Tag Archives: Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyers

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

florida car insurance

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

So What Is Required?

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

What is UM Coverage And Why Should You Have It?

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

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

Car Insurance Confusion 

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

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

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO >


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

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

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

Most Common Questions About Car Accident Cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

Attorneys Joe Zarzaur and Steve Bolton Achieve Board Recertification in Civil Trial Law By the Florida Bar

Board Recertification in Civil Trial Law By the Florida BarAttorneys Joe Zarzaur and Steve Bolton have received their board recertification in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar.  Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Certification is the highest level of evaluation by the Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys and helps consumers identify specialists in various areas of law.

Mr. Bolton originally earned Board Certification in 1991 and Mr. Zarzaur originally earned Board Certification in 2006. Both Zarzaur and Bolton have achieved recertification every five years since originally achieving Board Certification as Civil Trial Specialists.

The Florida Bar Board Certification – What Is It About?

Board certification is a voluntary program for lawyers. Approved by The Florida Supreme Court and established in 1982 board certification is administered by The Florida Bar to help the public choose a lawyer. Certification is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification.

The Florida Bar evaluates all certified lawyers for experience and expertise in a particular area of law as well as for professionalism and peer acknowledgement. After successfully undergoing the certification process and becoming board certified, a board certified lawyer may say that they have been “Evaluated for Professionalism and Tested for Expertise.”

The Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE) of The Florida Bar governs the rules and policies for each of the certification areas and oversees the committees that implement each area’s standards. A lawyer must be a member in good standing of the Florida Bar and meet the area’s prescribed standards to become board certified. Standards for each area vary but each area maintains common minimum standards including:

– A minimum of five years in law practice.
– Substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought.
– A passing grade on the examination required of all initial applicants.
– Satisfactory peer review assessment of competence in the specialty field as well as character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
– Satisfaction of the certification area’s continuing legal education requirements.

Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar approved continuing education courses. To be re-certified lawyers must meet requirements similar to those for initial certification.

Why Is Board Certification Important? 

Board certification establishes an independent measure of competence, professionalism and peer acknowledgement which helps clients and fellow lawyers set expectations for professional abilities. This level of verifiable expertise can help both prospective clients and counsel seeking to refer legal matters and can help lawyers grow their practice with matters in which they can best utilize their expertise. 

What Does All Of This Mean To Potential Clients?

“Members of the public may feel confident that when they speak with a board certified lawyer, they are speaking with an expert in the field,” said Jack Pelzer, 2013-2015 BLSE Chair. “Board certification not only recognizes past accomplishments and expertise, but provides opportunities for further growth in an area of specialization through interaction with other dedicated and exceptional lawyers.”

Only about one percent of Florida lawyers are board certified and it is the only designation that Florida lawyers can utilize when comparing themselves to other lawyers.

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

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

January is “Move Over” Month in Florida.

How important The Move Over Law in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)

January is Move Over month in Florida, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are reminding motorists to Move Over for emergency or service vehicles stopped along the roadway.

FLHSMV and FHP are partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, and AAA – The Auto Club Group to drive the Move Over message home and ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers, and Road Rangers Arrive Alive in 2021.


Preliminarily in 2020, there were 159 crashes and over 12,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida.


“Each move-over related crash or citation is not simply a statistic, it represents a first responder or service professional – all with family and loved ones – who were carelessly put in danger while trying to serve and protect Floridians along the roadway,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Please, give law enforcement, first responders, and service and utility professionals space to safely do their jobs by moving over or slowing down – it’s the law, and it could save a life.”

The Move Over Law

The Move Over Law was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002. The statute, which was originally introduced in 1971, requires motorists to move or yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles and in 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law. The Move Over Law states that drivers must move over as soon as it is safe to do so for any authorized law enforcement, emergency, or service vehicles displaying any visible signals while stopped on the roadside, including Road Rangers, sanitation vehicles, and tow trucks.

“Florida’s Move Over law helps provide a safe work environment for first responders and everyone who delivers critical services along our roadways,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Please do your part while traveling our roadways and abide by the Move Over law to help protect our emergency personnel and their loved ones.”

What If You Can’t Move Over?

When motorists cannot vacate the lane closest to the emergency or service vehicle, they must slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. Failure to yield or move over puts law enforcement officers, emergency first responders and public service workers in danger while they are on the job protecting and serving the citizens and visitors of Florida.

