Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Crash Lawyers

What Are The Dangers Of Driving Without Motorcycle Insurance In Florida?

Unlike other states, Florida doesn’t require riders to purchase motorcycle insurance. While It’s true that you aren’t legally required to buy a policy, it still makes sense to be insured. Motorcycle insurance can help cover your damages if you get into an accident and limit your financial liability. Insurance also protects you in other states, should you take your bike on a road trip. 

Is It Required To Have Insurance To Register A Motorcycle In Florida?

The registration process does not require a motorcycle operator to carry insurance to register their motorcycle. However, the driver is still financially responsible if charged in a bike accident.

THERE WAS A TOTAL OF 8,638
MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN FLORIDA IN 2021. THIS MEANS THAT 0.069% OF THE MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN FLORIDA IN 2021 RESULTED IN A DEATH.

SO WHY WOULD RIDERS NOT HAVE INSURANCE?

 

Does Florida No-Fault Coverage Apply to Motorcycles?

Florida is a “no-fault” state requiring personal injury protection coverage for your vehicle of four wheels or more. No-fault coverage ensures that all medical bills will be paid regardless of who was at fault in an accident. No-fault laws do not apply to motorcycles.

 

An Alarming Increase In Motorcycle Fatalities

The number of annual motorcycle fatalities observed in Florida has more than doubled over the past twenty years. Although there has been some decline since 2015, when a high of 584 was reached, motorcycle fatalities remain elevated, with an average of 550 per year from 2016-2021. Of additional concern, overall, traffic fatalities have increased by nearly 17% over the past five years, with motorcycle fatalities increasing by 3%.

 

Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Required in Florida?

While Florida allows motorcycle riders to drive without insurance, they are not absolved of their financial responsibility should they get into an accident (especially if the motorcycle rider has caused the accident). The state’s minimum liability coverage requirements for other passenger vehicles includes:

$10,000 for one person with bodily injury
$20,000 for two or more people with bodily injury
$10,000 per crash in property damage liability

While bodily injury liability insurance is not required it is recommended that you buy as much coverage as you can afford, since motorcycle accidents cause serious injuries and potentially high medical bills.

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

 

What Happens If You Don’t Have Bodily Injury Liability Insurance At The Time Of An Accident?

If no liability coverage was in effect at the time of the accident, you could face significant penalties, including:

Having your driving privileges suspended
Having your registration and tag suspended
Being required to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for three years
Having civil judgments against you

 

ACCORDING TO SAFEROADS.ORG, THERE ARE 10 TIMES AS MANY UNHELMETED MOTORCYCLIST FATALITIES IN STATES WITHOUT UNIVERSAL HELMET LAWS (1,777) AS IN STATES WITH UNIVERSAL HELMET LAWS (170).

 

What Are Florida’s Helmet Laws, and Do They Impact Insurance?

While Florida doesn’t mandate motorcycle insurance in most cases, riders must purchase coverage if they choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. These riders must have insurance with at least 10/20/10 coverage. You can only legally ride without a helmet if you buy insurance beforehand.

 

MOTORCYCLE HELMETS REDUCE THE RISK OF HEAD INJURY BY 69 PERCENT AND REDUCE THE RISK OF DEATH BY 42 PERCENT.

 

Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) Coverage

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

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

Watch Our YouTube Video On This Topic >

 

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

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

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/motorcycle/do-you-need-motorcycle-insurance-in-florida/

https://ridesmartflorida.com/crashes-over-time/

Florida Has The Most Bicyclist Deaths In The U.S.

2020 Pedalcyclist fatalities were highest in Florida (170), followed by California (129) and Texas (79), according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2020, there was a 9% increase in the number of pedalcyclists killed (938), compared to 859 in 2019.

2020 TOTAL PEDALCYCLIST CRASHES/ACCIDENTS—
FLORIDA RANKS THIRD.


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.

Most jurisdictions, whether state, county, or city, have some form of “bike law” that applies to both motorists and cyclists. Understanding those laws is a great first step for many and should be reviewed on a regular basis by seasoned cyclists regardless of the purpose of the endeavor: recreation, commuting, etc.

