Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Crash Attorneys

How Does PIP Work If You Have Another Car Accident in Florida?

It’s happened to so many drivers in Florida –  multiple auto accidents in a short period of time. If you are not sure if you have enough (or any) coverage to pay for your injuries from multiple car accidents that are a week apart, a month apart, or even a year apart, it’s a good idea to take the time to learn about PIP (Personal Injury Protection) before you need to file so you are prepared for what’s ahead.

What is PIP?

Florida is one of ten states that have personal injury protection (no-fault) automobile insurance. In Florida, PIP coverage is required to be purchased by all owners of motor vehicles registered in the state. Individuals with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage are held responsible for their own injuries, regardless of who is at fault. The intention of this was to provide injured drivers with up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage without establishing fault through the court system. The goal was to reduce payment delays and avoid the court system.

How Does PIP Work?

After the deductible, PIP benefits currently cover 80% of medical bills, including out-of-pocket prescription costs and rehab services. It can also pay up to 60% of lost wages (with proper documentation) and reimburse you for mileage to and from your doctor.

The total amount payable is $10,000, no matter how much your bills are. Keep in mind that the average emergency room visit usually costs much more than $10,000, so it is important to have health insurance in place.

PIP pays up to $10,000 for an “emergency medical condition.” An emergency medical condition is defined as an ailment that requires immediate medical attention and could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to the injured person’s health.

You can use PIP coverage no matter who was at fault for the accident. Some of the expenses that PIP typically covers include:

  • Doctor bills
  • Surgery costs
  • Hospital stays
  • Medications
  • Medical testing
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation

To receive Florida no-fault (PIP) insurance benefits, you must require emergency medical treatment after an accident. You must seek treatment within 14 days of a car crash; otherwise, the insurer will likely deny your claim.

If you timely seek treatment, then your bills up to $10,000 should be paid.

Florida PIP Coverage and the Right To Recover for Your Injuries Caused by an At-Fault Driver

PIP is meant to help cover the cost of medical treatment after a car accident, however, many medical expenses and lost wages exceed $10,000. The injured person will need to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer to represent them in their case to hold the responsible at-fault driver liable for their medical expenses. The injured person may also bring a claim against the driver who caused the wreck for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

Considering the average hospital stay after an accident is around $60,000 it is probably wise to also have a good amount of uninsured (UM) motorist coverage. While Florida does not make that coverage mandatory, it is highly recommended to add UM/UIM coverage to your car insurance policy – because many times the at-fault driver does not have enough car insurance coverage to pay for your injuries.

How Many Times Can You Use Your PIP?

You may submit a PIP claim to your insurance company every time you are injured. This is the case, whether the accident was your fault or not. If you are unfortunate enough to have several wrecks, it will pay for the treatment of each one.

The Florida statute of limitations, according to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(3)(a) for a car accident claim where you are injured, allows only four years from the date of the accident to take legal action. This four-year statute of limitations also applies to property damage claims.

Exhausting your PIP coverage does not mean that you may no longer be treated for your injuries. If you have health insurance, you will be covered under your policy for ongoing medical bills, but you may have to pay out of your own pocket initially for these expenses.

It is good practice to seek advice from an experienced car accident lawyer before moving forward with seeking damages from the at-fault party.

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

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

Bicycle Accident Law – What You Need To Know

Whether a cyclist is riding a bicycle as a means of commuting, recreation, or exercise, it is imperative that those taking to the roadways, sidewalks, or pedestrian travel lanes on anything other than a motorized vehicle understand the rights extended to the cyclist as well as the responsibilities expected of the cyclist.

Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicyclists, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 783 bicyclists were killed in the United States with Florida taking the lead with 125 deaths.

Almost every jurisdiction be it state, county, or city has some form of “bike law(s)” which dictates (s) to both motorist and cyclist. Understanding those laws is a great first step for many and should also be routinely reviewed by the seasoned cyclist no matter the purpose of the endeavor – recreation, commuting, etc.

