Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer

Pensacola Product Liability: Ikea Recalls 29 Million Dressers and Chests

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerAt least six children have been crushed to death by toppling Ikea chests, prompting the voluntary recall of about 29 million chests and dressers sold by the popular retailer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. Pensacola product Liability Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur explains the products recalled include dressers from Ikea’s lower-cost Malm line, which has been plagued with consumer reports regarding injuries and deaths.

Ikea and the CPSC told ABC that at least 36 children have been injured by Ikea chests and dressers, which are prone to tip over when they aren’t anchored to the wall. The deaths — all children under the age of 4 — date back to 1989 and are as recent as this February, the CPSC said.

The company is offering a refund or repair kit for affected dressers, including the MALM and other styles, the CPSC said. Further details were not immediately available. Furniture manufactured between 2002 and 2016 will entitle customers to a full refund; consumers can receive a partial store credit for items manufactured before 2002.

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerUpon request, the company will send a crew to install the wall anchor for customers who don’t want to do it themselves, the CPSC said. In the meantime, the CPSC is encouraging consumers to store the dresser where children won’t have access to it. At least four of the deaths were the result of unanchored chests.

In a statement regarding the voluntary recall, Ikea said that “a child in the US dies every two weeks from furniture, appliances, or TVs tipping over,” stressing that it instituted a repair kit program last year “to communicate the importance of wall attachment, which resulted in the distribution of 300,000 kits to consumers who had not used their original hardware.”

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law and Pensacola product liability lawyer, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced a product malfunction, auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

“Since then, we have been in close contact with the CPSC to evaluate the success of the repair program and the impact it is having on consumers’ actions. We are announcing this recall today given the recent tragic death of a third child,” the statement said, referring to the number of children killed by MALM dressers. Three other children have been killed by other-style IKEA chests.

“It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes, and we believe that taking further action is the right thing to do,” Ikea continued in the statement. “We will continue to work collaboratively with the CPSC on tip-over prevention, development of the ASTM standard, and innovations that will enhance product safety and further reduce the risk of tip-overs.”

Pensacola Product Liability Lawyer

 

Some childhood injuries – bumps, cuts, and bruises – are a part of growing up. But if your child was hurt, you deserve answers. In cases of a serious accident resulting in substantial medical care or lasting impairment, you may need a Pensacola product liability lawyer or child accident lawyer to help get the financial compensation your family needs.

Zarzaur Law Firm can investigate the accident that caused your child’s injury. If it was a preventable accident, we can help you see to it that the responsible party is held liable under Florida personal injury or wrongful death laws. We can help you deal with the financial consequences of your child’s accident and provide further compassion and support as you deal with the emotional aspects of your child’s case.

Florida Drivers: Zarzaur Law Crash Report

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Florida DriversFlorida drivers earned the designation of “the worst” drivers in the U.S., according to a recent study from CheapCarInsurance. Surprise.

The car insurance comparison site surveyed 2,000 drivers across the U.S. and ranked the four most populous states to figure out where the rudest and worst drivers dominate the roads.

Florida had the worst drivers, with 13.9 percent of respondents calling the drivers terrible and 38 percent calling drivers fairly bad. New York drivers were rated the best, with 51.3 percent of respondents calling drivers average.

Florida also earned the designation of one of the rudest, with 15.8 percent of respondents saying drivers were very rude and aggressive. New York drivers, although they were rated the best, were also deemed the rudest, with 15.7 percent of respondents saying drivers were very rude and aggressive and 37.4 percent saying drivers were fairly rude and aggressive.

Board Certified Lawyer, Florida Drivers
Crash Map in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties

So there it is, a barometer for driving in Florida. Bad and rude seem to go hand-in-hand, although it’s not clear whether drivers are rude because it’s tough out there on Sunshine State streets and highways, or whether drivers are just plain bad and impolite. Perhaps that’s part of the reason car insurance in Florida is among the priciest in the nation.

If you happen to have a run in with a bad Florida Driver – call Joe Zarzaur, an expert at accidents involving Florida Drivers. Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Pensacola Law Firm: Zarzaur Law has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

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

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and are suffering from delayed symptoms, it is 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.

Trucking Accidents: You Need a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer

Florida Truck Wreck LawyerTrucking Accidents and a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer

Anyone who is handling or screening a Florida Truck Wreck case will usually immediately seize upon one or two FMCSR’s which they strongly believe were violated by the truck driver or trucking company. In fact, a thorough investigation of most trucking cases will reveal one or more violations. Once violations are identified, a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer will then ask the  question: how can I best use the violation in the case?

Like so many legal questions, the answer is – it depends. You may use the violation(s) to establish a general pattern of negligent conduct or you may attempt to prove negligence per se based on the violation. In either case, you can develop a strategy for determining when such violations are advantageous to a Florida Truck Wreck Case case by considering the following:

1) Does the applicable FMCSR apply to the subject vehicle?

