Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Wreck Attorney

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/

Pensacola Jury Finds Against ECUA And Awards Injured Party $802,000.

Pensacola Jury Awards Injured PartyPENSACOLA, Fla. (JUNE 20, 2022) —  A jury in Escambia County Circuit Court awarded $802,000.00 in damages to a 52 year-old man who was left permanently disabled after being hit by a 36,000-pound garbage truck managed by the Escambia County Utilities Authority (ECUA). 

The Accident

The client’s vehicle was hit from behind by an ECUA garbage truck. The clients’ car was totaled as well as causing significant physical trauma and injury to the client’s back. The wreck occurred when the ECUA driver operated his vehicle in a careless/negligent manner, causing the utility truck to slam into the client’s Ford Explorer; the impact caused considerable damage to all vehicles involved.

The Case

Zarzaur Law, P.A. brought suit on behalf of the client, arguing that ECUA’s negligent driver was the cause of his injuries. At the time of the trial, ECUA refused to offer anything more than $30,000.00, arguing that all of the client’s injuries were pre-existing and unrelated to the crash. Zarzaur Law, P.A. knew that the client had never experienced back pain before the wreck, and emphasized that fact to the jury. Counsel for ECUA argued that the injured party was “exaggerating” and paid an expert $11,000.00 to come into court and suggest that fact.

The Evidence And Testimony

The jury heard evidence and testimony about how the wreck had impacted the client, learned about the medical treatment the client received, and about the long lasting and permanent effects of his injuries. The day prior to the verdict, lawyers at Zarzaur Law asked ECUA counsel if they were interested in a settlement in the range of $75,000 to $99,000. ECUA counsel rejected any suggestion for continuing settlement discussions.

The Verdict

The jury, after hearing the evidence and after considering all of the defenses from ECUA and its lawyer, ruled in the plaintiff’s favor and awarded Zarzaur Law’s client $802,000. The $802,000.00 verdict included damages for past medical treatment, future medical treatment, pain and suffering in the past, and pain and suffering in the future. ECUA claims they will appeal.

“THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A JURY PUTTING AN OBSTINATE DEFENDANT IN THEIR PLACE,” SAID ATTORNEY JOE ZARZAUR.

Every time a local jury holds a careless driver responsible, they make our community safer by deterring others from driving carelessly. This is especially true when they drive around 36,000-pound vehicles.”

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

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About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, 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

Attorney Joe Zarzaur Achieves Recertification In Civil Trial Law With The National Board Of Civil Trial Advocacy.

Zarzaur Achieves Recertification In Civil Trial LawPENSACOLA, Fla. (JUNE 8, 2022) —  The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is pleased to announce that attorney Joe Zarzaur, founder and lead attorney at Zarzaur Law, P.A., has successfully achieved recertification as a civil trial advocate. The NBTA was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney’s experience and expertise in the practice of trial law.

Joe Zarzaur is part of a growing number of trial attorneys that have illustrated their commitment to bettering the legal profession by successfully completing a rigorous application process and providing the consumer of legal services with an objective measure by which to choose qualified and experienced legal counsel.

The elaborate screening of credentials that all NBTA board-certified attorneys must successfully complete includes: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, and proof of good standing.

Board Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Board certifications are the only distinctions awarded by non-profit organizations. The NBTA as well as all board certifying organizations are committed to safeguarding the public’s ability to choose a good attorney.

The National Board of Trial Advocacy originally selected Joe as a member in 2011. This is a group of trial lawyers whose mission it is to preserve the civility in our country’s civil jury system. Members are selected by existing members and must be chosen based upon their competency and professionalism. Joe has been a continuous member of NBTA and has also served as President of the local chapter.  He has also been board certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial since 2010.

Giving back to the community is also an important part of the mission for Zarzaur Law, P.A.. Joe has continuously supported local Escambia and Santa Rosa County charities through the Zarzaur Law Legal Graffiti event as well as direct gifts to the firm’s adopted two main charities, Gulf Coast Kids’ House and Favor House.

Approximately three percent of American lawyers are board certified, and Joe Zarzaur is a member of a very select group who has taken the time to prove competence in their specialty area and earn board certification.