Bicycle vs. Car Accident

In these situations, it is far more likely that the cyclist will be more significantly injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths in the US (0.57 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 0.23.). A higher number of bicycles on the road surely plays a part in this statistic.

Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road, just as drivers are. 


For example:
– They must ride with the flow of traffic instead of against it.
– They must yield the right of way when indicated.
– They must stay in the designated bike lane. If there is not a bike lane, they must ride as far to the right as possible. (However, they may edge closer into the lane to avoid obstacles like potholes.

Always be on the lookout for this type of maneuvering. Paying attention can prevent many accidents.)


So, YES, cyclists have to stop at stop signs. They have to wait to turn left at a green light when there is oncoming traffic. They have to stop for pedestrians!


The rules apply to them as well, and when they disregard them, it can have devastating consequences.

In addition to that, taking the basic steps to mitigate the ever-present risk of an accident or avoiding/limiting the likelihood of a  car accident altogether should also be something that is requisite among all cyclists.

Florida Biking Laws, Broken Down

– Bikes are treated as vehicles.
– Cyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
– Cyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
– You cannot carry passengers on a bike that is not intended to carry more than one person.
– Parents must not allow minors to violate any of Florida’s provisions.
– All bikes must come equipped with a braking system.
– If riding on the sidewalk, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
– Bikes must be equipped with a lamp when operating between sunset and sunrise.
– Bicyclists must use the designated bike path when not traveling at the speed of other traffic.

More Laws at FLORIDA BICYCLE. ORG

 

Steps To Avoiding A Wreck With a Vehicle

Along the lines of what is in the personal control of the cyclist and much of this is also addressed by bike laws: a tuned, functional, and road fit bicycle (brakes, reflectors); adequate safety lights (forward and backward facing); a safe helmet intended for bicycle use; bright or reflective attire; eyewear for the weather or daylight conditions.

Proper planning is also in the control of the cyclist, though not mandated by bike laws: choosing a well-lit route; choosing roadways with fewer obstacles such as crossroads, driveways, construction zones; avoiding dawn and dusk riding when a blinding sun may be on the horizon… the list could go on depending on the specifics of the locale one is opting to use for cycling.

These factors combined with the notion of respecting the rules of the road and anticipating vehicles and other pedestrians (”riding defensively”) are a fantastic frame for controlling what can be controlled to the best of the ability of the cyclist.

What Do you Do If You Are Hit By a Vehicle?

In the unfortunate event that a motorist versus cyclist accident does occur this should be treated much like any other motor vehicle accident involving cars – attention to the health, safety, and wellness of those involved with immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel and law enforcement.

Following that, documentation of the scene (photos), notation of or digital voice memos regarding the incident (document the weather and road conditions, time of day, identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, dates of birth, vehicle make/model/color, license plate or tag numbers), identify any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries including damage to helmet and attire, and documentation of the damage to the vehicle(s) and bicycle(s).

Bicycle Accident Check List

1. Call the police and report the accident (even if you don’t think you are hurt).

2. Listen and remember what the other party says to you about how the accident happened. Don’t agree to anything said by the at-fault driver/party that caused the accident.

3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, lighting, and other property.

4. Report the crash to your own car insurance company as soon as possible. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accident claims (let your bike accident lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Seek medical assistance. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills. Have the ER/hospital bill your car insurance company.

6. Keep documentation of the accident. Police report, photos of the bike (etc.), the scene, surroundings, other party’s vehicle.

7. Document injuries.

8. Don’t discuss the accident on social media.

9. Consult an accident lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

10. Always remember – you are invisible on a bicycle.

Always Seek Medical Attention! (Even if you think the injury is minor)

Seeking medical care for a thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional (emergency department, urgent care, primary care provider, medical specialist) should not be overlooked or delayed.

