is taxable.

An Example:

Let’s say you were injured in a car accident in 2020. As a result of the accident, you required surgery that cost $30,000. You paid the hospital bill in 2020 and deducted $30,000 from your income taxes as a medical expense. In 2021, the lawsuit related to your accident was settled, and you received $50,000 for your physical injuries to cover both past and potential future medical expenses. In this case, $30,000 of your settlement is taxable and $20,000 isn’t.

 

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress settlements related to your physical injuries aren’t taxable. In the car accident example, if you were unable to work for several months after your accident and had subsequent surgery, you were also unable to enjoy life as you normally would. This resulted in severe depression and emotional distress. In this case, your emotional distress settlement isn’t taxable because the distress was the direct result of your injuries.

However, compensation for emotional distress only, without a physical injury, may be taxable. 

 

Questions To Ask A Tax Professional About Your Injury Settlement

If you are concerned that your Florida injury settlement could have a negative effect on your finances come tax time.

Ask questions such as:

  • What type of information and documentation do you need from me?
  • Is any of the money I received taxable?
  • How does the IRS determine what is and isn’t taxable?
  • What impact does the injury settlement have on other taxes that I may have to pay?

 

A Florida tax professional can answer these questions, among others, to ensure that you’re making safe financial decisions.

 

Watch Our YouTube Video On This Topic >

 

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

Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you.

We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Are Legal Settlements Taxable? Tax Implications of Settlements and Judgments

https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/tax-implications-of-settlements-and-judgments

What If I Lose My Job During My Injury Case? 

Personal injuries caused by an accident that was due to no fault of their own, can have significant effects on every aspect of a client’s life.  In many personal injury cases, these effects can include an impact on a person’s job or career.  The loss of a job means the loss of income for the injured person and those who rely on him/her.   Like every other item of damages associated with a traumatic injury, clients want to know whether wage losses or job losses are the types of damages that are available as part of a personal injury case.

 

Wage Loss And Accident Injury Connection

The key to whether such damages are recoverable in a personal injury case depends upon how much and what type of evidence you have which connects the wage loss to the injury.  For example, if you miss wages as a result of your personal injury (such as a car accident injury), then you must connect your injury or treatment to the wage loss. 

This can be done by showing the following:
1. Your medical appointments required an absence from work.

2. Your treating doctor restricted you from working and it is notated in a medical record. 

Either of these situations can be demonstrated by reference to the medical records or medical appointments. 

 

What About Job Loss Due To Injury?

Some clients not only miss wages as a result of their personal injuries but end up losing their jobs.  It may appear to be unfair that an employer in Florida can fire you for an injury that you did not cause.  Unless the injury was suffered while working (workers’ compensation injury), the employer has the right to terminate most employees for any reason, including their physical limitations that result from a traumatic injury.  Business owners can work with clients, but most will only tolerate absences and limited work performance for so long before they determine that it is no longer in their best interest to keep you employed.  

 

Obviously, if your employer can find some position that will allow you to continue your employment, that would be best for you.  If, however, your employer doesn’t have any roles that are less physically demanding  you may find yourself without a job and without an income while you are recovering from the injury. 

 

Proper Documentation And Proof Of Termination Due To Injury

In order to be able to recover for wage loss associated with any personal injury case, you have to have evidence that connects your wage loss to the injury-causing event.  This means that your termination or resignation should be documented in a way that connects your injury to your inability to work.  These documents should reference a superior at your former employer so that you have not only a document as evidence but a witness that can be called to verify the basis of the termination/resignation.  Ideally, if you can coordinate your departure from employment while your injury case is pending, you and your personal injury lawyer can make it clear for evidentiary purposes. 

For instance, you and your personal injury lawyer can discuss the wording of the resignation letter or the termination notice and make sure that it references your absences since the injury, otherwise you would have remained gainfully employed.  

 

Mitigating Your Lost Wages

Once you are without a job, it is important that you just don’t give up on making money.  The law will require that you “mitigate” your lost wage damages.  Just like the law requires that you seek medical treatment for your physical injuries, the law also requires that you try and find a replacement source of wages.  This means only that you must make reasonable efforts to find a replacement source of income.  This does not mean that you have to find a job but it certainly means that you have to use reasonable efforts to find any job that you are physically able to do that could replace some of the lost wages. 

