Tag Archives: Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyer

Why Video Evidence Is Important For Your Car Accident Injury Case.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, then there is most likely video footage of the area or the accident itself. Surveillance video can be the strongest evidence in your case. Video evidence can legally be presented as evidence and assist in your claim, especially If an insurance company is trying to argue fault for the accident. This videotape can help show how the accident really happened.

 

Because The Insurance Company Is Not On Your Side, Obtain Video Evidence.

The insurance companies will always suggest that their insured is not responsible or will suggest that at least some responsibility lies with the other party. They certainly try to make this argument, especially if there is no video evidence that clearly shows fault, even if the accident report provides information on the “at fault” driver.

As we have noted in several other blogs, insurance companies do not exist for the greater good. They exist to make money. To be exact, their main mission is to retain as much money as they can from the billions in premiums they collect each year. If they learn that there is a way to argue that a collision was not their insured’s fault, they will seize that opportunity because it will likely save them money. For this reason, getting the video evidence is of vital importance.

 

Where Does The Video Footage Come From?

Videos from dashcams are beneficial because they provide a clear perspective of the collision as it happened, serving as solid evidence of how the accident occurred. If your case goes to trial, the footage from cameras and photos taken at the scene may become part of the case.

 

 

Types Of Video Footage:

  • Dash cam
  • Video footage from a business
  • Video footage from a residence (home security devices)
  • Traffic light video camera
  • Smart phones

 

Video Evidence Can Show How An Accident Happened, The Cause Of The Crash, And Who Is Responsible.

Video footage can help determine how you were injured, by showing if you struck the dashboard, if broken glass from the windshield cut your face, if your head whipped back and forth, and other causes of your injuries.

 

Act Fast

Another tip is to act as fast as possible. The longer you delay, the higher the risk of not getting the footage you need. For example, many recording devices have limited memories, so their owners have to delete old files to free space for new recordings.

Secondly, cameras (such as surveillance cameras) are set up to automatically record over old footage after some time. According to hg.org, some surveillance cameras record over old footage after 72 hours or so. Thus, even a three-day delay is enough to make you lose such crucial evidence.

 

Requesting Video Footage:
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the desired footage.

Your lawyer:

Will be aware of the appropriate channels to use for their requests.

They might have contacts they can use to speed up the requests.
May get a subpoena to force the relevant parties to hand over the videos.

 

Do Take Pictures and Video Of Your Car And The Car That Hit You.

Take a lot of pictures and videos of the cars and people involved. An accident is extremely visual, and proving your injury case after a car wreck is no exception. The insurance company and, eventually, the jury will be impressed by the photographs of the injuries. Videos are sometimes even better.  If you are injured and are not able to take photos, ask a witness to take photos/video for you.

Inside Of Your Vehicle

That footage is especially moving in this context. Photos and videos of damage to the inside of your car can also be useful. If there are damages inside the passenger compartment, also document those. 

The Other Driver’s Vehicle

Many clients only take pictures or videos of their vehicle when the other car’s damages are also important. Document everything, and take more than you think you need because it is always better to have more than not enough.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC >

 

What Should You Do If You Are In A Florida Car Accident?

1. Call the police and file a report.
2. Swap information (including any insurance information they may have).
3. Gather details.
4. Take pictures/video
5. Gather the 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 Lawyer whose firm has been promoting community safety since 2007. AT ZARZAUR LAW, WE PRACTICE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, PRODUCT DEFECT, AUTOACCIDENTS, CYCLING ACCIDENTS, MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS, PRODUCT LIABILITY, WRONGFUL DEATH, COMMUNITY SAFETY, BOAT AND JET SKI ACCIDENTS, SLIP AND FALL. 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 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.

If you or a loved one is injured in a car wreck while “on the job” feel free to reach out to our firm for a free consultation at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

October Legal Graffiti Event To Benefit The Birthday Party Pensacola

Our October Legal Graffiti event will be full of fun, frights, and, of course, spray paint!

Zarzaur Law’s Legal Graffiti event will be on Friday, Oct. 21 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. during Gallery Night.

This Month’s Event Benefits The Birthday Party Pensacola!


Come join us and enjoy FREE Halloween games, activities, music, and more at Legal Graffiti… Remember, the more you donate to spray paint, the more we can match dollar for dollar and give to The Birthday Party Pensacola!

