Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Crash Lawyer

Two-Hour Car Seat Rule: What You Need To Know.

Did you know that when traveling with a baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you take your baby out of the car seat every two hours? Do you also know what the recommendations is for when you can start doing longer drives with your baby?

Surprisingly, many parents have not heard of the two-hour car seat rule. If you have never heard of this before, don’t worry; during National Baby Safety Month, we wanted to share important information about this recommendation.

 

At What Age Does The Two-Hour Car Seat Rule End?

The two-hour car seat rule age is not specific, but it should be followed until the baby is old enough to sit upright and control their head and neck movement.

Sitting Devices, Such As Car Seats, Strollers, Swings, Infant Carriers, And Infant Slings, Are Not Recommended For Routine Sleep In The Hospital Or At Home, Particularly For Infants Younger Than 4 Months. – AAP

 

What If The Baby Falls Sleep In Its Car Seat?

Many babies fall asleep in their car seats, but as soon as you get the chance, the baby should be moved to a flat-lying position.

If your baby has been sleeping for most of your trip, it may be even more important for you to take frequent breaks.

Sleeping In The Car Seat Is Actually The Most Dangerous Time For Your Baby, As They Can Slump Down And Restrict Their Own Breathing.

Moving your baby to a flat-lying position when sleeping is better for their spine and their breathing and heart rate.

Also consider what plans you have for your baby’s sleep at night throughout your trip. You should never allow your baby to sleep in their car seat in a hotel room or at home.

Only use car seats in the car when the car is moving. Other uses are not safe for the baby.

Over half of the infant deaths that occur in reclined sleeping devices happen in car seats.

Bottom line—if your question is, “At what age does the 2-hour car seat rule end?” The answer to that is more about the baby’s ability to sit correctly than age.

 

Buy The Appropriate Car Seat.

There are different types of car seats on the market. They are designed to be age, weight, and height specific.

Again, a suitable car seat is rear-facing. Read more on best choices here >

 

 

 

How Long Should I Keep My Child In A Rear-Facing Car Seat?

For at least two years, according to the AAP guidelines.

 

Important Child Safety Seat Reminders For Parents

As children grow, so do their restraint types (rear- facing, forward-facing, booster seat, or seat belt). Always use the one that fits your child’s current age and size.

Use the NHTSA Car Seat Finder located here > 

Every car and every car seat or booster seat has different installation instructions, so make sure you read both the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual.
Remember that children in rear-facing seats should never be placed in front of an active passenger air bag.

Use either the lower anchors and tether, or the seat belt and tether when installing forward-facing seats.

To get assistance with installation, find a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) at a location near you using NHTSA’s Inspection Station locator.

For Escambia County >

For Santa Rosa County >

For Okaloosa County >

For Walton County >

For Miami-Dade >

Remember to register your car seat or booster seat so you can be notified in the event of a safety recall.

Plan to use car seats or booster seats when traveling and riding in taxis or ride-share vehicles.

Find out when your child is ready to use an adult seat belt, reference the “Car Seat Recommendations for Children”. Be sure to read the information for Booster Seat and Seat Belt Use.

Keep children in the back seat until at least age 13. It’s the safest place to ride.

— NHTSA’s Research and Program Development

 

Avoid Long Journeys

Parents and caregivers are advised to avoid planning long trips until their baby is ready to withstand traveling for long hours. Besides long-distance travel, traffic in your city must be factored in to keep away from being stuck in one with a newborn baby in the car.

When long journeys are unavoidable, breaks should be scheduled in between hours to give the infant child a chance to relax before continuing with the trip.

Bottom line – Infant car seats should only be used in the vehicle.

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.

If your child has been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and 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.safekids.org/blog/5-tips-new-parents-during-baby-safety-monthhttps://momvanup.com/the-2-hour-car-seat-rule-when-does-it-end/

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20190520/putting-your-child-to-sleep-in-a-car-seat-is-risky

2 Hour Rule

https://www.momnewsdaily.com/family/2-hour-car-seat-rule-all-you-need-to-know/

https://www.safekids.org/blog/5-tips-new-parents-during-baby-safety-month

https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/best-infant-car-seat#our-pickshttps://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-safe-sleep-recommendations-back-is-best/

Dangerous Intersections In Florida: North W Street and Massachusetts Avenue

Courtesy of WEARTV News.

Intersections are a prime place for an automobile accident to occur. More than 50% of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.