2) Is the FMCSR violation the result of an act or omission by the driver, by the company/employer or does it relate to the condition of the tractor/trailer?

3) Did the defendants also violate more stringent internal operating rules?

4) What are my potential theories of negligence based on the violations?

5) Were the violations likely a proximate cause of the collision and/or Injuries?

6) If so, what are the relevant authorities governing the use of FMCSRs for proof of negligence and/or negligence per se in the Eleventh Circuit or other relevant jurisdictions?

7) Will I need, or can I use, an expert, to establish the applicability of the FMCSRs, the violation, and/or proximate causation?

Determine Whether the FMCSR’s Apply to a Florida Truck Wreck Case

The FMCSRs apply to all commercial motor vehicles defined as:

any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C. (49 C.F.R. § 390.5)

Interstate commerce means trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States—

(1) Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);

(2) Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or

(3) Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.

Intrastate commerce means any trade, traffic, or transportation in any State which is not described in the term “interstate commerce.”1

A Florida court will have to first decide whether the “essential character” of the shipment was INTRAstate versus INTERstate before determining whether to apply the FMCSR’s to a Florida Truck Wreck Case.  The key question to determine is whether the FMCSR applies is again a surgery of the “essential character” of the particular shipment.  Texas v. NOR Co. v. Sabine Tram Co., 227 U.S. 111, 122, 33 S. Ct. 229, 233, 57 L. Ed. 442, 447 (1913).  Crucial to a determination of the essential character of a shipment, is the shipper’s fixed and persisting intent at the time of the shipment.  For example, whether at commencement a specific interstate destination for the shipment was definitely planned.  Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau v. ICC 867 F. 2d 458, 460-61 (8th Cir.).

If you fail to prove that the FMCSRs apply to the vehicle in your case, the court will likely refuse to consider charging the jury on the regulations or negligence.

Is the Violation the Result of an Act or Omission by the Driver, by the Company/Employer or Does it Relate to the Condition of the Tractor/Trailer?

In determining which regulations were violated, and by whom, it is important to remember that the FMCSRs set a minimum standard of care for the entire commercial trucking industry.

§390.5

d) Additional requirements. Nothing in Subchapter B of this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an employer from requiring and enforcing more stringent requirements relating to the safety of operation and employee safety and health.

§390.9

State and local laws, effect on.

Except as otherwise specifically indicated, Subchapter B of this chapter is not intended to preclude States or subdivisions thereof from establishing or enforcing State or local laws relating to safety, the compliance with which would not prevent full compliance with these regulations by the person subject thereto.

Did the Defendant Have More Stringent Internal Operating Rules?

Since the FMCSRs are the minimum requirements, a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer cannot succumb to a defendant’s ability to show that it simply complied with the regulations. Discovery and expert development should focus on whether the company: 1) actually complied with all relevant FMCSRs, 2) whether the relevant state laws require a higher degree of care, and 3) whether, like similar companies within the industry, the defendant developed more stringent internal criteria for drivers, record retention, inspection, maintenance etc.

What are the potential theories of negligence-based on the violations for a Florida Truck Wreck Case?

Negligent Operation

Failure to place (or provide) warnings near disable vehicle; placard placement; fatigued driver; improper securing of loads; improper driving during hazardous conditions.

Negligent Inspection and Maintenance

Improper brake calibration; tire tread; light and reflector placement; cracked windshield.

Negligent Hiring, Retention, and Entrustment

Failure to do background check; failure to properly train; allowing to drive after repeated violations; young driver without co-driver; log book violations; fatigue.

This potential theory should never be overlooked. The FMCSRs have detailed and stringent requirements for the hiring and training of all drivers. The regulations require an employer to maintain all employee records at the carrier’s principal place of business for as long as the driver is employed by that carrier and for three years after. The employer must administer, and the driver applicant must pass, tests covering FMCSRs and pass road tests demonstrating driver competence. The employer must also check the applicant’s driving record for the past three years in every state where the applicant has held a license. The employer must do an extensive background check on the driver including contacting prior employers for the past three years. The employer must conduct an annual driver review and take actions based on the driver’s performance.

Failure to comply with these regulations can lay the foundation for a theory that the company was negligent in allowing the driver to be on the road at the time of a collision. Consider the following case in which driving with falsified log books was considered unreasonable risk of harm and evidence of negligent hiring and entrustment

Osborne v. Pinsonneault, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29695 (W.D. Ky. 2008). Refusal to grant partial summary judgment on negligent hiring and entrustment claims where logbooks were falsified. Court found that such falsification showed trucking company created an unreasonable risk of harm to the Plaintiffs in its entrustment, hiring, training, and supervision of driver.