The most common accident injuries such as skin abrasions (i.e. road rash) may be a harbinger of an underlying injury such as fractures, dislocations, cardiopulmonary or vascular injury, or disrupted tendons/ligaments while a broken helmet could be an indication that an evaluation for intracranial, neck or cervical spine injury may be warranted.

Test Your Bike Law Knowledge

Take the tests, for both cyclists and drivers!

For more information review the links below and research the organizations specific to your locale:

CDC Bicycle Safety

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

Florida Bicycle Association

Bike Pensacola

West Florida Wheelmen

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 a bicycle accident involving a vehicle, 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.

https://media.acg.aaa.com//content/1205/files/2019%20Q2%20Consumer%20Pulse_Bicycle%20Safety.pdf

What You Need To Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) includes any bump, blow, or jolt to the head that interferes at all with your normal brain function. The most common form of TBI is a concussion. When you sustain a concussion, an outside force makes your brain rock back and forth inside your skull, resulting in mild to severe brain damage. 


EXPERTS ESTIMATE THAT AN AVERAGE OF 137 AMERICANS DIE OF TBI-RELATED COMPLICATIONS EVERY DAY.


How Do TBI’s Happen?

TBIs usually result from direct trauma, meaning something hits your head directly. However, concussions can result from indirect forces as well, such as a “whiplash” type injury. For instance, even if you are in a wreck but don’t hit your head on anything, you can still sustain a concussion if the sudden wreck caused your head to move rapidly back and forth. Typically, there is no or obvious outward sign of a TBI. 

The vast majority of TBI cases that we see at the firm are from car crashes. Frequently, our clients have either hit their head on the steering wheel or dashboard or have experienced such severe whiplash that they developed a TBI without direct impact. However, TBIs also occur with serious falls, sports injuries, and even explosive blasts. 

What Are The Leading Causes of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Common events causing traumatic brain injury include the following:

  • Falls – Falls from bed or a ladder, downstairs, in the bath, and other falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury overall, particularly in older adults and young children.
  • Vehicle-related collisions – Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, or bicycles — and pedestrians involved in such accidents — are a common cause of traumatic brain injury.
  • Violence – Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse, and other assaults are common causes. The shaken baby syndrome is a traumatic brain injury in infants caused by violent shaking.
  • Sports injuries – Traumatic brain injuries may be caused by injuries from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports. These are particularly common in youth.
  • Explosive blasts and other combat injuries – Explosive blasts are a common cause of traumatic brain injury in active-duty military personnel. Although how the damage occurs isn’t yet well understood, many researchers believe that the pressure wave passing through the brain significantly disrupts brain function.
    Traumatic brain injury also results from penetrating wounds, severe blows to the head with shrapnel or debris, and falls or bodily collisions with objects following a blast.

Risk Factors

The people most at risk of traumatic brain injury include:

  • Children, especially newborns to 4-year-olds
  • Young adults, especially those between ages 15 and 24
  • Adults age 60 and older
  • Males in any age group

What Are The Symptoms Of A Concussion Or TBI?

Physical Symptoms: 

Headaches and temporary loss of consciousness are by far the most common symptoms or signs of a TBI. Nausea, dizziness, and fatigue are also common symptoms. In severe cases, you may even have problems with your speech. 

Less common symptoms are seizures, dilation of one or both pupils, and increased long-term drowsiness. 

Traumatic brain injuries at the base of the skull can cause nerve damage to the nerves that emerge directly from the brain (cranial nerves). Cranial nerve damage may result in:

  • Paralysis of facial muscles or losing sensation in the face
  • Loss of or altered sense of smell or taste
  • Loss of vision or double vision
  • Swallowing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Hearing loss

Neurological Symptoms:

Concussion victims often experience sensory issues like blurry vision, tinnitus, sensitivity to noise and/or light, and an inability to smell. 

More severe injuries may result in coma, mood changes, depression, anxiety, impaired hand-eye coordination, and changes in inability to communicate in the long term. 

