Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Wreck Attorneys

Key PIP “No-Fault” Coverage Issues That You Must Know About After A Florida Car Wreck.

What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Or No-Fault Coverage?

There are only 13 states in the United States that require every driver to purchase and maintain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Florida is one of those 13 states. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000.00 in personal injury protection coverage, which is also known as “no fault” coverage. This coverage is personal in that it insures the policyholder for the benefit of the policy. 

Initial Medical Care Time Limit And PIP Coverage

An injured party must seek medical care within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident or they lose up to $10,000.00 in case value, F.S. 627.736 (1) (a).

Initial care must be provided by a medical doctor (M.D.), doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), dentist, chiropractor, hospital, facility owned by a hospital, or by emergency medical personnel (EMS) F.S. 627.736 (1) (a)1.

How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After A Car Wreck?

If you are injured, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage from your own policy will pay for bills up to $10,000. Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Projection coverage. Under Florida’s “no-fault” auto insurance law, most injured drivers seek reimbursement for accident costs from their own carrier, regardless of who caused the collision.

If your bills are higher, your own health insurance should pay for your additional medical expenses once your PIP has been exhausted. If you do not have health insurance, some providers will treat you with an agreement to be paid out of your settlement. This agreement is set up between your lawyer and the medical provider.

Emergency Medical Condition From Accident and Personal Injury Protection Coverage.

The $10,000.00 PIP limit only applies to a M.D., D.O., dentist, P.A., or APRN determining that the injured person “had” an emergency medical condition (chiropractors cannot do this). F.S. 627.736 (1) (a)3

If no emergency medical condition is documented by the proper professional, then you will only have $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00 PIP benefits. F.S. 627.(1)(a)4.

PIP cannot be used for massage therapists and acupuncturists. F.S. 627.736 (1) (a) 5.

What Type of Recovery Am I Entitled To After a Car Accident?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, some of the damages you may seek can include:

  • Vehicle and personal property damage
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Wrongful deathThe PIP death benefit is $5,000.00 in addition to the $10,000.00 of PIP coverage. 627.736 (1) c. F. S.

Pip Coverage Follows You No Matter What Car You Are In At The Time Of The Wreck. 

If you do not qualify for PIP under your policy and there is no auto policy in your house that you qualify for PIP under, then you may qualify for PIP in the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the wreck.

PIP coverage can assist you as an injured party in a car wreck. It can aid you in getting the treatment necessary to diagnose or be the diagnosis of your car wreck-related injuries.

It should be noted that “no-fault” insurance refers to injuries and medical bills. If your car was damaged in an accident, means the other driver was at fault and you were not at fault the cost to repair your vehicle would fall to the at fault drivers insurance policy.

How Much Will An Attorney Cost Me?

In Florida, most injury cases are paid for with a “Contingency Fee.” That means, your lawyer will be paid from any recovery. If you do not recover, the lawyer is not paid. The standard fee for Florida lawyers is 33.3 percent before suit is filed, 40 percent after suit is filed.

This contingency fee is standard across Florida and approved by the Florida Bar. Your lawyer generally cannot charge more, absent unusual circumstances.You can hire the most experienced expert in personal injury law for the same fee as a lawyer without similar expertise or experience. It makes sense to hire a board certified civil trial lawyer under these circumstances.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >

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

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

If you or a loved one is injured in a car wreck while “on the job” feel free to reach out to our firm for a free consultation at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

Sources:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.736.html

Injured In A Car Wreck While “On The Job.” How Is It Handled?

car accident on the job in florida

Injured in a car accident on the job?  Is it a personal injury case or worker’s compensation claim? Or both?

The Correct Answer Is Both.

In Florida, a motor vehicle accident that occurs while you are working is an injury that will be considered an “on the job” injury. This means that the law requires that the medical bill be paid through your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance coverage.

Does PIP Cover Injuries From An Accident While “On The Job”?

Typically, in a Florida car wreck case, your “no fault” or “personal injury protection” or “PIP coverage” will be the primary payment source for your medical expenses. This is NOT true when the wreck occurs while you are “on the clock” and working. When a motor vehicle accident occurs while you are working, you should report the wreck and the injury to your employer. Your employer then has an obligation to notify its workers’ compensation carrier. The workers’ compensation carrier will then arrange for your treatment to take place.

What Is Considered “On The Job?”

Keep in mind that driving to and from work is not considered “on the clock” and is generally NOT considered a worker’s compensation injury.  This is also true for lunch breaks and other breaks where you are not being paid at the time of the wreck.  Sometimes however if you are on a special errand for work and you are combining that with a lunch break or you are doing something for work on the way home, then it could be a worker’s compensation injury.

How Does Worker’s Compensation Work?

Consideration of the potential for worker’s compensation involvement is critical to your motor vehicle accident case. If you are the victim of a car wreck in Florida and you are working, all other insurance companies (including the at-fault driver’s insurance) will be expecting your medical bills to be paid by worker’s compensation. The at-fault driver’s insurance will not be required to pay the medical bills as the primary payor since the law requires the worker’s compensation carrier to pay those bills. If worker’s compensation is not involved when it should be, the at-fault driver’s insurance will argue that they are not liable for medical expenses because they should have been submitted to worker’s compensation.

