Tag Archives: Pensacola Auto Accident Attorneys

Don’t Sign A Release After Your Car Accident Until You Speak With A Lawyer

Courtesy of AllLaw.com

If you’re involved in a car accident and you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses, the car insurance company of the driver who was responsible for causing the wreck may contact you to try and settle the claim.

Your first reaction to a settlement offer may be a relief. Now you’ll get money to pay for your medical bills, and to get your car fixed and back on the road, all without having to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.

But don’t get too carried away, because you’ll also have to sign a document called a “release” before the car insurance company sends you any money.

What exactly is a release and what is the legal impact of signing one?

If the car insurance company offers to settle your accident claim, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before signing the all-important release.

There Are Two Types Of Releases:

1. Property Damage Release-Car Damage

2. BI Release-Bodily Injury

What Is a Release?

A release is a legal document in which an individual agrees to give up, or release, certain legal rights. A release is also sometimes called a waiver. The purpose of the release is to end a legal matter (such as a civil lawsuit) and allow the parties to move on.

In the case of car accident claims or lawsuits, a person who signs the release gives up the right to sue certain individuals or entities as they relate to the specific accident. This means, if you sign a release from the other driver’s car insurance company, you will shield the insurer and its driver from any further legal action arising from the accident. In return, you’ll receive a settlement check.

Bodily Injury Settlement

In the typical settlement of a bodily injury claim, the injured person receives money as compensation for their injury. In return, the injured person agrees to release the paying party from further liability for that injury and to terminate any lawsuit that has been filed seeking damages.

Bodily Injury Release

The release agreement is actually a contract that eliminates all claims of the injured party as to the parties released. It is critical to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate the full extent of your injuries. This forever ends your injury claim.

Diminished Value

Florida is a “diminished value” state, which means you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after an auto accident. “Diminished Value” is the loss in market value that occurs when a vehicle is wrecked and repaired.

Things To Consider Before Signing A Release:

When you receive the release from the car insurance company, do not sign it until you have taken the following five things into consideration.

1. Consult an attorney about your claim and go over the release.

Not only will an experienced attorney be able to explain exactly what the release says and answer any questions you may have, but there may be certain legal rights you aren’t aware of that will vanish if you sign the release. Your attorney will point these out for you.

For example, let’s say you confirmed with your doctor that the car insurance company’s settlement amount is enough to pay for all your medical bills. But you may have valid claims for other losses that you may have overlooked or failed to consider, such as lost wages or pain and suffering. You won’t know for sure unless you have an attorney review the release and ask you the right questions.

2. Before signing the release, obtain permission from your car insurance company.

You may need your car insurance company’s permission before signing the release. This is due to a legal concept called subrogation, which is very important in car accident cases, especially underinsured motorist cases. Here’s how it works.

Imagine you’re involved in a car accident with another driver whose car insurance policy limits aren’t enough to fully compensate you for your losses. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, your car insurance company should make up the difference, up to your UIM limits. Your car insurance company will then use the subrogation provision in your car insurance policy to recover (or, more realistically, attempt to recover) the difference directly from the other driver.

Subrogation is how your car insurance company uses your legal right to pursue the other driver for reimbursement for the underinsured coverage payment it just made to you.

However, should you sign a release without your car insurance company’s permission, your car insurance company’s ability to go after the other driver is now gone? As a result, your insurance company may try to deny your underinsured motorist coverage claim.

3. Make Sure You Understand What You’re Signing.

Legal documents can be intimidating, and you may feel like there’s no point in reading the release if you won’t be able to understand it. However, you will probably understand more of it than you might think, especially the most important terms, such as the settlement amount and the details of the settlement payment.

Additionally, don’t take the word of the car insurance company’s representative as to what the terms of the release are. Always check it over yourself to make sure there are no misunderstandings.

4. Ensure that the settlement funds cover all injuries and damages.

Just because you feel fine and all your medical bills are fully covered by the settlement check, doesn’t mean you have been fully compensated. Many injuries from car accidents aren’t discovered until a period of time after the crash. The last thing you want to do is agree to a settlement of $20,000 for medical bills when a month later it turns out you need another $10,000 in medical treatment for injuries that have only recently presented symptoms.

 

REMEMBER THAT ONCE YOU SIGN THE RELEASE, YOU CAN’T GET ANYTHING ELSE FROM THE OTHER DRIVER OR THE OTHER DRIVER’S CAR INSURANCE COMPANY.