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms and have been in a car wreck or other traumatic event, you need to be seen by a physician as soon as possible. Many times a TBI’s worst symptoms can be mitigated entirely if the victim seeks treatment promptly. 

You can also watch our YouTube Video with Attorney Joe Zarzaur and Dr. Evan Malone discuss the topic of closed head injuries sustained in a car accident HERE >

Why You Should Be Checked Out By a Doctor if You Have Hit Your Head in a Car Accident

If you sustain a head injury with any of the following symptoms you should be seen in an emergency room: Loss of consciousness at the time of the injury, confusion or disorientation after the injury, headache along with nausea and/or vomiting, difficulty using your arms or legs, or worsening sleepiness or confusion. Some closed head injury symptoms don’t show up right away. 

Once you get home from the doctor’s office, the second thing you need to do is call an experienced lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial. 

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

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

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

Sources:

https://zarzaurlaw.com/?s=brain+injury

https://zarzaurlaw.com/?s=brain

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

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20378557

https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/public-awareness/brain-injury-awareness

What Happens After A Car Accident With No Police Report?

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

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

CONSULT OUR “CAR WRECK CHECKLIST” AND BE PREPARED >

Can You Still Recover?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Should I Expect From My Personal Injury Lawyer?

Personal Injury LawyerMany clients who end up needing a personal injury lawyer following an accidental injury have no expectations for such a professional.  Thankfully, most have not had the need in their lives for a personal injury lawyer. With that inexperience, comes a void of thoughts on what this lawyer should be doing and what their relationship will be with one another. As far as Zarzaur Law is concerned we feel that this relationship is a sacred one where a client is entrusting their lives and future to us.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is placing trust in another person to act on your behalf and in your best interest.  The legal systems give you one chance to present your case and you are trusting this personal injury lawyer to take your case and then present it in the best manner so that just compensation and justice is delivered to you. Our firm takes this responsibility seriously and prides itself in delivering professional, personal, and aggressive representation.

Professional Personal injury Attorney

The legal profession, like all professions, has many segments and areas.  Personal injury law is a distinct section of the law that deals with injuries caused by the negligence of others. Personal injury lawyers are hired to seek justice for victims in the form of compensation so that they and/or their families can move forward. Pro is one who specializes in a field to such a degree that he/she is respected by their field as an expert.

The Florida Bar allows for personal injury lawyers to qualify as experts.  This expert process is called board certification.  Florida personal injury lawyers can choose to become experts in their field if they concentrate their work on personal injury cases and then elect to go through the board certification process for civil trial lawyers.

This board certification process involves taking a second bar exam and then getting confidential recommendations from judges and lawyers who have observed their litigation skills firsthand.  Only about one percent of Florida lawyers are board-certified in a civil trial.


ZARZAUR LAW PRIDES ITSELF IN HAVING BOARD CERTIFIED CIVIL TRIAL LAWYERS WHO HANDLE THE CASES SO THAT WE CAN OFFER ONLY THE MOST PROFESSIONAL SERVICES TO OUR CLIENTS.

Personal Injury Attorney Pensacola


Personal

Personal injury lawyers are usually the first and only lawyers that many people have ever been associated with. The public expectation of a lawyer is not a friendly or personable image. Zarzaur Law strives to break that stereotype into pieces.  We pride ourselves in redefining the common perception of lawyers being stuffy and difficult to relate to.

  • Communicating with our clients in regular language.
  • Explaining the process in a way that is easy to understand and keeping our clients up to date and aware of their case at all times.
  • Making sure we are easily accessible to clients from the start of their case to the final day.
  • Lawyers here can be contacted directly on their personal cell phones instead of going through staff members.

You as a client deserve to be able to ask questions and get answers quickly, not the following day or later in the week. It is your personal injury case, and we are working for you not the other way around.