Florida Truck Wreck cases require attention to Spoliation of Evidence Issues

From the initial intake, Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer should be very concerned with the intentional destruction of evidence by the defendant Trucking Companies.  Florida has a specific tort for the intentional destruction of evidence but in order for this to apply to a Defendant Trucking Company, they must be placed on “notice” that the evidence they have in their possession, custody or control may be relevant to the Florida Truck Wreck Case being prosecuted.  The essential elements  a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer will look for in a spoliation of evidence case in relation to a Florida Truck Wreck case are the following:

1. Existence of a potential civil action

2. A legal or contractual duty to preserve evidence which is relevant to the potential civil proceeding.

3. Destruction of that evidence.

4. Significant impairment in the ability to prove the lawsuit;

5. A causal relationship between the evidence destruction and the inability to provide the lawsuit; and

6. Damages.

A Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer that knows this area of the law will be very aware of these concerns and will provide the necessary notice letters relating to spoliation concerns.  For more information about any Florida Truck Wreck case please contract Zarzaur Law, P.A. at 855-hire-joe or zarzaurlaw.com.

Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer , Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of a trucking accident or are in need of a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer.

11 E Romana Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

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Social Media Instructions for Injured People

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Most of us today carry cell phones in our pockets with more processing power than the computers aboard the Apollo moon missions. Frequent news reports illustrate the dangers of thoughtless use of smartphones and social media. It has ensnared politicians and celebrities, sometimes crashing promising careers. This technology has created similar hazards for both plaintiffs and defendants in litigation who are careless about online social media privacy. While we are quick to look for the other side’s vulnerabilities, we must also play defense in protecting our clients from their own electronic blunders.

Many people today, especially younger ones, think nothing of sharing details of personal lives with the world through social networking sites. For this very reason, insurance companies, investigators, and defense lawyers may seek to compel access to social media accounts, computers, cell phones, and hard drives. Careless use of social media can be a kind of self-surveillance, a gift to the other side.

Information from such sources may be used to embarrass or discredit you when you are hurt. It may be used to falsely suggest that the your are exaggerating or that something else caused the injury. Even innocent joking between friends on social media might convince judges and juries that a plaintiff has been dishonest.

Here are ten precautions to avoid self-inflicted wounds through use of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Archive the content of current accounts.

Destruction of potential evidence may create bigger problems than the information itself. Therefore, it is important to preserve the current content of any social media accounts. Most social media sites include directions for archiving. We designate a staff person to help clients archive correctly.

Deactivate or discontinue using social media accounts.

If you are going to be the plaintiff in a personal injury case, consider deactivating your Facebook profile and other social media accounts.  If you are not willing to completely deactivate an account you should—after archiving content —remove any information related to your injury or activities and avoid future posts.

Turn on the highest privacy setting.

If you won’t discontinue use of social media, adjust privacy settings to the highest levels. This means making sure that only actual friends can see the information, rather than friends of friends or the general public. A useful tool is Facebook’s “View As” feature, which allows users to view their profile as it appears to someone else, whether a stranger or a Facebook friend. This might help you see exactly what is visible to the general public, something that isn’t always apparent from privacy settings. Be aware that Facebook publicly publishes “Interests,” even if accounts are otherwise private.

Beware of “friends.”

If social media use continues, it is important to edit “friend lists” so that only certain friends can see photo albums and status updates. Remove any “friends” you do not know well or at all, and accept only friend requests from people you know and trust.

Become invisible.

You can remove yourself from Facebook search results by selecting “only friends” under the “search visibility” option in their profile settings. You can also remove your Facebook page from Google by unchecking the box for “Public Search Listing” in your Internet privacy settings. Make comparable changes to privacy settings in all other social media accounts.

Take down photos.

After archiving current content,  remove and un-tag all photos of yourself that are not simple head shots.

Be cautious.

Assume that anything you write on your social media accounts—including status updates, messages, and wall postings—will at some point be seen by defense lawyers, judges, and juries. Think about how such things might be perceived when viewed out of context.

Preserve all computers, tablets, or cell phones.

If you lose or destroy an electronic communications device, opposing counsel could try to make it look like deliberate destruction of evidence. It is better to fight a battle over access to your devices than have a judge instruct a jury that it may assume the contents of the discarded or destroyed device would have been unfavorable to you.

Don’t send messages or information about the case.

Do not send emails, text messages, or “private” social media messages about your claim, health, or activities to anyone except your lawyers. Careless emails and electronic messages can destroy a case.

Don’t post on websites or web chat groups.

While you may find useful information in online support groups, you don’t own the information you post online. Such information you post is highly searchable. You should not enter any information on dating or insurance websites, post on message boards, participate in or comment on social media “private” groups or blogs, or use chat rooms.