 

So, as you can see, losing a job while you are dealing with your personal injury case is not a simple business.  It is complicated and deserves the attention of a law firm that has professionals working for you and your family.  If you have questions about any personal injury matter, which would include a serious car accident injury, please feel free to reach out to zarzaurlaw.com or call our firm at 855HireJoe.

 

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS SUBJECT >

 

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

Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you.

We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: DENNIS CHAVEZ – FIRST AMERICAN-BORN HISPANIC SENATOR

Courtesy of Library of Congress

National Hispanic Heritage month – Sept 15-Oct. 15. A time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive history of the American Latino community. 

As we enter Hispanic heritage month, we wanted to recognize a few of the trailblazing Hispanic attorneys who have achieved great success throughout their legal careers.

Early Years

Dionisio (Dennis) Chávez was born in Los Chavez, a farming community in New Mexico on April 8, 1888. At age seven his family moved to Albuquerque, where he attended public and Catholic schools. Family circumstances forced him to quit school and begin paid employment when he was in the seventh grade. He worked at a grocery store until he was eighteen, when he was fired for refusing to deliver groceries to a group of strike breakers. He continued his education at the Albuquerque Public Library, and studied U.S. history and the biographies of political leaders, an education that influenced his political thinking and his subsequent support for education.

Clerkship

From 1906 to 1915 he worked for the Engineering Department of Albuquerque, and became active in politics. He supported various Democratic Party candidates, including Octaviano A. Larrazolo in his 1908 bid for Congress, and served as interpreter for Governor William G. McDonalds in 1911. In his first attempt to win public office in 1916, Chávez lost the Bernalillo County clerkship by only 300 votes. That same year Chávez campaigned for Andieus Jones, the Democratic Party candidate for U.S. Senate, and acted as his interpreter when Jones visited Spanish-speaking areas. Jones procured a clerkship in the Senate for Chávez, and for three years Chávez worked during the day and at night studied law at Georgetown University.

U.S. House Of Representatives

In 1920 Chávez returned to Albuquerque, where he practiced criminal law and remained active in the Democratic Party. In 1922 he was elected to the State House of Representatives, where he sponsored a bill for the provision of free textbooks in public schools. In 1930 he defeated Albert Simms, the Republican Representative from New Mexico. During the two terms he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, Chávez was assigned to committees that were of importance to the issues of the day in New Mexico: Indian Affairs, Irrigation and Reclamation, Public Buildings, Public Land, War Claims, and Veterans Committees.

In 1934 Chávez ran against the influential Republican U.S. Senator, Bronson Cutting, in a close and intense campaign, which has been characterized by historians of New Mexican politics as an epic battle for a United States Senate seat. Chávez, who was defeated by a narrow margin, contested the election on the grounds of fraud. The issue had not been settled when Cutting was killed in an airplane accident while returning to Washington. The Governor of New Mexico, Clyde Tingley, appointed Chávez interim Senator, and in 1936 Chávez was elected to complete the term. He served in the Senate for the next fourteen years.

The New Deal

His constituents staunchly supported him because he took seriously the advice given to him by House Speaker John N. Garner (D-TX), who said “the most successful Congressmen are errand boys for the people who elect them.” With this in mind, Chávez used his appointments in committees for the benefit of the people of New Mexico. Throughout his career in Congress, beginning with his first term as Congressman during the Depression, he supported the Home Owner Loan Corporation, which allowed thousands of home owners to keep their property. He was a firm New Dealer who supported President Roosevelt and almost all the White House’s legislative programs.

Defender Of Civil Rights

As a young reader in the Albuquerque Public Library, Chávez had been influenced by the Jeffersonian ideals of freedom. In the 1940’s Chávez proved himself a strong defender of civil rights and prepared the groundwork for subsequent legislation. In 1944 he introduced a bill for the establishment of a Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) “to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, creed, national origin, or ancestry” (Vigil and Lujan 1986). Although he campaigned for four years to pass the bill, it was defeated by a Southern filibuster. While others avoided the subject or denied the existence of discrimination against Hispanics, Senator Chávez was not afraid to bring the “race” issue into elections and politics.