Aggressive Personal injury Attorney

Personal injury lawyers are all in a battle against insurance companies in most cases. These battles are usually intense since insurance companies have plenty of money to hire big law firms to put up as many barriers as possible to delay and deter justice. Many times, these insurance companies through their lawyers will wage a battle of attrition. They have plenty of money and they know that many of our clients are in the worse financial spot ever due to their injuries. These companies know that if they make this process longer and more stressful, maybe the personal injury plaintiff and lawyer will become more and more negotiable and they can get off cheaper for the case.

It is incumbent upon a personal injury lawyer to counterbalance this typical defense tactic of delay to be aggressive.  The personal injury lawyer will always be pushing the case to a trial.  If we are not pushing the case to the conclusion then the insurance company lawyers will fill that void with delay.  Each day without just compensation for our clients is another wound to their injuries. Personal injury lawyers have to be the ones pushing hard on the case and making certain that the case is concluded sooner rather than later.

Zarzaur Law is a personal injury law firm that prides itself on professional, personal, and aggressive representation to our clients. We feel that our personal injury clients are the customer, and they are the boss.  While we will guide our clients on the legal issues, we involve them in the decision-making process so that they make intelligent and legally sound decisions.  All the while, we are aggressively pushing the case to conclusion, to justice.

If you or a loved one is in need of a personal injury lawyer that is professional, personable, and aggressive.

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.

Why Does it Take So Long to Resolve a Car Wreck Case?

Car Wreck Cases Insurance Coverage

It seems so simple. You are stopped at a red light, and someone hits you from behind. You are injured, the police are called, an ambulance is called, and you are taken to the closest ER. The driver who hit you is given a ticket.

Since you were hurt, you call a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Sounds simple but is not. There are many complex issues in all personal injury cases, even those as seemingly simple as described.

Many clients are surprised about how long it takes to resolve their car wreck case. While it is true that the rare case is resolved in a few weeks, most are not, and sometimes take years to settle. Why?

How Much Insurance Coverage is Available?

There are certain procedures that are common in all car wreck cases. After you hire a personal injury lawyer, the first thing to do is find out insurance details. Florida law requires insurers of Florida residents to disclose all liability coverage within 30 days of demand. While some companies provide this information quicker, most do not. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer will send a request to your own insurance company, to determine the limits of your medical coverage and also if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage protects you and allows you to make a claim for your injuries if the at-fault driver has little or no bodily injury coverage. The lawyer will also put your health insurers on notice of the claim, as they may also be responsible in paying for treatment after the no-fault (PIP or Personal Injury Protection) coverage is exhausted. This process is extremely important, as the value of your claim is often determined by the insurance coverage available. It may be several weeks before your lawyer even knows how much coverage is available.

Treatment and Permanent Injury Diagnosis

If you are injured, you will start treatment with an appropriate specialist. Depending on the nature of your injury, it may be months or even years before you know the ultimate outcome of your injury. For soft tissue or whiplash-type injuries, it usually takes 6 to 9 months before the patient reaches maximum medical improvement. Clients must reach this stage of treatment before the doctor will give an opinion about the permanent injury. Under Florida law, (Florida Statute 627.737) states that you must have a permanent injury to recover from pain and suffering type damages, and you must have this opinion from a licensed physician.

The Demand and Negotiation Phase

After the extent of your injury is known, then demand is made by your lawyer on your behalf to the at-fault party’s insurance company. An experienced and board-certified trial lawyer will have the benefit of knowing the value of such cases and will know how to properly negotiate with the insurance company. Make sure your personal injury lawyer has a reputation as one who will fight to get you top value for your accident claim. Companies know that experienced trial lawyers will take a case to trial if necessary and will pay accordingly.


The negotiation phase may take weeks or months, depending on the nature of the claim along with the availability of medical records and the insurance coverages.


If the at-fault party does not have enough coverage to fairly settle your claim, and you have underinsured motorist coverage, then an additional negotiation will occur with your own insurance company.