This post is adapted from an article published in the January 2016 issue of Trial magazine by Ken Shigley, a double board certified trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. He has served as president of the State Bar of Georgia, chair of the largest practice area section of the American Association for Justice (Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section), and chair of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia board of trustees. He is lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice (2010-2016) and a chapter author of the 2016 edition of Handling Motor Vehicle Accident Cases, both published by Thomson Reuters.  He can be reached at ken@shigleylaw.com.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

11 E Romana Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

Check us out on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ZarzaurLawPensacola

Car Crash Statistics: Zarzaur Law Report Update

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With Florida ranking number three in careless or reckless driving accidents, it’s no wonder car crash and traffic accidents are increasing in Escambia County. FIRES (Florida’s integrated Report Exchange System), reports on behalf of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It serves as a portal into the State of Florida’s repository for traffic crash reports completed by Florida law enforcement agencies.

The combined Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County auto accident reports for the dates June 4 – June 9, 2016, brought to you by Pensacola personal Injury lawyer, Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law and FIRES. The data includes total crash reports, crashes with injuries, total vehicles involved, total and driver injuries, and more. If you’re involved in an auto accident contact Board Certified Attorney, Joe Zarzaur of Pensacola Personal Injury Law Firm, Zarzaur Law.

Annual Global Road Car Crash Statistics

  • Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
  • An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
  • Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
  • Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
  • Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
    Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
  • Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.
  • Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

Annual United States Road Car Crash Statistics

  • Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year
  • An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled
  • Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
  • Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
  • Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad
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Crash Map in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties

According to FIRES, from January 1, 2016 to present, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County have experienced 5,102 total crashes with 9,577 total vehicles involved and 2,238 of those crashes involving injuries leading to 3,754 total injuries. Of these crashes, 35 have resulted in traffic fatalities and 20 were driver fatalities.

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

11 E Romana Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9299

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarzaurlaw

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Florida Cyclist At Risk

cyclist

In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Riding a bike is a healthy, fun and safe activity. However, it isn’t without some risk. As a personal injury lawyer, Zarzaur Law has dealt with a number of cases recently surrounding the cyclist and automobiles, path regulations and cyclist risk factors in the environment.

Zarzaur Law firm of Pensacola, FL focuses on all areas of personal injury – but has a special interest in athletic injuries. Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur and board certified doctor, and firm medical official, Dr. Evan Malone are triathletes and competitive Ironman contestants. Cyclist injuries and accidents are a topic that hit close to home, with both gentlemen being at risk in races and everyday training.

Did you know that every 6 hours a cyclist is fatally injured in an accident? Or that of those fatalities, 50% occur in children under the age of sixteen?

The following information highlights the law surrounding the development of public areas that may minimize that risk and have the potential to reduce conflicts between bikes and cars (and other traffic).

All laws & policies mentioned here were compiled as part of a research project for a case handled in the spring of 2016 by Joe Zarzaur and Zarzaur Law. They may be subject to change. Please help us keep them up to date by contacting clerk@zarzaurlaw.com with any updates.

Federal Policy

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Think about where each of these motorists is looking before crossing the sidewalk.

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) official policy is to give “full consideration” during the development of federal aid highway projects (e.g. bridges) to the safe accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians, to make every effort to minimize detrimental effects of current and anticipated pedestrian and/or bicycle traffic, and to encourage consulting with local groups of organized bicyclists regarding bicycle-related projects.  23 C.F.R. § 652.5.

Federal Bicycle/Pedestrian Path Safety and Maintenance Regulations

Federal standards for construction and design of bicycle routes are established by The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Guide for Development of New Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO Guide) or equivalent guides developed in cooperation with State or local officials and acceptable to the FHWA.  According to the literature therein, the purpose of the AASHTO Guide is to accommodate and encourage bicycling by providing “safe, convenient, well-designed, well-maintained facilities, with low-crash frequencies and severities.” (AASHTO Guide § 1.2)  AASHTO’s policy extends to roadways and bridges which should accommodate bicycles. (§ 4.12.3)  Throughout the AASHTO Guide, the agency reaffirms local departments of transport’s (DOT) duties to monitor and remedy unsafe conditions on bicycle paths. Given the severity of injuries that may be sustained by cyclists, the Guide calls for increased awareness and responsiveness in addressing bicycle path issues. “Due to bicycle operator’s physical exposure and the unique characteristics of their vehicle,” AASHTO states,”bicyclists are susceptible to severe injury in even minor incidents.” Thus, maintenance and safety protocols are prioritized as a leading concern regarding bicycle paths.

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Most close passing is a result of the motorist thinking he can squeeze past without changing lanes. Make sure a driver can clearly see that his car won’t fit within the same lane.

