Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Crash Attorney

New Year’s Eve Safety – Drinking and Driving, COVID, and Other Considerations

New Year’s Eve can be a fun holiday to celebrate solo or with loved ones. Keep yourself safe by considering all of these New Year’s Eve safety tips.

Drinking and Driving

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 427 people may die on U.S. roads this New Year’s Day holiday period. Holidays traditionally are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often caused for celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor-vehicle crashes.

There Are Many Reasons Not To Drive On New Year’s Eve This Year – Here Are Just A Few:

1. The Cost of a DUI is Not Worth the risk – If you are charged with a DUI it can easily cost you up to $2,000 (just for a first offense), not to mention a night in jail, fines, hours of community service, participation in a treatment program, and your license being revoked.

2. NO traffic – You can skip all the traffic and frustration, by leaving your car in the driveway

3. Celebrate with the Ones You Really Care About (at home) – Cheers to you and your loved ones as you celebrate at home. There is no risk of injury or issues of being around thousands of people you don’t really know. Make your at-home celebration an event.

4. Save Money and Make Better Drinks at Home – The average price of a cocktail (that is normally watered down) is jaw-dropping…. Especially on New Year’s Eve! So buy your own quality ingredients and make your own or even try a new recipe and don’t worry about emptying your pockets on a high-priced cocktail out or the cost of a DUI or even worse a car wreck that injures or kills another person.

COVID – Omicron 

There is uncertainty associated with any estimate. The 90% confidence interval for the estimate of traffic deaths this holiday is 347 to 514. This confidence interval cannot account for the unknown impact the evolving response to COVID-19 will have on holiday travel. 

Because of the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having on social activities, the uncertainty of this year’s estimate is increased.

You should skip New Year’s Eve parties this year because of the omicron wave, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The omicron variant has been spreading rapidly throughout the United States. In fact, there have been so many cases that airline crews have had to call out sick, leading to hundreds of canceled holiday flights, according to CNBC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking extra precautions during the holidays, especially if you’re gathering with multiple households.

Other Safety Considerations

Champagne

It’s a strange one, but a projectile champagne cork can absolutely be a danger, especially if you are not used to opening bottles! Use the “45 Rules” for bubbly. Chill champagne to at least 45 degrees F, as this will make the cork less likely to pop. When ready to open, place a towel over the top of the bottle and hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, pointing it away from yourself and others.

Fireworks

First of all, make sure to check your local regulations regarding the personal use of fireworks. If it is illegal or if you are unfamiliar with how they work, leave them to professionals! If you still decide to use legal fireworks, make sure to keep children and pets away from the area – even sparklers, which are often used by kids, burn at temperatures of about 2000 degrees and can be incredibly dangerous. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose at the ready. Light fireworks one at a time, then move back away from them. Never attempt to re-light a firework that did not go off the first time; douse them and other spent fireworks with plenty of water before discarding them. And of course, never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Pets

Between fireworks, noisemakers, and general revelry, pets can experience high anxiety on New Year’s Eve. Scared pets can bite or run and potentially get hurt, cause accidents, or become lost. The best way to keep pets safe is to keep them indoors and comfortable; Make sure fences and gates are secure and that your pet has a current ID tag and that all microchip information is up to date. If your pet has shown signs of extreme anxiety in the past, you might also consult your veterinarian and ask for anti-anxiety medications or a thunder coat.

Guns

In some cultures, it was previously a tradition to participate in celebratory gunfire at midnight, shooting handguns into the air. Not only is this illegal, but it can be deadly; falling bullets can be fatal. In Phoenix in 1999, a young teen was killed outside of her home by a bullet that was fired into the air more than a mile away. Deaths have resulted in harsher penalties for this crime, so leave all firearms safely locked inside this holiday.

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:

Deaths by Transportation Mode

New Year’s Day

https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/impaired-driving

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

Your Car Is Stolen And Then In An Accident – Are You Liable?

