Tag Archives: Pensacola Auto Accident Lawyers

Understanding Subrogation In Florida Personal Injury Cases.

One of the more complicated things to explain to a client is health insurance subrogation, which is when we have to repay the health insurance provider from the verdict or settlement of a personal injury case before disbursing final funds to the client.

Definition Of Subrogation

What is subrogation? Subrogation is a legal term that can arise in almost any type of personal injury claim. It describes how an insurance company or an entity that pays medical expenses on behalf of an injured person has a right to be reimbursed for any payments made, should another party be found at fault for their injuries.

How Does Subrogation Work?

Someone who is injured through no fault of their own is often confused about who should be paying for their injury-related treatment. When you seek medical care, it is important to submit your bills to either your health insurance or the medical payment coverage under your automobile policy.

It is important to note that subrogation can apply to not only your health insurance or automobile medical coverage but also to federal entities such as Medicare, Medicaid or even the VA.

ANYONE THAT MAKES PAYMENTS ON YOUR BEHALF WHERE A THIRD PARTY IS AT FAULT HAS A RIGHT TO BE COMPENSATED PER YOUR POLICY’S FINE PRINT.

How Subrogation Liens Effect Injury Settlements

Subrogation is not used to collect outstanding financial obligations, but your injury settlement is still subject to liens for your unpaid debts.

  • Medical liens can be placed against your settlement by hospitals and doctors who haven’t been paid for your accident-related medical care.

Regardless of who uses it, subrogation and other liens work the same way, by allowing someone else to take a portion of the compensation paid to you by the at-fault party.

A lien is a legal interest in someone else’s assets. An insurance settlement is an asset. While states have laws limiting subrogation, many also have laws protecting lien holders.

Most of the time, the responsible party’s insurance company is not allowed to release your funds until they verify there are no pending liens.

The insurance company (or your attorney) can’t just pay you the money and take your word for it that you’ll pay off the liens. Some types of liens, like Medicare liens or child support liens, must be released before the rest of the settlement award can be legally disbursed to you.

Subrogation Example:

Jane was in a car wreck that was no fault of her own, and she was injured in the accident. Jane went to the ER and ended up having to have surgery. Jane’s medical bills are paid by her health insurance company. Although Jane is pleased with the settlement from her car wreck case, she won’t be taking home the entire amount. Before she receives settlement funds, her law firm, like Zarzaur Law, must pay back the health insurer for the treatment they paid for first.

Subrogation Prevents Double Recovery

Many injured people are surprised and upset to learn that another insurance company can take some of their settlement. It seems unfair to lose a large portion of their settlement.

Technically, an injured victim doesn’t lose anything due to subrogation. Instead, subrogation laws are designed to keep the victim from receiving a “windfall,” or more than they deserve.

Negotiating Subrogation Liens

Subrogation liens are negotiable. This means an experienced personal injury firm like Zarzaur Law, P.A. can negotiate with the insurance company to reduce the subrogation lien for less than the amount it spent on your behalf. An agreement on a reduced lien means you’ll receive a larger settlement at the end of your case.

It’s often a good idea to have an experienced attorney negotiate on your behalf. Skilled injury lawyers negotiate subrogation liens regularly.

An experienced accident attorney, like Joe Zarzaur, also knows the subrogation lien laws and how to protect your rights.

 

Watch Our YouTube Video On This Topic >

 

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

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. 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. Consult with an experienced accident  lawyer who has the knowledge and credentials 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. Offices in Pensacola, Destin and Miami.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/subrogation

https://www.enjuris.com/personal-injury-law/subrogation-claims.html

https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-subrogation-and-how-does-it-affect-my-car-accident-case-

Pensacola Jury Finds Against ECUA And Awards Injured Party $802,000.

Pensacola Jury Awards Injured PartyPENSACOLA, Fla. (JUNE 20, 2022) —  A jury in Escambia County Circuit Court awarded $802,000.00 in damages to a 52 year-old man who was left permanently disabled after being hit by a 36,000-pound garbage truck managed by the Escambia County Utilities Authority (ECUA). 

The Accident

The client’s vehicle was hit from behind by an ECUA garbage truck. The clients’ car was totaled as well as causing significant physical trauma and injury to the client’s back. The wreck occurred when the ECUA driver operated his vehicle in a careless/negligent manner, causing the utility truck to slam into the client’s Ford Explorer; the impact caused considerable damage to all vehicles involved.