 

5. Determine if anyone else could be responsible for the accident.

This tends to be an issue when more than one person or entity is responsible for the accident. For instance, let’s say you have a release that only applies to a commercial truck driver that hit you. The settlement amount isn’t enough to fully compensate you, but you’re not sure if you should reject the release and file a lawsuit to try to recover the full amount. If it turns out that you have legal claims against the commercial truck driver’s employer and another individual driver, you might be more willing to sign the release.

The decision to sign the release will depend on a variety of factors and circumstances. Make sure you have the whole picture before you make your decision.

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.

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 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.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/before-you-sign-a-release-in-your-car-accident-settlement.html

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/auto-accident/settlement-before-signing-release-5-things.html

Dangerous Intersections In Florida: North W Street and Massachusetts Avenue

Courtesy of WEARTV News.

Intersections are a prime place for an automobile accident to occur. More than 50% of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.

An estimated 165,000 accidents occur annually in intersections caused by red-light runners. Fatalities caused by red-light runners run from 700-800 a year.

Fatal Auto Accidents In Escambia County

On Thursday, July 7, a 56-year-old woman was killed and a passenger was injured after a driver went through a red light. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows a sedan crashing into an SUV Thursday night at the intersections of Massachusetts Avenue and North W Street in Pensacola, Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the driver went through a red light.

Alarming Statistics About The Intersection of North W. Street and Massachusetts Avenue

According to Florida Highway Patrol, since 2019, there have been 53 accidents, 22 hit-and-run crashes, 12 crashes with injuries and 19 crashes with no injuries at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and North W Street in Escambia County, Florida.

The area is congested with traffic, and people need to pay attention.

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CRASHES IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA IN 2021 JUMPED BY MORE THAN 1,600. THERE WERE ALSO 23 MORE DEATHS IN THE SAME YEAR.

Escambia County Has a Higher Rate of Fatal Accidents Than Florida as a Whole.

Dangerous Intersections In Pensacola FLAccording to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), while Escambia County accounts for a relatively small portion of the total number of fatal accidents in Florida each year, the county has a higher rate of deadly accidents than Florida as a whole. In 2020, only 0.08 percent of Florida’s car accidents were fatal. However, in Escambia County, this figure is closer to 1%. While this might not seem like a significant difference, it accounts for several needless accident-related deaths in Escambia County on an annual basis.

What Are The Most Common Accidents That Occur At Intersections?

The most common causes of intersection car crashes are disobeying a traffic signal and failing to yield the right of way. Running a red light, trying to get through the intersection on a yellow light, and even unintentionally misjudging the traffic signal are all leading causes of intersection car crashes:

  • SpeedingSpeeding is dangerous under any circumstance, no matter what the circumstances. However, when a driver is speeding through a busy intersection, this can cause serious accidents.
  • Violation of traffic laws: If a driver is attempting to make illegal U-turns, turns without checking to see if there is oncoming traffic, or fails to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists, this can cause serious intersection accidents.
  • Impatience: Drivers will see a traffic light turn yellow and hit the gas pedal to avoid having to wait for the red light to turn green again.
  • Texting, talking, reaching for something, or any other type of distracted behavior will keep them from paying attention to what is going on around them.
  • Drunk driving is obviously dangerous, and it frequently results in fatalities.
  • Drowsy Driving: In almost the same frame as distracted driving, drowsy driving reduces reaction times, and as a result, he or she may not be able to react fast enough to avoid another vehicle who runs through a red light.

Which Is The Most Common Crash Type, Accounting For 40% Of Crashes?

Most of these crashes involve left turns. Nationally, 40 percent of all crashes involve intersections, the second largest category of accidents, led only by rear-end collisions. Fifty percent of serious collisions happen in intersections and some 20 percent of fatal collisions occur there.

What Types of Accidents Occur at Intersections?

Running through red lights, rear-ending other drivers, and cutting off other drivers while making a left turn can result in serious accidents at intersections. The following are some of the most common types of accidents that occur at intersections:

  • Side-Impact or T-Bone Collisions: This type of accident occurs when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, usually at about a 90-degree angle. The occupant on the passenger side of the vehicle that was hit often sustains very serious injuries because there is no barrier protecting them from the impact of the crash. These accidents often happen when a motorist fails to yield to the right-of-way, runs through a red light, is distracted, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Head-On Collisions: These are some of the most devastating accidents that often result in fatalities, particularly when the vehicles were traveling at a high speed at the time of the crash. They occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another vehicle. At intersections, these usually occur when a motorist makes an illegal left turn.
  • Left-Turn Accidents: These occur when a vehicle that is making a left turn gets into an accident with a vehicle that is going straight through the intersection. In most cases, the driver making the left turn is liable for the accident since he or she must yield to the motorists who are driving straight through the intersection.
  • Rear-End Collisions: These are the most common type of accident, resulting in 1.7 million accidents, approximately 1,700 fatalities and 500,000 injuries each year. They usually occur when a driver is tailgating another motorist or is not paying attention to his or her surroundings. For example, a rear-end collision can occur at an intersection if a motorist fails to slow down in time to avoid hitting a car that is stopped at a red light.