Car accident with stolen car

We get calls every once in a while, where somebody says, I was in a wreck and the car that hit me was reported stolen – is the owner of that car liable?

It’s a good question because you would think that if somebody steals my car, I’m not going to be responsible for it. Well, that’s not exactly correct.

Report The Vehicle Stolen As Soon As Possible

The law forces you as the owner of the vehicle to report that stolen vehicle within a reasonable amount of time, and here’s why. Imagine if you could just report a car stolen and that would alleviate the need for you to be responsible for anything that happens in that car, no matter when it happened.

Implied Permission

Let’s say, for instance, you gave your car to a friend of yours on a Monday and Friday that friend drives your car and has a wreck. They returned the car to you on the following Monday and they say they hit a pole and that’s the reason for the damage to the car. You then find out two weeks later that your friend actually hit another car and that person is injured. Now the injured party is coming after you as the owner of the car.

Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

In Florida, an owner and a driver are equally responsible under Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. Whatever happens in that car, the owner and the driver are liable, even though the owner is not in the car – they share liability. That owner did do anything wrong other than they gave permission to the driver to drive the car.

However, there’s an exception to that rule that says if the car is STOLEN OR REPORTED STOLEN the owner is off the hook.

Verifying The Car Was Stolen

If your vehicle was legitimately stolen, your liability may be waived because permission was not granted. The owner of the vehicle can only be responsible for an accident caused by someone who was driving his or her vehicle with actual or implied permission.

It has to be a full-blown theft of your vehicle. Somebody that never had permission, there never was any gray area about it – It has to be stolen, otherwise, you’re going to get arrested for filing a false claim.

Does Access To The Car Keys Matter?

Keys also matter from time to time. Whether you gave somebody the keys or not, or they had access to the keys or not, an owner of a vehicle that knows that somebody of driving age is in their house and doesn’t secure their keys can be held liable.

If that person takes the vehicle because you are implicitly allowing them access to your keys, even though you didn’t give them express permission to drive the car, it is going to be questionable. It can be difficult to prove a stolen vehicle at that point if they thought they had permission to use the keys or the car.

In Florida, if your car is 100% really stolen, you should report it as soon as possible because that stops the chain of causation, where you and your insurance company are being held responsible for what happens in that vehicle.

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.investopedia.com/does-car-insurance-cover-theft-5187222

https://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2018/02/08/282958.htm

What Should You Do Right After a Car Wreck?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the moments immediately following a car wreck, most people are not thinking about a potential legal case. Naturally, our first concern is for the health and safety of ourselves, our passengers, and the people in the other car.

Render Aid – If You Can

Once you have checked on yourself and the other people involved in the crash, your first move should be to help anyone that is injured in the crash. Florida law allows but does not require anyone to render aid at the scene themselves—however, if you do not feel comfortable rendering aid to injured persons yourself, you must do everything in your power to procure an ambulance or other medical help to the best of your ability.

Call 911

To that point, you should call 911 immediately after checking the other passengers and drivers for injuries. Florida law requires any person involved in a wreck to report the crash if it results in property damage or injury. 911 dispatchers can send law enforcement to the scene to investigate the crash as well as send an ambulance if necessary.

Potential Legal Case After a Car Wreck

Have Your Identification Available

When you talk to law enforcement at the scene, be sure to have your license, registration, and vehicle identification number (VIN) handy. Your VIN will often be found in or around the bottom left-hand portion of the windshield, in the driver’s side door jamb, or the front of the engine hood.

Provide a Statement to the Officer at the Scene

Be aware that law enforcement will be asking how the accident occurred. Every driver is required to provide information about the crashes they are involved in. To facilitate truthfulness, the statements made during law enforcement’s crash investigation are privileged and cannot be used to prove liability at trial. The only exception to the duty to provide a statement is that a person is not required to waive their Fifth Amendment privilege during the crash investigation. However, this scenario is rare and does not apply to most personal injury claimants.