The Case

Zarzaur Law, P.A. brought suit on behalf of the client, arguing that ECUA’s negligent driver was the cause of his injuries. At the time of the trial, ECUA refused to offer anything more than $30,000.00, arguing that all of the client’s injuries were pre-existing and unrelated to the crash. Zarzaur Law, P.A. knew that the client had never experienced back pain before the wreck, and emphasized that fact to the jury. Counsel for ECUA argued that the injured party was “exaggerating” and paid an expert $11,000.00 to come into court and suggest that fact.

The Evidence And Testimony

The jury heard evidence and testimony about how the wreck had impacted the client, learned about the medical treatment the client received, and about the long lasting and permanent effects of his injuries. The day prior to the verdict, lawyers at Zarzaur Law asked ECUA counsel if they were interested in a settlement in the range of $75,000 to $99,000. ECUA counsel rejected any suggestion for continuing settlement discussions.

The Verdict

The jury, after hearing the evidence and after considering all of the defenses from ECUA and its lawyer, ruled in the plaintiff’s favor and awarded Zarzaur Law’s client $802,000. The $802,000.00 verdict included damages for past medical treatment, future medical treatment, pain and suffering in the past, and pain and suffering in the future. ECUA claims they will appeal.

“THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A JURY PUTTING AN OBSTINATE DEFENDANT IN THEIR PLACE,” SAID ATTORNEY JOE ZARZAUR.

Every time a local jury holds a careless driver responsible, they make our community safer by deterring others from driving carelessly. This is especially true when they drive around 36,000-pound vehicles.”

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

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About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

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

Injured In A Car Wreck While “On The Job.” How Is It Handled?

car accident on the job in florida

Injured in a car accident on the job?  Is it a personal injury case or worker’s compensation claim? Or both?

The Correct Answer Is Both.

In Florida, a motor vehicle accident that occurs while you are working is an injury that will be considered an “on the job” injury. This means that the law requires that the medical bill be paid through your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance coverage.

Does PIP Cover Injuries From An Accident While “On The Job”?

Typically, in a Florida car wreck case, your “no fault” or “personal injury protection” or “PIP coverage” will be the primary payment source for your medical expenses. This is NOT true when the wreck occurs while you are “on the clock” and working. When a motor vehicle accident occurs while you are working, you should report the wreck and the injury to your employer. Your employer then has an obligation to notify its workers’ compensation carrier. The workers’ compensation carrier will then arrange for your treatment to take place.

What Is Considered “On The Job?”

Keep in mind that driving to and from work is not considered “on the clock” and is generally NOT considered a worker’s compensation injury.  This is also true for lunch breaks and other breaks where you are not being paid at the time of the wreck.  Sometimes however if you are on a special errand for work and you are combining that with a lunch break or you are doing something for work on the way home, then it could be a worker’s compensation injury.

How Does Worker’s Compensation Work?

Consideration of the potential for worker’s compensation involvement is critical to your motor vehicle accident case. If you are the victim of a car wreck in Florida and you are working, all other insurance companies (including the at-fault driver’s insurance) will be expecting your medical bills to be paid by worker’s compensation. The at-fault driver’s insurance will not be required to pay the medical bills as the primary payor since the law requires the worker’s compensation carrier to pay those bills. If worker’s compensation is not involved when it should be, the at-fault driver’s insurance will argue that they are not liable for medical expenses because they should have been submitted to worker’s compensation.

Many Florida car wreck victims do not realize that worker’s compensation should be involved since they are usually not at their workplace when the wreck happens. Some employers do not understand that employees injured in car wrecks are actually suffering an “on the job” injury if they are on the clock at the time of the wreck. This is a critical issue and sometimes it requires that the employee direct their employer to notify the worker’s compensation carrier.

Do Not Delay Notifying Your Employer of the Accident and Injury.

Until the worker’s compensation carrier is involved, medical treatment will be delayed. This is sometimes not in the injured party’s best interest, and they are required to use their PIP coverage to get emergency care. These items need to be addressed at the outset of a case and must be handled properly or it could cause issues with both the car wreck case and the worker’s compensation case.

HOW LONG AFTER AN ACCIDENT DO I HAVE TO REPORT IT TO MY EMPLOYER?

You should report it as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days or your claim may be denied.