In the 1950’s Chávez was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Public Works, which, under his direction, did much to maintain and build important aspects of the economic infrastructure of the country including expansion of the interstate highway system, improvement of harbors and water ways, and building of Federal Offices and Post Offices. In the 1960’s when he served as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense, he secured for New Mexico important defense-technology contracts, which were the most important stimuli for economic growth in the state for the next thirty years.

During his time in Washington, Chávez acted as a mentor to youths from New Mexico. Since New Mexico did not have a law school, he assisted many young men to come Washington to continue their education.

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

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

Client Stories – Car Accident Victims Michael and Amber C.

Car Accident VictimsHurricane Sally struck the Gulf Coast on September 9, 2020. Not only was there the stress of post-hurricane clean-up, but at the time, the COVID pandemic was still lingering and making an already bad situation worse. For one Florida couple, this was made even more devastating when they were struck and then almost crushed by a Sewer Mac dump truck that not only hit them from behind but fell sideways on top of their vehicle. They contacted Zarzaur Law, P.A. for help with their car accident injury case.

This is their story.

Devastating Crash

So we were in a car accident in Pensacola, Florida during Hurricane Sally. A tanker truck fell on top of us. We thought we were dead that day, so it was a really bad accident. We’d never been in that situation before, and we didn’t know what to do. The accident happened over the weekend, and we contacted Zarzaur Law, and we got a call from Joe that Monday.

Immediate Response

We emailed Joe Zarzaur on Sunday evening, and then we talked to him on Monday, and it was really good because we didn’t know what to do, we didn’t know what to expect, or what the process was. We’d never sued anybody before, and we didn’t even know if we were suing somebody. We wanted to know what our next steps were.

Treatment Questions Answered

We knew I was injured and we needed protection, and we just wanted to make sure that we were protected. We’ve heard horror stories, so the nice thing about it was that their office walked us through everything. I suffered from PTSD through the process, and I remember our paralegal Jessica having to listen to me cry on the phone, but there were no doctors available at that time because of the hurricane.

So they actually helped us find a doctor to go to and to get things taken care of. So that was really helpful in the whole scheme of everything with it. But the thing I like most is our, our immediate phone call with Joe and knowing “You’ve come to the right place and that we’re going to handle all the steps for you.” As far as contacting physicians and saying “This doctor is going to see you and where you should go.” So we felt very at ease almost instantly. They’re professionals, and they know what they’re doing.

Joe took his time on the phone with us, so we didn’t feel rushed. We felt valued and we knew we were in the right place. We had so many attorneys trying to contact us after it hit the news and all that. So we were glad we chose Joe Zarzaur and Zarzaur Law.

We wouldn’t change anything. As we went through the process, they helped us. Once we got through the doctor’s part and got all the medical things done, we went on to the next steps. They walked that through with us as well.

We Knew Joe Would Fight For Us.

We knew, okay, we were injured more than we had thought, and I remember talking to Joe and saying, “Listen, I just need someone who’s got our best interests at heart and will protect us.” I remember talking with him on the phone about that, and the next thing I know, we’ve got people connected with us. Joe even gave us his own cell phone number to call if we felt we really needed it and all that. So through the whole step, all the way to the end, once we got into the settlement part of it and everything, we didn’t have to do anything.  Joe’s team told us exactly what to expect at each interval.

We were very well informed. The team was amazing. The entire team, everyone we came across was professional and good.

Then the outcome was better than what we had hoped for. Yes, we felt like we were being taken care of.

Michael and Amber C.