Document the Scene

The next step is to take photographs of the scene and the injuries. Photos of the property damage are frequently used in pre-suit and litigation to convey the severity of the crash. Photos of injuries before anyone treats them are also useful to show the traumatic nature in the most favorable light. Photos of the scene can show any dangerous conditions in the roadway as well as help an accident reconstructionist if liability is disputed.

Move the Vehicle from the Scene

The second to last thing to do is do everything you can (within reason) to move the vehicles from the scene of the crash to allow traffic to flow. If the crash is severe enough that the vehicles cannot be moved, your vehicles will be towed after law enforcement arrives.

Consult and Follow the CAR WRECK CHECKLIST

If you’ve been the victim of a car wreck, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Instead, follow the car wreck checklist and put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. > CARWRECKCHECKLIST.COM

Car Accident Checklist

Hire an Experienced Attorney

Finally, the last thing to do if you or your passengers are injured in a car wreck that is not your fault is to call an experienced personal injury lawyer. While there are many personal injury lawyers, not all of them have equal training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to call themselves “experts” in a particular field. However, the Bar does allow some lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury to take a test to become Board Certified Civil Trial Specialists. Although only 1% of Florida lawyers are board-certified in a civil trial, two out of the three lawyers at Zarzaur Law hold this certification.

Since all personal injury lawyers have the same “no cost no fee unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason not to hire someone who is not a specialist.

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.

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.

5 Things the Insurance Adjuster Will Not Tell You After A Car Wreck

Insurance Adjuster Should Tell You

 

 

You have been in a car accident, caused by the inattention and negligence of another driver. Unfortunately, this happens much too often in our busy society. The roads are filled with inattentive, distracted drivers and with cell phones, GPS, and other devices, and this is only getting worse.

This can be a stressful situation and dealing with insurance adjusters can often make it worse. There are certain basic facts you must understand to protect your rights in this situation.

You Don’t Have to Give A Recorded Statement To The Opposing Insurance Adjuster

While you must certainly report the claim and give a description to your own insurance company, the converse is not true when dealing with an adjuster working for the person that caused your damage. There is no contractual or legal obligation to give such a statement. If you hire an experienced trial lawyer to handle your claim, he or she may allow this, but you certainly have no obligation to give such a statement, despite what the opposing insurance adjuster may tell you. In fact, pressure to do this may be a “red flag” that you need to consult a lawyer.

You Can Choose the Auto Repair Shop

Insurance adjusters may ask, or tell you, to use a certain auto repair shop. There is no legal obligation to do this, and if you prefer another shop, feel free to use it. While the recommended shop may well be qualified, and do very good work, keep in mind that the repair facility is your choice. If you are not familiar with the shops in your area, talk to friends or acquaintances or do some internet research before you choose. But remember, it’s your choice.

The Job of An Insurance Adjuster Is to Settle Your Claim as Cheaply as Possible

Let’s get this straight, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. Despite effective advertising to the contrary, the job of an adjuster is to settle a claim as cheaply as possible. While many adjusters are genuinely nice, friendly people, they are your adversary in a car claim against their insureds.

You Don’t Have to Take the First Offer

As stated above, the goal of an adjuster is to settle your claim as cheaply as possible. In most circumstances, they will make a very low offer to settle your claim, whether you are represented or not. They are trained negotiators, and most are not candid about what the claim is worth, or how much “authority” they have to settle for a claim. In certain cases, the first offer may be reasonable or be the full amount of the policy limits, but this is very rare. A board-certified lawyer will have many years dealing with these tactics and can give you the best advice on offers and the value of your case.

You Should Consult with An Attorney

If you were injured as a result of a car crash, you should not be at the mercy of the opposing adjuster. You should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.it costs nothing to consult with the most experienced lawyers. If they take your case and settle your case, you will owe a fee, but otherwise, there is no obligation. Why not consult with an lawyer?