Reference: Section 440.185, Florida Statutes

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

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.

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.

Sources:

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/employee/faq.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/motorvehicle/resources/crashdata/facts.html

 

What Is The Florida Good Samaritan Act?

In 1965, the Florida Legislature passed what is known as the Good Samaritan Act. This act was designed to encourage bystanders to render aid to those in need without fear of litigation. While this statute was originally enacted to shield from liability those who “gratuitously and in good faith” render aid or emergency care to those in need when not located at a medical facility, this statute has been amended to greatly expand the scope of protection offered to those giving aid.

What Does It Mean For Health Care Providers?

As it stands today, the Good Samaritan Act also provides “immunity” to health care providers when they are providing “emergency services” at a medical facility.  Fla. Stat. § 768.13 (2011).

Emergency Medical Condition

Essentially, when a person walks into an emergency room with what is classified as an emergency medical condition (An illness, injury, symptom or condition so serious that a reasonable person would seek care right away to avoid severe harm), medical providers are shielded from liability for their own negligence, being only held responsible for actions that amount to a “reckless disregard for the consequences so as to affect the life or health of another.” Fla. Stat. § 768.13(2)(b)(1).

What About Liability?

At what point do medical providers become liable for their negligence again? Based on recent developments in Florida law, it appears that once a patient has become stable and no longer requires emergency treatment, medical providers are again liable for their negligence and held to a traditional standard of care.

However, the definition of “stable” is anything but. Determining at what point medical care is no longer emergent is a question of fact for a jury to decide.

While the law is relatively unsettled regarding the definition of an emergency medical condition, one thing is for sure: it is more important than ever to hire an expert to handle your malpractice case.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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 or a loved one has been in an accident, getting medical attention is of utmost importance. You want to 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.

Carpal Tunnel Injuries Caused By A Car Wreck

When people hear about carpal tunnel they think of people that use computers such as secretaries or factory workers who are constantly using their hands. However, even though it is considered a repetitive use injury, it can be trauma-induced. Carpal tunnel from a car accident is possible and is referred to as CTS or acute or traumatic.

Carpal tunnel injuries are surprisingly common in car crashes. When the hands are firmly gripping the wheel, or slung off into windshields or doors as a result of a crash, trauma to the area can cause inflammation leading to serious pain and loss of function. Even relatively “minor” crashes can cause these most serious and debilitating injuries.

Recent Case

In a recent case, our client was rear-ended with her hands on the wheel, causing a flexing type motion of both wrists. Within a few days, she had significant pain in her neck and shoulders and pain and numbness in her fingers.

She sought medical treatment, which included physical therapy and pain injections. She later had nerve conduction testing in her arms which showed nerve damage consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, she needed neck surgery which helped with the pain but continued to have carpal tunnel symptoms.

The physician initially recommended she wear a splint on both hands, to reduce pressure on the nerves. This was not helpful so her treating physician recommended surgery, a carpal tunnel release, where the ligaments are cut to lessen pressure on the nerves. This surgery often requires several months of rehab and can be very painful. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a very fair settlement for her, on the eve of trial.

What is CTS?

The carpal tunnel is a small space along the wrist that houses the median nerve, blood vessels, and several flexor tendons that run from the forearm to the palm of the hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that surfaces from damage to and pressure around the carpal tunnel.

When involved in a car accident, if the forearm, wrist, or hand sustain damage and the muscles become inflamed, the median nerve can become compressed which results in CTS. Typically this kind of injury occurs when someone braces themselves in an accident like gripping a steering wheel or placing their hands on the dashboard. With the force of impact, the wrist can become injured and the soft tissues can be damaged.

Symptoms of CTS Can Include The Following:

  • Aching pain
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in the hands
  • Reduced grip strength and a tendency to drop things

Proving CTS Was Caused By A Car Accident

This type of CTS can be a mild case or so extreme that it becomes debilitating for the patient. In order to prove that CTS was caused by an auto accident, a substantial amount of medical records will need to be turned over to insurance companies for them to cover the costs or to even support the case.

Some Treatment Options Available For Those Diagnosed With CTS Include:

  • Avoiding excess strain and not performing job duties and activities that aggravate the condition.
  • Icing and using wrist splints to support the area.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Receiving corticosteroids.
  • Using opioid pain relief for cases of severe CTS.
  • Receiving endoscopic or open surgery to correct CTS.
ADWAXF Bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

Even “simple” car wrecks can pose very complex legal and medical issues. A board-certified trial lawyer will have experience in dealing with all such issues, and with the help of cooperating physicians or experts, can get your case fairly settled. If the case does not settle, such lawyers can present your case at trial in the best possible light.