Watch Their Video On YouTube 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

GET MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT HERE AT OUR “Car Wreck Checklist” >

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

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

3rd Annual Zarzaur Law “Ping Pong on Palafox” Event Set For Nov. 5.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2022) — Zarzaur Law, P.A., an award winning personal injury law firm based out of Pensacola, Florida, has partnered with the Pensacola Table Tennis Club and City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation Department to host its third annual “Ping Pong on Palafox” event on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 from 10am-5pm.* This outdoor event will be held on the street at the intersection of Palafox and Romana Streets in Downtown Pensacola. “Ping Pong on Palafox,” hosted by Zarzaur Law, will include a table tennis “ping pong” tournament for all ages and levels, games, refreshments for players, and more! The round robin tournament will kick-off at 10am with kids age groups and adult divisions with cash* prizes for winners. Players can be anywhere from kids, novice recreational weekend players, all the way to competitive club members. The first 50 registered players are guaranteed a swag bag and T-shirt. 

Businesses, organizations, bar/breweries, military, and groups are encouraged to create teams of four, bring their tent, coolers and signs and battle for bragging rights and be the tops in team table tennis. 

New this year is a FREE “Learn How To Play Table Tennis” Clinic for kids from 9a.m. – 10a.m. All participating kids will receive commemorative ping pong balls and swag.

Players can compete in a Table Tennis Tournament and play games all while supporting the Pensacola Table Tennis Club. Guests can learn tips and tricks from Table Tennis professionals and watch kids all the way to pros battle each other right in the heart of Downtown Pensacola.

The Pensacola Table Tennis Club is located inside the Fricker Community Center and is a non-profit club. “We invite anyone who loves the game to attend and learn more about the sport.  PTTC has been a USATT affiliated club since 1996 and has been growing ever since.” Said PTTC President L.A. Johnston, “We are really excited to once again partner with Zarzaur Law, PA and bring this tournament to our city and show everyone what table tennis is about in a unique and fun way. Most people think they can only see table tennis on tv or during the olympics, but you can watch and play right here in Pensacola. ”

Entry fees:

Kids “Learn How To Play Table Tennis” Clinic at 9am – FREE

Kids – $10

Teens – Novice Adult  – $15

Advanced Adult – $20

Team (team of four) – $40

Spectators – FREE!

Event Details And Sign Up Here! >

or call 850-444-9299 for more information.

Download  Sign Up Form Here

PPOP_Flyer_2022

 

*Weather Permitting
**Visa gift cards. 

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About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer 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

August Legal Graffiti Event To Benefit Rally Pensacola.

It’s Time To Spray Paint And Rally On At Our Sept. Legal Graffiti Event!

Zarzaur Law’s Legal Graffiti event will be on Friday, Sept. 16 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. during Gallery Night Pensacola in Downtown Pensacola.

This month’s event benefits Rally Pensacola!

Come join us and enjoy FREE games, activities, music, and more at Legal Graffiti… And just remember, the more you donate to spray paint, the more we can match dollar for dollar and give to Rally Pensacola!

About Rally Pensacola:

Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Rally Pensacola is located in the Bear Family Foundation Pediatric Oncology Center for Hope inside Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart to serve families all across the Florida panhandle and into southern Alabama. Through donors, community partners, special events and schools, Rally Pensacola works to raise awareness, support families with kids fighting cancer and raise funds for #childhoodcancer research. Collectively, this allows for additional resources to stay local, providing families in the Pensacola community the ability to receive assisted funding through the Rally Pensacola Family Emergency Fund.

EVERY TWO MINUTES A CHILD IS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

And at Rally we know that statistic is more than just a number. That statistic represents children who are living, breathing and fighting for their lives. We Rally to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects, so all kids fighting the cancer beast can get back to being kids.

Types of Childhood Cancer:

Brain Cancer

Blood Cancer

Solid Tumors

Bone Cancers

Rare Cancers

Join us and help fund lifesaving research for children in our community on Sept. 16th!