The insurance adjuster will tell you that you do not need a lawyer, it will cost you more than it is worth, and that they will be rare. Don’t fall for this strategy. They do not have your bests interests at heart, and only want to settle as cheaply as possible. You have an absolute right to consult with an lawyer, and you should consult with an experienced lawyer to get the best advice.

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:

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

What Is UM Coverage And Why Is It Important?

https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/

After A Car Accident: What Should You Take Pictures Of And Why?

Taking Pictures After A Car Accident:

“Taking pictures after a car accident or a car wreck is a huge help for you”.

When you are in a car wreck, the first thing you are thinking about is the well-being of yourself and your passengers. Clearly, everyone’s health is the most important thing in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

However, the second thing you should be thinking about is your legal rights. Even if you or your passengers may not feel any pain after an accident and may not be thinking about a personal injury case immediately, many people start feeling bad in the hours and days following a wreck once their adrenaline wears off.

So, a question we are frequently asked is “What should I do once I have called the police and made sure everyone is, ok?”
First – Follow the Car Wreck Checklist >

A Photo Is Worth A Thousand Words

After a car wreck, a camera is your best friend. A photograph of the scene as it is before the debris is cleared before vehicles are moved and before police arrive is the best evidence of the aftermath of a wreck.

You should take as many pictures as possible, but you should focus on the following items:

  • Property Damage – Pictures of your car can be sent to your insurance company to ensure that you receive full value for the repairs, as well as the diminishment in value you will see after repairs. Pictures of the other driver and their car before they are moved or repaired can help us prove fault if that issue arises.
  • Injuries – Pictures of your injuries as they appear right after an accident can show the severity of the injury, as well as help, avoid questions of which injuries were caused by the accident by the time settlement negotiations take place.
  • Traffic Signs – On occasion, the issue of who is “at fault” or “liable” in a wreck comes up. Taking pictures of the traffic signs as they exist on the day of the crash can sometimes help clear these liability questions up without the need for a fight.
  • Witnesses – Many times, witnesses that were not involved in the wreck are present at the scene, but many times they leave before police arrive. Pictures of these witnesses and their identification (if they allow you to take them) are very helpful if we need testimony from them as the case progresses.
  • Road Hazards – Sometimes, a wreck is not the fault of a driver at all. Sometimes there are hazards in the road—potholes, signs, malfunctioning traffic signals, and the like—that shouldn’t be there. If your wreck is caused by a similar hazard, taking pictures of the hazard can help prove a negligence case against whoever created the hazard.

Accident scene photography is important because, besides eyewitness accounts and a police record, it might be the only reliable evidence that can be collected from the scene.


TIP: IN ADDITION TO TAKING PHOTOS, CONSIDER WRITING DOWN WHAT YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE ACCIDENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. DOCUMENT THESE DETAILS BEFORE THEY’RE LOST FROM MEMORY.


What If You Are Injured And Cannot Take Photos?

In this situation, you want to try to make sure to document the scene anyway. If any of your passengers or witnesses are able to take photos on your phone, you may allow them to do so. In more severe wrecks, law enforcement will take scene photos as well. You may request them to take photos of your injuries.

While photos are useful and important, they are not strictly necessary in any case. Determinations of fault and severity of injuries can be proven through your own testimony, witness testimony, and documentary evidence, like medical records and wreck reports.

Car Accident DamagesIf you are unfortunate enough to get in a car wreck, whether you are able to take pictures or not, it is important to hire a lawyer who can navigate the liability process effectively.

Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in civil trial.

Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.

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

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

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

 

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tips-for-taking-car-accident-scene-photos.html

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/pointers-on-taking-accident-scene-pictures-35476

6 Myths About Car Accidents And Car Accident Claims

6 Myths About Car Accidents

Myths About Car Accidents:

1. My Insurance Will Pay For Everything

This is not true in Florida. If you are hit by another driver, your recovery generally depends on their coverage. Florida does not require much mandatory coverage to drive and many violate the law and do not have insurance.