Many Florida car wreck victims do not realize that worker’s compensation should be involved since they are usually not at their workplace when the wreck happens. Some employers do not understand that employees injured in car wrecks are actually suffering an “on the job” injury if they are on the clock at the time of the wreck. This is a critical issue and sometimes it requires that the employee direct their employer to notify the worker’s compensation carrier.

Do Not Delay Notifying Your Employer of the Accident and Injury.

Until the worker’s compensation carrier is involved, medical treatment will be delayed. This is sometimes not in the injured party’s best interest, and they are required to use their PIP coverage to get emergency care. These items need to be addressed at the outset of a case and must be handled properly or it could cause issues with both the car wreck case and the worker’s compensation case.

HOW LONG AFTER AN ACCIDENT DO I HAVE TO REPORT IT TO MY EMPLOYER?

You should report it as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days or your claim may be denied.

Reference: Section 440.185, Florida Statutes

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >

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

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

If you or a loved one is injured in a car wreck while “on the job” feel free to reach out to our firm for a free consultation at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

Sources:

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/employee/faq.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/motorvehicle/resources/crashdata/facts.html

 

I Rented A Golf Cart And Was Involved In A Dangerous Wreck – What Next?

golf cart accident Pensacola

If you have visited any tourist destinations in Florida or any resort community living environment, you have seen these vehicles on the road. Several years ago, the Florida legislature passed a statute that allowed golf cart access to certain roadways. The law states that such vehicles must meet basic visibility and speed standards before they can be classified as “low-speed vehicles,” but if they do, they can be used on certain public roads. Keep reading to learn more about what to do when there is a golf cart accident.

What Is An LSV?

Section 320.01(41), Florida Statutes, defines LSVs as “any four-wheeled vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour, but not greater than 25 miles per hour.”  LSVs must be registered, titled and insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Any person operating an LSV must have a valid driver license in their immediate possession.

LSVs may be operated only on streets where the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less and must be equipped with the following safety equipment:

  • Headlamps;
  • Front and rear turn signals;
  • Stop lamps;
  • Tail lamps;
  • Reflex reflectors, red – one each side and one on the rear;
  • Exterior mirror on the driver side and an interior rear-view mirror or exterior mirror on passenger side;
  • Parking brake;
  • Windshield;
  • Seat belt for each designated seat; and a
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN).

Golf Carts

Golf carts are defined in section 320.01(22), Florida Statutes, as “a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.” Golf carts may be operated on roadways that are designated for golf carts with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less. Golf carts may also cross a portion of a county road which intersects a roadway that is approved for golf carts, or that intersects a golf course or mobile home park. In both examples, the roadway should have signs posted that golf carts share the roadway. The operation of golf carts on roads must comply with any more restrictive ordinances enacted by the local government and should be verified prior to operating these vehicles.

Golf carts are not required to be titled or registered and, therefore, are not required to be insured with PIP. Golf cart operators are not required to have a driver’s license; however, to operate a golf cart on designated public roadways, a person must be 14 years or older.

Issues With Low-Speed Vehicles

Here is the issue with these low-speed vehicles: not only can they cause a golf cart accident, but they also are not safe on roads that are predominately comprised of regular vehicle traffic. If the roadway is not mostly full-sized vehicles, then it seems more appropriate to consider the limited use of these low-speed vehicles. 

However, resort towns are the worst for even regular vehicle collisions since people are not familiar with the roads or directions and are typically distracted by sightseeing or confusion.

A Dangerous Novelty

So if you know that tourist roadways are already a dangerous place to drive, even in a full-sized car, and you add to these roadways (many less visible vehicles), it could spell disaster. Then, considering these low-speed vehicles offer basically no protection from a collision with a full-sized vehicle, it should make the decision easy to reject outright. But people are on vacation, and they want to feel like they are on vacation. They want their families to have experiences that they would not be able to have at home.

Perhaps, they feel that riding a golf cart on a street that is covered with full-sized vehicles is such a novelty that it is too much to pass up. We would suggest that you also consider what is likely to happen to you and your family even if there is a low-speed collision with a full-sized vehicle.

What Happens In An Accident? 

What is likely to happen is that the golf cart or scoot coupe will be launched forward and perhaps over. The scoot coupe or golf cart will likely be crushed, and your family will have little protection from the crash. These vehicles (scoot coupes, golf carts) are not subject to testing for safety purposes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not dedicated to studying crash data between cars and golf carts or scoot coupes.

No Safety Features

Our country has made such great advances in vehicle safety in the last decade. These safety features include airbags, automated driving functions, blind spot warnings, and other features meant to help drivers avoid collisions or protect them once a collision occurs. Then we decide to go backward and allow the most unsafe vehicles on the road, along with cars and trucks. It almost defies logic.

Just Because It Is Legal Doesn’t Mean It Is Safe

Florida’s laws are controlled, in large part, by tourism interests. If the tourist lobby supports a law, it will likely get through the legislature. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it is safe. This is a prime example of that statement.