If you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident involving a vehicle, put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. Consult with a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you.

When Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?

Bicycle deaths are highest during the summer months between June and September. Nearly three-quarters of all bicycle deaths occur in urban areas. Failing to yield the right of way is the highest factor in fatal bike crashes, followed by bicyclists not being visible. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

Research From The NHTSA
Reveals That Fatal Bicycle Accidents
Are Most Likely To Occur Between
6 P.M. And 9 P.M. During The Week
And 9 P.M. To 12 A.M. On The Weekend.

Impact and Types of Vehicles

Pedalcyclists who died in single-vehicle crashes were most likely to be struck by the front of the vehicles. 

Light trucks were the most frequently involved vehicles in traffic crashes in which a pedalcyclist was killed (361 of the 870). Eighty-nine percent (320) of these pedalcyclists came into contact with the front of the light truck.

Steps to Avoiding An Accident With A Vehicle

This is along the lines of what is in the personal control of the cyclist, and much of this is also addressed by bike laws:

  1. A tuned, functional, and road-fit bicycle (brakes, reflectors)
  2. Adequate safety lights (forward and backward facing)
  3. A safe helmet intended for bicycle use
  4. Bright or reflective attire
  5. Eyewear for the weather or daylight conditions

Proper planning is also in the control of the cyclist, though not mandated by bike laws:

  1. Choosing a well-lit route
  2. Choosing roadways with fewer obstacles such as crossroads, driveways, and construction zones
  3. 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 cycling location chosen.

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.

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

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), identification of any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries, including damage to property.

What to Do If You Get Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bike

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

Once immediate safety has been secured, someone should obtain (via notation, digital voice memo, or photographs):

Documentation of the scene, including details of the weather, road conditions, and time of day, including identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, date 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 helmet and clothing damage and documentation of the vehicle(s) and bicycle(s) damaged.

Bicycle Accident Checklist

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

2. Pay attention to and remember what the other party says about how the accident occurred.

3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, footwear, 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 lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Seek medical help. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills. Allow the ER or hospital to bill you for your car ins.

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

7. Maintain an injury log.

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

9. Consult a personal injury lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

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

Test Your Bike Law Knowledge Here >

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.

Bicycle Accident Injuries

The most common injuries, such as skin abrasions (i.e., road rash), maybe a harbinger of an underlying injury such as fractures, dislocations, cardiopulmonary or vascular injury, or disrupted tendons/ligaments.

A broken helmet could be an indication that an evaluation for intracranial, neck or cervical spine injury may be warranted.

Pensacola injury lawyer Joe Zarzaur and
Dr. Evan Malone are active cyclist and participate
in triathlons on a regular basis.

 

By hiring Zarzaur Law, you will hire a legal team that understands cycling, knows cyclist rights, and will aggressively help you fight for your rights. At Zarzaur Law, we handle bicycle injury cases, defective bicycle components, defective roadway conditions, as well as everything else related to bicycle accident cases.

WATCH OUR VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC HERE

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

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 a bicycle 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.

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

CDC Bicycle Safety

https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/bicycle/index.html

NHTSA Bicycle Crash Stats

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813197

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.2065.html

Florida Bicycle Association

https://floridabicycle.org

Bike Pensacola

https://www.bikepensacola.org/

West Florida Wheelmen

https://www.westfloridawheelmen.org/advocacy

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

Zarzaur Law Recognized as Outstanding Business/Corporation of the Year by the West Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Outstanding Business of The YearPENSACOLA, Fla. (November 17, 2021) — Joe Zarzaur, a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and founder of Zarzaur Law, P.A., received the Outstanding Business of The Year award by the West Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. This award is in recognition of Zarzaur Law’s commitment to the local community.