The Halloween theme will also be highlighted with a hands-on-creepy-crawly exhibit by Animal Tales LLC!

About The Birthday Party Pensacola:

The Birthday Party is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating special memories for disadvantaged children … one party at a time.

The purpose of The Birthday Party (TBP) is to celebrate that special day, whether it be their birthday or some other milestone, in the life of a child who may temporarily find their little life under undesirable circumstances. 

The Board of Directors and volunteers go to the location, decorate, and host a party with games, face painting, favors, gifts, and cake and ice cream.

The staff and volunteers work with local shelters and organizations, such as Gulf Coast Kid’s House, Favor House of Northwest Florida, Embrace Florida Kids, Children in Crisis, Inc. Florida, Homeless Veteran’s Program, Pace Center For Girls Escambia-Santa Rosa, and many more.

Learn more about The Birthday Party Pensacola >

Save the date!! Friday, Oct. 21 – 5-9pm in Downtown Pensacola during Gallery Night!

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 #kidsincrisis

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

Lose My Job During My Injury CaseIn 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.

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 6 – Car Wrecks And Rental Cars.

Many Florida car wreck victims assume that if they are caused to be without a car because of someone else’s negligence, they will automatically get a rental car. Many believe that as they are on the scene, someone from the other person’s car insurance company is going to drive up to the scene and hand them the keys to a rental car and haul their car off to be fixed or totaled. This could not be further from how it works in real life.

Loss Of Use Damages

After a Florida car wreck, the at-fault driver will be responsible for what is called “loss of use damages.” Loss of use damages are damages associated with the loss of use of your vehicle. For some reason, there has been sufficient damage to your car to make it unsafe to drive.

If, for instance, your car only has minor damage and those damages do not cause your vehicle to be unsafe to operate, then you are not going to be eligible for loss of use damage until they start working on the repairs.

Accepting Liability Prior to Offering A Rental Car

Before any company will offer a rental car, the insurance company first has to accept liability for the car wreck. This usually takes between 48 hours and a week on some occasions. What generally happens during this time is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will conduct what they will call an investigation.

The Difference Between Driver’s Exchange Of Information And The Wreck Report

This investigation will consist of reviewing the wreck report and speaking with the insured driver. Keep in mind that the full wreck report for a Florida car wreck will not be available for several days following the wreck. Typically, between 2 and 5 days following a wreck, the Florida Wreck Report is not the piece of paper the Trooper gives you at the scene. That document is titled the Florida Exchange of Information form. That is not the wreck report. The wreck report will be drafted by the same trooper and will be released later. Keep in mind that it is always important to wait for law enforcement to complete a report on any wreck. 

If you do not have an official wreck report following a wreck, the insurance company will have much more room to come up with a different version of events. Once available, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will review that report and compare the description of the wreck to the version of events provided by their insured.

What If There Is A Contradiction Or Reasonable Doubt? 

If there is no difference, then the at-fault driver’s insurance will typically accept liability or responsibility for the wreck. If there is some contradiction, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually go with what the trooper concluded unless there is another witness who also sides with the other version of events. Any reasonable doubt will likely cause the insurance company to refuse to accept liability. If there is no outright acceptance of responsibility, there will not be any offer to provide a rental car.

How Long Will The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Pay For A Rental Car?

However, if the insurance company for the negligent driver does accept responsibility, then they will usually offer a rental car if your vehicle is unsafe to drive.  They will usually extend this offer until they have made a check for your car (if its a total loss) available for you.  They will not pay for a minute extra once they have presented you with a check for your car.

What If The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Coverage?

It is also important to understand that if an at fault driver in a Florida car wreck case doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your car damages and provide money for a rental car, the insurance company will not offer that car.  Your only option at that point is to see if your insurance policy has a rental car benefit and if it doesn’t then it will be your responsibility to pay for the rental.  This is a huge inconvenience and if you end up with an injury case, inconvenience is an element of damages that can be collected from the at fault driver within in the injury case.

For more information about rental cars following a Florida car wreck case, please feel free to reach out to our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON RENTAL CARS AFTER YOUR CAR WRECK >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From 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.

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 2 – What Is Collision Coverage And Why Is It Important?