In the event that you or a loved one is involved in a collision between a low-speed vehicle and a car or truck, you have rights that need to be protected. Your car insurance may apply in this case, and the other driver’s car insurance will also likely apply. The rental agency may also share in the responsibility if the golf cart was not street legal or wasn’t actually a low-speed vehicle. If you are in need of a free consultation about one of these low speed vehicle, golf cart, or scoot coup collisions, our firm is available 24/7 and on weekends at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >


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

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

Sources:

Car Wreck Checklist

https://www.flhsmv.gov/?s=low+speed+vehicle+accidents

https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/crashreports/crash_facts_2019_ada.pdf

Car Accident And Injury Caused By A Careless Driver Without A Vehicle Collision: Do You Have A Case?

Many times, car wreck victims are injured and even killed by careless drivers who never actually make contact with their vehicle.


The question then comes from these victims or their families: is there a legal case against the other driver even when there is no actual contact between the vehicles?

The short answer is “Yes, you may still have a case.”


Forced Off The Road By A Careless Driver

Often, careless “phantom” drivers force other drivers to suddenly change direction or force victims off the road. These sudden changes often result in the victim’s car being forced into opposing traffic or even a fixed object like an embankment or bridge pillar. This type of collision can be quite violent and can easily cause significant injury or death.

“Phantom Drivers” are all too real and all too dangerous. The problem is that a phantom driver leaves behind very little evidence, leaving you in a position where you have to prove someone else was at fault for your accident. 

Evidentiary Proof

The evidentiary proof is extremely important in these cases since, most of the time, the at-fault driver may not even remain at the scene. Usually, these at-fault drivers cause the victim to change their direction of travel, which results in a collision with another car or structure. The driver causing the chain of events will typically stop and observe, and then when they realize there was no impact with their vehicle, but they also appreciate the severity of the event, they will leave the scene.

They feel justified in leaving since there is no impact. The lack of impact, however, doesn’t lessen their responsibility for causing the event. It only makes it harder to prove the case. This is where an experienced Florida car wreck lawyer and a car wreck law firm come into play.

Law firms with vast car wreck case experience will have immediate access to resources like investigators and crash scene evidence investigation tools that make the identification of “phantom” careless drivers much more likely.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycles are commonly involved in these types of accidents since they are smaller in size and much more likely to go unnoticed. Motorcycle drivers are forced in these situations to “lay down” their bikes, which can cause serious injuries or death as they skid with their bikes across pavement and, many times, can collide with fixed objects or other traffic.


In 2021, there were 8,575,569 registered on-road motorcycles in the United States, approximately double the number (4,320,807) in 2002. (IIHS, 2021)


If you or a loved one was injured or killed by a vehicle that did not make contact with any vehicle but was the cause of the accident, please feel free to contact our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >


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

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

 

Sources:

https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-highway-safety

https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/

When Is A Personal Injury Severe Enough For A Lawsuit?

Personal Injury Severe Enough For A LawsuitIf you are injured in a car crash in Florida, there are many laws that affect your ability to be compensated for your injuries. Many years ago, Florida established a requirement that drivers have “no-fault” Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits in their policies. This means that if you are injured by someone else that your own insurance will pay for medical bills up to $10,000.

Why Is The “No-Fault” Law Important?

In true no-fault states, every driver out on the road must be carrying a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. Coverage provided by a PIP will vary by state but in most cases, it should cover medical fees, lost wages, funeral costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses. The major difference between states is the dollar limits on the various coverages.

It should be noted that no-fault insurance refers to injuries and medical bills. If your car was damaged in an accident, which means the other driver was at fault and you were not at fault the cost to repair your vehicle would fall to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

Permanent Injury.

The rationale for this law was that it would make sure that people could get medical treatment for their injuries if the wrongful party did not have coverage. However, to get this, injured parties gave up their right to sue for damages unless they could prove permanent injuries as a result of the wreck. In this regard, Florida law is very different from other states, and an injury case requires the skill and knowledge of a top Florida car accident lawyer.

To recover from non-economic injuries (pain and suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life, etc) a Florida plaintiff in a car crash must prove he or she had:
1-Severe and permanent loss of an important bodily function or
2-Permanent injury within reasonable medical probability or
3-Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement or
4-Death

In other words, a Florida car wreck victim can only recover economic damages (unpaid medical bills or lost wages or income) unless one of the “thresholds” is met. Many of these, such as scarring, loss of a bodily function, or death may be easy to prove.

While some of these injuries may be self-evident, proving a permanent injury within reasonable medical probability may be difficult. In many cases, the injuries sustained in a car crash may not be as noticeable as scarring or loss of a limb. Even in severe crashes, the injuries may involve the bones and soft tissues of the body.

For example: Suppose you had a cervical strain injury to your neck as a result of a car wreck that was due to the fault of another driver. If there are no broken bones or spinal injuries, these may take many months and much therapy to heal. Usually, most treating physicians will want to treat these for several months and wait a while to determine if they will be permanent. The treating doctors will wait for you to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before giving an opinion about a permanent injury. If you still have problems after this time and treatment, a treating physician will give an opinion that you have a permanent injury.