For more information on Joe Zarzaur, please visit zarzaurlaw.com and nbtalawyers.org

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About Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, 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

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

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

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

The 100 Deadliest Days Of Summer For Teen Drivers

Deadliest Days Of Summer For Teen DriversFrom FDOT.gov

For more information on FDOT Teen Driver Safety and related programs and grants, visit the Safety Office Teen Driver Safety page. Visit the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalitions’  100 Deadliest Days for Teen Driver’s Page for more.

The “100 Deadliest Days” is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal teen crashes increase dramatically. Nationwide over 7,000 people died in teen-related crashes from 2010–2019 during this summer period.

Teens drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, due to immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. Teenagers speed, they make mistakes, they wear their safety belts less often, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.

Florida teens (ages 15-19) make up approximately 5% of Florida’s licensed drivers. However, crashes with teen drivers typically make up 11% of all crashes in Florida. In 2020, there were 39,150 crashes with teen drivers, resulting in 97 teen-driver fatalities statewide.

Common Causes of Teenage Car Crashes

Teen driving statistics show that a number of factors contribute to the increased likelihood of a crash — not just one or two. By understanding the common causes, parents can talk to their teens about how each situation might be avoided.

  • Distracted driving. Distracted driving includes any behavior that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, such as eating, drinking, texting, applying makeup or smoking. About 9% of teen drivers ages 15-19 report driving distracted.
  • Texting and driving. Texting is a form of distracted driving, but deserves highlighting. Not only do most states have laws banning texting while driving, 38% of teens have admitted to texting while driving. (Journal of Adolescent Health)
  • Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to speed and drive too closely to the car in front of them. In 2019, 31% of male drivers and 17% of female drivers were involved in fatal crashes as a result of speeding. (IIHS)
  • Drunk driving. Teens are shown to have a higher chance of a crash due to alcohol, versus other age groups. In 2019, 15% of fatal crashes among drivers aged 15-19 involved alcohol use. (IIHS)
  • Inexperience is a significant factor for teen drivers, with many lacking the confidence and knowledge to handle certain driving situations. Newly licensed drivers (typically at age 16) have the least experience and the highest crash rate among teens. The crash rate per mile driven is 1.5 times as high for 16-year-olds compared to 18- and 19- year-olds. (IIHS)
  • Seat belts. Seat belt use is the lowest among teen drivers compared to all other age groups. Of all the fatal crashes recorded in 2019, almost half of teen drivers aged 16-19 were found not restrained. (IIHS)
  • Nighttime driving. The CDC notes driving at night is not only riskier for drivers of all ages, but especially teen drivers, which could be due to limited visibility, tiredness or impairment. Data shows in 2019, 40% of fatal crashes among teens aged 13–19 occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (IIHS)

Parents Are The Best Line Of Defense To Ensure A Safe Ride And Have More Influence On Their Teens Than They May Think.

What Can You Do?

  • Talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share some stories and statistics related to teen drivers and distracted driving. Remind your teen often that driving is a skill that requires the driver’s full attention. Texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at his or her destination.
  • Familiarize yourself with Florida’s graduated driver licensing law, and enforce its guidelines for your teen. View Florida’s laws on distracted driving, create your own rules if necessary. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have, or the hours your teen can drive, is a very effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver. Talk about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting on a phone while driving.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving. If your teen breaks a distraction rule you’ve set, consider suspending your teen’s driving privileges, further limiting the hours during which they can drive, or limiting the places where they can drive. Parents could also consider limiting a teen’s access to their cell phone—a punishment that in today’s world could be seen by teens as a serious consequence.
  • Set the example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your own driving behaviors. Novice teen drivers most often learn from watching their parents.