So, as we have discussed elsewhere on this site, Florida automobile insurance is not a “package deal”. Apart from the two items required by law, it is more of an a la carte purchase in which you, the consumer, can pick and choose which coverage you want.

What Is Required?

Florida law requires that everyone purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage (aka no-fault or PIP coverage), and $10,000 in property damage liability.

What Does PIP Cover?

PIP coverage covers your injuries related to a car wreck. Your own policy will pay your medical expenses and lost wages, capped at $10,000. This is called “no-fault” coverage because it doesn’t matter who is “at fault” for the wreck since each party gets the benefit of this coverage on their respective policy so long as they are involved in a car wreck and they are in the car that has the Florida car insurance policy.

What Does Property Damage Liability Cover?

Property damage liability coverage is also required by Florida law. The law requires a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. Property damage liability coverage is coverage for the other party’s car when you are at fault for a wreck. So, if you cause a wreck in Florida, you are required to at least have $10,000 in coverage for the damage to the victim’s car.

Collision Insurance

Collision coverage is an optional coverage you can purchase that serves basic functions. First, if you are at fault for a wreck, having collision coverage will allow you to get your car fixed and paid for by your insurance company. Second, if you are the victim of a car wreck and the at-fault party only has the $10,000 minimum property damage coverage, having collision coverage will allow you to collect in full for your vehicle damage.


Your Collision Coverage Should Be Carried At An Amount Equal To The Fair Market Value Of Your Car.


This will assist in the event that it is totaled in a car wreck and the at-fault party only has $10,000  in coverage.

If you or a family member has questions about collision coverage, please feel free to contact our firm at zarzaurlaw.comor call us at 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR VIDEO HERE >


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.

Takata Inflator Investigation – Is Your Car’s Air Bag Defective?

Air bags are supplemental protection and are designed to work best in combination with seat belts. Both frontal and side-impact air bags are generally designed to deploy in moderate to severe crashes and may deploy in even a minor crash.

Air bags reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during a crash. To avoid an air-bag-related injury, make sure you are properly seated and remember—air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. And children under 13 should sit in the back seat.

 

Defective Takata Air Bag Inflator Investigation

U.S. auto safety investigators have opened a new probe into 30 million vehicles built by nearly two dozen automakers with potentially defective Takata air bag inflators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) opened an engineering analysis into the vehicles manufactured between 2001-2019. The investigation has not been made public yet.

Go to safercar.gov to check the recall status of your vehicle.

 

Which Car Models Are Effected?

The new investigation includes vehicles assembled by Honda, Ford, Toyota, GM, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Ferrari, Mazda, Daimer, BMW, Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover and others. The 30 million vehicles include both vehicles that had the inflators installed when newly manufactured and inflators that were used in prior recalls.

Over the last decade more than 67 million Takata inflators have been recalled in the US and more than 100 million worldwide. This has been the largest auto safety callback in history because the inflators can send deadly metal fragments flying after a crash.

  • 2001-2002 Honda Civic
  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord
  • 2002-2003 Acura TL
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Acura CL
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • Certain 2006 Ford Ranger (Ford advises do not drive)
  • Certain 2006 Mazda B-Series (Mazda advises do not drive)

NHTSA advises that owners not drive these vehicles and seek immediate repairs.


MORE THAN 100 DEATHS HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED WORLDWIDE, WITH MANY MORE NON-FATAL INJURIES.


 

NHTSA has said the cause of the inflator explosions tied to the recall of 67 million inflators is propellant breaking down after long term exposure to high temperature fluctuations and humidity. Vehicles in states such as Florida are susceptible to such climate factors.

 

What Constitutes A Defective Air Bag?

A defective air bag is one that contains a design or manufacturing defect that effects the safe function of the air bag. These can cause spontaneous explosions, failure to deploy in an accident and late deployment in an accident.

 

Who Is Liable?

Vehicle and air bag manufacturers may be liable for such injuries. Under product liability laws car dealers and repair technicians may also be liable. Finding responsible parties requires legal skill and experience and should be handled by expert personal injury attorneys.

 

Injuries Caused By Defective Air Bags

The type of injuries caused by defective air bags  can include: Puncture wounds

Lacerations

Skull fractures

Death

This can result in facial fractures, dental injuries, eye injuires and more.