“Joe and the entire Zarzaur Law Firm could not be more deserving of the AFP’s Outstanding Corporation Award. It’s not often that you see a small company do so much good for the community.” Said Stacey Kostevicki, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Kids’ House, “From the Gallery Night Legal Graffiti, which has benefited nearly every charity agency in the area to Joe’s sponsorship of the Gavel Guys and Gavel Girls. Zarzaur Law seeks to highlight the good in the community and to seek justice for their clients and the citizens of Escambia County.”

While there are many events, programs, and community initiatives that Joe Zarzaur and the team of Zarzaur Law have been a part of, the most recognized philanthropic activity led by the firm is “Legal Graffiti.” “Legal Graffiti” is an event hosted at Zarzaur Law during each Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola. “Legal Graffiti” is an opportunity for anyone to make a donation and then create artwork on the recycled billboard vinyl-covered wall at the Zarzaur Law office building using spray paint. The event raises money for non-profits & charities within the area. Donations are matched by the firm and given to the charity of choice.

Recipients include ARC Gateway, American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWFL, Manna Food Pantries, Pathways for Change, Autism Pensacola, Emerald Coast Legal Aid, Guardian Ad Litem, Favor House, and Gulf Coast Kids’ House just to name a few.

National Philanthropy Day is designed to celebrate and highlight the accomplishments of giving,  volunteering, and charitable engagement within our community.

“In the past seven years of hosting the “Legal Graffiti” event, the firm has donated more than $100,000 to local charities.” Joe Zarzaur, Owner of Zarzaur Law, P.A. “We are honored and humbled to receive this recognition and plan to continue our outreach efforts and make a lasting impact in our community.”

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR LEGAL GRAFFITI FUNDRAISING EVENTS AND OTHER COMMUNITY INITIATIVES >

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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

Takata Inflator Investigation – Is Your Car’s Air Bag Defective?

Air bags are supplemental protection and are designed to work best in combination with seat belts. Both frontal and side-impact air bags are generally designed to deploy in moderate to severe crashes and may deploy in even a minor crash.

Air bags reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during a crash. To avoid an air-bag-related injury, make sure you are properly seated and remember—air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. And children under 13 should sit in the back seat.

 

Defective Takata Air Bag Inflator Investigation

U.S. auto safety investigators have opened a new probe into 30 million vehicles built by nearly two dozen automakers with potentially defective Takata air bag inflators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) opened an engineering analysis into the vehicles manufactured between 2001-2019. The investigation has not been made public yet.

Go to safercar.gov to check the recall status of your vehicle.

 

Which Car Models Are Effected?

The new investigation includes vehicles assembled by Honda, Ford, Toyota, GM, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Ferrari, Mazda, Daimer, BMW, Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover and others. The 30 million vehicles include both vehicles that had the inflators installed when newly manufactured and inflators that were used in prior recalls.

Over the last decade more than 67 million Takata inflators have been recalled in the US and more than 100 million worldwide. This has been the largest auto safety callback in history because the inflators can send deadly metal fragments flying after a crash.

  • 2001-2002 Honda Civic
  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord
  • 2002-2003 Acura TL
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Acura CL
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • Certain 2006 Ford Ranger (Ford advises do not drive)
  • Certain 2006 Mazda B-Series (Mazda advises do not drive)

NHTSA advises that owners not drive these vehicles and seek immediate repairs.


MORE THAN 100 DEATHS HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED WORLDWIDE, WITH MANY MORE NON-FATAL INJURIES.


 

NHTSA has said the cause of the inflator explosions tied to the recall of 67 million inflators is propellant breaking down after long term exposure to high temperature fluctuations and humidity. Vehicles in states such as Florida are susceptible to such climate factors.

 

What Constitutes A Defective Air Bag?

A defective air bag is one that contains a design or manufacturing defect that effects the safe function of the air bag. These can cause spontaneous explosions, failure to deploy in an accident and late deployment in an accident.

 

Who Is Liable?

Vehicle and air bag manufacturers may be liable for such injuries. Under product liability laws car dealers and repair technicians may also be liable. Finding responsible parties requires legal skill and experience and should be handled by expert personal injury attorneys.

