Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyers

The Most Common Car Accident Injuries

The country has an estimated 280 million vehicles and more than 227.5 million drivers. On average, there are over 6 million passenger car accidents in the U.S. every year.

Busy and Dangerous Highways in Florida

Between residents and tourists who call Florida home (or vacation home), our highways are very busy. There are a lot of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents every year throughout the state. 

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

There were 401,496 crashes in Florida in 2021, with 3,731 fatalities from those accidents, and 252,938 people injured. 

In 2020, there were 341,399 crashes and 3,332 fatalities. 

As of the third quarter of 2022, there were 266,239 crashes and 2,331 fatalities reported.

Common Injuries From A Car Accident

The following are some of the most common injuries suffered by motor vehicle accident victims and some of the car crash stats for 2022:

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Spinal cord injuries and paralysis

Back Injuries/disc injuries

Burns

Internal injuries

Fractures and broken bones

What Is The Most Common Injury?

Head and neck injuries are the most common car accident injuries, which include:

Concussion

Traumatic brain injury

Whiplash (strain or sprained muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the spine)

SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH CAN INCLUDE PAIN, MUSCLE SPASMS, NUMBNESS OR TINGLING, AND INABILITY TO MOVE THE HEAD OR NECK.

Types of Car Accidents

Car accidents can affect many types of people on the road, but injuries and deaths are more common in certain types of vehicles than in others. According to the NHTSA:

  • 35% of people killed and injured in vehicles were occupants of passenger cars
  • 27% were occupants of light trucks
  • 20% were pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and other non-occupants
  • 14% were motorcyclists
  • 4% were occupants of large trucks or buses

Treatment Begins at the ER, But Does Not End There.

If you have any serious injuries, you should go to the nearest emergency room. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor just to be safe, since many delayed onset injuries are experienced after the initial “adrenaline rush” has worn off.

If you are injured in a car accident, it is important to seek medical treatment. Refusing to seek continued medical treatment can hurt your case and make it more difficult to receive compensation for your injuries.

Continuing your medical treatment with a physician that works with car accident victims is important and should provide your treating physicians information and time to refer to your MRIs, X-rays, CT scans and other diagnostic testing that may later be used as evidence in your case to prove your injuries were caused by the accident.

Additionally, continuous treatment may allow your doctor to better understand how your injuries may affect your life, no and in the future, which may be especially important when our legal team is trying to determine the value of your case.

Avoiding Serious Injury

While there is often no way to avoid a crash, there are common sense methods to protect yourself from serious injuries. These include wearing the seatbelt in your car. The CDC found that 61% of fatality victims were not wearing their seat belts. While some may find them uncomfortable or inconvenient ,the seat belt is a proven life saver.

If you have young children, you should leave them in approved booster seats as long as required. These are proven to provide great safety to a child. Again, regular use may be inconvenient, but they are an invaluable tool to keep kids safe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC

What Should You Do If You Are In A Florida Car Accident?

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

GET MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT HERE AT OUR “Car Wreck Checklist” >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm has been promoting community safety since 2007. AT ZARZAUR LAW, WE PRACTICE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, PRODUCT DEFECT, AUTO ACCIDENTS, CYCLING ACCIDENTS, MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS, PRODUCT LIABILITY, WRONGFUL DEATH, COMMUNITY SAFETY, BOAT, AND JET SKI ACCIDENTS, AND SLIP AND FALL. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been injured in a car 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 we want to make the process as easy as possible for you.

Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

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

Sources:

https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

https://www.policygenius.com/auto-insurance/car-accidents-by-state/

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

Surviving Florida’s Hectic Highways This Holiday Season! 

Hectic Florida RoadsNearly 6.3 million Floridians are expected to hit the road this holiday season. Drivers could see travel times increase by 25% around major cities.

It would be an understatement to say that everyone is looking forward to Christmas 2022! After nearly two years of being stuck at home due to the pandemic, more people are taking to the roads and traveling this Christmas season. 

While driving on the open roads towards your holiday destination can bring you joy, it can also bring a lot of aggravation and accidents. Roads can get slippery, drivers can be careless, and anything can happen!

The most congested day before Christmas will be Friday, Dec. 23. The single busiest travel day of the season — which includes New Year’s Eve — will be Tuesday, Dec. 27.

According to the FLHSMV, in Dec. 2021, there were 35,859 crashes on Florida roadways that took the lives of 325 people and injured 1,524.

 

If you plan to get your festive on or are traveling throughout Florida, you should follow these driving safety tips.