An estimated 165,000 accidents occur annually in intersections caused by red-light runners. Fatalities caused by red-light runners run from 700-800 a year.

Fatal Auto Accidents In Escambia County

On Thursday, July 7, a 56-year-old woman was killed and a passenger was injured after a driver went through a red light. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows a sedan crashing into an SUV Thursday night at the intersections of Massachusetts Avenue and North W Street in Pensacola, Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the driver went through a red light.

Alarming Statistics About The Intersection of North W. Street and Massachusetts Avenue

According to Florida Highway Patrol, since 2019, there have been 53 accidents, 22 hit-and-run crashes, 12 crashes with injuries and 19 crashes with no injuries at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and North W Street in Escambia County, Florida.

The area is congested with traffic, and people need to pay attention.

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CRASHES IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA IN 2021 JUMPED BY MORE THAN 1,600. THERE WERE ALSO 23 MORE DEATHS IN THE SAME YEAR.

Escambia County Has a Higher Rate of Fatal Accidents Than Florida as a Whole.

Dangerous Intersections In Pensacola FLAccording to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), while Escambia County accounts for a relatively small portion of the total number of fatal accidents in Florida each year, the county has a higher rate of deadly accidents than Florida as a whole. In 2020, only 0.08 percent of Florida’s car accidents were fatal. However, in Escambia County, this figure is closer to 1%. While this might not seem like a significant difference, it accounts for several needless accident-related deaths in Escambia County on an annual basis.

What Are The Most Common Accidents That Occur At Intersections?

The most common causes of intersection car crashes are disobeying a traffic signal and failing to yield the right of way. Running a red light, trying to get through the intersection on a yellow light, and even unintentionally misjudging the traffic signal are all leading causes of intersection car crashes:

  • SpeedingSpeeding is dangerous under any circumstance, no matter what the circumstances. However, when a driver is speeding through a busy intersection, this can cause serious accidents.
  • Violation of traffic laws: If a driver is attempting to make illegal U-turns, turns without checking to see if there is oncoming traffic, or fails to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists, this can cause serious intersection accidents.
  • Impatience: Drivers will see a traffic light turn yellow and hit the gas pedal to avoid having to wait for the red light to turn green again.
  • Texting, talking, reaching for something, or any other type of distracted behavior will keep them from paying attention to what is going on around them.
  • Drunk driving is obviously dangerous, and it frequently results in fatalities.
  • Drowsy Driving: In almost the same frame as distracted driving, drowsy driving reduces reaction times, and as a result, he or she may not be able to react fast enough to avoid another vehicle who runs through a red light.

Which Is The Most Common Crash Type, Accounting For 40% Of Crashes?

Most of these crashes involve left turns. Nationally, 40 percent of all crashes involve intersections, the second largest category of accidents, led only by rear-end collisions. Fifty percent of serious collisions happen in intersections and some 20 percent of fatal collisions occur there.

What Types of Accidents Occur at Intersections?

Running through red lights, rear-ending other drivers, and cutting off other drivers while making a left turn can result in serious accidents at intersections. The following are some of the most common types of accidents that occur at intersections:

  • Side-Impact or T-Bone Collisions: This type of accident occurs when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, usually at about a 90-degree angle. The occupant on the passenger side of the vehicle that was hit often sustains very serious injuries because there is no barrier protecting them from the impact of the crash. These accidents often happen when a motorist fails to yield to the right-of-way, runs through a red light, is distracted, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Head-On Collisions: These are some of the most devastating accidents that often result in fatalities, particularly when the vehicles were traveling at a high speed at the time of the crash. They occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another vehicle. At intersections, these usually occur when a motorist makes an illegal left turn.
  • Left-Turn Accidents: These occur when a vehicle that is making a left turn gets into an accident with a vehicle that is going straight through the intersection. In most cases, the driver making the left turn is liable for the accident since he or she must yield to the motorists who are driving straight through the intersection.
  • Rear-End Collisions: These are the most common type of accident, resulting in 1.7 million accidents, approximately 1,700 fatalities and 500,000 injuries each year. They usually occur when a driver is tailgating another motorist or is not paying attention to his or her surroundings. For example, a rear-end collision can occur at an intersection if a motorist fails to slow down in time to avoid hitting a car that is stopped at a red light.

What are the Rules for Right-of-Way at an Intersection?

