Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer

At Fault Driver Says It’s My Fault, What Do I Do?

at fault driver in car wreck

A very common issue and question – “I was involved in a car wreck with serious injuries and the other party is claiming it was my fault. Do I need a lawyer?”
The short answer is YES, but here’s some important information you will need to know.

Importance Of The Police Report

One of the main pieces of advice that we offer is to always get a police report following a wreck. Despite this admonition, many people involved in wrecks choose for convenience or because they think it is not necessary to wait for the police to come and do an accident investigation.

This means that once the parties leave the scene, there is no official record of what happened. There are only competing recollections offered by the two interested parties in a collision.


NO POLICE REPORT = NO OFFICIAL RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CAR ACCIDENT.


The Insurance Company Is NOT On Your Side

The insurance companies will always suggest that their insured is not responsible or will suggest that at least some responsibility lies with the other party. They will nearly always make this argument when they learn that there is no official wreck report.

As we have noted in several other blogs, insurance companies do not exist for the greater good. They exist to make money. To be exact, their main mission is to retain as much money as they can from the billions in premiums they collect each year. If they learn that there is a way to argue that a collision was not their insured’s fault, they will seize that opportunity because it will likely save them money.

An Evidentiary Battle

If you find yourself in a situation where the other party is now suggesting that you (the victim) are to blame for the collision, this will now become an evidentiary battle. It will be your account versus their account and, without more, each party will bear 50% responsibility for the event.

Without a wreck report, it will be imperative to seek out sources of independent evidence like witnesses or video footage that may have captured the event.

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

Having a police report form immediately after the wreck is very helpful, but the lack of a report is not fatal to your case.
A police officer who investigates a wreck and cites one party for a driving violation can be powerful evidence that the defendant driver is actually at fault. For instance, a defendant driver’s finding or admission of guilt in a citation hearing can be used as evidence of fault in a related injury case. However, because the officer most likely did not see the wreck occur, the report itself is hearsay and may not be admitted as actual evidence

Physical Evidence And Witness Testimony
If a police report is not available, you can still prove that the other driver was at fault, but the case moves into more of a “he-said, she-said” case. In this situation, you will have to rely on the physical evidence and witness testimony. For instance, you can prove fault by showing that the at-fault driver rear-ended you, which gives rise to a presumption that they were at fault. You can prove fault by testimony from other drivers who saw the accident and stopped to render aid.

Qualified Expert
Finally, in extreme circumstances, you can prove fault by hiring an qualified expert in accident reconstruction, who can show fault through complicated models that recreate the scene of the accident.

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

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

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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.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-car-accident-laws.html

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

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

What is PIP?

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

How Does PIP Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Many Times Can You Use Your PIP?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is My Car Wreck Case Really Worth Hiring A Lawyer?

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

The Car Wreck Scenario

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

Property Damage

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

Emergency Room Visit Is Only The Beginning

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

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

Common Injuries From Car Wrecks

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

Treatment For Disc Injuries

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

So Why Involve a Personal Injury Attorney?

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

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

Peace Of Mind

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

The Worth Of Insurance Information

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

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FREE Consultation: No Fee Unless We Win

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

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

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

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

New Year’s Eve Safety – Drinking and Driving, COVID, and Other Considerations

New Year’s Eve can be a fun holiday to celebrate solo or with loved ones. Keep yourself safe by considering all of these New Year’s Eve safety tips.

Drinking and Driving

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 427 people may die on U.S. roads this New Year’s Day holiday period. Holidays traditionally are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often caused for celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor-vehicle crashes.

There Are Many Reasons Not To Drive On New Year’s Eve This Year – Here Are Just A Few:

1. The Cost of a DUI is Not Worth the risk – If you are charged with a DUI it can easily cost you up to $2,000 (just for a first offense), not to mention a night in jail, fines, hours of community service, participation in a treatment program, and your license being revoked.

2. NO traffic – You can skip all the traffic and frustration, by leaving your car in the driveway

3. Celebrate with the Ones You Really Care About (at home) – Cheers to you and your loved ones as you celebrate at home. There is no risk of injury or issues of being around thousands of people you don’t really know. Make your at-home celebration an event.

4. Save Money and Make Better Drinks at Home – The average price of a cocktail (that is normally watered down) is jaw-dropping…. Especially on New Year’s Eve! So buy your own quality ingredients and make your own or even try a new recipe and don’t worry about emptying your pockets on a high-priced cocktail out or the cost of a DUI or even worse a car wreck that injures or kills another person.