MMI is defined in Florida Statutes as the date “after which further recovery from, or lasting improvement to, and injury or disease can no longer be reasonably anticipated, based upon reasonable medical probability”. Fla. Stat. §440.02(10).


How Do You Prove A Permanent Injury So As To Recover Non-Economic Damages?

Your personal injury lawyer will need to work with your doctor to gather all medical records and get an opinion from them to present to an insurance company. Frequently the doctors will want to make sure there were no prior problems, and if there were, they will want to examine the records to make sure there are new injuries or aggravation of pre-existing injuries from the car wreck. Your lawyer may be able to help the doctor gather the records he needs for review. Your lawyer may also be able to make sure the doctor’s opinions follow Florida law in order to reach the threshold.

Compulsory Medical Examination.

If the personal injury case does not settle before a suit is filed, which is a common occurrence, the insurance company will have the right to have a doctor of their choosing to examine you and give an opinion on permanency. This is called a “Compulsory Medical Examination” and is allowed by the Florida rules of civil procedure. These doctors usually have medical records and are allowed to conduct a reasonable medical exam of an injured party. Many of these doctors are regularly used by the insurance industry and thus have a built-in bias to help the insurance companies in finding no permanent injury. An experienced personal injury lawyer will often have a file on these doctors that they can use when questioning these doctors before and during the trial. This is just another obstacle you may face in recovering compensation for your injuries.

If you think you have a significant injury from a car crash, you need to seek both medical and legal advice. Florida law is very specific on the grounds for recovery of injuries and this requires a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you to the best result.

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

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

Sources:

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

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.736.html

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/what-to-expect-during-an-independent-medical-examination-30945

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

 

How COVID Will Affect Your Car Wreck Injury Claim.

 

As we all are aware, the past year has been challenging in nearly every aspect of our lives.  Well, the civil justice system is no exception.  COVID shut down most every industry in our society or had the practical effect of making it much slower in providing both goods and services.  COVID has affected the ability for car wreck victims to get their justice and will continue to delay that process for years to come.

How The Car Wreck Injury Claim Process Works In General.

As many of you may already know, the car wreck injury claim process starts as soon as you are involved in a car wreck.  Insurance companies become aware of the car wreck within minutes of the wreck usually and as soon as they are made aware, they start working to figure out ways to save insurance company money.

Insurance companies also know that they have more money than most if not all of the car wreck victims in the country.  This not only means that they more assets at their disposal to use in fighting against paying a car wreck victim’s claim but they also know what they have more of….TIME.

Insurance companies have the ability to delay and delay since the more time they hold on to insurance proceeds the more money they make.

Insurance companies take your premium payments and place them in various investments.  These monies make them more money.  The longer they can keep these investments funded and the more money they can keep in these investments, the more money they can make.

So, even prior to COVID, it always makes more sense to the insurance company to hold onto their money and delay the car wreck claims process as long as they can.  With COVID and its attendant delays in our society, insurance companies have been handed a legitimate basis to delay on top of their usual delay tactics.  This obviously does not help car wreck victims get their claims completed and paid but it certainly will assist the insurance companies make more on their investments.

Generally, the car wreck claims process involves a treatment phase and then a demand phase:

The treatment phase starts as soon as the car wreck injury occurs.  The initial treatment is usually via emergency medical services and then shortly thereafter in the emergency room.  This treatment process however usually takes between six months and a year to be completed since car wreck victims must get a full diagnosis and treatment before you can place a value on the case.

So, even before COVID, a car wreck case typically would take up to a year to determine its real value.

 

How COVID Affected Those Car Wreck Injury Claims That Were Pending When COVID Forced Lock Down in March 2020.

COVID has done nothing to assist the efficiency of the car wreck injury medical treatment process.  For example, for at least 60 days many car wreck victims delayed treatment in 2020 and some are still somewhat afraid to continue treatment for fear that they will contract COVID.  Even though the solid lockdown period was only for a month or two in 2020, many car wreck victims have placed their car wreck injury treatment on the back burner as they await the clearing of the threat of COVID.

These delays in car wreck injury treatment will now extend the typical treatment phase for many car wreck victims for at least a year.   For the car insurance companies, this is perfect as their monies can remain solidly invested and earning high rates of return.

 

How COVID Will Affect Car Wreck Injury Claims Moving Forward.

The other major factor in the car wreck injury claims process that COVID has affected is the absence of civil jury trials.  As many may be aware, all car wreck injury claims if not settled will ultimately be decided by a civil jury trial.


INSURANCE COMPANIES DO NOT LIKE HAVING TO DEAL WITH CIVIL JURY TRIALS.   THEY ACTUALLY HATE THEM.


See, civil jury trials involve uncertainty.  The insurance business is all about predictability.  Insurance companies spend millions of dollars every year trying to predict how much they are going to spend on car wreck claims each year.   They then make enormous investment decisions based upon these predictions.  Any uncertainly that is injected into that process causes insurance companies to lose money, they do not like to lose money especially when the losses are beyond their predictions.