What are the Rules for Right-of-Way at an Intersection?

Dangerous Intersections In FloridaAll licensed drivers have a responsibility to understand and follow the rules of the road, including the rules for right-of-way. At busy intersections, there are very clear rules as to who has the right-of-way and who must yield to another vehicle. Failing to follow these rules can result in a serious intersection accident. Many intersections have cameras that will capture the events leading up to the accident, including whether one of the drivers failed to obey the traffic rules.

The following are examples of right-of-way rules that all motorists must follow when navigating an intersection:

  • Controlled intersections: These intersections will have traffic lights, stop signs, and/or yield signs that are meant to help keep traffic moving in a safe and orderly fashion. Motorists must obey these signs and signals and yield to the vehicles that have the right-of-way.
  • Intersections are not controlled by traffic signals: Motorists must yield to vehicles that are already at the intersection. If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the motorists should treat the intersection as if there is a four-way stop sign, and yield to the vehicle on the right.
  • Intersections with multiple-lane roads: Drivers on the one or two-lane road must yield to vehicles on the multi-lane road.
  • T-intersection right-of-way: The motorist on the dead-end street must yield to the vehicles on the through street.
  • Highway exit ramps: Motorists who are driving on an access road with a highway exit ramp must yield to the vehicles on the access road. In addition, when a car is entering a controlled-access highway, the vehicle on the ramp must yield to the motorists on the highway.

Always follow the speed limit, regardless of the type of intersection. When a driver exceeds the speed limit, he or she forfeits the right-of-way.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While At An Intersection.

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.

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 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://highways.dot.gov/research/research-programs/safety/intersection-safety

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811366

https://weartv.com/news/local/florida-highway-patrol-reveals-shocking-statistics-involving-escambia-county-intersection?fbclid=IwAR09jkEVmrl0SVRYfHEwiVhpPrG5LUZf8hEdv-j5BMJnXqLjMI6Bxs9rUpU

https://www.livestories.com/statistics/florida/escambia-county-car-accident-deaths-mortality

https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

Important Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury Case

“Time is of the essence” is a very well-known phrase. It generally means that something important must be done in a timely manner in order to preserve your legal rights. While it usually applies to cases involving contracts, it is also a very important rule for Your Car Accident Injury Case.

Seeking Medical Treatment Immediately

The most important thing to do if you’ve been in a car accident in Florida and have sustained injuries is to go directly to a medical provider/clinic / or ER to identify and seek to treat your injuries. Waiting to see a medical professional can significantly impact your personal injury claim. According to Florida Statute § 627.736, you have 14 days to see a doctor after an accident. If you fail to seek medical treatment for your auto accident injuries, the insurance company may deny your accident claim.

Filing An Accident Report

Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury CaseWhile it is best to contact the police and file an accident report at the scene and as soon as the accident happens (and all of the information is fresh in your mind), in the state of Florida, you have up to 10 days to file a car accident report. Typically, the police are called on-site when a car accident occurs. In this situation, the officer will file a police report. If an officer files a police report for a car accident, you are not required to file another report.

Hiring An Experience Car Accident Lawyer

Contacting an attorney experienced in car accidents directly after Your Car Accident Injury Case is a very important step towards winning your personal injury claim. The sooner you contact them, the better. This is because the more time your lawyer has to look over the scene, ask for medical records, negotiate with the insurance companies, and interview eyewitnesses the more time they have to build your case.

Contacting a lawyer within a week of the statute of limitations being up does not give the attorney enough time to adequately prepare and research your case.

Following Your Injury Treatment Plan

After you see a doctor for your injuries following an accident, they are likely to recommend a specific plan of action for dealing with any injuries and preventing any future pain from developing.

It might be overwhelming to start a new routine to take care of your body, but it is very important! Your body went through a very traumatic experience, so you want to be proactive to ensure it stays healthy.