COVID – Omicron 

There is uncertainty associated with any estimate. The 90% confidence interval for the estimate of traffic deaths this holiday is 347 to 514. This confidence interval cannot account for the unknown impact the evolving response to COVID-19 will have on holiday travel. 

Because of the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having on social activities, the uncertainty of this year’s estimate is increased.

You should skip New Year’s Eve parties this year because of the omicron wave, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The omicron variant has been spreading rapidly throughout the United States. In fact, there have been so many cases that airline crews have had to call out sick, leading to hundreds of canceled holiday flights, according to CNBC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking extra precautions during the holidays, especially if you’re gathering with multiple households.

Other Safety Considerations

Champagne

It’s a strange one, but a projectile champagne cork can absolutely be a danger, especially if you are not used to opening bottles! Use the “45 Rules” for bubbly. Chill champagne to at least 45 degrees F, as this will make the cork less likely to pop. When ready to open, place a towel over the top of the bottle and hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, pointing it away from yourself and others.

Fireworks

First of all, make sure to check your local regulations regarding the personal use of fireworks. If it is illegal or if you are unfamiliar with how they work, leave them to professionals! If you still decide to use legal fireworks, make sure to keep children and pets away from the area – even sparklers, which are often used by kids, burn at temperatures of about 2000 degrees and can be incredibly dangerous. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose at the ready. Light fireworks one at a time, then move back away from them. Never attempt to re-light a firework that did not go off the first time; douse them and other spent fireworks with plenty of water before discarding them. And of course, never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Pets

Between fireworks, noisemakers, and general revelry, pets can experience high anxiety on New Year’s Eve. Scared pets can bite or run and potentially get hurt, cause accidents, or become lost. The best way to keep pets safe is to keep them indoors and comfortable; Make sure fences and gates are secure and that your pet has a current ID tag and that all microchip information is up to date. If your pet has shown signs of extreme anxiety in the past, you might also consult your veterinarian and ask for anti-anxiety medications or a thunder coat.

Guns

In some cultures, it was previously a tradition to participate in celebratory gunfire at midnight, shooting handguns into the air. Not only is this illegal, but it can be deadly; falling bullets can be fatal. In Phoenix in 1999, a young teen was killed outside of her home by a bullet that was fired into the air more than a mile away. Deaths have resulted in harsher penalties for this crime, so leave all firearms safely locked inside this holiday.

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:

Deaths by Transportation Mode

New Year’s Day

https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/impaired-driving

Bicycle Accident Law – What You Need To Know

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

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

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

Bicycle vs. Car Accident

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Florida Biking Laws, Broken Down

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

More Laws at FLORIDA BICYCLE. ORG

 

Steps To Avoiding A Wreck With a Vehicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bicycle Accident Check List

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Document injuries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Test Your Bike Law Knowledge

Take the tests, for both cyclists and drivers!

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

CDC Bicycle Safety

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

Florida Bicycle Association

Bike Pensacola

West Florida Wheelmen

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

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

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

Conversations To Have With Your Kids Before They Are Old Enough To Drive

Parents of a teenaged driver Florida

The day is finally here…. Your child is finally old enough to get behind the wheel of a car.  While it is very exciting for your child, it can be absolutely terrifying as a parent of a teenaged driver.


TEENAGED DRIVERS ARE SOME OF THE MOST DANGEROUS DRIVERS ON THE ROAD, WITH 15,918 DRIVERS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 INVOLVED IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS IN 2019 ALONE.


What Can You Do As A Parent To Keep Your Child Safe On The Road?

Talk to them.  Take the time to explain to them the importance of driving safely, and not being distracted. Take the time to explain to them the dangers associated with their newfound freedom.

  1. Talk to Your Teen About the Dangers of Distracted Driving 

One of the biggest dangers associated with new and young drivers is driving while distracted.  Cellphones are perhaps one of the BIGGEST problems our new drivers face.  It seems all too easy to snap a pic, or respond to a text message.  But, those seconds matter.  Take the time to explain to your new driver that every second spent not looking at the road is a second that something terrible can happen.  That text message could be the difference between life and death.

Did you know Sleepy Driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving?  – LEARN MORE HERE >

2.  The Dangers Of Having Passengers 

Studies show that teenagers are two and half times more likely to take a risk while driving when they have a friend in the car.  Add a second passenger, and your child is three times more leads to 3 times more likely to take a risk.  While you can not always control who gets in your child’s car,  you can take the time to explain to them the dangers of having other people in the car before they have experience.