The threat of them having to go to trial and trial are the car wreck lawyer’s primary weapons.  COVID has neutralized that weapon for nearly all car wreck lawyers.  Most if not all civil jury trials have been suspended.  For example, many Florida state courts have not even attempted to conduct civil jury trials since February of 2020.  Many are not setting civil jury trials in 2021.  This means that the greatest threat to the insurance companies in ca wreck injury claims will not be useful as leverage in these cases until 2021.

 

Why COVID Will Affect Car Wreck Injury Claims More Than Other Legal Claims

The absence of civil jury trials will affect car wreck injury claims more than most other legal actions because these claims are uniquely dependent upon the jury system.  Divorce cases, workers compensation claims, most business cases, and Manny other types of legal actions do not rely on a jury for resolution.  For example, divorce cases are decided by judges in what is called a “judge trial”.  This is the same for worker’s compensation cases.

However, civil juries determined the issues and damages in car wreck claims.


THIS MEANS THAT OUR CAR WRECK CLAIMS WILL HAVE TO WAIT ON THE JURY SYSTEM TO BE ONLINE AGAIN TO GET OUR CLIENTS THE JUSTICE THEY DESERVE.


Another complicating factor is that our jury system is also the critical element in criminal cases.  For constitutional reasons, criminal cases get priority over all civil cases including car wreck injury cases. All of the 2020 criminal jury trials that could not be done and can not be done presently will have to be dealt with FIRST before civil jury trials are scheduled.

Our firm has heard that some judges are making it clear that all of their back logged criminal trials will be set first before ANY civil jury trials are set for trial.  This translates into more of a delay for many car wreck injury claims.

 

What You Can Do to Combat COVID’s Impact on Your Car Wreck Injury Claim.

In one word, AGGRESSIVENESS.   Insurance know they have the upper hand since they know they have all the money and that most car wreck injury victims have less money due to their injuries and now due to COVID.

Car insurance companies realize that this provides them leverage in negotiating all of their car wreck injury claims.  Since insurance companies are not interested in being fair, they use this leverage against car wreck injury victims.

Many of the offers made since COVID have been about 30%-50% lower than they would be prior to COVID.  They realize that many car wreck injury victims are so desperate that some will take whatever is being offered. They also know that car wreck lawyers are all having to inform their clients that if there is no settlement now that there will likely not be a trial in their case for over a year or more.

So, lawyers handling car wreck injury claims should not spend time negotiating claims as soon as they confirm the insurance company is using this COVID leverage.

Instead, car wreck injury lawyers should be filing these claims and then making the insurance company spend money on lawyer fees and litigation costs.

See, once a suit is filed the insurance company then has to start spending money to defend the case.  They have to hire a law firm to defend the at-fault driver.  These law firm’s bill the insurance company by the hour and the more you work them the more they bill the insurance company.  This means the more aggressive your car wreck injury lawyer is the more the insurance company will have to pay to keep the claim pending.  It’s math to them.  If they can keep a car wreck claim on their books without the company having to pay anything for that delay only helps the insurance company, make more money.  They love delays.

You have to make them pay for every minute your car wreck case is pending.  You have to make them have to pay bill after bill in litigation costs until someone in the company says, “. . . ok, maybe we should stop trying to take advantage of this car wreck victim anymore.”  Some will do the right thing, but many will not.  YOU, AS A CAR WRECK INJURY VICTIM, MUST REMAIN VIGILANT UNTIL THE CIVIL JURY SYSTEM IS BACK ONLINE.  MANY jurisdictions are setting up plans to bring in extra (retired) judges to help with the backlog of cases that will need to be resolved in 2021. The other thing you can do as a citizen is to make sure that if you are called to jury service that you do your duty and serve.

Certainly, to insure you get the best representation for your Florida car wreck injury case, hire only a board-certified civil trial lawyer to represent you in your Florida car wreck case.  HERE AT ZARZAUR LAW WE PRIDE OURSELVES WITH BEING AGGRESSIVE AND COVID IS JUST ANOTHER TRICK WE USE AS MOTIVATION TO BE EVEN MORE AGGRESSIVE.

For more information about Florida car wreck injury cases or how COVID may affect car wreck claims, reach out to Zarzaur Law 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.

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.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Emergency-Preparedness/COVID-19-Information-and-Updates

COVID-19 Information and Resources

 

What is the Florida’s Exchange of Driver’s Information Form?

Florida’s Exchange of Driver’s Information Form

So, you are involved in a Florida motor vehicle accident and as you have found out the investigation takes a while.  The main reason it takes so much time is that Florida law requires that the State Troopers investigate every motor vehicle accident that occurs on any roadway unless there are special conditions that make a delay dangerous to others on the road.  In fact, Florida law mandates that the Department of Public Safety handle all of the wrecks that occur on public roads unless they are in a municipality.  If the wreck is within a city’s limits, then that city has jurisdiction to handle the wreck investigation and they are likely to handle such a case so long as there are no serious injuries.  If there are serious injuries or death, then many times even with wrecks within a city’s jurisdiction the Highway Patrol will be called in to investigate the crash.