Not only will following through with your treatment plan will ensure your body recovers, but it will also ensure your injuries are properly documented from start to finish. This will be important for Your Car Accident Injury Case. Be sure to ask your doctor for copies of all treatment documents throughout the process.

Statute of Limitations

All civil cases arising from car accidents are governed by “statutes of limitations” This is the period of time that an injured person has in which to file a lawsuit. The state legislatures pass laws that require such claims be timely filed, or the right to file a claim is forever lost. In other words, if you do not settle your claim, or file a lawsuit over your claim within a specified time period, you lose the right to do so.

The purpose of such laws is to protect wrongdoers from defending stale claims or claims so old that any evidence to support a defense has disappeared.

The time the statute begins running is the day of a car accident, or in the case of a wrongful death claim arising from a car accident, the date of death. In certain cases involving a minor’s injuries, the time begins to run from the day the minor becomes an adult. In such cases the statute of limitations is “tolled” or delayed to a certain date after the minor becomes an adult.

Important Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury CaseStatutes of limitations vary from state to state. In Florida, a claim for personal injury must be brought within 4 years of the crash. In other states, such as our neighboring state of Alabama, the claim must be filed within 2 years. This means that the Alabama statute of limitations will apply if the crash is in Alabama, even if all the parties are residents of different states.

In Florida, a claim involving wrongful death must be filed within 2 years. In wrongful death cases, a personal representative must file the claim, so opening an estate and having a PR appointed can take many months. Thus, a crash involving death is even more time-sensitive.

To further complicate the law, claims for personal injury against your uninsured motorist carrier have a five-year statute of limitations. This is the standard “contract” period in Florida, and the claim arises from a contract, thus the 5 year period. Such claims arising from crashes in other states have similar time deadlines but are governed specifically by state law.

The statute of limitations for claims involving Florida governmental agencies, is 3 years, except for wrongful death claims, which is 2 years. This includes claims against law enforcement agencies, emergency services, sanitation services, and other governmental agencies that operate motor vehicles. Moreover, there must be a statutory notice sent out 6 months before suit is filed. The time periods and notice requirements may differ from state to state.

A claim against the Federal government must be filed within 2 years, whether for personal injury or death. Similarly, there is a statutory notice requirement before a suit is filed. Thus, you can see that time is even more of the essence when suing a state or federal governmental entity.

What Does This Mean For Your Accident Case?

In Florida, it means you must either settle your case or file a suit within the applicable statute of limitations. If you fail to do this, your claim will be extinguished, no matter how badly you are injured. As there are different deadlines for each state, and for claims involving the government, you need an experienced car accident lawyer to analyze your claim. Also, it means that you need to contact a lawyer immediately as the time begins running when the crash happens, not when you first talk to a lawyer.

Follow the CAR WRECK CHECKLIST for a comprehensive list of what to do right after a car accident >

 

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

If you’ve been the victim of an 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 for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If Your Car Is Stolen And In A Wreck Are You Liable?

Your Car Is Stolen And In A Wreck Are You Liable?Under Florida law, the owner of a vehicle is responsible for injuries caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle. This is called “vicarious” or imputed liability and had long been the law in Florida.

Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

If you allow someone to use your car, and they negligently cause a crash with injuries, then you are equally responsible for the damages. Your insurance company will cover you for damages, as will the insurance company for the driver. This law makes sure that innocent injured parties are compensated for such negligence. An automobile is considered under this dangerous instrumentality doctrine, as are motorcycles, construction equipment, and other motorized vehicles.

Watch Our YouTube Video on Dangerous Instrumentality Here >

Exceptions To The Rule:

There are exceptions to this rule. If a person takes your vehicle without your consent, whether or not a criminal theft, and is involved in a crash, then you may not be liable. There is much litigation over the issue of consent.

Example 1 – If you lend your vehicle to a person for a day, and they are late returning it, you may still be liable for the injuries. There are cases where a person tells a friend or relative not to take their car, and that person gets in a crash.

Example 2 – If you left the keys available for them, or had previously allowed them to use the vehicle, then there may be implied consent that makes you liable. In one case, a person left his keys readily available on a kitchen counter during a house party. When a person took the keys and got in a wreck, the court found the owner liable for failing to properly secure the keys of the “dangerous instrumentality”. Similarly, leaving your keys available to non-driving family members may impose liability. Also, under Florida law, if you leave your keys in the ignition of an unlocked vehicle, you may be liable for all damages caused to the vehicle.

