Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Crash Attorney

The Number Of Fatal Car Accidents In The U.S. Is At Its Highest Since 2007.

Traffic Fatalities in The US

NHTSA REPORTS A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN TRAFFIC FATALITIES

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its 2020 annual traffic crash data, showing that 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide. That number marks the highest number of fatalities since 2007.

The estimated number of police-reported crashes in 2020 decreased by 22% as compared to 2019, and the estimated number of people injured declined by 17%.

Contributing Factors

While the number of crashes and traffic injuries declined overall,  fatal crashes increased by 6.8%.

THE FATALITY RATE PER 100 MILLION VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED INCREASED TO 1.34, A 21% INCREASE FROM 2019 AND THE HIGHEST SINCE 2007.

In 45% of fatal crashes, the drivers of passenger vehicles were engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors: 

– Speeding

– Alcohol impairment

– Not wearing a seat belt.

A National Crisis

“The rising fatalities on our roadways are a national crisis; we cannot and must not accept these deaths as inevitable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “People should leave the house and know they’re going to get to their destination safely, and with the resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, plus the policies in the National Roadway Safety Strategy we launched last month, we will do everything we can to save lives on America’s roads.”

“The tragic loss of life of people represented by these numbers confirms that we have a deadly crisis on our nation’s roads. While overall traffic crashes and people injured were down in 2020, fatal crashes and fatalities increased. We cannot allow this to become the status quo,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator.

In January, the U.S. DOT released the federal government’s comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

The strategy adopts the safe system approach and builds multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care. It is complemented by unprecedented safety funding included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Nationwide Statistics

2020 FATAL CRASH STATISTICS

NHTSA 2020 annual traffic crash data, as compared to 2019 data. The 2020 fatality numbers were the highest since 2007.

The 2020 crash data report also examines fatality data in key categories, as compared to 2019:

  • Injured people, including occupants and non-occupants, down significantly in most categories
  • Estimated number of police-reported crashes in 2020 decreased by 22%
  • Fatalities in speeding-related crashes up 17%
  • Fatalities in alcohol-impaired driving crashes up 14%
  • Unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities up 14%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities up 11% (highest number since first data collection in 1975)
  • Bicyclist fatalities up 9.2% (highest number since 1987)
  • Passenger car occupant fatalities up 9%
  • Fatalities in urban areas up 8.5%
  • Pedestrian fatalities up 3.9% (highest number since 1989)
  • Fatalities in hit-and-run crashes up 26%
  • Fatalities in large-truck crashes down 1.3%

Total vehicle miles traveled decreased by 11% in 2020, from 3,261,772 million to 2,903,622 million.

 

Watch Our YouTube Video On This Topic

Statewide Fatal Crash Statistics

STATE OF FLORIDA

FLHSMV Crash Dashboard

2021 vs 2020 total crashes in Florida – 17% increase

2021 vs 2020 total fatal crashes in Florida – 12% increase 

2022 is already at 132,053 crashes and 1,163 fatalities

Escambia County Fatal Crash Statistics

FLHSMV Crash Dashboard

2021 vs 2020 total crashes in esc county – 11% increase

2021 vs 2020 total fatal crashes in esc county – 37% increase 

2022 is already at 2,080 crashes and 25 fatalities

TRAFFIC FATALITIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

If you’ve been the victim of an 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.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-transportation-secretary-pete-buttigieg-announces-comprehensive-national-roadway

https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-traffic-crash-data-fatalities#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20Department%20of%20Transportation’s,number%20of%20fatalities%20since%202007.

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

https://www.yoursun.com/study-us-41-us-17-most-dangerous-roads-in-area/article_f8867250-efdf-11ec-a493-638ddc206a7d.html

https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/auto/resources/most-deadly-roads-florida/

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

 

The Best Way To Find An Auto Accident Lawyer After A Florida Car Wreck.

Auto accident lawyers seem to be everywhere you look these days. Auto accident lawyer billboards, auto accident lawyer television commercials, auto accident lawyer radio and internet ads, and all sorts of other auto accident lawyer-focused promotions.

But What Is The Best Way To Select An Auto Accident Lawyer For Your Car Wreck Case?

Not all auto accident lawyers are the same. Not all auto accident lawyers have the same background, experience, training, and reputation. When looking for an auto accident lawyer for your car wreck case, look for those who are board-certified in civil trial.

Board Certification Matters

The Florida Bar allows for lawyers to become certified in their area of expertise, but to do so, you must have plenty of experience and success in that area first. Then you are required to take a board certification bar exam. Once that is successfully completed, then your background and trial experience are analyzed by the Florida Bar Certification committee and you may receive certification. This certification lasts for 6 years, after which it must be renewed and you have to provide proof that you have continued to be engaged in this kind of work and that you still have a great professional reputation.

Again, the Florida Bar checks with judges and lawyers that have worked with you, and it will determine whether the lawyer’s board certification should be continued.

Only 1% of Florida Lawyers Are Board Certified In Civil Trial

One of the first ways that you should narrow the field of potential auto accident lawyers in Florida is to find those that are Board Certified in Civil Trial. Among the entire Florida Bar, that number is only about 1% of Florida lawyers. Each community in Florida has probably closer to 15% of the auto accident lawyers who are Board Certified in Civil Trial.


Here is a link to the Florida Board of Certified Civil Trial Lawyers listing >


The Lawyer You Hire Should Also Be The Lawyer Handling Your Case

What Should I Expect from my Personal Injury lawyerThen, once you have narrowed the list to just those lawyers who are board-certified, make sure that that particular lawyer will be the one actually handling your auto accident case. So, some firms will have a board-certified civil trial lawyer as part of their firm, but is that board-certified expert going to be handling your case or will your case be handled by some lawyer in the firm that is not board-certified?

Remember, pretty much all auto accident lawyers charge the same, no fee, no cost unless you win, so hire an expert to handle your case if you can.

Ask Questions

Meet the lawyer handling your case and ask them all the questions that you and your family have. If they seem unsure about some topic, then you should probably not hire that lawyer. In Florida, you can almost never go wrong (or too far wrong) if the lawyer handling your auto accident case is board-certified in civil trial. They are considered experts in the type of law that includes auto accident cases.

We here at Zarzaur Law have three board-certified civil trial lawyers handling auto accident cases. So, make sure your auto accident lawyer is also an expert, or hire one that is.

If you have questions about an auto accident lawyer or an auto accident case, you can find our auto accident lawyers on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855Hirejoe.

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.

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.

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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/