Under Florida law, the minimum coverage is simply $10,000 in property damage liability. If the at-fault driver has this minimum, and your car is worth more than $10,000 you will have a loss unless you purchased ‘collision’ coverage. This coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle, usually up to the value at the time of the crash. It can be somewhat expensive, but if you own a vehicle, it is important to have this coverage, especially in a state like Florida that has lax coverage requirements.

2. Rear-End Collisions Are Always The Fault Of The Rear Driver

This is not universally true. While there is a presumption of fault against someone who hits you from behind, there are numerous factual circumstances where this may not be true. This presumption may be rebutted by facts that show there was another negligent party who caused the crash.

For example, if a vehicle in front of you suddenly stops with no warning, for no good reason, and you suddenly stop and are rear-ended, the person who hit you can allege the crash was the fault of the driver in front. Florida is a pure “comparative negligence” state, which means that a jury can apportion damages by degrees of fault.

In this scenario, a jury might reasonably find the front driver was 100 percent at fault, even though the driver that hit you should have been able to stop before the crash.

Similarly, if you slammed on your brakes for an unreasonable reason, the driver that hit you can allege you were fully or partially at fault. In such cases, it is important to get legal advice if you are injured.

3. All Drivers Carry Enough Insurance

In most states, and particularly in Florida, this is not true. As stated earlier, Florida only requires a licensed driver to carry $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. There is no requirement for any personal injury bodily damage liability. If a person with this minimum coverage injures you in a car crash, you have no recourse against their insurance company.

In Florida, many people drive illegally with NO coverage. Because of economic problems or just a disregard of the law, they are able to drive with no insurance to protect others from their poor driving.

We will say again if you drive in Florida, you need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage to protect you and your family in this situation. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and maybe the most important coverage you can have.

Unfortunately, we talk to potential clients every day who are left out in the cold, with no real recourse for their injuries, because they did not buy this coverage. While your insurance company may tell you that you have “full coverage” you do not unless you have UM coverage.

4. The Insurance Company Is On Your Side

These companies spend billions in propaganda to tell you that they are “on your side”, and that you are in “good hands” with their coverage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Auto insurance companies exist only to make profits and PAY AS LITTLE IN CLAIMS AS POSSIBLE.

Trial lawyers serve the purpose of making sure these companies are fair to their insureds and those who are injured by their insured. We fight their lobbyists and politicians in addition to their lawyers to make sure they do not steamroll victims. If you have never been the victim of an insurance company, you are lucky. But rest assured the industry is always looking to tilt the scales of justice again you and other victims. Don’t fall for the propaganda.

5. You Do Not Need Medical Treatment For Minor Injuries

If you have any injury in a car crash, you must seek medical care as soon as possible. Although you may have “no-fault” PIP coverage in your auto policy, you must be evaluated and treated within 14 days in order to have the full benefit of your policy. If you don’t do this, the company can limit its liability to $2,500 even if your policy limits are higher.

Often people are too shook up at the scene to realize they are injured. The adrenaline is flowing, and there is often much chaos. Also, with soft tissue/sprain/strain type injuries, you may start feeling the pain more as time goes by. A serious injury is not always apparent immediately, and if you are injured at all you should seek medical care as soon as possible and follow the “car wreck checklist.”

6. You Do Not Need An Attorney

This is more propaganda from the insurance industry. If you are injured by the negligence of another driver, you need to seek legal counsel. Experienced personal injury lawyers will give you a free consultation, and if they will not, find another lawyer who will. The lawyer may not be able to help you, but they will look carefully at your case before giving such advice. A consumer should always use this resource, even if the insurance company tries to keep you from it.

As a simple rule, if you are injured, you need to consult with an experienced trial lawyer. This is especially true if the insurance company is trying to get you to sign documents to settle your claim. Don’t fall for their representations that they are trying to help you. It’s simply not true.