What if Your Car Wreck Case Does Not Settle?

A small percentage of cases do not settle at the presuit stage and must be filed in court. In other words, if the insurance company is not fair with its offer, the case must move on to the litigation stage. Your lawyer will file suit in circuit court seeking damages. This process may take many months to get these cases ultimately resolved.

Litigation Process Includes:

Discovery Phase

To determine the nature of the injuries and the value of the claim.

Mediation

The courts will require a mediation session to try and resolve the case.

Trial

If a case cannot be resolved through mediation, the case will be scheduled for trial in court.

While most cases settle before trial, it may take many months to get this done.

NOTE: During the COVID epidemic, most courts are not even scheduling civil trials, and in fact in may be several years before a case goes to trial. Even after trial, appeals may slow down the process. For these reasons, it is often best for both sides to settle before trial. Having a board-certified trial lawyer is a great advantage for the injured party.

It is a Marathon and Not a Sprint

While your car wreck case may seem simple, even simple cases can take a long time to get resolved. Between treatment, negotiation, possible litigation, or even trial, the process can seem overwhelming. That is why you need to hire an experienced trial lawyer to handle your case.

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

What is Tort Law?

Tort Law Attorney in Pensacola

THE TORT LAW

There are three broad areas that define the rights of private citizens’ dealings with each other.

The First is Property Law

This area of the law defines the rights of the people to own, use, and exclude others from using property—whether that be land (real property), things (personal property), or even ideas (intellectual property).

The Second is Contract Law

This area of the law reflects the idea that certain agreements between private parties should be enforceable through the judicial system. At its most basic level, this area of the law only requires one party’s agreement to perform some action in exchange for something of value from the other party.

The Third Category is Tort Law

Tort Law is the broadest category because it covers “any other civil wrong” that is not covered by the first two categories.

The Vast Majority of Torts Fall Under the Umbrella of Negligence:

Situations where the at-fault party or “tortfeasor” does not intend to cause harm but nevertheless acts unreasonably under the circumstances. Negligence includes car wrecks, slip and falls, and other preventable accidents.

In its simplest form, negligence requires a plaintiff to prove four things:
1) that the tortfeasor owed the plaintiff a duty to act reasonably
2) that the tortfeasor breached that duty
3) that the plaintiff suffered harm
4) that the harm was a direct or “proximate” result of the breach

For instance, every driver on the road owes other drivers a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner and to follow the rules of the road. When tortfeasor breaches that duty, crashes into a plaintiff, and causes the plaintiff to suffer an injury, all of the elements of negligence have been satisfied.

Another Category of Torts is “Products Liability” Claims

These cases involve claims that a manufacturer or retailer produced or sold a product that was defective, either in its design or manufacture. A unique feature of these claims is that a plaintiff does not have to prove that the manufacturer or retailer was “at fault” in any way—all a claimant must prove is that the product was defective and that the defect caused the damage in some way.

Finally, Some Torts Involve Intentional Conduct

For instance, while assault and battery are chargeable as criminal offenses, the plaintiff can pursue monetary damages in civil court against the at-fault party, or “tortfeasor” for the exact same conduct. Intentional damage to a person’s reputation in writing (libel) or by word of mouth (slander) is another example of intentional torts.

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

We also remind potential clients that they shouldn’t just hire any lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in a 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.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS AND AUTO ACCIDENT CASES

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

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

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

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


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


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

What Does It All Mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

What is Cervical Strain That is Caused By an Accident?

Cervical strain is a common injury routinely seen in the ER. Although it’s usually associated with car accidents, any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk forward or backward can cause neck strain. Neck strains are caused by damage to the muscle or the tendons, bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Cervical strain involves the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar portion of the spine.

In an auto accident, there are powerful forces that could cause someone to change direction quickly. Even though individuals might be wearing their seatbelts, there is no restraint for the head. This causes the neck to snap back and forth quickly. This can stretch the tendons in and around the cervical spine, leading to a wrenched neck.