 

Injuries Caused By Defective Air Bags

The type of injuries caused by defective air bags  can include: Puncture wounds

Lacerations

Skull fractures

Death

This can result in facial fractures, dental injuries, eye injuires and more.

Experienced personal lawyers can review and evaluate cases involving airbag injuries. To file a claim, the lawyer must establish a causation relationship between the airbag and the injuries. These are complex cases and must include input from experts such as reconstruction engineers, auto engineers and medical experts. These are complex cases with complex legal issues that require experienced lawyers.

Refer to the car wreck checklist for more info on what to do right after you’ve been involved in a car accident.

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

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

Sources:
https://www.nhtsa.gov/recall-spotlight/critical-warning-regarding-certain-honda-acura-mazda-and-ford-vehicles-takata-air

https://www.consumerreports.org/car-recalls-defects/takata-airbag-recall-everything-you-need-to-know-a1060713669/

New Law in Florida: Driving with Hazard Lights on in the Rain is Now Legal

If you have driven in Florida, you have driven in a heavy rainstorm. These seem to come out of nowhere, with little warning and can reduce unlimited visibility to zero visibility in a matter of seconds. What should you do?

Good Safety Measure Or More Of A Hazard?

Florida drivers will be allowed to use hazard lights on roads with speed limits at or above 55 mph when the conditions create “extremely low visibility.”

The law rebuts years of messaging by state traffic officials, who have been telling drivers on social media, on highway signs, and in news stories not to use those lights in the rain.

The experts all say that you should turn your lights on, slow down and try and pull over safely in such conditions. This is often not as easy as it seems, many people turn on the emergency or hazard flashers while continuing to drive in such conditions. Whether this is safe or dangerous is a matter of dispute. In fact, in many states, it is illegal to do this.

Will This Cause Confusion for Other Drivers?

Public safety officials stressed that hazard lights are for vehicles that are stopped or disabled on the roadway or the shoulder. They are a sign for emergency services or that the driver needs assistance. According to these officials, hazard lights can reduce visibility, making other drivers think you are stopped or stalled. They make it difficult to see if motorists are tapping on the brakes and they don’t allow you to use your turn signals.

For years it has been illegal in Florida to drive with flashers unless you were in a funeral procession. In fact, since 2018 police in Florida have issued almost 500 citations for this practice. As the Florida DOT tweeted “If driving in rain is too dangerous, pull off the road. DO NOT activate hazard lights while still traveling”.

However, as in many other circumstances, Florida was an outlier. Only 10 states prohibit using hazard lights while driving, according to the AAA. This law will be changed effective July 1, 2021. The new law will allow Florida drivers to use hazard lights on roads with speed limits at or above 55 mph when the conditions create “extremely low visibility”. This would seem to include rainy or foggy conditions that we all experience on a regular basis.

We think this law simply reflects the most common driving practices in a state like Florida, where such conditions are common. In fact, the lawmaker who introduced the change confirmed this. He admitted that he has used his flashers to avoid getting rear-ended in dangerous conditions. He also admitted surprise that the change in the law attracted very little opposition or even attention.

Did You Know That for Years It Was Illegal to Drive with Your Hazard Lights on During the Rain?

We must admit that we were not aware that driving with flashers was illegal. It seems counterintuitive that this would make driving more dangerous. As usual, be careful when driving in such hazardous conditions, and if they are so extreme simply pull over until the conditions improve. While this can be very aggravating, it can be better than the alternative.

States that permit the use of flashers while driving include Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The remaining states have exceptions to the rules, allowing hazard lights only in certain circumstances.

REMINDER – Florida law requires motorists to turn on their headlights any time it rains. The aim is to make it easier for others to see you when visibility is poor

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

 

Sources:

News Flash: Florida Drivers Can Finally Use Hazard Lights in the Rain Legally

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/why-it-isnt-safe-to-flash-hazard-lights-while-driving-in-the-rain-2/432626

What Should You Do If You Get In A Wreck With A Rental Car?