Parents of a teen driver Florida

 

3.  Drunk Driving 

Perhaps the most important conversation you can have with your new driver is the dangers associated with drunk driving.   Studies show that 16% of fatal car crashes involving teenaged drivers involved alcohol.  It is so important that you take the time to explain to your child the dangers surrounding alcohol and getting behind the wheel.  What might seem like not a big deal to them can lead to catastrophic consequences?

But this conversation doesn’t stop with reminding them to not get behind the wheel while under the influence. It is also crucial that you spend time discussing with them the importance of not getting in the car with someone else who has been drinking and/or using drugs.

Seatbelt, Seatbelt, Seatbelt!! They save lives – 

4.  Be A Good Example 

While taking time to talk to your child about the dangers of driving distracted, with passengers, and under the influence is important, it is also crucial that you practice safe driving while they are in the car with you.  Your children are always watching you, and the best way to teach them to drive safely is to lead by example.

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

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

Sources:
https://www.teendriversource.org/teen-crash-risks-prevention/car-accident-prevention/basic-facts-about-teen-crashes

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teen-driving

https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/crashreports/crash_facts_2019.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving

Disadvantages Of Trying To Handle Your Own Personal Injury Case

There is a wise old saying “A person who represents himself in a lawsuit has a fool for a lawyer.” In other words, it is much better to have a qualified professional represent you in a legal matter if at all possible.

Misconceptions

Despite the conventional wisdom, many people try and represent themselves in legal disputes. The reasons are many:

It’s a small matter and does not require a lawyer.

I can’t afford a lawyer.

Hiring a lawyer will not make my case easier or more valuable.

All of these reasons are not sufficient. If you have a legal claim that is important to you, you should at least consult a legal professional.

A Financial Mistake

Suppose you try and represent yourself in a personal injury matter, as many do. You justify that by saying you don’t want to pay a lawyer, because your net recovery may be less. That could be a very serious financial mistake.

Any claim for a personal injury requires investigation about liability or fault, injuries and causation for injuries, and availability of insurance or some other method of recovery. All of these issues present challenges to a layperson.

The Recorded Statement

If you represent yourself, the first thing an insurance adjuster will do is try and take your statement, to limit your positions on fault. In fact, they may hire a lawyer to take your statement under oath.


YOU MAY NOT KNOW THAT THE OPPOSING INSURANCE COMPANY HAS NO RIGHT TO TAKE YOUR STATEMENT UNDER OATH IN A STANDARD PERSONAL INJURY CASE.


If you are making a claim against your own insurance company, they have a right to do this. Regardless, a layperson is not generally able to represent themself in a complicated or contested liability case. Moreover, a lawyer will generally have a staff or an independent investigator to take statements of witnesses and document the scene. This is very difficult for a non-lawyer to do.

Proof of Injuries

Proof of injuries may also be an issue in a personal injury case. Again, this can be difficult in many cases. In Florida, you must prove a permanent injury, and without medical knowledge or access to proper physicians, this can be very daunting. If you cannot have a medical provider document a permanent injury, your case is not worth much over the out-of-pocket medical bills.

Availability And Amount Of Insurance Coverage

A very important factor in such cases is the availability and amount of insurance coverage. In Florida, insurers must document coverage if requested according to the procedures outline in the Florida Statutes.

There are also many different coverages available, including:
No-Fault (PIP)
Bodily injury liability
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage
Excess of umbrella coverages

There may also be additional at-fault defendants that are not readily apparent to a layperson. Again, an experienced lawyer can lead you through this process.

Hire An Expert

If you have attempted to handle your own case, and you think it’s a significant case, please consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Most, if not all, such lawyers will give you a free consultation.

In most cases, your claim may be much more valuable, and you may net much more from the claim if you hire an attorney. All attorneys in our area will handle your case on a contingency fee basis, and in most cases will maximize your financial recovery.

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

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

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

Mistakes Teen Drivers Make After A Car Wreck.

Did you know that the risk of motor vehicle crashes among 16- to 19 year-olds is higher than among any other age group? With the risk of crashing so high, it is important that young drivers are aware of what they should do if they are involved in a motor vehicle collision.

Some of the most common mistakes made by young drivers after a car crash include:

1. Fleeing The Scene

All too often young drivers are scared of getting in trouble with both the law and their parents. As a result, young drivers try to flee the scene of a crash (even if they are not at fault). It is important that young drivers understand that this is the complete opposite of what they need to do. Fleeing the scene of a crash carries criminal penalties, and creates a much bigger problem than simply staying put and telling the truth.