 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Cervical Strain?
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Limited movement
  • Headache
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness or vertigo
How is a Cervical Strain Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will check your movement, balance, and strength. An x-ray, CT, or MRI may show the injury. A pronouncement of cervical strain means that diagnostic radiographs (CT, X-ray) are negative for fracture or dislocation
.

Radiographs in addition to bedside examination will guide a clinician as to strain versus indication to investigate for more emergent condition(s). MRI, CT Scan and Myleogram are only way to visualize the soft tissue components of the spine (muscles, nerves, intervertebral discs, ligaments) > generally performed in the ambulatory setting (upon follow-up with a specialist) if the strain is not resolving as expected.  MRI and Mylegoram will allow for visualization of herniated intervertebral discs, displaced or torn ligaments, injured or torn discs, as well as nerve root impingement.

Generally classified as a “soft tissue injury”, cervical strain  may require further workup in the ambulatory (non-ER) setting.

Red Flags – When to Seek Additional Immediate Care

Red flags which may indicate something MORE than a strain include:
– Numbness
– Tingling
– Motor weakness of any extremities
– Changes with bowel or bladder pattern and even incontinence
associated chest/back or abdominal pain

How Long Can the Pain of Cervical Strain After a Car Accident Last?

Neck pain from cervical strain / whiplash typically lasts several weeks. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most people recover fully from whiplash within three months. In addition to general neck pain and stiffness, you may also experience these symptoms with a whiplash injury.

 

 

 

Treatment Methods
  • Modalities to decrease pain and inflammation
  • Postural exercises
  • ROM exercises
  • Stretching exercises,
  • Use manual techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and cervical manual traction
  • Strengthening exercises such as cervical stabilization exercises
  • Mechanical traction may also be useful,
  • Light Aerobic conditioning exercise, such as walking
Complications of a Sprain of the Cervical Spine

Even though many people who suffer a sprain of the cervical spine will make a full recovery, others might develop serious complications. When someone develops complications of an injury, such as a cervical lumbar strain, following an auto accident, it is important to ask for help.

Watch our full Youtube Channel video series and learn more from the experts!

– WHAT IS CERVICAL STRAIN? 
– WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER A DIAGNOSIS OF CERVICAL STRAIN?
– WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN X-RAY, CT SCAN AND MRI?

Joe Zarzaur, a board certified civil trial lawyer and founder of Zarzaur Law, P.A., a Pensacola Personal Injury law firm, has created this video blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola and Destin, Florida about their legal rights.

Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer. Offices in Pensacola and Destin. Board certified in Florida and Alabama.

For more information, visit: https://www.zarzaurlaw.com

11 E Romana Street
Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299
Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com
Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

References:
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/822893-overview

https://www.drugs.com/cg/cervical-strain.html

http://uni.lmhealthcare.com/RoboHelp/PT%20OT%20CPG/Orthopedic_-_Cervical_Non-Specific/Cervical_Sprain_Strain.htm

Delayed Symptoms After a Car Wreck

After a severe car accident most people will feel pain from their injuries immediately, but this is not always the case. When your body is put in a dangerous situation, your adrenaline kicks in with fight or flight, and you may not even notice that you are injured right away. Some injuries will even take days, weeks, or months to show symptoms. You may even get a clean bill of health from the ER physician, but it is important to note that the ER physician’s job is to assess and make sure that you will not die or lose a limb in the next 24-48 hours. Many people think that just because they went to the ER and were checked out, that this is the end and there is nothing else to be done – this is not the case, especially with delayed symptoms.

Reasons Why Pain from Injuries Are Delayed
There are a few reasons injuries may take a little time to show symptoms. The first is swelling and inflammation. This takes place over time, so you may not immediately notice anything out of the ordinary. The second is that people normally “take it easy” from strenuous activities after a car accident, however when they return to daily life and activities, they begin to notice all kinds of injuries and pain. 