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://zarzaurlaw.com/how-to-avoid-car-accidents/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/how-are-pain-and-suffering-damages-in-a-personal-injury-case-determined/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/what-types-of-damages-are-available-in-a-car-accident-case/

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

https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/the-most-common-car-accident-injuries/

What Happens If You Are In A Car Wreck Caused By An Impaired Driver?

Alcohol is a substance that reduces the functions of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. All of these abilities are necessary to operate a motor vehicle safely. A person’s alcohol level is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is called blood alcohol coordination, or BAC. At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, car crash risks increase exponentially.

Because of such risk, it’s illegal in all states to drive with a BAC of .08. Why? Almost one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the US involved drunk drivers.

According to NHTSA, between the years 2009-2018, more than 10,000 people per year died from drunk driving crashes. Many more are injured, and it is estimated that over one-half of all drivers will be involved in a drunk driving crash.


IT IS ESTIMATED THAT OVER ONE-HALF OF ALL DRIVERS WILL BE INVOLVED IN A DRUNK DRIVING CRASH.


Damages From A Drunk Driving Crash

Compensatory Damages
If you are injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, what are your rights? Under Florida law, you can recover compensatory and punitive damages against the drunk driver.

Compensatory Damages Include:

  • Lost wages
  • Unpaid medical bills
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Disability (if you have a permanent injury)

Most liability insurance policies will pay these damages, even if the insured was drunk.

Punitive Damages
“Punish” the drunk driver. They are not limited to standard compensatory damages, and the amount of such damages is usually solely in the discretion of a jury. They are generally limited by a multiplier of compensatory damages, although in cases of drunk driving there may not be a limit. Unfortunately, these damages are not covered by most Florida auto liability policies. Thus, if there is a punitive damages award, the insurance company is not responsible for payment.

Proving The Driver Was Impaired

Proving a driver was drunk often depends on whether the driver was criminally charged. If so, an experienced auto accident lawyer can use the facts surrounding the arrest to prove both fault and the criminal nature of the conduct, so as to enhance the value of the case for the victim. Recorded actions at the scene, witness statements and physical evidence (such as empty liquor bottles and BAC result) are usually admissible in a civil suit for damages. The law of evidence is very complex, and a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer is necessary in such cases.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage In Drunk Driving Cases

If the drunk driver flees the scene and is never found, and the driver has little or no bodily injury insurance, the victim can look to his or her own insurance coverage for recovery. UM coverage may include coverage for fleeing or hit and run wrong doers, or for cases where the drunk driver has little or no coverage. This is another reason to make sure you have an lawyer to investigate these matters, and another reason to buy as much UM coverage as you can afford.

Third-Party Liability For Drunk Drivers

Under Florida law, certain third parties may be responsible for injuries caused by a drunk driver. Under the Florida “Dram Shop” statute, a business that sells or serves alcohol to a person involved in a crash is not liable unless:

1-the person is not of lawful drinking age (21 in Florida)

2-the person is habitually addicted to alcohol and the server knew or should have known that.

These are very narrow restrictions and often difficult to prove. A social host is generally not liable unless they knowingly provide alcohol to a minor. Again, this is a very complex area of Florida law, and the Florida legislature has made it very difficult to recover in such situations.

The statute of limitations to sue a commercial establishment or a social host is four years from the date of the injury, or two years if the case involves a wrongful death.

If you are injured in a case involving drunk driving, you need to contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The prompt preservation of evidence may be very important to your recovery.

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.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

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

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dram-shop-laws-social-host-liability-alcohol-related-accidents-florida.html

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

https://www.findlaw.com/litigation/legal-system/what-are-compensatory-damages.html

The Particular Issues of Being Involved in A Wreck With Multiple Vehicles.

Most Florida Car Accidents or Florida Car Wrecks occur between two vehicles.  One vehicle is considered the “at-fault” vehicle and the other vehicle is considered the “victim” vehicle.