Dangerous Intersections In FloridaAll licensed drivers have a responsibility to understand and follow the rules of the road, including the rules for right-of-way. At busy intersections, there are very clear rules as to who has the right-of-way and who must yield to another vehicle. Failing to follow these rules can result in a serious intersection accident. Many intersections have cameras that will capture the events leading up to the accident, including whether one of the drivers failed to obey the traffic rules.

The following are examples of right-of-way rules that all motorists must follow when navigating an intersection:

  • Controlled intersections: These intersections will have traffic lights, stop signs, and/or yield signs that are meant to help keep traffic moving in a safe and orderly fashion. Motorists must obey these signs and signals and yield to the vehicles that have the right-of-way.
  • Intersections are not controlled by traffic signals: Motorists must yield to vehicles that are already at the intersection. If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the motorists should treat the intersection as if there is a four-way stop sign, and yield to the vehicle on the right.
  • Intersections with multiple-lane roads: Drivers on the one or two-lane road must yield to vehicles on the multi-lane road.
  • T-intersection right-of-way: The motorist on the dead-end street must yield to the vehicles on the through street.
  • Highway exit ramps: Motorists who are driving on an access road with a highway exit ramp must yield to the vehicles on the access road. In addition, when a car is entering a controlled-access highway, the vehicle on the ramp must yield to the motorists on the highway.

Always follow the speed limit, regardless of the type of intersection. When a driver exceeds the speed limit, he or she forfeits the right-of-way.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC 

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While At An Intersection.

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 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, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://highways.dot.gov/research/research-programs/safety/intersection-safety

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811366

https://weartv.com/news/local/florida-highway-patrol-reveals-shocking-statistics-involving-escambia-county-intersection?fbclid=IwAR09jkEVmrl0SVRYfHEwiVhpPrG5LUZf8hEdv-j5BMJnXqLjMI6Bxs9rUpU

https://www.livestories.com/statistics/florida/escambia-county-car-accident-deaths-mortality

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

Is My Car Wreck Case Really Worth Hiring A Lawyer?

Pensacola Auto Accident LawyerAs a personal injury lawyer, not more than two consecutive business days go by when we are asked by a potential client if their case is worth pursuing with a lawyer. The answer is nearly always the same, “Maybe so.” Like everything else in the law, the question of whether your car wreck case or medical malpractice case is worthy of pursuit involves a multifactorial analysis.

The Car Wreck Scenario

In the car wreck scenario, it usually involves a discussion about how bad the damage is to the cars, what kind of symptoms the potential client is experiencing and what their medical history was like prior to this event. There is also some consideration (although only preliminary at this stage) about the potential insurance coverage or collectability of the at-fault party.

Property Damage

In regards to the amount of damage to the vehicles involved, the discussion is likely to involve some evaluation about whether the airbags deployed, whether the damage to the cars involved will likely result in their being totaled. If not totaled, how much of the car was damaged and where was the impact relative to the potential client’s position in the car?

Emergency Room Visit Is Only The Beginning

Many times, the potential client will have gone to the emergency room, where they are nearly always treated and released for follow-up care. Many people believe that the emergency room is there to diagnose ANY and all injuries sustained in a car accident. Let’s be clear, the ER is not there to diagnose any injury that is not LIFE threatening or LIMB THREATENING. Leaving the ER after a car wreck and not being admitted will be the case with nearly every car wreck victim, even those that later require hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in treatment. The ER is not in the business of diagnosing all of your potential injuries from an event, just those things that justify immediate admission and treatment. Potential clients leave the ER, and most equate not being admitted as being “OK” or “uninjured” from the wreck.  

The opposite is actually true. Being released from the ER more likely means that you have something wrong with you that will be diagnosed in the coming weeks. This diagnosis, many times, involves being later admitted for surgery or for other invasive treatments that require some level of hospitalization.

Common Injuries From Car Wrecks

It’s important to understand that the most common injury from a wreck is an injury to a disc in your back or neck. These injuries are not even investigated in the ER since the only test that is specific enough for those injuries is an MRI, and those are not usually offered in the ER setting. Typically, the ER will perform X-rays and sometimes a CT scan. These tests are excellent for diagnosing serious acute injuries that could be life-or limb-threatening, but they are equally inadequate for diagnosing common disc injuries. The thing about disc injuries that is most dangerous is that the pain is not specific and many times involves pain radiating into a limb, so you may not immediately associate it with your back or neck. MRI’s are usually not ordered until your swelling has gone down, and typically not until several weeks after the wreck.