 

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur and Dr. Evan Malone  >

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.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-make-carpal-tunnel-injury-claim.html

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet

National Bike Month – Florida Laws for Cyclists

About Florida Laws for Cyclists
Americans are increasingly bicycling to commute, for exercise, or just for fun – especially post COVID. By Florida Laws for Cyclists, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD FOR CYCLISTS IN FLORIDA? >

May is Bicycle Safety Month, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges bicyclists and motorists to share our roadways by obeying the traffic laws and respecting each other’s rights. Bicycle Safety Month was created to remind the public to put “safety first.


  • Nearly 700 cyclists died on U.S. roads last year. The vast majority were men, who comprised 80.1% of the victims. Women accounted for 12.8%. Unknown accounted for 7.2%
  • Hit-and-run accidents accounted for more than a quarter of the fatal accidents in 2020. That number was 26.1%.
  • The states with the most cyclist deaths were California (118); Florida (90); New York (44); Texas (44); and Louisiana (34). While populous states such as California and Florida had some of the most cyclist deaths per million residents, Louisiana tops that list. That state recorded 7.3 fatalities per million residents.

Things You must know about Florida Laws for Cyclists
For Motorists, “SAFETY FIRST”  Means That Vehicles Must Share the Road with Bicyclists.  NHTSA Strongly Advises Motorists To:

  • Always respect bike lanes and allow at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist
  • Be vigilant of cyclists before opening a car door or reversing in a parking lot
  • Check for cyclists before making a turn
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as instructed by road signage
  • Never drive under the influence or when you are distracted

The NHTSA Strongly Recommends That Cyclists:

  • USE A PROPERLY FITTED CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) APPROVED HELMET. For more information on fitting a bike helmet, visit your trusted bicycle store or the NHTSA website.
  • ENSURE ALL EQUIPMENT AND PARTS (BRAKES, TIRES, SEATS, HANDLEBARS) FUNCTION – and fit properly.
  • RIDE STRAIGHT AND USE HAND SIGNALS AT EVERY LANE CHANGE –  or turn so motorists can anticipate your movements.
  • ALWAYS OBEY ROAD SIGNAGE – as well as signals and lane markings. Travel with traffic in the same direction.
  • STAY ALERT FOR TRAFFIC AND OBSTACLES – Avoid the use of any electronic devices.
  • ENSURE VISIBILITY TO MOTORISTS  – by wearing bright, reflective colors and using bicycle lights at dusk or dark.
  • NEVER RIDE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR when you are distracted.
  • DON’T GET DOORED– Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road lined with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in the car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.
  • SIGNAL A WARNING– Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potentially dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.
  • STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE– Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or an instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.
  • READ THE LIGHTS– Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.
  • KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY– If you have the right of way in an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling but be prepared to stop.

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

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

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

 

Sources:
https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/safety-tips-for-motorists-and-cyclists-for-national-bike-month/

https://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/

https://www.outsideonline.com/2420196/what-we-learned-tracking-cycling-deaths-year#close

When is a Car Wreck Considered Wrongful Death?

 

 

Car wrecks that result in the death of the victim go from being called personal injury cases to wrongful death car wreck cases.  Car wrecks that result in the death of the victim change in legal terminology because the death of the individual means that the claim can only be brought under Florida’s Wrongful death statute.

Despite the overwhelming amount of information about careless or unsafe driving, accidents can still happen. When someone’s action lead to another’s death, whether it is accidental, intentional, or a car manufacturer defect, the deceased’s loved ones may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death. Wrongful death in a car accident can happen for a variety of reasons such as negligence or recklessness by another motorist, criminal activity, or even because of a manufacturing defect by the automaker.

Below you will find key information about wrongful death car accidents, including the common causes of car accidents, and your options when filing a claim.

What are the Main Causes of Car Accidents?