The Drivers Exchange Forms

Florida has basically three forms that are used in every Florida car wreck or Florida motor vehicle crash:

  1. The exchange of information form
  2. The short form wreck report
  3. The long-form wreck report

The officer on the scene that is investigating the crash at the scene will provide you an exchange of information form.  This form will have the basic vehicle and biographical information about each party involved in the wreck.  It will not have any information about who is at fault for the wreck, and it will not have any opinion from the officer about how the wreck occurred.


99% OF THE CAR CRASH INVESTIGATIONS THAT OCCUR IN FLORIDA, THERE IS A CITATION ISSUED AT THE SCENE TO THE “AT FAULT” PARTY.


Citations For “At Fault Drivers”

So, if you are cited for the crash then you will leave the scene with at least two items:

  1. The exchange of information form
  2. Citation

Typically, if you get a citation or if one is issued it will be for “careless driving”.  Florida Statute § 316.1925 defines careless driving as failing to drive in a manner that is careful and prudent.  This is the basic charge that the overwhelming majority of “at fault” drivers receive following a Florida motor vehicle crash.

If you leave the scene of a wreck and you are not given a citation, then you usually can assume that the other party did get the ticket.  The investigating officer will typically inform each party if fault cannot be determined.  If you do not hear anything from the officer as to who is at fault and you do not get a ticket when the officer invites you to leave, then it is likely the other party did get a citation.  The officers do not tell everyone at the scene who did and did not get cited as they are not there to hash out the validity of the citation.

What Is The Purpose Of The Exchange Of Information Form Following A Florida Car Crash?

The purpose of the exchange of information form is for each party to have something identifying the other driver and provide information about their car insurance.  You should not take that as an invitation to call any insurance company until you have spoken to a lawyer.  See carwreckchecklist.com for more information on that issue.

 

When Will I Get The Full Report From The Car Wreck?
Florida law allows for the investigating officer (again typically a Florida State Trooper) 10 days from the date of the wreck to complete and make the report available.  Typically, it takes about three days.  When it is ready it can be located online and purchase for a small fee.

The full report will either be a short form or long-form report.  If it is a short form report it will usually not contain diagrams of the scene or narrative summaries from the investigating officer. Fortunately, nearly always the investigating trooper will provide the long-form which will contain his/her diagram of the accident scene and a narrative summary of how the wreck occurred.

Summary of the wreck is based on:
– Physical evidence
– Witness statements
– Statements from the parties at the scene

More and more, technology has made it possible for the investigating officer to see video of the crash.  Many businesses have security cameras that capture nearby intersections, and some drivers have dash-mounted cameras that will contain the footage from the wreck.  This will assist the officer in determining who is at fault.  Remember someone is going to get a ticket since Florida law requires that one be issued so long as the officer can determine fault.

 

Following A Car Wreck, What Information Does The Final Report Provide?

Where the Wreck Happened
The long-form final wreck report will provide a ton of information.  It will start with where the wreck happened.  It will usually have exact GPS coordinates and if not, it will have an approximate distance (in feet) from a particular intersection of a landmark in the roadway.  Then the report will also describe the weather and road conditions existing at the time of the car collision.

Vehicle Descriptions
The report will then describe each vehicle and the officer will assign a number to each car involved.  The abbreviations V1, V2, etc. will be used for Vehicle 1 and Vehicle 2.  By the way, nearly always Vehicle 1 “V1” is considered the “at fault” vehicle. The vehicle section will describe the model, make, and year of the vehicle.  It will have the vehicle identification number and the name and address of the vehicle owner.  This may be a different person than the driver. There is space in this section of the report for the officer to make notations as the damage to that particular vehicle and a box for the officer to denote where the damage on the vehicle is located.

Estimate of Damages
The report also asks the officer to provide an estimate as to the amount of damage to each car.  This estimate is only for use by the Department of Public Safety and has no effect whatsoever on your ability to get compensated for a higher amount for the damages to your car.  It’s basically a rough estimate just based on visual inspection.  This section usually has information about the auto insurance for this vehicle and the officer will include the name of the insurance company and the policy number.

Driver Information
The next section of the report will list the drivers of each vehicle and their biographical information.  The drivers are referred to as “D1” and “D2” in that the driver of vehicle 1 is driver 1 (D1) and the driver of vehicle 2 would be driver 2 (D2) etc.  The driver section will also discuss the condition of each driver and if the officer feels that the driver is impaired in any way or if the driver is hurt from the wreck.

Injuries
If there is an injury from the wreck, there is a box for the officer to provide a general description of the injury such as “serious” “minor” or “incapacitating”.  If it’s a serious injury the officer will also be able to note which ambulance service transported the person and which hospital the person was taken to.

Passenger Information
Following the driver section, there is a passenger section for use if there are any passengers in either car.  They are referred to as passenger 1 or (P1) etc. The same information about the driver is also usually recorded for each passenger.  It is important that investigating officers list all passengers since many times they pay less attention to passengers and then if a passenger has a claim for injuries and they are not listed on the report, we have to go back and request the trooper to supplement his report adding the passenger. The sooner this is remedied the better for all.