Treatment For Disc Injuries

Treatment for disc injuries can range from therapy and medications to full-blown surgery. The cost of treatment over a person’s life expectancy for serious disc injuries can easily be well into the six figures and many times more than that. Alternatively, I tell potential clients, “Let’s assume you do not have a disc injury after a wreck.” The great thing about having the MRI is that we now have some level of security in knowing that your MRI is clean after this wreck and that 2 years from now you are not going to have a disc injury diagnosed and it be too late to bring a claim or that you settled your claim on your own too cheaply.

So Why Involve a Personal Injury Attorney?

Generally speaking, in my experience, if there are cars involved in the wreck that are totaled and you are not under the age of 30 (so you’re not a spry and somewhat elastic teenager) and you are having symptoms from the wreck, you could likely have a serious injury and your case is worth having a personal injury lawyer handle.

The conversation usually includes a discussion about the fact that hiring a Florida personal injury lawyer on a pure contingency fee agreement commits you to ZERO unless you win your case. So, that means first you have to have a case, and second, you have to win it before the law firm earns a fee. Another way to put it is this: if you sign with a Florida personal injury lawyer and there is a pure contingency fee agreement and it turns out that the lawyer decides that you do not have a good enough case to warrant having the law firm involved in or your injury turns out to not be serious enough to proceed with the claim, then you have gotten some free legal advice and, as a by-product, you have gotten a peace of mind in knowing that medically you are not going to have some undiscovered injury which doesn’t manifest for years.

Peace Of Mind

More importantly, since there is no case and no settlement, you owe the lawyer nothing for their advice and guidance. There is truly no downside so long as you hire the right kind of lawyer who gives you good advice on the medical treatment and actually has the ability to interpret the results or has someone in their firm that can do such medical record evaluations.

The Worth Of Insurance Information

The other big topic in these conversations is insurance. This topic is fairly easy to dispose of. We always tell clients that Florida law permits a claimant to request insurance information directly from the insurance company for any party involved in an injury-causing event. The insurance company has to provide not only the information about the policy but the actual policies and they have to provide a sworn statement that the insurance company either knows of other insurance that might also have coverage for the event or must state that it is not aware of any other insurance policy that might have coverage for the event. As you can imagine, having this information at the outset of a claim is invaluable since it can save a ton of time and resources in determining which party will be financially viable to go after and which ones may not be.

Watch our Youtube Video now:

FREE Consultation: No Fee Unless We Win

In sum, hiring us to evaluate your personal injury case makes sense and is free, unless you end up with a claim and that claim wins and is paid. If your case ends up not being good enough to pursue (which thankfully means your injury turned out to not be serious), then we part ways and there is no cost or fee since we didn’t have a case and it wasn’t won. If, however, you do end up with a diagnosis that is serious and involves a lifetime of medical care and medical bills, we will get you paid.

If you have further questions about whether your case is worth having a lawyer, please feel free to call me at 855-HIREJOE or find us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com

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

Can A Pre-Existing Injury Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

It happens every day. A person is rear-ended in a car accident and develops neck or back pain. They get medical treatment and x-rays show they have degenerative changes in their spine. They had never had any pain or treatment before the crash. 

Can You Recover For Your Injuries From A Car Accident, Including An Aggravation Of A Pre-Existing Condition?

The answer is yes, but it often requires careful handling of the situation.

Reports from the World Health Organization indicate that about 1.3 million people die each year due to road accidents. Between 20 and 50 million more, individuals sustain non-fatal injuries, with some incurring permanent disability. It is no surprise that many people injured in car accidents have pre-existing injuries or conditions.

A pre-existing injury or condition can impact your personal injury case, but it really depends on the scenario. Personal injury laws are written to be equitable. If someone injures you, they should be held liable for the physical and emotional costs of those injuries. However, they can’t be forced to pay for the treatment of your pre-existing condition.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions

A common pre-existing condition that comes into play in car crashes is a degenerative spinal disease. The spine is made of bone and soft tissue, including ligaments, tendons, and discs. Spinal disks are like shock absorbers between the vertebrae, or bones of the spine. They help your backstay flexible. As the body ages, it can begin to show signs of wear and tear. The outer wall can become torn, and this can cause pain from the nerve fibers in the disk. 