About Zarzaur Law’s “Legal Graffiti” Fundraiser Events

“Legal Graffiti” is an event hosted at Zarzaur Law during each Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola. “Legal Graffiti” is an opportunity for anyone to make a donation and then create artwork on the (recycled billboard vinyl-covered) side of the Zarzaur Law office building using spray paint. The event raises money for non-profits & charities within the area. Donations are matched by the firm and given to the charity of choice. In the past six years of hosting the “Legal Graffiti” event, the firm has donated more than $100,000 to local charities. We are proud and honored to continue to give back to the community where we live, work and play.

legal graffiti fundraiser event
Watch Our “Legal Graffiti” Highlight Video! >

Our “Legal Graffiti” fundraiser recipients include:
Favor House
Gulf Coast Kid’s House
ARC Gateway
The Birthday Party
Project Mentee
American Cancer Society
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWF
Manna Food Pantries
Pathways for Change
Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart
Autism Pensacola
Rally Pensacola
Guardian ad Litem
Opening Doors NWFL
Alzheimer’s Association
United Way, Escambia County

Watch our “Legal Graffiti” highlight video! >

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

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

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

#zarzaurlaw #gallerynightpensacola #downtownpensacola #legalgraffiti #spraypaint #community #event #fundraiser #pensacola #rallyfoundation

Dangers Of Drowsy Driving In Florida.

We are all familiar with the hazards of drinking and driving or even texting and driving, but many people underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving. Each year, drowsy driving accounts for about 100,000 car crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Drowsy driving contributes to an estimated 9.5% of all car accidents, according to AAA.

 

Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act

In the state of Florida, in partnership with the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), September 5-11 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

On September 5, 2008, 8-year-old Ronshay Dugans lost her life after a cement truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit the school bus she was riding. Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act was established in 2010 by the Florida Legislature, recognizing the first week in September as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in her honor.

“I pray that Drowsy Driving Prevention Week brings awareness to anyone who gets behind the wheel that didn’t get enough sleep. This week brings comfort to us letting us know Ronshay’s spirit lives on when someone hears her story. If you have to turn the air up or drink coffee to stay awake, this is a sign of drowsy driving. Our family is asking motorists this week, and every week, to rest before traveling and if you are sleepy, utilize rest stops.”
–Josie West, aunt of Ronshay Dugans

 

FLHSMV ESTIMATES THAT
3,991 REPORTED CAR CRASHES IN FLORIDA
INVOLVED DROWSY DRIVERS LAST YEAR.

 

Drowsy Driving Laws In America

Only two states (Arkansas and New Jersey) have laws directly classifying drowsy driving as a punishable offense.

California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, and Maine have adopted driver’s license restrictions for motorists with untreated sleep disorders.

Massachusetts, California, Alabama, Florida, and Texas all have weeks or days dedicated to spreading awareness of drowsy driving and how to identify the signs of driving while drowsy.

For more information on drowsy driving state laws, consult the full list of legal resources available at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

Drowsy Driving Vs. Drunk Driving

Studies show being awake for more than 20 hours results in impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit in all US states.

Drowsy driving killed 795 people in 2017.
In 2017, nearly 2,000 people died in alcohol-related accidents.

Even if you aren’t drunk, driving while tired can slow your reaction times and thought processes enough to cause a car accident.

 

How Often Do People Drive While Drowsy?

About 27% of drivers report driving while being so tired they have difficulty keeping their eyes open (AAA)

1 In 25 Drivers Admit To Falling Asleep Behind The Wheel (CDC)

 

47% OF THOSE WHO HAVE
DID SO ON A TRIP
LASTING ONE HOUR
OR LESS (NHTSA)

 

When Does Drowsy Driving Happen?

Most drowsy driving crashes occur between midnight and 6am or later on in the afternoon when the body regulates sleep (NHTSA)

Drowsy driving crashes often only involve a single passenger running off the road (NHTSA)

Drowsy driving crashes are more common on highways and rural roads (NHTSA)

 

Drowsy Driving Behavior By Length Of Drive

Respondents explain when they’ve ever displayed these drowsy driving behaviors.

 

Driver Fatigue Warning Signs

Specific drowsiness indicators signal that you should refrain from driving until you have had more sleep. However, driver fatigue may not always show itself in the same form, making it harder for some to detect.

Key warning signs of drowsy driving include:
1. You can’t seem to keep your eyes focused.
2. You can’t keep your eyes open and keep blinking.
3. Your head suddenly feels unbearably heavy.