Experienced personal lawyers can review and evaluate cases involving airbag injuries. To file a claim, the lawyer must establish a causation relationship between the airbag and the injuries. These are complex cases and must include input from experts such as reconstruction engineers, auto engineers and medical experts. These are complex cases with complex legal issues that require experienced lawyers.

Refer to the car wreck checklist for more info on what to do right after you’ve been involved in 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 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.nhtsa.gov/recall-spotlight/critical-warning-regarding-certain-honda-acura-mazda-and-ford-vehicles-takata-air

https://www.consumerreports.org/car-recalls-defects/takata-airbag-recall-everything-you-need-to-know-a1060713669/

Hiring A Lawyer Doesn’t Mean You Are Going to Court

It’s a very common misunderstanding.  Clients assume that if they go and hire a lawyer for a car wreck or personal injury case, they will be “going to court.”  This is not entirely accurate.   In fact, it’s rarely accurate at all.

The Job of Your Personal Injury Lawyer.

 

Joe Zarzaur

Hiring a lawyer for your car wreck or personal injury case is not the same as “going to court.”

This is true since only about 1% of Florida Car Wreck cases that are handled by lawyers end up in a trial.

Only about 40% of them end up as even an official lawsuit.


FORTUNATELY FOR CLIENTS (AND THEIR PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS) MOST CAR WRECK OR PERSONAL INJURY CASES WILL BE SETTLED PRIOR TO THE FILING OF A LAWSUIT.


This means that if your personal injury case is settled prior to the filing of a lawsuit, it will never become an official lawsuit and therefore cannot go to trial since the lawsuit is the start of the litigation process which ends with the trial.

Chances Are Your Personal Injury Case Will Settle Without Having to Go to Trial

Even if your personal injury or car wreck case can’t be settled prior to filing the lawsuit, chances are that the case will be settled before the litigation process results in a trial.  In fact, 99% of those cases that get into the lawsuit process settle before any trial. This concern comes up regularly with new clients since many are afraid of the litigation process and are concerned about making their private personal injuries public with a court being involved.

The Settlement Conference

Personal injury Case Mediation processTrials are becoming rarer these days since nearly every court in the country requires the parties to have a settlement conference before the trial.  In prior years, if your lawyer filed a lawsuit for a car wreck case.  The case would be set for trial and unless one party asked the other to consider settling the case, the topic of resolving the case would never get brought up.  This resulted in many cases going to trial simply because neither party wanted to be the first to broach the subject of a potential settlement.

In more modern days, the courts figured out that this was not good for the system or the parties, basically requiring each end of every lawsuit to go to trial simply because no one wanted to bring up the idea of settlement.  This reluctance stemmed from the nature of the adversarial process itself. As opposing parties, you are programmed to not ever show weakness to the other side.

Historically, bringing up the subject of a potential settlement first could reveal that your side feels vulnerable about your chances to win.  So, the result was that no one would bring the subject up and this led to many trials occurring for cases that would otherwise be settled without a trial.

The courts started realizing that some of these trials were unnecessary and started by making settlement conferences voluntary but making a point to allowing the court to be the party to bring up the idea of a settlement conference.  This took the burden off the parties to bring up the subject of the settlement. The settlement conference was given the official name of mediation and it became hugely popular with the court system and the judges for one major reason, it worked.  In fact, it worked so well that nearly every court handling car wreck and personal injury cases in this country, now require that every case go to mediation before any trial date is set.

The Mediation Process

Mediation ProcessMediation has made it possible for cases to go to the lawsuit stage but not go to trial.  It created an escape hatch for both parties to use after they have litigated the case for a while but short of having to take the case to a jury trial.  Mediation has also made the statistical chance that your lawsuit will end up in a trial as low as 1%.

In sum, hiring a lawyer for a car wreck or personal injury case only means that a lawyer is going to try and settle your case.   Only in a minority of those cases will it even result in a lawsuit being filed.  Even if it is filed as a lawsuit, there is an extremely small chance it will go to trial these days.

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/mediation-personal-injury-claims.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/insurance-adjusters-who-they-are-how-they-handle-injury-claim.html

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney

What Happens If My Car Wreck Is Caused by The Weather?