Theft of Vehicle – Case Study

There are even exceptions for a true theft of a vehicle. Zarzaur Law recently litigated a case where a vehicle was stolen from a small car dealer under mysterious circumstances and was involved in a crash that injured our client. We were able to prove that the dealer did not properly secure the vehicles, had inadequate security in a high crime area, and waited many days to report the vehicle stolen. The thief also had the keys at the time of the wreck, and the dealer was unable to explain how he came in possession of the keys. By proving these unusual facts, we were able to overcome the defenses of the car dealer and obtain compensation for our injured client.

It should be noted that the law in Florida generally turns on the specific factual circumstances of the case. The law of vicarious liability is also different in our adjoining states. In many states, the owner is liable if not driving the car, and there may be no insurance coverage for compensation. As you can see, these issues are very complex.

Who To Contact

As soon as you have realized that your vehicle was stolen, inform the following:

Call the police. Inform the police of the make, model, year of your vehicle, and your license plate number. Let the police know the date, location, and time when you last saw the vehicle.

Call your insurance company. Once you give the police your report, it is time to call the insurance company to explain what has happened.

Call An Attorney. Next, you should call a board-certified accident lawyer for help in preparing a case.

If you are injured by the negligence of a driver who is not the owner, or by a driver who is a thief, then you need to consult with an experienced Florida lawyer for competent advice.

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

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

What Types of Damages are Available in a Car Accident Case?

Car Accident Case

Different Types of Damages In a Car Accident.

After the initial questions about what medical treatment to seek and where to seek it, the first question our clients usually ask is this: what types of damages can I recover from the at-fault party in a car wreck? Like many legal issues, the answer depends on the type of injury, the treatment plan, and the conduct of the at fault driver.

Economic Damages:

Every person who suffers injuries from the fault of another driver can recover economic damages. Below are certain categories of expenses you can recover:

Medical Expenses

All medical costs caused by the injury. this category includes not only the costs for services at the hospital right after your wreck, but also ambulance bills, co-pays, prescription costs, and fuel costs for traveling to doctor appointments

Property Damage

This category includes the value of the replacement of the vehicle if your vehicle is totaled

Lost Wages and Benefits

Includes any wages that you were unable to earn because you missed work. This category also includes the value of any lost vacation days and/or lost contributions to retirement funds

Cost of Services

Includes any costs of having to hire someone to perform tasks that you ordinarily performed. For instance, if you are unable to perform basic tasks around the house, unable to care for your child, or unable to run errands, the cost of having to hire someone to perform these tasks is recoverable.


Pensacola injury lawyer

 

Non-Economic Damages:

Non-economic damages are damages that you may experience on a more emotional level than the direct impact on your wallet. Crucially, you can only recover these damages if you experience a “threshold injury”—that is, if a doctor diagnoses you with a permanent injury or significant scarring or disfigurement.

Pain and suffering

Includes the pain that you suffered as soon as the wreck happened, any pain you experienced during recovery, and any pain you will suffer in the future as a result of the wreck.

Disfigurement

Includes any permanent scarring, as well as any loss of bodily function such as loss of taste, smell, eyesight, or hearing, loss of limb, or any other permanent loss of function

Physical impairment

After your wreck, you may not be able to perform certain tasks or recreational activities as well as you previously could—or even at all. this type of recovery tries to compensate you for the value of your lost ability to work or play like you were previously able to.

Mental suffering

This category of damage attempts to compensate a plaintiff for the stress and anxiety caused by the accident—whether it stems from an inability to perform tasks like you could previously, fear of hospitalization, or any other mental issues you suffer as a result of the wreck.

Loss of consortium

This category of recovery attempts to compensate spouses and children for the loss of support, companionship, and household services commonly provided by family members. This claim can only be brought in the name of the child or spouse so they will have to sign up separately.


Punitive damages

Punitive damages are a different beast altogether. These damages are only available when a defendant has acted in a “grossly negligent” way or has intentionally caused damage. The most common scenario where punitive damages are available in a car wreck context is when the at-fault driver is intoxicated. Frequently, these damages will be excluded from an insurance policy.


If you’ve suffered injuries from a car wreck, it is important that you hire a lawyer right away. Most often, the at-fault party is going to quickly hire their own lawyer to get you to agree to small settlements or to make statements that hurt your case. It’s important in this situation to fight fire with fire and hire your own lawyer.

We also remind potential clients that they shouldn’t just hire any lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.

So, when potential clients ask us about whether or when to hire a lawyer after an accident, we remind them that only a Board-certified civil trial lawyer is a specialist in this area of the law. Since all injury lawyers have the same “no fee no cost unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason to hire someone who is not a specialist.