Wreck With A Rental Car

As we all know, Florida is one of the top 3 tourism destinations in the country. While tourism is great for the economy, it also means that there are a lot of rental cars out on the roads being driven by people who may not know the roads very well. So, a question we often get from potential clients is this: what do I do if I get in a wreck with a motorist driving a rental car?

First and foremost, you should do the same thing you would do in a wreck with any other driver: stay at the scene, contact law enforcement, and exchange insurance information. Be sure to get the driver’s personal insurance (if any) as well as any insurance they might have purchased from the rental company when they rented the vehicle. Often, this information can be found in the glove box of the rental car. Follow the CAR WRECK CHECKLIST >

The Next Question Is: Who Is Going To Pay For The Injuries I’ve Suffered?

If you are a Florida resident with a car insurance policy, you have a “Personal Injury Protection” or “no-fault” policy. This means that your insurance will pay 80% of your initial medical bills, up to $10,000. The remaining 20% must be paid out of pocket or by your health insurance. Of course, these costs will ultimately be demanded from the at-fault driver.

Comprehensive Coverage

Once you exhaust your “no-fault” or “PIP” benefits, the next step is recovering from the at-fault driver. Often, an out-of-state driver might have “comprehensive coverage,” which means that their personal insurance covers their liability for accidents they cause in a rental car. In other words, this type of insurance can follow the person and not their car.

Rental companies also offer insurance as part of their rental package. If a driver who rents a car purchases insurance through the rental company, this policy will likely cover the injuries the rental driver causes. Most companies offer several different coverage options which vary between minimum coverage and extremely generous policies.

Dangerous Instrumentality

Unless there is something wrong with the vehicle itself, however, there is usually no avenue to triggering the rental company’s own insurance policy, separate and apart from the policies they sell to their renters. Florida is a “dangerous instrumentality” state—which means that ordinarily, an owner of a vehicle is liable for the injuries caused by anyone that they allow to drive their vehicles. Many people know this and rightly assume that the doctrine applies to rental car companies, who own their vehicles and allow renters to drive them.

Graves Amendment

However, in 2005, the US Congress passed a law known as the Graves Amendment as part of a larger traffic bill. This amendment insulates rental car companies from liability for the negligence of the drivers that they rent to. This amendment has pre-empted Florida’s “dangerous instrumentality” law that would normally provide for liability.

Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can navigate this complicated process. So, 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 a civil trials. 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.

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.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/long-arm_statute

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0048/Sections/0048.193.html

https://www.findlaw.com/injury/car-accidents/the-graves-amendment-and-rental-car-liability.html

https://www.iii.org/article/what-is-covered-by-collision-and-comprehensive-auto-insurance

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers – Car Accident, Wrongful Death, Malpractice

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

Car Accident Case

Different Types of Damages In a Car Accident.

After the initial questions about what medical treatment to seek and where to seek it, the first question our clients usually ask is this: what types of damages can I recover from the at-fault party in a car wreck? Like many legal issues, the answer depends on the type of injury, the treatment plan, and the conduct of the at fault driver.

Economic Damages:

Every person who suffers injuries from the fault of another driver can recover economic damages. Below are certain categories of expenses you can recover:

Medical Expenses

All medical costs caused by the injury. this category includes not only the costs for services at the hospital right after your wreck, but also ambulance bills, co-pays, prescription costs, and fuel costs for traveling to doctor appointments

Property Damage

This category includes the value of the replacement of the vehicle if your vehicle is totaled

Lost Wages and Benefits

Includes any wages that you were unable to earn because you missed work. This category also includes the value of any lost vacation days and/or lost contributions to retirement funds

Cost of Services

Includes any costs of having to hire someone to perform tasks that you ordinarily performed. For instance, if you are unable to perform basic tasks around the house, unable to care for your child, or unable to run errands, the cost of having to hire someone to perform these tasks is recoverable.


Pensacola injury lawyer

 

Non-Economic Damages:

Non-economic damages are damages that you may experience on a more emotional level than the direct impact on your wallet. Crucially, you can only recover these damages if you experience a “threshold injury”—that is, if a doctor diagnoses you with a permanent injury or significant scarring or disfigurement.