These symptoms are particularly dangerous because they are so common, but it is critical that you do not ignore your body’s signals that it is tired.

 

Who Are The At-Risk Groups For Drowsy Driving Car Accidents In Florida?

Drowsy driving can happen to anyone, but it does affect some groups more than others.

These drivers that are at a higher risk of drowsy driving include:

Young And Inexperienced Drivers
Teens and young drivers have had less time on the road, so their skills are not developed behind the wheel. Younger drivers are also more likely to drive during late hours for work or social reasons, making them more susceptible to drowsy driving.

Shift Workers And Those With Extended Hours
Shift and night workers are often subject to long hours on the clock, and when it comes time to clock out, they are typically exhausted. A long drive home is the last thing they need, but many still trudge to their cars out of obligation and routine anyway. Those who work night, rotating, or double shifts have six times the risk of drowsy driving than other types of workers. Professionals who often work grueling shifts can include doctors, nurses, pilots, police officers and firefighters.

Commercial Drivers|
Those who drive for a living put more miles on the road than the average commuter. Commercial drivers are also at much higher risk of drowsy driving, given the long hours and unforgiving deadlines that many commercial drivers face.

Business Travelers
Those who travel the country regularly for business are at particular risk of drowsy driving, as they are often subjected to jet lag, changing time zones as often as ZIP codes. If you travel extensively for work, it can be challenging to get enough sleep to be safe on the road.

People With Sleep Conditions
Drowsy driving can be an everyday battle for drivers with sleep disorders. Narcolepsy or insomnia can leave some drivers feeling depleted and tired during the day, while those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are categorically more at-risk of drowsy driving. Some medications can also be counter-effective, making drivers sleepy when they need to be focused behind the wheel.

 

The Consequences Of Drowsy Driving In Florida

The most expensive cost of drowsy driving is the human toll that it takes each year. With over 100,000 crashes attributed to drowsy driving, future accidents can easily be avoided with just a little effort.

The consequences of drowsy driving in Florida can be pretty severe. Assuming you survive your car accident in Florida, you could still walk away with significant injuries that could require months or even years of medical care. You could also suffer from long-lasting cognitive or physical impairments that can impact your performance and physical health.

In an August 2016 report, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates that the annual societal cost of drowsy driving is $109 billion. Additionally, the study notes that property damages are not even included in this cost.

 

Prevention: How To Stay Awake While Driving In Florida

1. Drive at times you are usually awake.
2. Take your time and don’t rush to get to your destination.
3. Eat a low-sugar, healthy diet before your drive.
4. Take energy-boosting vitamins.
5. Drink caffeine.
6. If you are sleepy, a 100-calorie snack may wake you up.
7. If you can’t make it, a 20-minute nap should suffice. That’s what rest stops are for!

“You can’t control what other drivers do, but you can control being drowsy behind the wheel,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Take steps to stay alert because it could save your life as well as the lives of innocent motorists.”

 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our “Car Wreck Checklist” >

 

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, MedicalMalpractice, 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

Offices in Pensacola, Destin, Miami and Tallahassee

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

Sources:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLHSMV/bulletins/32b01c0

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/drowsy-driving/drowsy-driving-vs-drunk-driving

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving

https://www.thezebra.com/resources/research/drowsy-driving-statistics/

https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/drowsy-driving-statistics/

The Prevalence and Impact of Drowsy Driving

What You Should Know If Traveling By Car in Florida Over Labor Day Weekend. 

According to The Vacationer, an estimated 137 million people will be traveling for Labor Day weekend, which is more than 53% of the country.

Last Major Travel Holiday Of The Summer: Increased Traffic To Pensacola and Destin

Labor Day also marks the symbolic end of the summer, and both Pensacola and Destin, Florida have been named as one of the top locations to visit during the holiday weekend, according to tripstodiscover.com. This will also mean increased traffic to our popular coastal communities and increased risk of car wrecks caused by drivers not familiar with the area or driving carelessly.