Hectic Florida Roads

 

Holiday Trip Tips:

Make sure all passengers are buckled up at all times.
Children should be in the proper child restraint seats at all times; more information can be found at flhsmv.gov/childsafety.

Be aware of changing speed limits.
The limit in Florida will never be higher than 70 mph.

Put it down and focus on driving.
Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on driving. Let your co-pilot help you navigate or change the music.

Don’t drive while drowsy.
Take a break every 100 miles or two hours. Use the buddy system and switch drivers.

Move over for emergency and service vehicles that have stopped.
It’s the law!

Write down important phone numbers.
Keep important numbers in your car in case your cell phone battery dies, and you don’t have a way to charge it.

If you need to pull over:
Stop in a safe place, out of the roadway, and away from traffic.

Turn on your emergency flashers.
If you have emergency roadway flares in your trunk, position them conspicuously.

If a motorist stops to render assistance, it’s better to remain in the car and ask them to get help.
Likewise, if you see a stranded motorist, it’s better not to stop. Notify law enforcement by calling *FHP (*347).

What Should You Do If You Are In A Florida Car Accident?

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

GET MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT HERE AT OUR “Car Wreck Checklist” >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm has been promoting community safety since 2007. AT ZARZAUR LAW, WE PRACTICE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, PRODUCT DEFECT, AUTO ACCIDENTS, CYCLING ACCIDENTS, MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS, PRODUCT LIABILITY, WRONGFUL DEATH, COMMUNITY SAFETY, BOAT, AND JET SKI ACCIDENTS, AND SLIP AND FALL. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been injured in a car 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 we want to make the process as easy as possible for you.

Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

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

Sources:
https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/holidaytravel/holiday-safety/

 

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHY WOULD RIDERS NOT HAVE INSURANCE?

 

Does Florida No-Fault Coverage Apply to Motorcycles?

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

 

An Alarming Increase In Motorcycle Fatalities

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

 

Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Required in Florida?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) Coverage

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

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

Watch Our YouTube Video On This Topic >

 

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 100 Deadliest Days Of Summer For Teen Drivers

Deadliest Days Of Summer For Teen DriversFrom FDOT.gov

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

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

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

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

Common Causes of Teenage Car Crashes

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

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

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

What Can You Do?

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

Teenage Driver Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National safety council Injury facts

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

What Is An EMC (Emergency Medical Condition) And Why Is It Important For My Florida Car Wreck Case?

What is an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) and Why It’s Important?

Florida is one of only 13 other states in the US that has no-fault car insurance laws. Basically, these states require each driver to purchase their own injury coverage for car wrecks. If a wreck occurs between Florida drivers, then both the at-fault party and the victim have “no-fault” or “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage. These PIP benefits are available for each party’s own medical bills and lost wages WITHOUT regard to fault. So even the at-fault driver is entitled to their own policy’s PIP benefits for their injuries and lost wages But, what about an emergency medical condition?

Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) From Accident and Personal Injury Protection Coverage.

When this law was first passed in Florida, all parties to a car wreck were immediately entitled to the entire $10,000.00 from the wreck until the entire amount had been paid out or exhausted. However, years of abuse of this benefit made the Florida legislature pass reforms to the PIP laws, making it harder to access the entire $10,000.00 benefit.

Under the current version of the PIP statute, parties are only entitled to $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00 PIP benefit at the outset. To access the remaining $7,500.00, the injured party must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, or “EMC.” 

EMC Is Defined As:

“Emergency medical condition” means a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:

(a) Serious jeopardy to patient health.

(b) Serious impairment to bodily functions.

(c) Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

An EMC can only be found by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, dentist, physician assistant, or APRN.

Omitted from this list are chiropractors, and it was the intent of the Florida legislature to remove chiropractors from the approval process in regards to PIP benefits.

EMCs can be diagnosed in real-time or later in your treatment. For example, if you go through the initial treatment and then realize that PIP only paid $2,500.00 since there was no documented EMC, So long as a physician is able to say that you “had” an EMC related to the car wreck at any point, then you will be eligible for the entire $10,000.00 benefit.

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

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

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

Injuries And Medical Bills

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

This is a significant issue for your case since these PIP benefits can be used to pay for valuable treatment related to your Florida car wreck case.

At the end of your case, all medical bills have to be paid, and if your health insurance pays for them, you will be required to reimburse your health insurance.  PIP benefits, however, do not have to be paid back or reimbursed.

So, it’s in your best interest to use all of these benefits before you start using your own health insurance or start accumulating medical bills to be paid out of your own pocket.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >

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

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

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

If you or a loved one was involved in a Florida car wreck and/or has Florida PIP questions, please feel free to reach out to our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855HireJoe.