Similarly, the bony portions of the back can develop arthritis, which can lead to limitations in motion and cause pain. These conditions may result from the normal activities of daily living, or a work injury, or a sports injury in which the pain quickly resolves. These conditions normally take many years to develop.


MOST PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 30 HAVE SOME DEGENERATION IN THEIR SPINE.


A Hidden Problem

The interesting thing about this condition is that it can be a hidden problem, with no symptoms caused by the pathology in the spine. In-car crash cases it is very common for someone with a pre-existing condition to have no symptoms until the crash. This is a very well-known phenomenon and one with which spinal specialists are very familiar. These conditions can result from even a minor crash as the spine is already weakened and more susceptible to injury than a more healthy spine. Our firm has handled many cases where a seemingly minor crash may result in a lifetime of problems.

Such injuries are often treated conservatively, with medication, therapy, or exercise. If these are not helpful, anesthetic injections, blocks, and nerve ablations may be used. It is not uncommon for these to become permanent injuries that may require lifetime care. In the most serious cases, a surgeon may decompress the spine and remove discs and fuse the vertebrae in order to alleviate pain and limitation of function.

How Does Such A Situation Affect A Car Wreck Claim?

It is very common for an insurance company to argue that your problems are related to the pre-existing condition and not the wreck. While it is true that a car crash cannot cause the degeneration seen on x-rays and scans immediately after the crash, it is similarly well known that the trauma can cause pain that did not exist before. Because of this, Florida law clearly establishes that a person can recover money damages for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

Your Settlement and The At-Fault Party

Careless Driver AccidentIf you can establish through testimony, including expert medical testimony, that the pre-existing condition was asymptomatic, and that the crash caused it to become symptomatic, you can recover the full value of your damages. This is obviously a very complex task and requires an experienced car accident lawyer to be your advocate to ensure the best result. It will require putting forth evidence of no prior problems or treatment, and subsequent problems and treatment after the crash.

The insurance companies are always very aggressive in using this as a defense, so it is best to have a capable advocate on your side. Your lawyer will be able to work with your doctors or other experts to prove the crash is the cause of your pain and maximize your recovery.

The negligent driver who caused the accident cannot use the auto accident injury victim’s condition as a defense in their case. Their defense attorneys can’t go before a judge and say, “My client shouldn’t be liable for the injury because the injury only happened due to the victim’s pre-existing condition.”

The judge or jury can order them to pay for treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the injuries that happened due to the auto accident, but not for lost wages that may have accrued before the accident.

APPENDIX FROM STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES – REPORT NO. 13-02 

As such, we first must examine, 501.5(a), “Aggravation or activation of disease or defect.” It states, “If you find that the (defendant(s)) caused a bodily injury and that the injury resulted in [an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect] [or] [activation of a latent disease or physical defect], you should attempt to decide what portion of (claimant’s) condition resulted from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by (claimant).” 

Medical Treatment and Disclosure

If you have a back condition that was aggravated in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, be transparent about your back problems before the accident and how they’ve become worse after the accident.

It is also important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident so your doctor can document your injuries and the source of those injuries and damages you suffered as a result of an accident caused by the negligent driver. 

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 in a ride-share 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.

 

Sources:

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1660736.html

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries#:~:text=Every%20year%20the%20lives%20of,a%20result%20of%20their%20injury.

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

How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

Drivers and vehicle owners faithfully pay their auto insurance premiums monthly or quarterly with the belief they will receive a fair claims payout if the need arises (e.g., after a car accident that was not their fault).

Unfortunately, far too many of our clients here at Zarzaur Law, P.A. learn the hard way that car insurance companies are primarily concerned with their own bottom line.

 

What Is Bad a Bad Faith Claim?

Sometimes, insurance companies like to push boundaries and see if they can get away with not investigating claims or not paying out money owed on a policy after an accident. This is called “bad faith.”

The duty of good faith in Florida provides that insurers owe a “duty to their insureds to refrain from acting solely on the basis of their own interest in settlement,” as was said in State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Laforet. Under Florida’s Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act.

 

Bad Faith Claims Most Often Stem From:

Unnecessary claim delays. Insurers are required to process claims in a reasonable amount of time and without unnecessary delays.

Policy cancellations. Our firm has seen cases where an insured files a claim, and the insurer immediately starts scouring their history for errors or any misrepresentation that might void the policy.

This is common when it comes to death benefits claims. Sometimes, it is for something as simple as a misspelled name – even though they had no problem collecting the monthly premium despite this error.