Car accidents are a common occurrence. Think about all the times you have been sitting in rush hour traffic listening to a traffic report on the radio where the announcer lists out the number of accidents in a given time period. Common causes of car accidents that can lead to a fatality include:

  • Texting and driving (distracted driving)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs (including prescription drugs) and/or alcohol (DUI)
  • Reckless driving (speeding, racing, passing when it is unsafe, etc.)
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Driver fatigue
  • Street and highway defects
  • Car manufacturing defects
  • Inexperienced and/or elderly drivers
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Failing to yield
  • Speeding

There are no more serious cases in our legal system and in our firm, these files have a special place for all of us working with these families.

The Florida Statute of Limitations

Florida statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is only two years as opposed to the four-year statute of limitations for injury cases.  Given this shorter time limitation, it is imperative to have a law firm working on the wrongful death case as soon as the family can deal with discussing the case.

At the same time, this is the wrongful death of a loved one is always a shock.  It is always the result of a traumatic and unexpected incident.  So, it is completely normal and understandable for families to deal with the initial grief of the loved one before having to discuss the subject with a law firm.

Securing Evidence

It is important, however, that as soon as possible the law firm be engaged since they will need to secure evidence and perform an investigation.  The insurance company or entity responsible for the death will immediately send a team of experts out to start working on the defense of the case.  They will always have a head start on the family’s lawyer since the family is always dealing with the grief and loss of a loved one first.  The companies are only thinking about how to minimize their legal liability.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute

Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute has specific provisions that control every facet of the case from who can bring the case to who can legally recover for the death of the victim.  The phrase wrongful death means that death is brought about by the wrongful conduct of another.  This wrongful conduct can range from intentional acts to pure negligent conduct and every state of mind in between.

As we have discussed in previous posts, wrongful death cases are brought on behalf of the legal survivors of the victim and in some rare circumstances can also include claims to punish the wrongful actor.  Florida’s Wrongful Death Law dictates everything in relation to these cases from the proper party to bring it and who may benefit from the suit and who may not benefit.

If there is a car wreck that involves a death to one or more of the victims, then that family should be consulting an injury lawyer that has experience with the Florida Wrongful Death Act.

If you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck and there is a death of one of the victims, it is important to hire a law firm that has plenty of experience navigating Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.  For more information and free consultation of your Wrongful Death case from a car wreck, please find 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.

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://www.findlaw.com/injury/torts-and-personal-injuries/wrongful-death-in-a-car-accident.html

 

 

 

Why Should You Have Insurance if You Ride a Motorcycle in Florida?

Does Florida law require a motorcyclist to have insurance? Surprisingly the answer is no. The Florida “No-Fault Law” does not apply to motorcyclists, even though they may be injured or cause injury or property damage in a crash.

The NHTSA reports that 13 cars out of every 100,000 are involved in a fatal accident, but motorcycles have a fatality rate of 72 per 100,000. Motorcyclists are also at a greater risk of a fatal accident per mile traveled.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car accident – and nine times more likely to become injured while riding a motorcycle than while driving a car.


 YOU ARE 37 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT THAN A CAR ACCIDENT – NHTSA.GOV


10 most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Unsafe Lane Changes

A driver risks colliding with a motorcyclist when he or she fails to check his or her blind spot or signal when changing lanes.

Car Doors

Some motorcycle accidents occur when a driver opens the door of their parked vehicle in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Speeding

A leading cause of all types of auto accidents, speeding reduces a vehicle’s chance of seeing and reacting to other drivers in time to prevent a collision. The higher the speed, the greater the impact and the more severe the potential injuries.

Driving Under the Influence

Drivers who cause accidents because they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face both civil and criminal liability.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars, usually in traffic jams. Lane splitting is a common cause of motorcycle accidents due to several factors:

  • the close proximity of the cars to the motorcycle
  • the reduced space the motorcycle has to maneuver, and
  • the fact that the cars don’t anticipate that any vehicle or motorcycle will be passing them in slowed or stopped traffic.

Sudden Stops

Rear-end collisions resulting from following too closely or an abrupt stop can result in serious injury or death to a motorcyclist.

Inexperienced Drivers

Inexperienced drivers (new drivers/teens) are likely to make unsafe moves or overcorrections on the road that could compromise the safety of other motorists.

Left Turn Accidents

The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Usually, the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is:

  • going straight through an intersection
  • passing the car, or
  • trying to overtake the car.

Dangerous Road Conditions

Due to the smaller size and less stable nature of the motorcycle, potholes, dead animals, slick pavement conditions, uneven heights between lanes, and other irregularities or unexpected objects in the road pose a serious safety threat to motorcycles. (To learn more about common road hazards and tips for avoiding them, see Nolo’s article Motorcycle Accidents: Road Hazards.)