Pain and suffering

Includes the pain that you suffered as soon as the wreck happened, any pain you experienced during recovery, and any pain you will suffer in the future as a result of the wreck.

Disfigurement

Includes any permanent scarring, as well as any loss of bodily function such as loss of taste, smell, eyesight, or hearing, loss of limb, or any other permanent loss of function

Physical impairment

After your wreck, you may not be able to perform certain tasks or recreational activities as well as you previously could—or even at all. this type of recovery tries to compensate you for the value of your lost ability to work or play like you were previously able to.

Mental suffering

This category of damage attempts to compensate a plaintiff for the stress and anxiety caused by the accident—whether it stems from an inability to perform tasks like you could previously, fear of hospitalization, or any other mental issues you suffer as a result of the wreck.

Loss of consortium

This category of recovery attempts to compensate spouses and children for the loss of support, companionship, and household services commonly provided by family members. This claim can only be brought in the name of the child or spouse so they will have to sign up separately.


Punitive damages

Punitive damages are a different beast altogether. These damages are only available when a defendant has acted in a “grossly negligent” way or has intentionally caused damage. The most common scenario where punitive damages are available in a car wreck context is when the at-fault driver is intoxicated. Frequently, these damages will be excluded from an insurance policy.


If you’ve suffered injuries from a car wreck, 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 civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.

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

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

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

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/no-fault-car-insurance-states-with-serious-injury-thresholds.html

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/claims-gross-negligence.html

https://www.floridabar.org

Golf Carts and the False Sense of Security

Relative speed and a distorted sense of safety are some of the reasons why golf cart accidents are on the rise. The emerging problem is attributed to the fact that golf carts are no longer used only on the golf course, but have become a means of transportation within gated and residential neighborhoods, hospitals, university campuses, malls, airports and more. Places like these usually concentrate a considerable number of people circulating on the perimeter of the facilities. Golf carts represent a desirable transportation for short distances because of their low levels of motor emissions and the cost advantages they represent when compared to a traditional car. Although the use of golf carts is regulated by state laws, there is no federal regulation that limits the operation of these vehicles.

ZL_blog_golf_carts

Accidents related to golf carts occur frequently in Florida, however there is no up-to-date statistics on the number of physical injuries and fatal losses caused by the use of these vehicles in the United States. A study published by the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care in 2008 revealed that the age group with the highest incidence of golf cart accidents are adolescents within the 10 to 19 age range and adults over 80 years old. It is important to mention that Florida Statute 316.212 (7), prohibit the operation of a golf cart by individuals under 14 years old.

The study “Golf cart-related Injuries in the U.S.” (Watson et al., 2008) revealed that almost half of the injuries related to golf carts were due to falling out of golf carts or due to overturns. Golf cart safety features have improved over the years, but they are still insufficient in preventing passenger injuries. Golf carts moving at speeds as low as 11 mph could quickly force a passenger out of the vehicle if not operated properly. The rear seats of a golf cart are mainly associated with high passenger ejection rates. Often, golf carts do not have four-wheel brakes, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Damages caused by golf carts go beyond falls and injuries. Florida news reports, monthly golf carts accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol, collisions between golf carts and regular motor vehicles and even pedestrians being run over by golf carts has increased steadily over the years. Many of these accidents have resulted in fatal injuries and even death.

All drivers face risks, but effective risk prevention helps reduce accidents and injuries.

The following are safety measures you can take to prevent golf carts accidents:

• Drive the golf cart only along permitted roads.

• Lower the speed in every turn and avoid having to turn sharply.

• A golf cart can only be operated during the hours between sunrise and sunset.

• If you are going to drive a golf cart during the night, be sure that the cart is additionally equipped with headlights, directional lights and a windshield.

• Be sure the golf cart comes with efficient brakes, safe tires, a rearview mirror and red reflector warning devices on the front and rear.

• Ordinance restricts golf carts to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.