Misrepresentations of policy. Some insurers will attempt to avoid paying claims by mischaracterizing the terms, requirements, and policy provisions. Many insurance policies are crafted with complex language and insider jargon, much of which favors the insurer. But it is well understood that any ambiguity is supposed to be construed in favor of the policyholder.

Ambiguous policy exclusions. Insurance policies can have all kinds of exclusions. But if an exclusion is ambiguous, it should be decided in the claimant’s favor.

Denies paying for a valid claim on no reasonable basis. Insurers have a responsibility to pay valid claims and offer a reasonable basis when they deny them. Failure to do so maybe bad faith. The same goes for low-ball settlement offers that are not justified.

Low settlement offers are often made without justification and for the benefit of the insurance companies bottom line and without regard for the insured.

 


Bad faith insurance claims are complicated actions and involve a multitude of issues, and that is why it is important to hire the best personal injury lawyer who understands the tactics insurance companies use to delay or minimize the payment of benefits.


 

WATCH AND LISTEN AS JOE ZARZAUR, BOARD CERTIFIED CIVIL TRIAL LAWYER, EXPLAINS “BAD FAITH” >


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:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0624/Sections/0624.155.html

2nd Annual Zarzaur Law “Ping Pong on Palafox” Event Set for Nov. 13.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2021) — Zarzaur Law, P.A., a personal injury law firm based out of Pensacola, Florida, has partnered with the Pensacola Table Tennis Club and City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation Department to host its second annual “Ping Pong on Palafox” event on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 from 10am-5pm.*


This Outdoor Event Will Be Held On The Street At The Intersection Of Palafox And Romana Streets In Downtown Pensacola.


“Ping Pong on Palafox,” hosted by Zarzaur Law, will include a table tennis “ping pong” tournament for all ages and levels, games, refreshments for players, and more! The round-robin tournament will kick off at 10 am with kids age groups and adult divisions with cash* prizes for winners. Players can be anywhere from kids, novice recreational weekend players, all the way to competitive club members. The first 50 registered players are guaranteed a swag bag and T-shirt. 

Businesses, organizations, and groups are encouraged to create teams of four, bring their tent, coolers, and signs and battle for bragging rights, and be the tops in team table tennis. New this year will be a “Best Downtown Bar/Brewery Team.”  

SIGN UP HERE >

Guests can learn tips and tricks from Table Tennis professionals and watch kids all the way to pros battle each other right in the heart of Downtown Pensacola.

The Pensacola Table Tennis Club is located inside the Fricker Community Center and is a non-profit club. “We invite anyone who loves the game to attend and learn more about the sport.  PTTC has been a USATT affiliated club since 1996 and has been growing ever since.” Said PTTC President L.A. Johnston, “We are really excited to once again partner with Zarzaur Law, PA and bring this tournament to our city and show everyone what table tennis is about in a unique and fun way. Most people think they can only see table tennis on tv or during the olympics, but you can watch and play right here in Pensacola.”

“I am glad that we can get together in Downtown Pensacola. This tournament will help us all regain that sense of community that we all have missed due to the COVID19 pandemic.”  Joe Zarzaur, owner of Zarzaur Law, P.A. 

Entry fees:

Kids – $10

Teens – Novice Adult  – $15

Advanced Adult – $20

Corporate / Business Team (team of four) – $40

Downtown Pensacola Bar/Brewery Team (team of four) – $40

Spectators – FREE!

Event details and to SIGN UP HERE >
or call 850-444-9299.

*Weather Permitting
**Visa gift cards. 

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###

About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

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

Nerve Damage Caused By A Car Accident

Nerves extend from your brain and spinal cord and control bodily functions. In many cases, trauma from a car crash can cause pinched nerves which will send warning signals such as pain.

A minor “whiplash” injury from a car crash can cause compression on the spinal cord and put pressure on the nerves from the cord. This damage may be minor or severe, temporary or permanent. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in these cases.

A pinched nerve occurs when there is compression or pressure on a nerve.

Nerves Are The Most Susceptible To Injury In Places Where They Travel Through Narrow Spaces And Have Little Soft Tissue To Protect Them.

– Central Nervous System

– Peripheral Nervous System

The spinal cord is a great example of this. If a person has degenerative changes in the spinal column, and most people do, the space may be narrowed even further, which can lead to a greater chance of compression and injury. The compression may occur when the nerve is compressed between ligaments tendons or bones. All of this may occur in even a minor car crash under the right circumstances.