Occasionally, wrecks in Florida involve multiple vehicles.  Usually, one “at-fault” driver who strikes more than one car during the wreck.  These are sometimes “chain reaction” type of collisions that can happen in tightly spaced traffic like backups on bridges or other roads with limited shoulders.

The Florida Crash Report will usually list the “at-fault” driver as Vehicle 1 and will label the other Vehicles as 2- 4 or whatever the number of cars involved.  This will mean that only one Vehicle, Vehicle 1, will be liable for all of the damages and injuries caused.


IN A TYPICAL MULTIPLE VEHICLE WRECK THERE IS A LIMITED AMOUNT OF INSURANCE COVERAGE AND USUALLY ONLY ONE RESPONSIBLE INSURANCE POLICY


So why is this important?  Well because if there is only one insurance policy that is liable for all of the damages and injuries and if these damages and injuries are spread across multiple vehicles, then most likely, there will be insufficient insurance coverage for the “at fault” driver.

For example: many drivers in Florida have minimal insurance coverage.  Typically, drivers will have the mandatory $10,000.00 per claim/$20,000.00 per accident in property damage coverage and then have the same amount in boiling injury coverage.

Bodily Injury Coverage

Bodily injury coverage is the category of insurance that compensates other drivers for their injuries. The insurance company only has to pay the per accident limit when there are multiple cars involved and it does not have to pay each claim the “per claim” limit.  So, in this example, the limits were $10,000.00 per claim and $20,000.00 per accident for both property damage and injury.  The insurance company only has to pay $20,000.00 towards any and all property damage and $20,000.00 for any and all injuries.  This is the total amount they are responsible to pay even if there are 25 cars involves and multiple serious injuries. 

As you can imagine, a wreck can total a couple of cars and easily be well in excess of $20,000.00.  Further, $20,000.00 in medical expenses split between multiple victims can also be a nominal figure.

So long as the insurance company doesn’t act unreasonably in offering these total limits to the lawyers for each client, this is all they will ever have to pay towards the claims.

Global Settlement Mediation

 Global settlements for property damage and injury claims are the most common outcome of Florida Car Wrecks with multiple vehicle involvement.

The process that insurance companies use in Florida Car Wrecks involving multiple vehicles is quite simple.  It is called a “global settlement” process.  Global meaning that all potential parties for both property damages and injuries are all notified that the insurance company is planning on having a meeting where they will divide up the per accident limits among the potential claims.

This global settlement conference will require each lawyer to present information that would explain why their respective client should recover more, percentage-wise, than other claimants.  For instance, the injured party in the car that was hit first may usually have the most property damage and worse injuries.  This claimant will, many times, have the best argument that their injuries and damages are worse than others.

However, other factors are also considered in these global settlement conferences.  These factors can include things like:

  1. Does the party have health insurance?
  2. How much underinsured motorist coverage does each party have?
  3. Will this be the only recovery that this client makes for the entire event?
  4. How bad are the injuries and how expensive will the future treatments be?
  5. What condition was the claimant in prior to the wreck?

Obviously, these global settlement conferences should not be attended without a lawyer who has prepared not only to present your best case but prepared to point out why the other claims should not take priority.


UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND FLORIDA CAR WRECKS WITH MULTIPLE INVOLVED VEHICLES IS JUST ANOTHER REASON WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE AS MUCH A YOU CAN AFFORD.


Purchase as Much UM Coverage as You Can Afford

Every chance we get to advise clients and potential clients to purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as they can afford, we do so.  Multiple vehicle accidents are just another reason why it is prudent to purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as possible.  When you have this type of coverage on your policy the effect of the “at fault” driver not having sufficient coverage is much less problematic. 

For example: instead of having to split $20,000.00 four ways as illustrated above, the global settlement amount would just be the initial settlement of your case.  Once that is done, then your lawyer would be able to move on to the underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy for the additional value in your injury case.

Not having underinsured motorist coverage makes you depends entirely on the “at fault” party’s judgment in how much coverage to purchase. 