Sources:

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

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

golf cart accident Pensacola

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

What Is An LSV?

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

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

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

Golf Carts

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

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

Issues With Low-Speed Vehicles

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

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

A Dangerous Novelty

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

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

What Happens In An Accident? 

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

No Safety Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Truck Wrecks, Why Are These Cases So Different?

18-wheelers, big trucks, semi-trucks, however you may refer to them, they are all potentially deadly when coupled with careless operators. When these Big Trucks wreck, they usually have life and death consequences. For this reason, trucking company insurance companies treat every collision in a much different manner than regular automobile insurance companies.

Big Truck Insurance Company’s Accident Response

For example, if you are involved in a wreck between passenger vehicles and the insurance companies are just typical automobile insurance carriers like State Farm or Progressive, they will rarely visit the scene and even less rarely hire law firms to assist with the accident investigation. Big truck insurance companies, however, do both. As soon as a Big Truck insurance company learns that a wreck has occurred, they will immediately dispatch an investigator to the scene of the collision. Within hours or a day or so, they will also usually hire a local law firm to help coordinate the investigation.

Big Truck Insurance Company Investigation

Having an investigation conducted before the injured parties even know the extent of their injuries gives the Big Truck’s insurance company a huge advantage over the evidence in the case. Having a law firm involved early also protects this information from being discovered later since investigations performed in anticipation of litigation are privileged and do not have to be disclosed to any opposing party.

The timing of the investigation is important in these big truck wrecks since the physical evidence and witness testimony will remain fresh for only so long. The sooner an investigation can be conducted, the more reliable the information will be for those conducting the review.


WHAT CAUSES MOST TRUCK ACCIDENTS?

According to truck accident statistics, a great majority of these accidents occur due to mechanical difficulties, especially those related to tires or brakes. Other than that, most accidents are caused by driver fatigue, lack of information regarding the route, as well as job pressure and aggressive driving.


Why It Is imperative For Injured Parties To Also Have An Investigation Done.

Since the Big Truck insurance companies are responding immediately, it is imperative that the families of injured victims also respond as quickly as possible. Ideally, the injured party wants to have an investigation conducted at the same time. If the injured party can get on the scene at least as fast as the big truck insurance company, then it will assure equal opportunities to discover and preserve the evidence and witness statements.

Witnesses and Video Evidence

These days, video evidence is also prevalent. Nearby businesses and vehicles close to the scene of the wreck are all potential sources for video evidence. These sources, however, will remain intact forever. Most systems will record over videos within a week, sometimes less. This means the investigation must contact these potential sources within the first several days following a wreck. As you can imagine, the footage from these big truck collisions can be quite compelling. If the footage is not helpful to the trucking company, you can bet it very well may never see the light of day. If, however, the injured party has their investigator working at the same time, there is less of an opportunity for any improper evidence collection (or destruction).

Five Must-Know Facts About Truck Accidents

  1. A 52% increase in these accidents has been noted since 2009.
  2. 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle cases include a large truck.
  3. Tire defects account for around 30% (the most common cause) of all truck-related accidents.
  4. Most of these accidents occur during the day — between noon and 3 PM, up to 19%.
  5. 68% of all truck fatalities are passenger vehicle occupants.

If you or a loved one is a victim of a big truck wreck, it is vital that you hire a law firm that has experience with these wrecks. This experience will bring with it a law firm investigator that will be on the scene and hopefully be there before the big truck insurance company’s investigator and law firm show up. Feel free to contact our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


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


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

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

Sources:

Car Wreck Checklist

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

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks

24 Disturbing Truck Accident Statistics (2022 Edition)

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

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


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

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


Forced Off The Road By A Careless Driver

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

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

Evidentiary Proof

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

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

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

Motorcycle Accidents

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


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


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

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO  >


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


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

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

 

Sources:

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

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

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 6 – Car Wrecks And Rental Cars.

Many Florida car wreck victims assume that if they are caused to be without a car because of someone else’s negligence, they will automatically get a rental car. Many believe that as they are on the scene, someone from the other person’s car insurance company is going to drive up to the scene and hand them the keys to a rental car and haul their car off to be fixed or totaled. This could not be further from how it works in real life.

Loss Of Use Damages

After a Florida car wreck, the at-fault driver will be responsible for what is called “loss of use damages.” Loss of use damages are damages associated with the loss of use of your vehicle. For some reason, there has been sufficient damage to your car to make it unsafe to drive.