INFLAMMATION OR PRESSURE ON A NERVE COMING FROM THE SPINE MAY CAUSE NECK OR LOW BACK PAIN.


Here Are The Most Common Forms Of Nerve Damage That Happen To Victims Of Car Accidents:

Pinched nerve. Also known as a compressed nerve, a pinched nerve is just that—a nerve that is pinched. Typically, it can heal over time through stretching and other treatment methods, but until then it can cause discomfort, pain, and numbness in different areas of the body, depending on where the nerve is located. This is one of the less severe forms of nerve damage that a car accident can inflict.

Whiplash. This is a common injury from car accidents and affects over 2 million Americans a year. While this injury is mostly in the soft tissue of your neck, like the muscles and ligaments, it can also cause nerve damage if nerves are stretched or compressed from the whipping motion.

Neuropathy. In the peripheral nervous system, nerves can become damaged or inflamed, which leads to neuropathy, or the disruption of nerve signals. Many different injuries from car accidents can cause neuropathy. Some symptoms are numbness and pain and can be anywhere from mild to debilitating.

Radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a specific form of neuropathy that occurs in the spine. When a nerve in the spine becomes compressed or pinched, and as a result, there is pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness through the nerve. 

Radiculopathy is most commonly in the lower back or in the neck, and a common example is sciatica.

Permanent Nerve Damage

If nerve compression lasts a long time, a protective barrier around the nerve may dissolve, and fluid buildup can cause swelling and scarring around the nerve root. This scarring may cause a permanent interference with the nerve’s function. Some of the most common symptoms of pinched or compressed nerves include pain, radiating pain, numbness and tingling, pins and needles type sensation, and weakness in the affected areas. These symptoms can be worsened with certain movements, even everyday activities.

Treatment For Pinched Nerves

As with most medical conditions, the severity and treatment of symptoms vary from person to person. Some may benefit from resting the injured areas and avoiding activities that aggravate their symptoms. If symptoms persist, more aggressive medical treatment may include medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, nerve ablations, and even surgery. Common invasive surgeries may be done to remove scar tissue, disc material, or pieces of bone that may be pinching on the nerves. This treatment may be very expensive and may require significant recovery time. However, in many cases, it will be required to avoid worsening long-term problems.

Nerve Damage, Expense, And Your Personal Injury Case

Nerve damages from a car crash or other injury can be a very expensive problem. It can result in substantial medical bills, lost wages, and loss of enjoyment of life. Many victims may require years to fully recover from their injuries, even with the best medical care and rehabilitation.

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.

Parents And The Art Of Car Seat Safety

By: Hannah Domoslay-Paul
(Contributing writer for Pensacola Mom Collective)

Protecting The Smallest Members Of Our Families As We Travel Through Our Day-To-Day Lives.

As the mom of six, I cannot even begin to fathom the number of times I have needed to install a car seat and then buckle our children in to go somewhere. Our family travels have taken us near and far, from the quick trip to the store or school drop-off all the way up to a 7,000-mile road trip that we braved this past summer and pretty much everything in between.

A Mom’s Real Life Perspective On Safety.

Over the last 14.5 years, we have owned a grand total of 13 car seats (infant carriers, all-in-one convertible seats, and boosters), and while colors, patterns, and styles change, the number one factor purchasing each and everyone is this: Will it keep our children safe?


IN 2019, 608 CHILD PASSENGERS TRAGICALLY DIED IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS, MORE THAN 91,000 INJURED, AND OF THOSE WITH FATAL INJURIES, OVER 38% DID NOT GET BUCKLED UP IN A CAR SEAT.


While almost all parents engage in the well-meaning act of purchasing a car seat, we often fail when it comes time to install the car seats in our vehicles correctly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that almost 50% of car seats end up improperly installed in the United States. One sure-fire way to guarantee your seat is correctly installed and your child is traveling as safely as possible is to visit a car seat inspection station near you.

You can quickly access links to local sites by visiting the NHTSA website and searching with your zip code. If there is no location near you, Safe Kids Worldwide is also an excellent service that can connect you with techs, and some technicians allow you to schedule virtual visits.

What Car Seat Is Right For The Age Of Your Child?