Safety considerations include quality of service evaluations (or Bicycle Level of Service (LOS)) used to evaluate existing bicycling conditions. (AASHTO Guide § 2.62).  Implementation of LOS studies includes documenting various factors of existing roadways and paths including pavement surface condition. According to § 4.2, “surface condition and pavement smoothness are important to bicyclist control and comfort . . . Gravel roads, loose material, cracks, bumps, and potholes on a paved roadway create an impediment for bicyclists.” Therefore, safety and maintenance evaluations of existing bicycle paths should monitor surface conditions as a component of LOS studies. LOS measurement is then used to evaluate bicyclists’ perceived safety and comfort while traveling in a roadway corridor. (§ 2.62).  AASHTO further stipulates that the detailed knowledge of local bicyclists and bicycle planners should be used to corroborate Bicycle LOS model results. (§ 2.62).  This emphasis on utilizing local bicyclists in the safety coordination is reiterated in § 2.6.7 which states that community bicyclists have the best knowledge of current conditions as well as opinions on areas that need improvement.

While there are no bicycle-specific designs or dimensions for shared roadways, the AASHTO Guide states that special care should be exercised to install bicycling compatible features, such as good pavement and bicycle-compatible bridge expansion joints, and that such features should be implemented where they are not present. (§§ 4.3, 5.28). Further, bike lanes should have a “smooth riding surface.” (§ 4.6.1). In order to ensure bike lane smoothness, utility covers should be adjusted flush with the surface of the lane and drainage should be utilized to prevent debris accumulation and potential hazards for bicyclists. (§ 4.6.1).  Additionally, AASHTO encourages state-level agencies to development maintenance protocols that include regular sweeping of bikeways (§ 7.2.1), inspections of bikeways for surface repairs (§ 7.2.2), and corrections of pavement overlay drop-offs (§ 7.2.3).

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The most common reasons to leave a bike lane.

Furthermore, the FHWA provides training and informational materials titled Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation that details bicycle and pedestrian path safety precautions that should be exercised by state-level departments of transportation. “Lesson 16” specifically addresses bike path maintenance and states that bicycles and cyclists are “particularly sensitive to maintenance problems.” (§ 16.2).  The FHWA course highlights bicyclist safety concerns related to uneven paths: “ridges, such as those found where a new asphalt overlay does not quite cover the older roadway surface, can catch a wheel, and throw a bicyclist to the ground.” (§ 16.2). Section 16.4 describes the objectives of bicycle path maintenance plans and lists roadway surface patching and pavement overlays that “feathers” the new surface as primary objectives.

Implementation procedures involve routine inspection and repair, as well as the development of an “ongoing spot improvement plan” in which the bicycling community is solicited for suggestions and maintenance requests. (§ 16.7).  Lastly, FHWA University training lists common issues associated with bicycle paths. Amongst these are ridges and cracks which “should be filled or ground down as needed to reduce the chance of a bicyclist catching a front wheel and crashing.” (§ 16.8).

Federal Statutes

Similarly, federal statutes pertaining to the construction and maintenance of bicycle routes along highways emphasize a heightened duty of care for ensuring the safe travel of bicyclists.  According to 23 U.S.C. § 217(d), states receiving FHWA funding under §§ 104(b)(2) and 104(b)(3) shall use such amount of the apportionment as may be necessary to fund the State department of transportation (DOT) a position of bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for promoting and facilitating the increased use of non-motorized modes of transportation, including developing facilities for the use of pedestrians and bicyclists and public education, promotional, and safety programs for using such facilities (§§ 104(b)(2) and 104(b)(3) refer to the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and Highway Safety Improvement program, respectively). 

Moreover, 23 U.S.C. §§ 217(g)(1) and (g)(2) detail planning, design, and safety considerations regarding bicyclist and pedestrian paths.  Generally, bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State in accordance with §§ 134 and 135 (metropolitan transportation planning).  Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian use are not permitted.  § 217(g)(1).  Furthermore, transportation plans and projects must provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, including the installation, where appropriate, and maintenance of audible traffic signals and audible signs at street crossings.  § 217(g)(2). 

Federal Bridge Regulations

Where a highway bridge deck, on which bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of such bridge, is replaced or rehabilitated with federal financial participation, and the Secretary determines that the safe accommodation of bicycles can be provided at reasonable cost as part of such replacement or rehabilitation, then such bridge shall be so replaced or rehabilitated as to provide such safe accommodations.  23 U.S.C. 217(e). Bridge inspection procedures are governed by AASHTO Manual guidelines.  23 C.F.R. § 650.313.  The AASHTO Maintenance Manual for Roadways and Bridges describes broad guidelines to be followed by state DOT’s. Section 3.2.7.3 of the manual includes bridge inspection procedures.