If, for instance, your car only has minor damage and those damages do not cause your vehicle to be unsafe to operate, then you are not going to be eligible for loss of use damage until they start working on the repairs.

Accepting Liability Prior to Offering A Rental Car

Before any company will offer a rental car, the insurance company first has to accept liability for the car wreck. This usually takes between 48 hours and a week on some occasions. What generally happens during this time is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will conduct what they will call an investigation.

The Difference Between Driver’s Exchange Of Information And The Wreck Report

This investigation will consist of reviewing the wreck report and speaking with the insured driver. Keep in mind that the full wreck report for a Florida car wreck will not be available for several days following the wreck. Typically, between 2 and 5 days following a wreck, the Florida Wreck Report is not the piece of paper the Trooper gives you at the scene. That document is titled the Florida Exchange of Information form. That is not the wreck report. The wreck report will be drafted by the same trooper and will be released later. Keep in mind that it is always important to wait for law enforcement to complete a report on any wreck. 

If you do not have an official wreck report following a wreck, the insurance company will have much more room to come up with a different version of events. Once available, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will review that report and compare the description of the wreck to the version of events provided by their insured.

What If There Is A Contradiction Or Reasonable Doubt? 

If there is no difference, then the at-fault driver’s insurance will typically accept liability or responsibility for the wreck. If there is some contradiction, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually go with what the trooper concluded unless there is another witness who also sides with the other version of events. Any reasonable doubt will likely cause the insurance company to refuse to accept liability. If there is no outright acceptance of responsibility, there will not be any offer to provide a rental car.

How Long Will The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Pay For A Rental Car?

However, if the insurance company for the negligent driver does accept responsibility, then they will usually offer a rental car if your vehicle is unsafe to drive.  They will usually extend this offer until they have made a check for your car (if its a total loss) available for you.  They will not pay for a minute extra once they have presented you with a check for your car.

What If The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Coverage?

It is also important to understand that if an at fault driver in a Florida car wreck case doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your car damages and provide money for a rental car, the insurance company will not offer that car.  Your only option at that point is to see if your insurance policy has a rental car benefit and if it doesn’t then it will be your responsibility to pay for the rental.  This is a huge inconvenience and if you end up with an injury case, inconvenience is an element of damages that can be collected from the at fault driver within in the injury case.

For more information about rental cars following a Florida car wreck case, please feel free to reach out to our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HireJoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON RENTAL CARS AFTER YOUR CAR WRECK >


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.

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 5 – Your Car Wreck and Personal Injury Protection.

What is personal injury protection (PIP), or no-fault coverage? There are only 13 states in the United States that require every driver to purchase and maintain personal injury protection coverage.

Florida is one of those 13 states. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage, which is also known as “no-fault” coverage. This coverage is personal and it insures the policyholder for the benefit of the policy.

What Does “No-Fault” Mean?

The term “no-fault” indicates that you do not have to prove fault in order to get this PIP benefit. The $10,000 PIP benefit is available to you if you are involved in a wreck. The money can be accessed in one of two ways.

How Does PIP Work?

Medical Care – First, all medical providers that treat you following a wreck can bill the car insurance company directly. The insurance company will pay 80% of any bills submitted to them for car wreck-related treatment.

Lost Wages – The other item that can properly be paid by pip benefits is lost wages. PIP coverage will reimburse you for 60% of lost wages. To gain access to this wage loss benefit under PIP, you have to fill out a PIP loss form. This lost wage form can be obtained from your PIP adjuster who works for your car insurance company.

Emergency Medical Condition

Florida car wreck laws limit your pip recovery to $2,500 and prevent you from receiving the full $10,000 benefit. It is important that you have this EMC (emergency medical condition) diagnosis so that you can take full advantage of the PIP benefits under your car insurance policy.

Florida Car Wreck Laws and How It Affects Your Car Wreck Case

In return for the PIP benefits, the insurance company got protection from lawsuits. Florida car wreck laws (as well as other states that have PIP laws) prohibit cases against negligent drivers until you have been shown to have a permanent injury. So, the trade-off is this. You as a driver will be granted pip benefits without much resistance from the insurance companies, but you will forfeit your right to sue the other driver unless you have been diagnosed with a permanent injury.

The definition of “permanent injury” is not exactly clear, and you certainly can have a permanent injury without having a fracture or requiring surgery. Since this “permanent injury” item is a legal term, it requires legal analysis under your specific facts. If you have questions about a Florida car wreck injury or PIP coverage, you can find us at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON PIP COVERAGE >


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.