Knowing what car seat is right for the age of your child is just as important as knowing how to install it properly, so here are a few quick tips to help you find the right seat:

  • Rear-Facing Through Age 2: Children should stay rear-facing for as long as possible; through age two is what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. The NHTSA even suggests keeping your child in their rear-facing seat until they reach the height and weight limits. One-third of the United States have passed laws requiring rear-facing through two and infant carriers, all-in-one car seats, and convertible car seats all fit the bill for rear-facing.
  • Different Types of Booster Seats – there are also many booster seats available, with the most common being either toddler, high-back, or standard boosters. Toddler booster seats typically have a five-point harness for use until the child reaches a certain height. High-back boosters help with proper seat belt positioning. Standard boosters are suitable for older children who do not yet meet the height requirements for seat belt positioning.
  • How Much Space Does Your Vehicle Have?  I recently had a friend discover, much to her chagrin, that the car seats she purchased for her twins would not fit in their vehicle. Having six many children myself, I discovered that the only seats I could fit properly with my vehicle’s seating configuration needed to be narrow, like those made by Diono.
  • How Long Does This Seat Last? Car seats, just like canned goods, have expiration dates, and if you are planning on buying a seat to last you through multiple children, one major factor in the difference in length of seat usage is construction. The more steel used in construction, the longer you have that seat because plastic degrades over time. Expiration dates on seats usually run between 6 – 10 years, and the information is contained on the seat label with the model and serial number.
  • Too Many Options, Too Many Choices.  Still looking for more help to pick the right seat for your family? Check out the NHTSA Car Seats and Booster Seat page, and you’ll find everything from support for selecting the right seat to a link to register the seat you ultimately choose for important safety recall updates and information.

Safe Buckling Practices

Finally, our responsibilities to the children in our lives cover so many facets and areas of daily living and sometimes we become complacent in certain areas.  One area to always making sure our children are buckled in properly to the car seat we ultimately chose. Please remember:

  • Is my child within the weight and height guidelines for this seat?  If your child is too small or too large for a seat, they can be at risk of injury in an accident.
  • Do I have the harness straps in the correct location?  It’s essential to read which position is suitable for your child’s current age and seat position. Harness straps should be just between or below the shoulders if rear-facing and just at or above shoulder height in a forward-facing car seat.
  • Is the chest clip in the correct position?  Ohhh, the chest clip, the first buckle my children mastered, and long the bane of my existence. Proper chest clip placement is paramount and can keep your child from being ejected from their seat in case of an accident. In many manuals, the chest clip, often referred to as a harness retainer clip should be positioned level across the sternum, approximately at armpit level on your child.
  • Is my child wearing unnecessary clothing or have I placed extra items in my child’s car seat?  The AAP again issues some sound guidance on the safety of any items that go over a car seat, beneath children and their car seat, and between their bodies and the safety harness. Heavy coats in the cold months are often talked about the most in this category. Still, it is essential to understand that replacement seat covers, head supports, and harness covers that do not come from the manufacturer often have the most potential for danger. They have not undergone testing for safety standards in crashes and the wisdom is that a product on the shelf for sale does not make it safe. Stretchy cap style covers that go over seats are not discouraged in the same way but always choosing one with adequate ventilation and openings over the child’s face is key to safe use.

The variety of car seats for sale shows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for families. A properly installed seat, that a child has been correctly buckled in to, is what is safest to protect all small children.

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://portalskcms.cyzap.net/dzapps/dbzap.bin/apps/assess/webmembers/secure/manage?webid=SKCMS&pToolCode=CERT-SEARCH&pAdd=Yes

https://www.nhtsa.gov

https://www.aap.org

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#find-the-right-car-seat-car-seat-recommendations

 

About Hannah Domoslay-Paul
(Contributing writer for Pensacola Mom Collective)

Hannah was born and raised in West Michigan and made the move to Pensacola in 2015 with her oldest four boys after being widowed. Now remarried and with two more lovely children added to the family, a girl and boy, she spends her days trying to keep it together, usually with duct tape and ingenuity. During her daily hours spent serving as a taxi driver she often muses about how lost the world would be without moms and wonders if she’ll ever go a week without playing a game of “What’s That Smell” around her house and car. Hannah is an adult with ADHD, the daughter of an alcoholic, and the survivor of child abuse who doesn’t have too many off limits topics. She is a lover of books, sarcastic humor, and old houses and all three come in handy as she constantly works on projects in and around her 1866 Folk Victorian.

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/