2. Talking Too Much

One of the worst things you can do at the scene of a crash is talking too much. Teenaged drivers seem to forget that everything that they say at the scene can be used later on against them. Admitting that you are sorry or that you were just trying to change the radio station is something that should be avoided at all costs.

3.  Not Calling The Police

Oftentimes, other drivers on the road take advantage of how naive teenaged drivers can be. If you are involved in a car wreck, it is so important that you call the police. Just because the other driver says that you don’t need to call the cops or that they will just give you their car insurance information does NOT mean that you shouldn’t call the police. By calling the police, you are ensuring that there is some way to confirm what happened to you.

4. Agreeing With The At-Fault Driver

Completely eliminate the word “sorry” from your vocabulary after a car wreck.

Saying sorry after a wreck could be taken as an admission of guilt, and it will likely be used against you down the road, even if you weren’t at fault.

It’s a tough habit to break for some, but you must avoid apologizing at the scene of an accident.

Even saying you’re sorry to someone who wasn’t involved in the accident can be used against you.

5.  Forgetting To Take Pictures

It makes sense, young drivers get nervous. They aren’t comfortable asserting themselves and are worried about getting into trouble with their parents once they get home. But it is so important that teenaged drivers take the time to take photographs of the damage to the vehicles involved in the crash. Taking the extra few minutes to document what happened can make or break a case, and it is important that young drivers remember this crucial part of the car wreck checklist.

6.  Posting On Social Media

Perhaps the biggest mistake that teenaged drivers make after a car crash is posting on their social media. In today’s world, people are becoming more and more comfortable with posting their personal lives on social media, especially teenaged drivers. But, posting on social media is like giving the other side a gift. Everything that is posted to your social media can be and WILL BE used against you later on. Posting a photo at the scene might seem like a great way to snag some likes, but it is one of the worst things you can do for your injury case. Make sure that you or your teenaged driver is aware of our Social Media Instructions for Injured People!!

7. Not Speaking With A Lawyer (YES! they can be represented)

A minor (under the age of 18 in the state of Florida) does not have the right to bring a lawsuit against someone else. However, their parents CAN bring a lawsuit on their behalf. Therefore, if a child is in a car accident, their parents will often hire a lawyer to represent them. The parents and the lawyer will then work together to represent the child’s best interests throughout the lawsuit.

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

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

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

sources:
https://www.teendriversource.org/teen-crash-risks-prevention/car-accident-prevention/basic-facts-about-teen-crashes

 

Why Should You Seek Medical Treatment After A Car Wreck?

You’re in a car wreck and people sometimes think it wasn’t that big of a deal. Maybe it is just a little neck pain or a little back pain and you don’t really want to go to the ER. People are going to make excuses for not going. If you’re having symptoms after a car wreck, you should absolutely go to the ER or urgent care. 

Reasons You Should Seek Treatment After A Car Accident

1. To Ensure Over All Well Being – Especially after the adrenaline from the accident has worn off.

There could be something going on more serious than you realize. And the ER is the place to diagnose that. The ER is not there to diagnose all of the issues that could be going on with you after a car wreck, they are only going to diagnose life and limb-threatening issues.

There are a multitude of injuries that could end up well into the six figures in value and are serious life-altering injuries that can cause you to lose value in your potential car accident case if you leave the ER and don’t follow up after you receive the standard “clean bill of health” or “cervical strain back strain.”

2. Treat “Invisible” Injuries – Injuries that show up a few days/weeks later – re: concussion. Don’t delay since the insurance company may refute.

The reason it’s important to go if you’re having symptoms is that the insurance company who’s going to be on the other side of all these claims, whether you have a lawyer or not, are going to make the argument that the longer it takes you to go to the ER or seek treatment, the less serious your injury must have been, or perhaps, maybe the cause of it was something other than the car wreck.

3. To Obtain Evidence- Medical Records Can Be Important Pieces Of Evidence To Help Establish Case.

If you don’t want to go to the ER simply because it’s the right medical thing, then it is certainly the right legal thing to do because it documents your injury. It documents the timing of your injury and symptoms, and it takes away the argument that you didn’t need treatment immediately.

Paying For The ER Visit and Treatment.

The other thing that comes up a lot of times is when people say they don’t want to spend the money on an ER visit because it’s really expensive and it’s going to cost a lot of money. In Florida, the status of the law right now in 2021 is that your car insurance by law, not your health insurance. Your car insurance has to pay the bills after a car wreck.