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

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

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/no-fault-car-insurance-states-with-serious-injury-thresholds.html

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/claims-gross-negligence.html

https://www.floridabar.org

What’s the Difference Between an Accident Lawyer and a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury Law

The short answer is that these terms are used synonymously in our legal world. Personal injury law is the area of law that deals with all types of physical and mental injuries to a person. This is compared to cases where a business interest is harmed or another property interest is harmed.

For example, if you are safe and sound inside your house and someone runs into your car which is parked in your driveway and you do not even know until the following morning, that is NOT a personal injury case since you had no impact or involvement with the wrongful conduct.

Property Damage Claim vs Personal Injury Claim

However, if you had been standing next to your car or inside of it when the impact happened and you had any impact from the collision, however slight, that transforms the case from a pure property damage claim into a personal injury case.

Personal injury includes many different types of cases but all have one common trait, injury to a person. In particular, the category of personal injury cases would include medical malpractice, maritime collisions, plane crashes, automobile collisions, injury from a defective product, injuries while working, disability claims, dog bites, fall cases, civil rights cases involving injury, and many others. As you can see, the common thread with all personal injury cases is a legal wrong by one person or entity which causes an injury to another person.

accident lawyer Pensacola

Accident Lawyers

Accident lawyers, in contrast, are a specific type of personal injury lawyer. So falling under the umbrella of personal injury law, is the more particular area of accident law. Accidental injury includes any injury occasioned by the accident or negligence of the at-fault party.


When you hear the terms accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer, you are hearing terms that are generally used to refer to the same type of lawyer, one handling cases involving injuries to people from another negligence.


What is Negligence?

Negligence is simply the failure to use reasonable care, whether driving or manufacturing a product. The law imposes a duty to act reasonably when your actions can affect the safety of others. When a person or entity fails to use reasonable care and that failure causes them to be involved in an accident that results in injury to a third person, then accident law is the appropriate classification of that type of case.

Injuries from Intentional Acts

Not every injury case is the result of an “accident”. Sometimes, injuries are caused by intentional acts or by the violation of a statute that occasioned by conduct that was not just unreasonable but was reckless or wanton (more than rolling through a stop sign, driving 80 mph in a 25 zone, and blowing through a stop sign). This can hardly be described as an accident and therefore referring to it as an accidental injury would not be appropriate. Still, it should be understood that many use the terms accident lawyer and personal injury lawyer because most personal injuries are the result of accidents.

A huge percentage of car wreck cases are the result of negligence or accidents compared to those that are the result of intentional acts or reckless driving.

If you have questions about a personal injury or accidental injury case, please feel free to contact us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855HIREJOE.

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.

When Should You “Lawyer Up” Following a Car Wreck?

Many car wreck victims wonder what the answer to this question is and many hope that hiring a lawyer is not necessary. If you have an injury or you feel you might, hiring a lawyer is necessary.

The Hiring of Lawyer Should be Done as Soon as Possible.

The biggest reason you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible if you have a potential injury is that the insurance company for the at-fault driver will be very aggressive in handling you after a wreck and they will be pushing you to settle and to give statements that will hurt your case. For this reason alone, you should have a lawyer on your side at the outset to make sure the insurance company adjusters do not take advantage of your unfamiliarity with the process.

Remembers lawyers handling Florida car wreck cases, almost always work on a contingency basis which means you do not OWE the lawyer anything for their work UNTIL and UNLESS the lawyer gets a monetary recovery for your injury case.

Florida Car Crash Injury Statistics
2019 Car Crash Injuries in Escambia & Santa Rosa Co., Florida

Why Should You Hire a Lawyer Immediately After a Wreck?

Many times when asked by potential car wreck injury clients why they should hire a lawyer immediately after a wreck? We respond by saying, there is no downside since it does not cost you anything at all unless you actually get a recovery, so it can only help you.


2 MILLION – AROUND 2 MILLION DRIVERS IN CAR ACCIDENT IN THE U.S. EXPERIENCE PERMANENT INJURIES EVERY YEAR


Hire a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer

We always also use this discussion to remind potential clients that they shouldn’t just hire any lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in training and qualifications. The Florida Bar allows for lawyers that work on car wreck cases to become specialists in the civil trial but only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification.

So, we typically inform potential clients when they are asking whether or when is a lawyer is necessary after a wreck, we remind them that only a board-certified civil trial lawyer is a specialist in this area of the law and since all charge, the same no fee no cost unless you win, make sure to hire one.