Teenage Driver Facts

  • Nationally, teen drivers were involved in approximately 955,913 crashes resulting in 4,000 fatalities and 359,268 serious injuries in 2018.
  • Florida has more than 400,000 registered teen drivers, age 15 to 19.
  • In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 59,301 crashes resulting in 290 fatalities and 2,256 serious injuries in 2018.
  • Teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone.
  • The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
  • Safety belts were not worn in one-third of the deaths and serious injuries involving these teen drivers.
  • More crashes involving teen drivers occurred on Friday than on any other day of the week.
  • Contrary to the perception that non-Florida residents are frequently involved in Florida crashes, only 3% of fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes involving a teen driver in Florida occurred with a non-Florida resident.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:
https://www.fdot.gov/agencyresources/deadliestdays

National safety council Injury facts

https://www.flhsmv.gov/2021/10/18/florida-recognizes-national-teen-drivers-safety-week-aims-to-reduce-teen-crashes/

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 4 – Why Does It Matter If You Elect To Purchase Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is the sixth-highest state with the most uninsured drivers, at 20.4 percent. Uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist insurance kicks in to cover the costs of being involved in a car accident when the other driver has little or no insurance.

What is UM Coverage And Why Should You Have It?

This is obviously a concerning fact when you consider that most people have the minimum amount of insurance coverage and it seems that those drivers are the ones that cause most of the car wrecks in Florida. This again means that you should always purchase as much uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as you can afford.  This coverage is also known as “UM” or “UIM” coverage.

The reason UM coverage is so important is that it functions just like the injury coverage bought by the at-fault driver. So, if you are in a wreck and the at-fault driver is like most in Florida and has either no coverage or a small amount of coverage and your injuries are serious, then UM coverage will provide coverage for the other driver’s negligence.

We have written and spoken at some length about the necessity of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. The basis for this advice is that most drivers in Florida have only the minimum required insurance.  This means that most drivers have ZERO coverage for car wreck victim injuries, and this is completely legal. In Florida, you are only required by law to have $10,000.00 in property damage liability coverage and $10,000.00 in personal injury protection coverage (which is coverage that pays for the policyholder’s car wreck-related injuries).

So, most Florida drivers will have no coverage for the injuries they cause to you and your loved ones. It is imperative that you secure the most uninsured motorist coverage that you can afford.

Stacked vs. Non-Stacked Coverage

Since we have covered the basis for uninsured motorist coverage, we now should discuss how “stacked” uninsured motorist coverage works. So, when you elect to have uninsured motorist coverage, you are also going to be given the option to have “stacked” or “non-stacked” uninsured motorist coverage.

Stacked

Stacked insurance essentially increases the amount of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage dependent on the number of vehicles insured. In Florida, drivers have the option to stack policies within one policy or across multiple policies.

An example of stacking across multiple policies:

Assume you have two separate insurance policies for two different cars, and each has $60,000 of UM bodily injury (UMBI) coverage. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver and choose to stack your coverage, you can increase the limit to $120,000 to cover medical and/or property payments in excess of the $60,000 policy limit, assuming both vehicles are registered in your name.

An example of stacking within one policy:

Assume you have four cars each with $40,000 of UMBI coverage. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will be able to combine the coverage of all three vehicles under the policy, giving you $160,000 in coverage instead of just $40,000 for one car.

Non-Stacked

If, however, you buy uninsured motorist but elect to have “non-stacking” coverage or you only have one car in your household, then purchasing $100,000.00 will result in you having only $100,000.00 in coverage. This is true even if you have multiple cars in the same family.

There is an additional premium for “stacked” uninsured motorist coverage, but relatively speaking, the cost is quite minimal considering the large difference in the amount of coverage that is provided if you are in a situation where you need to utilize that amount of coverage. Stacked insurance essentially increases the amount of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage dependent on the number of vehicles insured. 

In Florida, drivers have the option to stack policies within one policy or across multiple policies.

The Pros and Cons of Stacking Coverage:

Pros:

You have higher coverage limits after an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver without raising your liability limits.

Cons:

Results in higher monthly premiums.

However, keep in mind that if you can afford to pay the higher premium, in the long run, if you were to get into an accident with an uninsured driver, it would be much more beneficial than paying out of pocket for all the incurred expenses.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO >


If you have questions about UM/UIM coverage as it relates to your Florida automobile policy, you can contact us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call 855Hirejoe.

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.

Sources:

https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists

Florida Car Insurance 101: Yes, It’s Legal For A Florida Resident To Register And Drive A Car That Has Zero Insurance For Your Injuries Caused By Their Car?

florida car insurance

Wait, Are You Saying That It’s Legal For A Florida Resident To Register And Drive A Car In Florida That Has Zero Insurance For Injuries Caused By Their Car? The short answer is YES!