• Do not drink alcohol or ride in a golf cart with anyone who has been drinking alcohol while driving a golf cart

Who’s at fault?
When it comes to golf carts accidents, determining who’s at fault is more complicated. Remember that golf carts travel through golf courses, crossroads and places different from those on which a regular car travels. If you are dealing with a golf cart accident, check first that everyone involved is safe and call an ambulance if someone is injured. Remember to take pictures of the crash scene as well as collect witnesses data if any, and call the police.

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney, Joe Zarzaur works in all areas of personal injury including golf cart accidents, motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle and boating accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall and wrongful death.

We know accidents are 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. Offices in Pensacola and Destin.

Sources

McGwin, G., Zoghby, J. T., Griffin, R. & Rue, L. (2008) Incidence of golf cart-related injury in the United States. The Journal of TRAUMA Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 64 :1562–1566.

Watson, D. S., Mehan, T., Smith, G. & McKenzie, L. (2008) Golf cart-related Injuries in the U.S.. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35(1) 55-59.

State Uniform Traffic Control, 2017 Fla. § 316.212.7 (2017) Retrieved from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.212.html

Mohn, T. (2017, March 4) The (Mostly) Safe Golf Cart. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/04/business/retirement/the-mostly-safe-golf-cart.html

RECALL: Kidde Nighthawk Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerPensacola Product Liability: Recall Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

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

 

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

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

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

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

Securing Compensation for Victims of Defective Products

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

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

For more information, visit our Pensacola product liability page.

October Recap: Zarzaur Law Firm

October Happenings at Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, Zarzaur Law Firm

October was an exciting month at Pensacola Car Accident Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur’s Law firm, Zarzaur Law, P.A.  – Along with the resurrection of Gallery Night, Zarzaur Law sponsored several local races, participated in Downtown Pensacola’s annual Trick or Treat event and even had to deal with the aftermath of a fire!

Gallery Night October 2017

At Zarzaur Law, a Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, October’s Downtown Pensacola Gallery Night Kicked off early. “Legal Graffiti” is an event hosted at the Zarzaur Law offices during each and every Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola. The event raised money for two non-profits this time around, FavorHouse and The American Cancer Society, Pensacola.

 

Run Pensacola

Pensacola Car Accident LawyerPensacola Car Accident Law Firm, Zarzaur Law, P.A. Sponsored two Run Pensacola events in October – the Bridge to Bridge 5k and the Pensacola Perfect 10. Don’t forget to sign up for the end of the year runs: The Pensacola Turkey Trot, the Ho Ho Hustle & The Holiday Half, all put on by Run Pensacola!

 

October Feature in the Business Climate

Pensacola Auto Accident AttorneyJoe and his office/residence were featured in the 12th annual Downtown issue of Business Climate.  Zarzaur’s current residence is a building constructed in the 1800’s – chalk full of history and interesting facts about Downtown Pensacola. Grab an issue or read it online today

 

Palafox Subway Catches Fire

Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney“The Subway below us had a fire last night. We are all ok, and our home on the corner of Palafox and Romana will be ok too, lots of smoke. From all of us at Zarzaur Law P.A.; thank you City of Pensacola first responders! Our Pensacola Fire Department and our Pensacola Police Department response last night was amazing.
We appreciate you!”

 


Afterward, Pensacola auto accident lawyer, Joe Zarzaur brought over a catered lunch to the Pensacola Fire Department to thank them for everything they’ve done!

 

Thanks again to Pensacola Fire Department nd Pensacola Police Department from Zarzaur Law, P.A!

 

Downtown Pensacola Trick or Treat

Pensacola Car Crash Attorney

The Zarzaur Law, P.A. team working together at the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board’s Annual Trick or Treat event!

 

 

One of Pensacola’s most anticipated events of the year, the family-friendly returned to Palafox Street for another fun night. More than 50 businesses along Palafox, marked with a trick-or-treat poster displayed in their window, were ready to fill bags with candy and other Halloween goodies – Including Zarzaur Law! For the second year in a row, the Superhero block was the talk of the town, giving out handfuls of candy and safety reflectors for Halloween Night.