Unofficial End Of Summer

Labor Day weekend is a common signal to many as the unofficial end of summer, but for law enforcement across Florida, it signifies an increase in motorists traveling on the roadways and the importance of reminding drivers to stay safe and sober behind the wheel.

“As Labor Day approaches, please keep safety at the forefront of your travel plans. While many of us will take this long weekend to celebrate with family and friends, our FHP Troopers and first responders will be working to respond to and protect our safety,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Historically in Florida, more crashes occur on the Friday before Labor Day than any other day during the four-day travel period. No matter how far your destination may be, please remember to buckle up, slow down, and never drive impaired. ”

 

According to FLHSMV data, last year, 4,016 crashes occurred from the Friday before Labor Day through Labor Day across Florida.

During this four-day period, there were 41 fatalities from crashes—eight of which involved drugs and/or alcohol.

 

So as you prepare to travel here are some top tips and info that you can use to ensure a safe arrival to your Labor Day destination in Florida. 

 

When Is The Best Time To Leave For Labor Day Weekend Travel?

According to Transportation analytics company INRIX here is what you need to know in regards to best and worst times to travel for the Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday: Before 12:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Thursday: Before 12:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Friday: Before 1:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Saturday: Before 1:00 p.m. or after 5:00 p.m.

Sunday and Monday are expected to have normal to minimal congestion.

 

When Is The Worst Time To Leave For Labor Day Weekend Travel?

“Thursday, like three-to-four o’clock (p.m.) is probably the worst time to leave,”  Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for INRIX said. “That’s when you get commuters and people running errands, mixing with vacationers and schools getting out if they’re in session.”

Wednesday: 1:00-8:00 p.m.

Thursday: 1:00-8:00 p.m.

Friday: 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Saturday: 12:00-5:00 p.m.

What could help ease the pain on the road is taking state highways as opposed to an interstate highway. 

 

TOP 4 LABOR DAY WEEKEND DRIVING SAFETY TIPS

Focus on Driving
Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking.

Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving.

Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.

Drive “Defensively”

Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and expect the unexpected.

Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.

Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you.

Make that 4 seconds if the weather is bad.

Make a Safe Driving Plan

Build time into your trip schedule to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.

Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.

Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.

Practice Safety

Secure cargo that may move around while the vehicle is in motion.

Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor.

Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards and garage passes.

Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.

 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.

Get more helpful information on what to do after an accident here at our “Car Wreck Checklist” >

 

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, MedicalMalpractice, 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

Offices in Pensacola, Destin, Miami and Tallahassee

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

Sources:

Labor Day

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2022/08/30/best-worst-time-travel-labor-day-weekend/7939023001/

https://www.tripstodiscover.com/best-places-in-florida-to-visit-on-labor-day-weekend/

https://www.flhsmv.gov/2022/09/01/florida-highway-patrol-offers-tips-for-safe-labor-day-travel/

Zarzaur Law, P.A. To Host 4th Annual “Zalloween” FREE 
Halloween Event for Kids in Downtown Pensacola.

The annual Zarzaur Law “Zalloween” FREE Kids’ 
Halloween Event in Downtown Pensacola is coming Oct. 28!

Zarzaur Law, P.A., an award-winning personal injury law firm based out of Pensacola, Florida, has once again partnered with local downtown businesses to host the 4th annual “Zalloween” event. “Zalloween” is a FREE, safe, and fun-filled Halloween event for kids on Friday, Oct. 28 from 4-6 p.m.

The event will be held at the intersection of Palafox and Romana Streets in Downtown Pensacola. “Zalloween,” hosted by Zarzaur Law, will include candy, games, a fire truck that kids can explore from the Pensacola Fire Department, FREE mini snow cones courtesy of Sneaky Tiki Shaved Ice, an arts and crafts station with First City Art Center’s Creatisphere, Pensacon, candy and crafts with Pen Air Federal Credit Union, a hands-on creepy crawly exhibit with Animal Tales, and more!

A kid’s costume contest will kick-off at 5 p.m. with four age group categories and a $100 first prize for each age group.

The first 250 kids in costume will also receive a reflective trick-or-treat bag and a pumpkin strobe light.