Motorcycle Defects

The manufacturer of a poorly designed or manufactured motorcycle part can be held liable for any injuries or deaths arising from the use of the defective part.

What Types of Coverage Should You Have?

At a minimum, you should purchase bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. If you do not have health insurance or have such insurance with a large deductible, purchase med pay coverage for motorcycle injuries.

Bodily Injury and Property Damage Coverage

Bodily injury and property damage coverage protect you in case the crash is your fault and others are injured or property damage is inflicted. If the crash is your fault, you will be held to be financially responsible and this coverage will protect you financially. Med pay will help pay your medical bills even if you are at fault for the crash. If you ride with passengers, bodily injury coverage may help protect you if they are injured in a crash that is your fault.

Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) coverage

Uninsured/underinsured (UM) coverage is vitally important if you ride a motorcycle. Most crashes result in serious injury and if the at-fault party has no bodily injury coverage or coverage with small limits, you will not be compensated for your injuries and losses. As Florida personal injury lawyers, we stress the importance of UM coverage for all drivers, and it is especially important for motorcycle riders. In Florida, bodily injury coverage is not required to drive, and many drivers in our area have not bodily injury coverage. When you buy insurance for your motorcycle, please request UM coverage, and buy as much coverage as you can afford. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and very important. This coverage will also afford protection to any riders who are injured on your motorcycle.

Since motorcycle crashes may often result in catastrophic injuries, please purchase liability and UM coverage. This is important to protect you and your family. A board-certified civil trial lawyer can advise you on coverage and can help you navigate through the complex laws involving motorcycle crashes.

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.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/motorcycle-accidents-common-causes-30330.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/motorcycle-accidents-road-hazards-30331.html

https://zarzaurlaw.com/motorcycle-accident/

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

https://zarzaurlaw.com/auto-accident/

 

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

RECALL: Kidde Nighthawk Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerPensacola Product Liability: Recall Alert

The Kidde NightHawk combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are being recalled because the alarm can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven-year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The company is recalling 3.6 million Kidde NightHawk talking combo smoke/CO alarms in the U.S. and another 1.5 million in Canada. Alarms with the model number KN-COSM-IB and manufacture dates between June 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2010 come under the recall.

The alarms are hard-wired into a home’s electric power. The unit has a compartment on the back for the installation of a replaceable 9V backup battery.

The alarm is white, round and measures about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. “Kidde” is engraved on the front of the alarm. “Kidde,” the model number and manufacture dates are printed on a label on the back on the alarm.

The alarms were sold at electrical distributors and home centers nationwide and online on Amazon.com from June 2004 through December 2010 for between $40 and $65.

Kidde has received eight reports of incidents with the recalled alarms. No injuries have been reported.

Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerSmoke detectors are invaluable in saving lives. It is estimated that three-fifths of all deaths from home fires occurred in homes without smoke detectors. But what happens when a smoke detector fails to alert residents of the presence of smoke? Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

 

To prove a Pensacola product liability claim against a smoke detector manufacturer, the plaintiff is required to show:

  • That The Smoke Detector Was A Defective Product;
  • That The Defective Product Created An Unreasonably Dangerous Risk That Was Not Outweighed By The Benefits Of The Product;
  • And That The Defective Nature Of The Product Was The Cause Of The Plaintiff’s Injuries Or Damages.

The actions of the plaintiffs in maintaining the smoke detectors and in responding to the alarms can provide a defense for smoke detector manufacturers in Pensacola product liability actions.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled alarms and call Kidde directly at 855-239-0490 for a free replacement alarm, or a discount on a new alarm. Kidde toll-free at 855-239-0490 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Notice” for more information.

Securing Compensation for Victims of Defective Products

Zarzaur Law acts promptly in defective product cases to maximize the chance of fair recovery for our clients’ Pensacola product liability claims. We first secure the product itself for examination by experts. We consult with the most qualified engineers, mechanics, and other experts to research the design and manufacturing process. Our Pensacola product liability lawyers also investigate any history of similar defective product claims against the company and the manufacturers’ response to concerns about product safety.

We invest a lot of time and money in defective product cases to ensure that our clients get full compensation from manufacturers of unsafe products.

For more information, visit our Pensacola product liability page.