Witnesses
The next section of the report is witnesses if any.  The report will list their names and addresses and typically does not include their phone numbers but may.  If witnesses are listed that usually will mean that the officer relied upon them for his conclusion as to fault and he/she wants them on the report just in case the “at fault” party decides to contest the ticket. If there are no witnesses, then this section will usually not appear since they will use the exchange form without a witness section.

Violations
Violations is another section that will be included in nearly every report.  This box will contain the names of the people involved in this wreck that was cited and will list the exact statutes that they are being cited for violating.  This is where you will likely find D1 being cited for “careless driving” or “DUI with injuries”.

Narrative Summary
The last sections of the report include the narrative summary from the trooper as to how this wreck occurred and who was at fault for the collision.  Immediately above or below this narrative will be the trooper’s diagram showing the position of each vehicle at the time of the collision and immediately after.

 

Why Is All This Car Wreck Information Important And Necessary For My Potential Car Wreck Injury Case?

Well, being involved in a wreck can be a life-altering experience.  It can cause a lifetime or injury symptoms and sometimes it can kill a person.  Given this, it is important to have as much information as reasonably possible to make sure that we have a credible source of information on how the wreck occurred.  The parties involved may agree at the scene as to who is “at fault” but as soon as they leave the scene, even the most culpable parties will start rationalizing why the wreck occurred and why they really at not “at fault” for the collision.

In nearly all cases where drivers have agreed to not report the crash and no report was made, the driver that accepted fault at the scene will recant and decide that he/she wasn’t 100% at fault for the collision.  Sometimes the insurance company for the offending driver will find out that there was no report done and suggest to the “at fault” driver that maybe he/she wasn’t 100% at fault and maybe the other driver stopped suddenly or was driving too fast for the conditions and shares responsibility for the crash.

If the insurance company sees that the investigating trooper has determined that fault is with their driver, then they will likely not contest liability or fault.  The only issue that they will contest will be the severity of the injury and whether or not the amount of treatment and damages from the wreck is reasonable.   Having a Florida car wreck report with accurate information and citing the “at fault” driver for violating the law and causing the collision will remove the liability issue from the mix and will allow your lawyer and you to only fight the battle related to how much your case is worth.  This is an important issue since it removes defense from the “at fault” driver’s insurance company completely.

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:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.1925.html

 

When is a Car Wreck Considered Wrongful Death?

 

 

Car wrecks that result in the death of the victim go from being called personal injury cases to wrongful death car wreck cases.  Car wrecks that result in the death of the victim change in legal terminology because the death of the individual means that the claim can only be brought under Florida’s Wrongful death statute.

Despite the overwhelming amount of information about careless or unsafe driving, accidents can still happen. When someone’s action lead to another’s death, whether it is accidental, intentional, or a car manufacturer defect, the deceased’s loved ones may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death. Wrongful death in a car accident can happen for a variety of reasons such as negligence or recklessness by another motorist, criminal activity, or even because of a manufacturing defect by the automaker.

Below you will find key information about wrongful death car accidents, including the common causes of car accidents, and your options when filing a claim.

What are the Main Causes of Car Accidents?

Car accidents are a common occurrence. Think about all the times you have been sitting in rush hour traffic listening to a traffic report on the radio where the announcer lists out the number of accidents in a given time period. Common causes of car accidents that can lead to a fatality include:

  • Texting and driving (distracted driving)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs (including prescription drugs) and/or alcohol (DUI)
  • Reckless driving (speeding, racing, passing when it is unsafe, etc.)
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Driver fatigue
  • Street and highway defects
  • Car manufacturing defects
  • Inexperienced and/or elderly drivers
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Failing to yield
  • Speeding

There are no more serious cases in our legal system and in our firm, these files have a special place for all of us working with these families.

The Florida Statute of Limitations

Florida statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is only two years as opposed to the four-year statute of limitations for injury cases.  Given this shorter time limitation, it is imperative to have a law firm working on the wrongful death case as soon as the family can deal with discussing the case.

At the same time, this is the wrongful death of a loved one is always a shock.  It is always the result of a traumatic and unexpected incident.  So, it is completely normal and understandable for families to deal with the initial grief of the loved one before having to discuss the subject with a law firm.

Securing Evidence

It is important, however, that as soon as possible the law firm be engaged since they will need to secure evidence and perform an investigation.  The insurance company or entity responsible for the death will immediately send a team of experts out to start working on the defense of the case.  They will always have a head start on the family’s lawyer since the family is always dealing with the grief and loss of a loved one first.  The companies are only thinking about how to minimize their legal liability.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute

Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute has specific provisions that control every facet of the case from who can bring the case to who can legally recover for the death of the victim.  The phrase wrongful death means that death is brought about by the wrongful conduct of another.  This wrongful conduct can range from intentional acts to pure negligent conduct and every state of mind in between.

As we have discussed in previous posts, wrongful death cases are brought on behalf of the legal survivors of the victim and in some rare circumstances can also include claims to punish the wrongful actor.  Florida’s Wrongful Death Law dictates everything in relation to these cases from the proper party to bring it and who may benefit from the suit and who may not benefit.

If there is a car wreck that involves a death to one or more of the victims, then that family should be consulting an injury lawyer that has experience with the Florida Wrongful Death Act.