Participating Businesses Include:

Gulf Coast Kid’s House
Pen Air Federal Credit Union
First City Art Center
Pensacola Fire Department
Pensacola Police Department
Blue Morning Gallery
Pensacon
Sneaky Tiki Shaved Ice
Animal Tales, LLC

Event details and updates leading up to the event can be found on Zarzaur Law’s “Zalloween” event page on Facebook, or call 850-444-9299.

So Save The Date And Get Your Costumes Ready!

 

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, MedicalMalpractice, 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

Offices in Pensacola, Destin, Miami and Tallahassee

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

Alex Jones Trial: Lessons Learned About E-Discovery

Mobile phones have played a supporting role in eDiscovery in civil cases, while testimonials and data from laptops, social media, and emails have provided more concrete evidence used to defend and try cases.

Over the years, there has been a significant shift in legal matters involving discovery and, more specifically, eDiscovery. Mobile phones and text messages have become an integral part of the litigation process. However, there is so much personal data that could be a liability if produced without going through the proper discovery process.

Alex Jones Legal Team Critical Errors

Making crucial errors in eDiscovery can prove detrimental to both lawyers and their clients. There is no better example of this than in the case of the Sandy Hook parents, who won a $49.3 million judgment, including $45.2 million in punitive damages, against Alex Jones, the InfoWars founder, and commentator.

Alex Jones was ordered to pay $4.1 Million in compensatory damages to Sandy Hook parents and $45 million in punitive damages for claiming the massacre was staged.

Alex Jones’ lawyers accidentally turned over an electronic file containing approximately two years of text messages to trial evidence. Jones’ attorneys inadvertently gave the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston, the entire digital copy of Alex Jones’ mobile phone with every text message that had been sent for the past two years. 

What Does ‘eDiscovery’ Mean In Law?

Electronic discovery, also called e-discovery, is the process of obtaining and exchanging evidence in a legal case or investigation. E-discovery is used in the initial phases of litigation when involved parties are required to provide relevant records and evidence related to a case.

How Does The E-Discovery Process Work?

The process of discovery begins when a lawsuit appears imminent and ends when digital evidence is presented in court. Attorneys from both sides will determine the scope of e-discovery. The following is a simple description of the e-discovery process:

Identification.
ESI is identified by attorneys. E-discovery requests and challenges are made.

Preservation.
Data that is identified as potentially relevant is placed under legal hold so it cannot be destroyed. Failure to preserve data will lead to sanctions and fines if the lost data puts the defense at a disadvantage.

Collection.
Data is transferred from a company to legal counsel. The legal counsel determines the data’s relevance.

Processing.
Files are loaded onto a review platform. Data is usually converted into a PDF (Portable Document Format) or TIFF (Tag Image File Format) for court.

Review.
The review process assesses documents for privilege and responsiveness to discovery requests.

Production. Documents are exchanged with opposing counsel.

Legal Issues With E-Discovery

E-discovery is an evolving field that goes far beyond just technology. It can give rise to many legal, constitutional, political, security, and personal data privacy issues.

Proper E-Discovery Requires A Board-Certified Civil Trial Expert

An experienced Board Certified Professional will produce the correct document files, reviewed by the legal team, and ready for trial.

Alex Jones, Trial Lawyer, is a good example of what NOT to do for your client. It was unfortunate and entirely preventable.

A competent attorney should be able to know how to acquire, review, and produce the correct records without compromising the client’s privacy. Florida law recognizes a right to privacy, and courts are supposed to weigh and balance the competing interests in protecting personal information with the need to discover relevant evidence—evidence that could be critical in determining fault.

Make sure you hire a board-certified civil trial lawyer for your personal injury case. Only about 1% of Florida lawyers are board certified and only a handful of lawyers have the same board certifications as Mr. Zarzaur. 

The firm also has attorneys who are AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell & have been named Florida Super Lawyers®

Watch Our Video On This Topic >

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

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

Sources:

https://www.techtarget.com/searchsecurity/definition/electronic-discovery-e-discovery-or-ediscovery

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/alex-jones-lawyers-accidentally-leak-years-emails-infowars-financial-d-rcna41378