As related to the instant case, the section includes procedures for the inspection of bridge “approaches.” According to the AASHTO Maintenance Manual, approaches are an adjunct to a bridge and should be level with the bridge deck. Failure to maintain a smooth transition between the approach and the structure allows for additional impact loads on the bridge that can cause extensive structural damage over time. Thus, AASHTO suggests that approach pavement conditions be checked for “unevenness, settlement, or roughness.” The presence of cracking and/or unevenness may indicate a void under the slab caused by fill settlement or erosion. Also, joints between the approach pavement and the abutment back wall, which are designed for thermal movement, should be examined to determine if there is adequate clearance and a proper seal. Shoulders, slopes, drainage, and approach guardrails should also be evaluated as part of the inspection of the approaches, as per AASHTO guidelines. (§ 3.2.7.3).

State-Level Regulations

Statewide transportation plans and improvement programs must provide for the development and integrated management and operation of bicycle transportation facilities.  23 U.S.C. § 135(a)(2). The Florida Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction, and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Green Book) contains standards relevant to the instant case.

 

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The Emerald Coast & The Zika Virus: What You Need To Know

The Emerald coast andRecent coverage of the Zika virus can seem a bit overwhelming and confusing. My non-scientific, anecdotal experience finds that the name “Zika” itself brings back some of the same “Ebola pandemic” concerns. The Zika virus carries somewhat of an ominous connotation — “The Zika Virus has spread here, what do we do?” “Someone at work may have brought Zika virus to the office…” “The news has the Gulf Coast and Pensacola as the next Zika virus hotbed…”

As of February of 2016, PNJ reported Santa Rosa County has a confirmed case of the Zika virus, bringing the total number of travel-related health cases in Florida to nine. To date, Florida has confirmed nine travel-associated cases in the following counties: Miami-Dade, 4; Hillsborough, 2; Lee, 2; Santa Rosa, 1.

Here is a summary of some of the information which you need to know during the warm-weather months when the conditions are most opportune for the spread of said virus. Hopefully, this bullet point listing of some factoids will provide some reference on this topic.

The take home message is to enjoy this fantastic time of year here on the Gulf Coast and to be empowered with knowledge and understanding of the environment we live in.

If you would like to know more I suggest following the guidelines as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

Stay Informed: The Zika Virus

  • WHAT: Zika is a virus. Not a bacteria. Not a fungus. Not a parasite. Not an insect (though it is spread by insects).
  • REGION: Latin America, Southeast United States
  • INSECT SPREAD: Mostly transmitted to humans by mosquito bites (Aedes mosquito to be more specific).
  • HUMAN TRANSMISSION: Via direct blood contact — blood transfusion, pregnant mother to fetus, sexual transmission. Note that no other bodily fluids currently are understood to harbor the virus.
  • SYMPTOM ONSET: Two to seven days following a bite from an infected mosquito.

    The Zika Virus and The Emerald Coast Panhandle Pensacola Florida
    Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes).
  • SYMPTOMS: fever, rash, eye pain and redness (conjunctivitis), muscle aches (myalgia), fatigue
  • SYMPTOM DURATION: Several days to one week.
  • PREGNANCY: Women who become infected during any trimester of pregnancy can transmit the Zika virus to their fetus, which is associated with microcephaly of the child (small head, small brain).
    The Zika Virus and The Emerald Coast Panhandle Pensacola Florida
    Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.

    Prior Zika virus infection does not place future pregnancies at risk, though planning for pregnancy should take possible recent Zika virus infection into consideration.

  • COMPLICATIONS (non-pregnant individuals): As with any other viral infection, those with pre-existing chronic illness are open to a more-complicated infectious course. In no particular order, these diagnoses would place one at higher risk for complications — heart disease (congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy), chronic lung disease (COPD, emphysema, asthma), diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, immunocompromised state (cancer, chemotherapy).
  • RARE COMPLICATION: Though rare, Guillain-Barré syndrome can occur. This is marked by progressive muscular paralysis which can contribute to further cardiopulmonary dysfunction if not diagnosed or treated. It should be noted that this same process can occur from many other viral and bacterial infections so this is not a new or unique issue in regard to infectious disease.
  • TESTING FOR ZIKA VIRUS: Laboratory testing does exist, however diagnosis is often based upon possible virus exposure and clinical history (signs, symptoms). Blood (and, recently urine) tests are being used for disease monitoring. Consult your healthcare provider with regard to what testing protocol may currently be in place as these tests are evolving.
  • TREATMENT: Supportive therapy is the standard. The same as with many other viral infections (common cold, gastroenteritis). Hydration. Rest. Attention to co-morbid conditions which may need to be supported more aggressively, consult your physician.
  • VACCINATION/IMMUNIZATION: Does not exist.
  • PERSONAL PROTECTION: Avoidance of mosquito bites — window and door screens, long-sleeve clothing, insect repellents (sunscreen is first layer, then apply repellent).
  • TRAVEL: Pregnant women should avoid travel to regions with known, ongoing Zika virus transmission. Non-pregnant individuals need to understand the same information as listed above when considering travel plans.
  • PREVENTION: Limit or reduce optimal breeding grounds for mosquitoes (standing water, yard debris).