Weather Related Car Accident Cases Pensacola FL

 

 

Studies show that Americans are involved in about six million car crashes per year. In almost a quarter of these wrecks, the weather is at least a contributing factor. In a personal injury practice like ours, our clients frequently ask us an important question: what effect are the weather conditions going to have on my case? Except in rare cases, the weather is not going to affect your case much, if at all.

Weather Can Make Driving Hard.

Rain makes the roads slick, which makes it more difficult to brake. Clouds, fog, and rain can decrease visibility, even in the middle of the day. Despite these challenges in most cases, bad weather conditions do not excuse a defendant’s poor driving.


FLORIDA LAW DOES NOT SIMPLY MANDATE THAT DRIVERS FOLLOW THE SPEED LIMIT—RATHER, ACCORDING TO § 316.183, F.S., DRIVERS MUST DRIVE AT A SPEED THAT IS “REASONABLE AND PRUDENT UNDER THE CONDITIONS” OF THE ROAD.


The same law goes on to explicitly say that motorists must drive at an appropriately reduced speed during bad weather.

As you can see, the law will not let a careless driver off the hook simply because the weather was bad at the time of the crash. Rather, the law requires drivers to take the bad weather into account and to drive more carefully in the face of those hazards.

Weather Related Car Accident Cases

 

 

Questions You and Your Attorney Will Ask:

  1. was the driver driving too fast for the road conditions, even if they were technically driving within the speed limit?
  2. Did the driver brake in time to stop, even considering the slick road? Bad weather does not suspend the traditional rules of the road. The focus is still whether the driver drove in a reasonably safe manner, taking into account the changing road conditions.

In other words, the presence of bad weather does not normally decrease or affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to after a wreck for which you are not at fault.

In Very Rare Cases, A Driver Who Is Injured as A Result Of Weather-Related Road Conditions May Have A Claim Against A Government Agency Or Contractor Who Is Responsible For Maintaining Those Roads.

For instance, the Florida Department of Transportation often enters into contracts with private companies to maintain the roads of the state in a safe condition and to stage warning signs of potential hazards for motorists. If a contractor fails to perform these duties under the contract—i.e., fails to warn motorists of road hazards that might not be obvious, or fails to respond to an emergency road condition—they could be liable for any injuries that are caused by that failure to warn or failure to respond.

Weather conditions can make driving more difficult. However, motorists have to recognize that difficulty and drive more carefully to compensate for the added danger. Regardless of whether your wreck occurred during a thunderstorm or on a sunny day, you should hire an experienced lawyer who considers all of the circumstances of your case.

The Florida Bar allows very few people to advertise themselves as “experts” in a particular area of law. 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.hg.org/legal-articles/who-is-at-fault-when-weather-causes-an-accident-48347

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm

https://driversed.com/driving-information/driving-conditions/adverse-weather-conditions/

What Happens After A Car Accident With No Police Report?

Sometimes potential clients who get in a car wreck have no police report associated with it. Usually, this is because the property damage is minor, and the client did not feel injured at the time of the wreck.

Many times, however, injuries that may not be apparent immediately following a wreck, and only develop after hours or days after. These clients frequently ask, “Can I still recover? What do I need to do?

CONSULT OUR “CAR WRECK CHECKLIST” AND BE PREPARED >

Can You Still Recover?

The answer is YES – you can still receive compensation for your injuries.

  • First, within 10 days of the wreck, you need to file a police report with the Florida Highway Patrol. A link to this form is provided here (https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/#report).
  • Second, you need to report the crash to your insurance company as soon as possible. Some insurance policies will not cover your injuries if they are not informed of the wreck within certain time frames—this time can be found in your insurance policy. If you know the other driver’s insurance carrier, you can also report the crash to them as well.

Steps to Take if You Don’t Have a Police Report

Having a police report from immediately after the wreck is very helpful, but the lack of a report is not fatal to your case.

  • A police officer who investigates a wreck and cites one party for a driving violation can be powerful evidence that the defendant driver is actually at fault. For instance, a defendant driver’s finding or admission of guilt in a citation hearing can be used as evidence of fault in a related injury case. However, because the officer most likely did not see the wreck occur, the report itself is hearsay and may not be admitted as actual evidence
  • If a police report is not available, you can still prove that the other driver was at fault, but the case moves into more of a “he-said, she-said” case. In this situation, you will have to rely on the physical evidence and witness testimony. For instance, you can prove fault by showing that the at-fault driver rear-ended you, which gives rise to a presumption that they were at fault. You can prove fault by testimony from other drivers who saw the accident and stopped to render aid.
  • Finally, in extreme circumstances, you can prove fault by hiring an qualified expert in accident reconstruction, who can show fault through complicated models that recreate the scene of the accident.