Why Does Your Car Insurance Have To Pay?

Florida has PIP law  (Personal Injury Protection) PIP covers 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from a covered injury, no matter who caused the crash.

Medical Costs

Most medical costs will be covered by PIP with the exception of popular, but not widely accepted practices such as acupuncture. In other states, PIP will generally cover the injuries of anyone in your household, but in Florida, you can choose whether you want your PIP to cover just yourself or other residents in your household. The following are eligible for a PIP claim:

  • Medical services and medication
  • Surgical services and hospital expenses
  • Rehab costs
  • Diagnostic services
  • Ambulatory services

What sets Florida apart from other states is that only 80% of your medical costs will be covered by PIP. So if you have injuries that cost $10,000, PIP will only pay for $8,000 of that. Furthermore, if your injury is not considered an emergency, you will only be entitled to $2,500 worth of benefits. If you have a good health insurance policy, it might take care of the rest of the costs, but you should make sure it will cover car accident injuries.

4. Counter The Claims Of The Insurance Company. 

The at-fault driver’s insurance company is going to make this argument, if you say, well, I didn’t know that I didn’t have to pay. Right. I was gonna have to pay something. The car insurance company on the other side of the case is going to say, well, you could have gone to seek treatment and it would have been free. Basically, your PIP would have paid the bill. Why didn’t you go?

You can’t say, well, I didn’t know. Or you can say, I didn’t know, but at some point, it’s not going to make sense for you not to go, especially after you’ve got a legal action started.

It’s always smarter, if you’re having symptoms and Florida, you don’t have the financial excuse because your car insurance pays that.

And as far as you not thinking, it’s that serious, right? Well, you don’t know because you have no idea what going on inside your body. But if you’re having symptoms after a car wreck and if you’re teetering on not going to the ER, you should go, okay. It’s that simple.


MOST OF THE TIMES THE SYMPTOMS GET WORSE ON THE FOURTH OR FIFTH DAY.


Most of the time injuries that are permanent don’t go away. .

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

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

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

Wave Another Car Across And An Accident Occurs – Who is Liable?

On any busy intersection and road, a friendly gesture as a wave can cause fatal accidents. It has everything to do with a driver waving at another driver across, which could be a primary cause of a car crash.

What is a Waving Accident?

This accident is common. Many drivers have probably encountered a scenario where two drivers approach the same intersection on the road. A well-intentioned driver may wave at the other vehicle to indicate that they may proceed.

Unfortunately, sometimes, this well-intentioned wave leads to a car accident. These accidents can often lead to a lot of questions about which driver is at fault and if the driver’s wave was enough to make them liable for the damages caused by the accident.

The Driver Waived Into Traffic

If you are that driver who was waved into traffic, the first instinct is to point the finger at the person who signaled it was safe for you to go. This instinct is normal, but it isn’t always right.

Generally, when a driver or passenger is in a position to see whether there are vehicles approaching he or she can be held responsible for a collision by signaling to another driver that it’s safe to pass when it is not.

Even if the person who signaled to you is responsible for the collision, you could still be held partially responsible for trusting a stranger on the road to wave you through without being able to see whether the lane was actually clear.

Comparative Negligence   

Most states, including Florida, follow some version of comparative negligence, which means that you can be partially at fault in the accident and still recover compensation for at least some of your damages.

The Driver Waiving Another Car To Cross – “You Were Trying To Be Nice”

There’s a car traveling in the lane to your right that doesn’t see the turning car, and the turning car doesn’t see it.

So the driver making the left doesn’t see the car, turns in front of it, and gets t-boned.

You can’t be sued or held responsible for this accident, can you? You were just trying to be nice.


IF ANOTHER CAR COMES ALONG AND DRIVES AHEAD AFTER YOU WAVE A DRIVER ON, HITTING THE CAR YOU JUST WAVED INTO TRAFFIC, YOU COULD BE HELD PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCIDENT.


When juries are looking at car accidents, they have to consider whether or not a defendant has any legal duty of care in a situation.

Duty of Care

Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, you have a duty of care to be a responsible driver.

If you wave another driver through, a jury may decide that you voluntarily took on some additional responsibility for another driver when you waved them into traffic.

Even if it goes against your instincts, and that driver has been waiting to turn for a while, don’t try to help them out by waving him or her into traffic.

If the roles are ever reversed, DON’T accept another driver’s wave as assurance that the way is really clear.

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

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

Sources:

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/can-you-be-sued-if-you-wave-to-another-48524/

Car Wreck Checklist