Taking this information into consideration be safe and enjoy the season. If you have more specific questions in regard to Zika please consult your community and governmental resources – local health department, CDC, and your medical provider.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney For A Burn Injury?

Does A Burn Need A Personal Injury Attorney?

At Zarzaur Law offices, our personal injury lawyer Joe Zarzaur realizes that victims of burn injuries are often left with physical and psychological scars, overwhelming medical bills and lost wages. When a burn injury results from another’s negligence or during the scope of employment, the victim may be able to seek compensation for these and other losses. Insurance adjusters will work hard to minimize payouts to burn injury victims; therefore, it is important for victims to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to determine whether they are owed compensation for their injuries.

Have you or a loved one suffered a burn injury? If so, contact our Pensacola personal injury lawyer Joe Zarzaur, free of charge, to find out if you can recover compensation for physical pain, medical bills and other damages. There is no cost or obligation to have your claim reviewed.

Personal Injury Attorney

Burn Injury Lawsuits: Types of Claims

In addition to workplace injury claims, our burn injury lawyers handle lawsuits involving:

  • Truck accidents and tanker explosions
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Electrical cord fires
  • Defective products
  • Locked fire exits
  • Apartment building fires
  • Scalding water and pipes
  • Electrical accidents
  • Recreational fires (hotel, restaurant, retail outlet, nightclub)

Though first-degree burns can heal quickly, second, third and fourth degree burns can cause severe injury and disfigurement. If you or a loved one has faced a severe burn injury, contact ourPensacola personal injury lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, today for a free consultation. The statute of limitations in some states limit the amount of time a burn injury victim has to file a claim, so contact us as soon as you can.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, a Pensacola law firm, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

Zarzaur Law Contact

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney

11 E Romana Street Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9929

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

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Pensacola Child Accident Attorney: Common Accidents

Pensacola child accident lawyerPensacola Child Accident Attorney: Accidents Involving Children, More Common Than You Think

Children are more susceptible than adults to being injured in accidents caused by the negligence of others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says injuries in accidents are the leading cause of death for children age 19 and younger. If your child was hurt, you deserve answers. In cases of a serious accident resulting in substantial medical care or lasting impairment, you may need a Pensacola child accident lawyer to help get the financial compensation your family needs.

The CDC says that nearly nine million children are seen in emergency departments for injuries each year, and more than 9,000 children die as a result of being injured.

The estimated annual cost of injuries from accidents involving children in the United States is nearly $11.5 billion.

According to the CDC, in 2009 more than 9,000 U.S. children died from injuries. Accidents and death involving children happen all the time, despite parents childproofing and safety efforts. Read Pensacola injury lawyer Joe Zarzaur’s list of the most common accidents involving children below…

Pensacola child accident lawyer

The CDC says the most common injury-producing accidents involving children are:

  • Falls – Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for children. Falls on the playground are a common cause of injury, as are falls in the home, such as a fall on stairs. Common playground injuries include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations and  amputations. About 75 percent of nonfatal injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds, the CDC says.
  • Car accidents – Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. More than two-thirds of fatally injured children were killed while riding with a drinking driver, the CDC says. Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
  • Burns – Younger children who suffer burns are more likely to have been injured by hot liquids or steam that cause scald burns, such as by pulling a pot off of a stove or by bath water that is too hot. Older children are more likely to be burned by direct contact with open flame or fire.
  • Drowning – Three children die every day as a result of drowning, and drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages one to four. Children can be drawn to swimming pools, decorative ponds and other water features with tragic results. Property owners have an obligation to secure these areas from unauthorized entry.
  • Suffocation – Infants are most at risk for suffocation while sleeping. Toddlers are more likely to suffocate from choking on food and other objects, such as small toys.
  • Poisoning – More than 300 children are treated in emergency rooms as a result of being poisoned every day, and two die, the CDC says. Numerous household items are poisonous and should be properly secured from active, curious children.
  • Sports and Recreation – More than 2.6 million children are treated in emergency rooms each year for sports and recreation-related injuries. Coaches and other recreation supervisors have a responsibility to ensure children wear protective gear, are sufficiently trained for the activity undertaken, and are not mismatched with significantly larger children in contact sports. Recreation supervisors must also be mindful of hot weather and allow appropriate rest and water breaks.