See Your Doctor
If you are experiencing no pain after a car accident, it is still recommended that you see your general practitioner or treating physician right away. This way, a doctor will be able to thoroughly examine you to ensure nothing is wrong, or they may discover an injury that would not have shown symptoms until weeks or months later. It is important to allow your physician to conduct these tests and then order additional, more thorough tests, with a referring specialist.

Symptoms Can Worsen Over Time
Many studies have found a significant number of individuals to be symptomatic for many months and even years after a motor vehicle accident. In one such study, 75 percent of individuals remained symptomatic 6 months after the accident.

Another study, published in the European Spine Journal, found that during the period of time between the first and second years following a motor vehicle accident over 20 percent actually had their symptoms worsen.

So what now? It’s not unusual for injury-related pain after a car accident to be delayed, and in many cases you may not even know you have a serious injury until later. 

Below are some guidelines to help ensure that you get the compensation you need if car accident-related pain doesn’t show up until days or even weeks after the incident.

Types of Pain After a Car Accident That are Often Delayed

Sometimes a headache is just a headache. But if you were recently involved in a car accident, neck or head pain could indicate a more serious injury that wasn’t discovered at the time of the accident or in the ER. If you have suffered any of the following types of pain after an accident, even if it’s delayed, get immediate medical attention.

  1. Headaches – Pay special attention to the location and severity of the pain. It could be stress-related or a sign of concussion, brain injury, whiplash, neck injury, or even a blood clot. A serious headache also could be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the accident.
  2. Pain in the Neck or Shoulders – This is often a sign of whiplash (a catch-all term for several different injuries), which is sometimes experienced right after an accident but sometimes doesn’t emerge until several days later. Neck and shoulder pain could also indicate a spinal injury such as a herniated disc.
  3. Back Pain – Back pain, especially in the lower back, may also indicate a whiplash-related injury. It also could signal a sprain, herniated disc, or other soft-tissue injuries (such as muscle damage). If accompanied by tingling or numbness, it could also point to pinched nerves.
  4. Numbness, Tingling, etc. – These types of sensations, in addition to weakness in the limbs, often indicate a herniated disc that pinches or presses up against nerves in the spine. This pinching can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and other sensations throughout the body.
  5. Abdominal Pain – Internal, soft-tissue injuries can be very serious — even fatal — if left untreated. If you experience abdominal pain after an accident (which may surface days after the incident), get immediate medical attention. Internal bleeding also may cause headaches, dizziness, and deep bruising.
  6. Emotional Pain and Suffering – After the initial post-accident chaos subsides, you may experience depression, anxiety, or even PTSD. This could be related to the actual incident, a result of physical injuries, or both. Brain injuries also may cause emotional pain or personality changes.

Do Not Settle Right Away

Following a car accident, the other driver’s insurance company may contact you and try to get you to sign a release of any claims you might have. The insurance company may even offer you a sum of money to entice you to sign the release.

You should wait until you have been fully evaluated by a medical professional,  and consulting with your lawyer, before signing anything the adjuster puts in front of you. You should also wait long enough to make sure all injuries from the car accident have fully manifested themselves. Your doctor can help you determine how long this needs to be. If you sign a release, and an injury shows up later, you cannot then go back to the insurance company and ask them to pay for your medical treatment. You waive your legal right to pursue that compensation when you sign the release. This is why consulting with a board certified civil trial lawyer specializing in personal injury law, like Joe Zarzaur, is important.

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

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

Sources:

https://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/what-if-my-pain-after-a-car-accident-was-delayed.html

https://www.arrowheadclinic.com/category/blog/3-common-myths-about-car-accident-injuries

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-if-my-accident-injuries-dont-show-up-right-away.html

Top pain treatments for the first 72 hours after an auto accident

7 delayed injury symptoms after a car crash

http://back2healthbellevue.com/auto-injury-related-statistics/