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. Instead, follow the car wreck checklist and 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 we want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://www.driverknowledge.com/car-accident-statistics/

https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

Civil Trial Law Certification

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS AND AUTO ACCIDENT CASES

What is a “Statute of Limitations” and Why is it Important?

These are laws passed by legislative bodies to set the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be filed. When the time specified in a statute of limitations passes a claim can no longer be filed.

These laws are enacted to give certainty to potential litigants and to make sure claims that are so stale cannot be filed. For example, if you were injured in a car accident 20 years ago, the doctors who treated you may no longer be available, records may have been destroyed and other witnesses may be deceased or gone.

All states have statutes of limitations and they are included in the Federal Statutes. The length of the term varies according to the type of claim.


In Florida, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years, for medical malpractice, it is two years, for general negligence claims (like car crashes that do not involve death) the statute is four years. In contract cases, there is a five-year statute.


Florida Statutes section 95.11(3) gives you four years starting from the date of the underlying accident or incident (or car crash) in which to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for negligence. If a person is killed in a car accident or other incident, there is a two-year deadline.

What Does It All Mean?

Essentially, it means that if you do not make a claim for damages from a car crash in Florida within two years (for death) or four years (for injuries not resulting in death) then you will have no right to compensation.

It doesn’t matter how bad the injuries are, or how bad the actions of the at-fault party. If requested from an insurance company, they will deny the claim. If the suit is filed, the court will dismiss it. It may sound harsh, but that’s how the law works for car accident cases in Florida. That’s why you should always contact a car accident lawyer that is an expert as soon as possible if you have a claim.

Claims Against the State or Local Governmental bodies have a different time deadline.

In Florida, wrongful death claims must be filed within 2 years and all other claims within 3 years. There is also a notice requirement that must be met before a suit is filed. This is a very complex area of Florida auto accident law.

There are Some Narrow and Specific Exceptions to the Finality of the Statute of Limitations.

Certain situations will “toll’ or pause the running of time for purposes of the statute. These situations can extend time deadlines.

  • If the injured person is a minor, the statute may be extended seven years from the date of the injury.
  • If a person is incapacitated at the time of the incident, the same seven-year period may apply.
  • If the person who caused the injury left the state before the lawsuit could be filed, the time may be extended. The person who caused the incident took steps to conceal himself or changed his or her name or identity to avoid the process, then the deadlines may be extended.

It should also be noted that these deadlines vary greatly from state to state. Many states require auto claims to be filed within two years and some even one year. If the crash occurs in another state, generally that state’s law will apply, even if the injured party lives in Florida.

As you can see there are many complicated legal issues involved with the statute of limitations. Failure to file timely can extinguish even the most worthy case. This is why you need to consult a board-certified Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you have a claim.

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

Sources:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/95.11

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-the-car-accident-statute-limitations-florida.html

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/95.11

What is the Average Cost of a Car Accident?

After the initial shock of an auto accident, wouldn’t you think your biggest concern would be for your treatment and recovery?  Unfortunately, what becomes your biggest concern is how to cover bills. Ambulance rides, emergency room visits, and ongoing treatment can all be expensive, and that may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the financial aftermath of a crash.

The Average Cost of a Car Accident Will Surprise You.
  • An accident with fatalities can cost up to $1,410,000.
  • An accident with a non-fatal disabling injury can potentially cost you $78,900.
  • An accident with non-disabling injuries and property damage can potentially cost you $8,900
  • A minor car crash can cost nearly $10,000 – even with no injuries.

In the State of Florida, the total cost of traffic-related auto accident deaths in 2018 was $4.40 Billion!


Florida Car Wreck Health InsuranceCar accident costs do not only affect individuals, either. The costs to businesses and society are also staggering. Crashes that happen during work-related activities represent 40% of all crashes. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), accidents can cost a single company around $66 billion, with another $33 million in lost work.

The annual cost of car accidents in the U.S. is a staggering $230.6 billion. Each year in this country there are 2.35 million injury accidents and 37,000 fatalities. As automobile manufacturers have developed improved safety features, the number of accidents and injuries has gone down, but the costs associated with them have continued to rise.

Often, the at-fault party that causes an accident is not the person who bears the financial burden. So, understanding all the impending costs after an accident is crucial. Working with a Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer will certainly help you get the compensation you deserve. This important step usually makes the insurance company stop playing games, even with the car (property damage) issues

Here’s a look at the key types of costs after you have been involved in a car accident, especially an accident that was caused by a careless driver.