So What Is Required?

That is correct. Florida law currently only requires that drivers purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage (that covers your medical bills and lost wages if you are injured in a wreck) and $10,000 for damage caused to another person’s vehicle if the wreck is your fault. But yes, there is no requirement that Florida drivers purchase and carry injury coverage for drivers that they injure in a wreck that they cause.

What is UM Coverage And Why Should You Have It?

This is obviously a concerning fact when you consider that most people have the minimum amount of insurance coverage and it seems that those drivers are the ones that cause most of the car wrecks in Florida. This again means that you should always purchase as much uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as you can afford.  This coverage is also known as “UM” or “UIM” coverage. 

The reason UM coverage is so important is that it functions just like the injury coverage bought by the at-fault driver. So, if you are in a wreck and the at-fault driver is like most in Florida and has either no coverage or a small amount of coverage and your injuries are serious, then UM coverage will provide coverage for the other driver’s negligence.

Car Insurance Confusion 

Florida car insurance issues are confusing and we are here to help answer those questions for anyone. Whether you have questions related to a wreck or not, Zarzaur Law is happy to give you the advice to assist you and your family in selecting the right kind of car insurance that will provide you and your family with the most protection possible.

Stay tuned for our full six-part series on Car Insurance 101.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO >


If you have questions about a car wreck where the at-fault driver does not have any bodily injury coverage or you just have questions about a car wreck case in general, please feel free to contact us at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855Hirejoe.

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.

Most Common Questions About Car Accident Cases

How Long Does It Take To Settle A Car Accident Injury Case?

There is no standard time limit for settling your case. Some settle in a matter of weeks, while some cases go through trial and appeal before they are resolved. Important factors in this include the nature of your injuries, the amount of insurance coverage, and the attitude of the insurance company and/or its lawyers.

For example, if you sustain a serious injury and liability is clear and policy limits are relatively low, your case may settle quickly. However, if liability or injuries from a car accident that was not your fault are not so apparent, it may take many months, and in some cases, years, to get your case resolved. It may take many months of medical treatment to determine the full extent of the injury. The case and the cash value can then be evaluated. Hiring a top car accident lawyer is important because an expert civil trial attorney can usually maximize your recovery.

What Do I Have To Do If A Suit Is Filed?

Many cases are settled before a suit is filed, but many settle only after a suit is filed. Often, the insurance company will not make a fair settlement proposal until a lawsuit is filed and they are facing a trial date. In such cases, what will be your role in the process?

In almost all cases, the first phase is the “discovery” phase. This is the period where both sides gather information about the case. In such cases, you will work with Zarzaur Law’s paralegals and board-certified civil trial attorneys to prepare such information. You will usually be required to help fill out paperwork, also known as “interrogatories” and “requests for production.” You may also be required to give a “deposition,” which is a sworn statement about your case. Your attorney will prepare you for this and be with you every step of the way.

Often, the case will be referred to “mediation” to try and settle the case prior to going to trial. A settlement conference is conducted by a certified mediator, not a judge. At these meetings, no testimony is given, as your attorney will handle the presentation and you will be involved in the negotiations with the advice of your attorney. Many cases settle at mediation or soon after mediation. It is an excellent time to bring both parties together to analyze the case. At these conferences, your attorney will guide you every step of the way through these conferences.

In the rare case that goes to trial, you will testify before the jury. Again, you will be prepped by your attorney for this testimony.

Do I Have To Go To Trial To Receive A Settlement?

The vast majority of cases settle long before suit is filed, and if suit is filed, long before trial. Hiring a board-certified civil trial attorney sends a message to the insurance company that your case will be “trial ready” and this usually leads to a settlement.

The final decision to settle is always yours, with the advice of your attorney. We have been fortunate to settle cases fairly without going to trial, but have taken many cases to trial with excellent results.

In order to be certified by the Florida Bar, you must have proven trial skills and have recommendations from both experienced trial lawyers and trial judges.

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.