If you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck and there is a death of one of the victims, it is important to hire a law firm that has plenty of experience navigating Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.  For more information and free consultation of your Wrongful Death case from a car wreck, please find us on the web 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.

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

 

Sources:

https://www.findlaw.com/injury/torts-and-personal-injuries/wrongful-death-in-a-car-accident.html

 

 

 

Who is at Fault for a Car Accident That Involves a Product Recall?

 

In many car wreck cases, a defective vehicle or vehicle component may be responsible for the crash and injuries sustained from the crash. Since the establishment of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recalled tens of millions of vehicles, motor vehicle equipment, and tires. Despite these recalls many car crashes are caused by these defects.

While there may be a negligent driver who caused the crash, an injured consumer can not only recover from the other driver but can also recover from manufacturers if defective equipment causes the crash or the injury.

In many cases, a defective seatbelt or airbag can lead to enhanced injuries.

Similarly, defective tires can cause a crash. In such situations, you need to have an experienced trial lawyer review the case for sources of recovery.

What Is a Product Recall?

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are minimum performance requirements that apply to all vehicles and vehicle-related equipment. When a vehicle or one of its parts creates a safety risk or does not meet minimum standards it may be recalled. Not all defects are safety-related, some may be caused by ordinary wear and tear, and are not considered the basis of a recall. Car owners or their lawyers are encouraged to report safety defects to NHTSA, and it maintains a website that lists all investigations and recalls.\

Examples of Common Vehicle Defects

Most consumers assume that the vehicle they are driving is safe, particularly when they are driving a new car off the lot for the first time. Unfortunately, even new cars have defective products that can cause serious accidents and life-threatening injuries. For example, the defective ignition switches in General Motors cars caused over 50 fatalities, and the faulty Takata airbags that were installed in several car models were responsible for at least five deaths and 64 serious injuries. Takata recalled 1.4 million older driver’s-side airbag inflators on certain vehicles that were designed between 1995 and 2000 after it was discovered that some deflators deployed too slowly or ruptured if there was an improper amount of moisture in the inflator.

The following are other examples of product defects that can lead to product recalls:

  • Brake systems that malfunction
  • Defects in the vehicle’s electrical system
  • Faulty accelerators that either prevent the car from moving or cause it to accelerate too quickly
  • Fuel leaks that can cause a fire
  • Steering issues that can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle
  • Unsafe tires

Who is Responsible for Issuing Product Recalls?

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards established a set a minimum performance requirement for the parts of a vehicle that have the biggest impact on safe operation, including the brakes, tires, and lighting; as well as the features of the vehicles that protect motorists from serious injuries or fatalities, including airbags, safety belts, child restraint, energy-absorbing steering columns, and motorcycle helmets.

If a vehicle or a specific product related to the vehicle does not comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, or if there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or the equipment, and auto recall may be necessary.

Who is Liable if There is a Crash Involving a Recall?

An injured party may often sue the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a defective auto or auto component under strict product liability theories of recovery. In such cases, the victim must show the product was defective, that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous and that the injuries were caused by the defective product. The manufacturer can also be sued for negligence, negligent design and marketing, and for manufacturing defects. These theories are often joined in the same lawsuit.

If you think a product defect caused or contributed to your injury, it is imperative that you contact an lawyer and preserve the vehicle of the part to the best of your ability. These manufacturers aggressively defend their products, so it is most important to seek experienced legal counsel immediately. It is usually necessary to have experts retain and test these products so preservation if most important.

A Product Recall Does Not Automatically Get a Manufacturer Off the Hook

A manufacturer cannot use a recall to defeat any claim brought against it. The manufacturer must usually prove that the particular plaintiff directly received notice of the recall and that the recall adequately warned the plaintiff of the dangers posed by the defective product.

A broadly issued recall, unaccompanied by successful efforts to direct the recall notice to the plaintiff, is not enough. Also, the manufacturer cannot defeat the plaintiff’s suit by blaming a distributor or seller for not providing the notice directly to the customer—although the manufacturer may be able to sue the distributor or seller afterward, depending on the facts of the case.

Learn more about a manufacturer’s defenses in a product liability case.

What Should I Do if I Get a Product Recall Notice?

If you receive a notice, you should read it carefully. If it tells you not to use the vehicle until its repaired, you should immediately call the manufacture or dealer for instructions. There is always a recall hotline to call. You should then schedule a repair with an authorized dealer as soon as possible. There is generally no charge for such repairs. Failure to follow such instructions can adversely affect your case if there is a wreck.

Defective car products can cause death or catastrophic injuries. Bringing a claim for damages is difficult, expensive, and requires special expertise. If you have a claim like this, you need to seek counsel of an experienced board-certified civil trial lawyer.

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

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

 

Sources:

https://blogs.lawyers.com/lawyer/automobile-accidents/how-does-a-product-recall-impact-my-car-wreck-case-66414/

https://www.findlaw.com/injury/product-liability/vehicle-recalls-and-defects.html

https://www.alllaw.com/personal-injury/how-a-recall-affects-a-product-liability-claim.html

Pensacola Product Liability Attorney