1. Damage to your vehicle
2. Your passenger’s injuries
3. Property damage
4. Location of the accident
5. Your injuries – healthcare costs / ER / follow up visits and treatment
6. Loss of Wages
7. Rising premiums
8. Change in current employment due to injury

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

Sources:

What Is the Average Cost of a Car Accident?

6 types of costs that result from a car accident

https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html Accessed 2 Sep 2020.

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication 812875external icon

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf 10.1080/15389588.2019.1576036external icon

Facts About the Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than three million people are injured each year in vehicle accidents across the country. The different injuries resulting from a car accident can be as varied as the individual circumstances of each collision, but there are some types of injuries that are more common than others.
More serious injuries might become permanent and result in some level of physical disability. When any car accident occurs, the police should be contacted and you should seek medical attention immediately, even if you think your injuries aren’t that serious. The initial shock and disorientation caused by the wreck can send your body into a fight or flight situation and you may not feel the pain of the injuries right away.
Injuries resulting from car accidents can be as unique and wide-ranging as the types of crashes that cause them. Your position in the car, how you are hit, whether you are wearing your seat belt (we sincerely hope that you always are!) all contribute to how your body reacts to the force of a collision. But even in accidents that seem minor, injuries can be common.
It is very important to keep a close eye on how your body and mind feel over the weeks following an accident, because some symptoms are not immediately apparent.
WHIPLASH
Whiplash is one of the most common car-accident injuries. It happens when the car stops or turns suddenly, causing the neck to “whip” back and forth rapidly, and causes pain and injury to the muscles and tendons in your neck. Look for symptoms like neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion or worsening of pain with movement.
CONCUSSION
Concussion can also result from your head being thrown back and forth. It’s a serious injury that can occur even if your head doesn’t make physical contact with anything. Impact with a side window or steering wheel can cause scrapes and bruising to the head, or even deeper lacerations. More severe collision impacts can cause a closed head injury. In that situation, the fluid and tissue inside the skull are damaged because of the sudden movement or impact of the head. Less severe closed head injuries often result in concussions, while the most severe impacts can cause brain damage. You may see signs right away, such as headache, head pressure, temporary loss of consciousness, seeing “stars,” dizziness, or ringing of the ears, but it may take a few hours for symptoms to appear. Concussions can be significant, so if you’re having difficulty with concentration, memory, or focus, see a doctor right away.
BONE FRACTURES
In a car accident, broken bones are caused by the blunt force of the crash or compression. Any bone can break in an accident, but the most common are the extremities: hands, arms, feet, and legs. Especially in a rear-end accident, the force of the impact can cause the bones in a driver’s arms, wrists, or hands to break because of their position on the steering wheel. Signs include swelling, redness, bruising, deformity, loss of function and severe pain.
MUSCULOSKELETAL
While whiplash affects the neck and shoulders, musculoskeletal injuries can happen to muscles, ligaments, tendons or nerves anywhere in your body that were stretched, compressed or bent during an accident. Depending on the severity, these soft-tissue injuries can be just as painful as a broken bone and can limit your mobility. Symptoms such as pain that worsens with activity, inflammation, redness and swelling could point to a significant soft-tissue injury.
EMOTIONAL
If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research shows that about 9 percent of the general population who are in car accidents develop PTSD. That number is significantly higher for people who have been in a car accident and seek mental health treatment, with an average of 60 percent diagnosed with PTSD.
A car accident is scary, and it’s very common to experience a number of symptoms associated with PTSD, including:
  • Feelings of anxiety and increased heart rate when you’re faced with reminders of the event. Hearing a horn honk or brakes screeching may automatically activate a fear response.
  • Feeling a little more on edge when you’re driving. You may be jumpy or startle more easily in a car.
  • Being more watchful. You’re more likely to scan your environment for potential sources of threats (for example, people driving too fast).
  • Avoidance. Because of the anxiety that often follows an MVA, it’s natural that you may want to avoid some situations or experience hesitation at times, such as driving on the highway.
These symptoms should naturally subside over time, but keep an eye on them. If you notice they’re getting more severe and/or more frequent, if you’re avoiding more situations or the symptoms are beginning to interfere with your life, then you may be at risk for developing PTSD.

If you’ve been the victim of a car wreck, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions, 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-Joefor a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Follow the link to the car wreck checklist and put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve.

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.

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/traffic-accidents-faq.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/getting-disability-benefits-injuries-after-car-accident.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/traffic-accidents-faq.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/requirements-for-ptsd-diagnosis-2797637

Car Wreck Checklist

Is Whiplash a Serious Injury