Sources:

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

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

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

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

Wrongful Death Series Part 3: What Is The Difference Between A Wrongful Death Case And A Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Case In Florida?

medical malpractice wrongful deathThere is a big difference between a Florida Wrongful Death case premised on a car accident or a boat collision versus a medical malpractice event. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is set up to give rights to the family of a deceased person when the death is brought on by the negligence or carelessness of a third party or entity. 

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, however, has been amended by the Florida Medical Malpractice Act. Those changes have a significant effect on all medical malpractice cases and even more on medical malpractice wrongful death cases in Florida.

Statute Of Limitations And The Presuit Process

So, as we have discussed in other blogs related to the statute of limitations in Florida wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations for a Florida wrongful death case is 2 years. However, unlike non-medical malpractice wrongful death cases, those involving allegations of medical malpractice must go through the Florida Medical Malpractice Presuit process BEFORE you can file a lawsuit.

Florida Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Case 

This means that, in essence, you have less than two years to get everything accomplished since you do not want to file these cases at the last minute and you do not want to have to rely on short extensions allowed for the Presuit rules. For this reason, if you have a medical malpractice case that results in the death of a family member, you should seek out legal advice immediately.

What If No Surviving Spouse or Minor Child?

The Florida Medical Malpractice Act also amended Florida’s Wrongful Death Act by removing the ability for some to sue for wrongful death. The Medical Malpractice Act prohibits certain individuals from recovering damages if they are the victims of medical malpractice and die from it. If you are an individual that dies from medical malpractice in Florida and you do not have a surviving spouse or minor children (under 25), then your survivors cannot bring a case for anything other than the expenses associated with your death and amounts owed to others.

There is no claim for mental pain and suffering since the Florida Medical Malpractice Act has eliminated those cases. I realize that you may think “how can the legislature do that” or “that makes no sense” or “isn’t that age discrimination?” All of those sentiments have been tested in Florida courts, and they have all failed to have the law declared unconstitutional. So, we have to live with this law that basically gives hospitals the right to kill patients if those patients happen to die without surviving spouses or minor children.

If your family is dealing with a Florida wrongful death case that arises from a medical malpractice event, it is imperative that you reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. For a free consultation with our firm, find us on the web at zarazurlaw.com or call us at 855HireJoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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 or a loved one is in need of a FREE legal consultation in regards to your wrongful death case, speak with Zarzaur Law’s Florida Wrongful Death Act experts. 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:

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

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

 

 

Why Would My Car Insurance Have Anything To Do With A Crash While Riding A Bike Or A Scooter?

These days, injuries and deaths are rising at an alarming rate as more and more of us are turning to alternative means of transportation, but at the same time, we continue to “share” the road with full-sized cars. This is not to mention that most people driving cars these days are also distracted with their devices, so the idea of sharing the road with a car while your only protection is a scooter or a bike frame is alarming. The incidents of scooter versus car-related injuries and deaths have more than doubled in the last several years, and as more and more communities embrace and encourage bike and scooter usage, unfortunately, this increase will continue.

 

At first thought, your car insurance may not seem applicable if you are injured while riding a bike or a scooter. If, on the other hand, your scooter or bike injury was caused by a motor vehicle (car, truck, SUV, low-speed vehicle, or motorcycle), you may have insurance benefits under your own car insurance policy (or one in your household) that would protect you.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist coverage provides compensation to an insured for bodily injury or wrongful death inflicted by the negligence of an uninsured motorist.

Brown v. Progressive Mutual Insurance Co., 249 So.2d 429 (Fla. 1971) – Underinsured motorist coverage provides the same protection when there is a deficiency in the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.

Dewberry v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 363 So.2d 1077 (Fla. 1978) – Both “un” insured and “under” insured motorist coverages apply when the at-fault driver injures or kills someone while they are doing anything, including but not limited to being on a scooter or bike. The only requirements are that the at-fault driver must be a motorist and must be either underinsured or uninsured.

Insurance Companies Are Not On Your Side

Some policies attempt to limit the definition of an uninsured vehicle to one that is only capable of being driven on a roadway. Other policies do not have limiting language. This key issue can present coverage problems for the injured party or their family, and caution should be exercised when conversing about this incident with you or your family’s own insurance company. Their first objective is NOT to serve their customer’s best interests. Every insurance company’s first objective is to SAVE MONEY. Some customers find this hard to believe since they have been paying for insurance for “X” number of years and they will take care of me. That’s not the way this world works.