Some childhood injuries – bumps, cuts, and bruises – are a part of growing up. But if your child was hurt, you deserve answers. In cases of a serious accident resulting in substantial medical care or lasting impairment, you may need a Pensacola child accident lawyer to help get the financial compensation your family needs.

Zarzaur Law Firm can investigate the accident that caused your child’s injury. If it was a preventable accident, we can help you see to it that the responsible party is held liable under Florida personal injury or wrongful death laws. We can help you deal with the financial consequences of your child’s accident and provide further compassion and support as you deal with the emotional aspects of your child’s case.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law and Pensacola child accident lawyer, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

Zarzaur Law Contact

Pensacola Child Accident Attorney

11 E Romana Street Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9929

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

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What is a Premises Liability Case?

Premises liability is a legal concept that typically comes into play in personal injury cases where the injury was caused by some type of unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property.

Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, and premises liability cases are no exception. In order to win a premises liability case, the injured person must prove that the property owner was negligent with respect to ownership and/or maintenance of the property. In general, negligence means that the property owner failed to use reasonable care in connection with the property.

It’s important to note that simply because you were injured on someone’s property does not mean that the property owner was negligent. Further, simply because the property might have been in an unsafe condition does not automatically mean that the property owner was negligent. You have to show that the property owner knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were in an unsafe condition, and still failed to take proper steps to remedy the situation.

premises liability

Types of Premises Liability Cases

Many different types of personal injury cases can be classified as premises liability cases, including:

  • slip and fall cases
  • snow and ice accidents
  • inadequate maintenance of the premises
  • defective conditions on the premises
  • inadequate building security leading to injury or assault
  • elevator and escalator accidents
  • dog bites
  • swimming pool accidents
  • amusement park accidents
  • fires
  • water leaks or flooding, and
  • toxic fumes or chemicals.

As you can see, premises liability cases include a wide range of fact scenarios. Even dog bite cases fall under the umbrella of premises liability because they involve an unsafe condition on someone’s property (the presence of a potentially dangerous dog).

The Property Owner’s Duty of Care

While many states require the property owner to exercise reasonable care in ownership and maintenance of the property with respect to all persons who might enter onto the property, other states still apply an old rule that can limit the landowner’s duties depending on the status of the visitor.

In those states, all visitors to the property are divided into three categories:

  • invitees
  • licensees, and
  • trespassers.

An invitee is someone who has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property. Invitees are usually people like friends, relatives, and neighbors. The landowner traditionally owed an invitee a duty of reasonable care to keep the property reasonably safe for the invitee.

licensee is someone who has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property, but is coming onto the property for his or her own purposes. Licensees are usually people like salesmen. The landowner traditionally owed a licensee a lesser duty only to warn the licensee of dangerous conditions that create an unreasonable risk of harm if

  • the landowner knows about the condition and
  • the licensee is not likely to be able to discover it.

trespasser is someone who is not authorized to be on the property. Traditionally, landowners owed no duty to trespassers unless the trespasser was a child. In that case, the landowner owed the duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to children caused by artificial conditions on the land (i.e., swimming pools).

Because these rules can get pretty complicated and they differ from state to state, you should contact an experienced local lawyer if you have questions about a potential premises liability case.

Examples of Premises Liability Cases

Let’s take a look at some different kinds of premises liability cases.

Slip and Fall. These are the most straightforward premises liability cases. They occur when you slip (or trip) and fall on someone else’s property. Some common conditions that can lead to a slip or trip and fall are:

  • defective staircases
  • accumulation of ice or snow
  • wet floors
  • oily floors
  • hidden extension cords
  • unsecured rugs or carpets
  • thresholds, and
  • loose or broken floors, sidewalks, steps, or stairs.

Inadequate Building Security. These cases usually arise in apartment buildings or offices. Owners of those buildings have a duty to act reasonably in securing access to the buildings. That is why large apartment buildings and offices usually have doormen or security guards on the first floor and small apartment buildings generally require the tenants to keep the front and back doors locked. If someone breaks in (or simply walks in through an unlocked door) and assaults or kills someone inside the building, that person may have a premises liability case against the building owner if it can be shown that the building owner did not take reasonable steps to secure the building.

Swimming Pool Accidents usually involve children and an unsupervised and unsecured pool. For this reason, most states and municipalities have laws and ordinances requiring that swimming pools have a fence around them, often with a locking gate. If someone leaves their pool open and unguarded, that person may be on the legal hook in a premises liability case.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, a Pensacola law firm, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

Zarzaur Law Contact

Pensacola Personal Injury Law Firm

11 E Romana Street Pensacola, FL 32502

Telephone: 850-444-9929

Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

Follow us on Twitter: @zarzaurlaw

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