Only experienced lawyers are capable of navigating this process. Potential clients 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 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.

Sources:
https://zarzaurlaw.com/car-wreck-checklist/

How Does the Car Wreck Settlement Process Work?

Car Wreck Settlement

When someone is injured in a car wreck that is not their fault, most people would rather not pay for expensive medical treatment and property damage themselves. In the vast majority of cases, the only collectible funds that are available to pay for these expenses are insurance proceeds. So, most clients’ case plan involves trying to reach a “settlement” whereby an insurance company agrees to pay a certain amount for the claimant’s injuries and the claimant agrees not to file a lawsuit seeking further funds.

In general, there are three types of insurance available in a car wreck case:

1. Personal injury protection” or “PIP” insurance
2. Liability insurance
3. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance

 

PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Insurance

PIP insurance is also known as “no fault” insurance. In Florida, a driver’s insurance carrier must pay 80% of the client’s medical bills—up to $10,000 total—regardless of whether the driver was at fault or not. The other 20% are paid for either by the claimant’s health insurance or demanded from the at fault driver, if there is one. If the first $10,000 does not cover their medical bills, the claimant then begins the process of recovering from the at fault driver through their “liability insurance.”

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance refers to the at fault driver’s policy that covers damage that they cause by their own negligence. Once your claim is presented to the at fault driver’s insurance carrier, the insurance employee assigned to investigate the claim, or “adjuster,” will be asking two questions: first, is the at fault driver really at fault or “liable,” and second, how much money or “damages” is the claimant entitled to? The liability portion focuses on the unreasonableness of the at fault driver’s conduct, which is often obvious. The damages portion depends on the nature of the injuries and the claimant’s treatment plan, which sometimes takes time to work out.

The claimant’s lawyer has to answer these two questions. Often, liability is an easy question, such as when an at fault driver rear ends the claimant who is sitting stopped at a red light. More often, the liability insurer admits that their driver is at fault but disputes the amount that the claimant is asking for. It is the claimant’s lawyer’s job to present the claimant’s medical records and bills to the adjuster and prove that the injuries are a result of their driver’s negligence and that they are serious enough to justify whatever amount of money the claimant has demanded. The adjuster’s job is to review the medical records and bills and eventually offer to pay a certain amount to the claimant—which the claimant can either accept or decline.

What if the At Fault Driver Has NO Insurance?

Finally, if the at fault driver has no insurance at all, or if their insurance coverage is not enough to cover the claimant’s damages, the claimant can go ask their own insurance company to help pay their bills as long as they have purchased “uninsured/underinsured motorist” (UM/UIM) coverage. The claimant’s lawyer has to prove that the at fault party was actually at fault and must prove either that the at fault party’s insurance is either non-existent (uninsured) or was not sufficient to cover the costs of the injuries (underinsured). Just like the liability adjuster, the UM/UIM adjuster will review the medical records and bills and come up with an offer to settle the UM/UIM portion of the claim, which the claimant can either accept or reject.

To be eligible for further benefits under their uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, a claimant who wants to first settle with the at fault party must obtain consent from their UM/UIM (Uninsured / Underinsured) carrier.

The Negotiation for Settlement

Often, these negotiations between the adjuster and the claimant’s lawyer go back and forth for several rounds.  If negotiations fall through at any level, a claimant has the right to file a lawsuit, proceed to trial, and prove their injuries and damages to a jury. Sometimes a claimant has to file a lawsuit to force the other side to come to the negotiation table.

Only experienced lawyers are capable of navigating this process. Potential clients 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 a civil trials. 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.flhsmv.gov/insurance/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uwCo_9H0xM&list=PLnCrJ0tzzzL6mRs3arN7h5wlrAbevkMq0&index=13&t=115s

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/liability_insurance.asp

https://zarzaurlaw.com/what-is-um-coverage-and-why-is-it-important/