We can assure you that if they are acting reckless and cause a wreck, many times they are not going to be the type of person that is going to exercise diligence in selecting large amount of insurance for the other drivers’ injuries.  Instead, they will likely opt for the cheapest form of insurance that gets them legal to drive.  This means that you have to protect yourself and your family by purchasing the underinsured motorist coverage.

This is never more important than in a Florida Multiple Vehicle collision since having multiple claimants all pulling from the same number of limited coverages makes getting “made-whole” near impossible without your own protection.

If you are injured in a multiple vehicle car crash, whether a high speed or low speed crash, you should seek the services of an experienced person injury lawyer. A board-certified civil trial lawyer has much experience in dealing with these cases and can give you the advice you need.

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/traffic-crash-reports/

The Most Common Car Accident Injuries.

Car Wreck Settlement Process

Everyone knows someone who was involved in a car wreck, and most know people who were seriously injured or killed in a car crash. This is not surprising.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are 3 million injuries in US car crashes each year. These result in 100 deaths per day. The costs of medical care and the loss of productivity caused by these crashes is almost $100 BILLION per year.

 

INJURIES CAUSED BY CAR CRASHES

Car crashes cause damage. The most obvious damage is to the vehicles involved; however, such crashes can cause bodily injury that is not always immediately visible.

Soft Tissue Injuries

The most common injuries caused by car crashes are soft tissue injuries. These are defined as injuries other than broken bones, to the “soft tissues” of the body.

Bruising and Contusions
Often seat belts or air bags can cause these conditions. While these generally heal without long term issues, they can be indicative of more serious, long term injuries.

A “Whiplash” Injury
While the term refers to the mechanism of the injury, a forward and back whiplash of the spine, it often is a term for the type of injuries sustained, such as strained or sprained muscles, tendons and ligaments of the spine. The whiplash motion can cause serious long-term injuries such as concussion and spinal disc injuries. Treatment options may include physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, massage and in some cases may lead to spinal surgery to repair disc injuries. This treatment can be very expensive, and disrupting. Even with appropriate care, these injuries may result in lifetime problems and treatment modalities.

Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Some crashes may cause serious brain injuries. Many people sustained concussions from striking their head or simply from the whiplash mechanism that may stress the soft tissues of the brain. You do not need to sustain a discrete period of loss of consciousness to be diagnosed with a brain injury. Many people have no memory of the crash and have other symptoms of concussion. It is very important to get immediate treatment if there is a suspicion of a concussion. Such injuries can change the way your brain functions, which may result in lifelong problems.

Broken Bones

The impact of a crash can caused your body to strike the interior of your vehicle, resulting in serious and painful injuries. Even with modern safety features such as seatbelts and airbags, there are many ways to stress your bones such that they are fractured in a crash. Treatment for broken bones may require surgery to set the bones and often the use of hardware to help the bones heal. This treatment can be very expensive, time consuming and painful.

Avoiding Serious Injury

While there is often no way to avoid a crash, there are common sense methods to protect yourself from serious injuries. These include wearing the seatbelt in your car. The CDC found that 61% of fatality victims were not wearing their seat belts. While some may find them uncomfortable or inconvenient ,the seat belt is a proven life saver.

If you have young children, you should leave them in approved booster seats as long as required. These are proven to provide great safety to a child. Again, regular use may be inconvenient, but they are an invaluable tool to keep kids safe,

 

Low Impact Crashes

Even low speed crashes can cause serious injuries. While most such crashes cause long term injuries, factors such as the type of vehicles involved, the mechanics of the crash and the pre accident condition of the victims can lead to serious long-term injuries. There have been many scientific studies the show the forces in a low speed crash may result in long term damage.

 

If you are injured in a car crash, whether a high speed or low speed crash, you should seek the services of an experienced person injury lawyer. A board-certified civil trial lawyer has much experience in dealing with these cases and can give you the advice you need.

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.natlawreview.com/article/8-most-common-car-accident-injuries-and-what-to-do-about-them

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