Insurance companies do not have feelings; they have balance sheets and a mission statement that is both geared to saving as much of the premiums as possible. Paying LESS than they should, rather than what is fair, serves the entire business model. For this reason, when you and your family are dealing with a serious injury that potentially involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you should always consult with a personal injury lawyer first before having discussions with them.

UM Benefits For Your Injuries

UM benefits (as both under and uninsured motorist coverages are collectively referred to) are available to the named insured on the policy, the named insured spouse, and the relatives of either who reside in the same household.

Mullins v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., 252 So.2d 229 (Fla. 1971). Further, UM coverage also applies to permissive operators and occupants of the insured vehicle. (This wouldn’t be applicable to the instant discussion since we are assuming the injured party is on a scooter or bike).

The terms “resident” and “relative” have been litigated throughout the State of Florida when insurance companies have denied paying UM claims based upon their position that someone is not related or is not a resident of a household.

This issue may be relevant in scooter and bike injury and death cases because many times the rider is a younger person who may have a permanent residence with their parents, even if they have their own apartment elsewhere for part of the year. That is why it is so important to discuss these issues with a personal injury lawyer before speaking with them about the potential case.

Given the rise in usage of scooters and bikes in our urban areas, it is important to realize that injuries involving cars versus scooters or bikes will also likely rise. If you or your family has been injured or killed by a motorist while your loved one was on a scooter or bike, we would encourage you to contact our firm at 855HIREJOE or via 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  a car versus scooters or bikes, 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.justice.org/resources/publications/trial-magazine

https://weartv.com/news/local/pensacola-city-council-takes-steps-towards-changes-to-bird-scooter-pilot-program

https://www.wkrg.com/northwest-florida/after-crash-pensacola-man-urges-riders-to-use-caution-on-bird-scooters/

Are Employers Responsible for Distracted Driving Accidents In Florida?

If the driver of a car, truck or other vehicle is using that vehicle on the job, then the driver’s employer could be liable for any injuries resulting from a traffic accident for which the worker was at fault. The same goes for any vehicle damage resulting from the accident. But the issue isn’t always as clear as it might seem.

A legal doctrine known as respondeat superior (vicarious liability) makes employers legally responsible under certain circumstances for the actions of negligent employees who cause injury to someone else.

In the past, with regard to crashes, this mostly meant suing the employers of professional drivers (truckers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers, etc.) or workers who were running job-related errands or traveling between two job sites.

Nowadays, this can include workers conducting in-vehicle video conferences, responding to work-related texts, taking client calls, firing off a work-related e-mail, etc.

Was the Driver ‘On the Job’?

Whether someone is on the job while driving is not always a simple question. In general, any time someone is performing any duties related to work, the person can be considered on the job even when he or she is also doing personal business and driving a personal car.

Was the Driver an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

Especially since the dawn of the so-called “side hustle” economy, it’s not always easy to sort out whether a worker is truly an employee of a given company. The differences between an employee and an independent contractor can seem vague from a practical standpoint, but it’s a crucial distinction in the eyes of the law.

Typically, if the person who caused your accident was working as an independent contractor at the time, there’s no company that will automatically bear legal responsibility (as an employer typically would).

But there can be a bit of a gray area in some instances (including accidents involving rideshare drivers) when a company provides insurance for its independent contractors. It’s important to consult with a Florida auto accident lawyer if you have been injured by a driver that is considered ‘On the job.’

Doing A Business Errand In Your Personal Car.

If your boss asks you to run an errand and drop off a package and you have a serious car wreck on the way, you are within the scope of employment since you are conducting business that benefits your employer. You are “On the job.”

However, if you stop at a drive-through after you have completed your work-related task and have an accident, your employer may not be liable.

WATCH AND LISTEN AS JOE ZARZAUR, BOARD-CERTIFIED CIVIL TRIAL LAWYER, DISCUSSES THIS TOPIC >

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

Sources:
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employer-liability-for-employee-car-accidents.html

https://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/respondeat-superior.html