“Our law enforcement, first responder, service/utility worker, as well as Road Ranger partners, work on the side of the road in service to all of us,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “Do your part to keep them safe. Slow down or move over so everyone can arrive home safely to their loved ones.”

“Our deputy sheriffs are on the highways day and night providing protection for our citizens that we so honorably serve. While traveling, if you see a first responder vehicle stopped on the shoulder of the roadway please move over to help protect those who protect you. On behalf of our Florida Sheriffs, I fully endorse the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Move Over Campaign,” stated Sheriff Bobby Schultz President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

Safety First For You And Emergency Responders

“Every driver has a part to play in keeping law enforcement and other first responders safe. When you see law enforcement or another vehicle with flashing lights, please slow down, move over, and give them space to stay safe,” said Chief Jeff Pearson, Satellite Beach Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “And when you safely move over, you are signaling to the drivers behind you that they should follow your lead. By moving over, you are helping our law enforcement officers return home safely.”

“Our heroes on the roadside need your help,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “They can’t save our lives if we don’t protect theirs. Please do your part to Slow Down and Move Over.”

To Comply With The Move Over Law Drivers Must:

Multi-Lane Roadway:

  • Vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, Road Ranger or wrecker and always signal the intention to change lanes.
  • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit if a driver cannot move over safely.
  • Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.

Two-Lane Roadway:

  • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
  • Travel at 5 mph if the speed limit is 20 mph or less.

Report Aggressive Drivers

The public is encouraged to report aggressive drivers by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information on the Move Over Law, visit: flhsmv.gov/MoveOver

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education, and enforcement. Florida is leading the way to A Safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags, and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol.

To learn more about FLHSMV and the services offered, visit https://www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram.

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

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

Client Testimonial – Rick D.

Words cannot express the heartfelt appreciation, I feel for Joe Zarzaur, Esquire, and his professional office staff; and the level of expertise, confidence, courage, experience, wisdom, and genuine concern for my well-being; he exhibited on my behalf as well as the necessary insight into the matter and protection from; the dishonest alternative agendas of the other insurance company’s hired “gun” calling and harassing me (voice mails too).

Board Accredited Certification does make a difference. Joe Zarzaur is truly the “other side’s” greatest fear. He is laser-focused on the client’s needs and the goals to achieve, on behalf of the client regarding their medical bills and maximum pain & suffering compensation, considering their future medical needs financially, is 2nd to none. He is relentless on your behalf. Make no mistake, it is in your best interest to hire the best, 2nd to none, to represent your best interests first and above all when you have suffered the consequences of someone else’s negligence.

It is vital to have the best in protecting you from the insurance company’s sleazy hired predators trained to prey on the victims of their insured’s negligence, especially when you are injured and most vulnerable, right after the accident. Joe Zarzaur places the necessary legal wall between you and them that stops the harassing phone calls. He provides the peace of mind you need, so you can focus on your medical needs.

Always remember:

• 1. Immediately Seek Medical Help if you have been injured in the accident

• 2. Contact Joe at Zarzaur Law, P.A.

• 3. If you have more than 1 vehicle, stack your insurance coverage for your vehicles & demand proof that it has been done

• 4. Never speak with anyone from the other insurance company

• 5. NEVER use your cell phone in your vehicle when driving- It causes accidents

• 6. Ask your legal representation for recommendations concerning Auto Repair & Collision Repair Shops for your vehicle

• 7. Make sure you have your car examined mechanically too.

Joe Zarzaur enabled me peace of mind, allowing me to focus on my medical needs and surgeries. He is the Tesla, Einstein & the Carlos Kleiber of Maestros conducting the legal orchestra symphony on your behalf. Don’t talk to anyone until you speak with Joe at Zarzaur Law, P.A. FIRST….

When Is A Personal Injury Severe Enough For A Lawsuit?

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

Why Is The “No-Fault” Law Important?

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

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

Permanent Injury.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Compulsory Medical Examination.

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

Can A Pre-Existing Injury Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

It happens every day. A person is rear-ended in a car accident and develops neck or back pain. They get medical treatment and x-rays show they have degenerative changes in their spine. They had never had any pain or treatment before the crash. 

Can You Recover For Your Injuries From A Car Accident, Including An Aggravation Of A Pre-Existing Condition?

The answer is yes, but it often requires careful handling of the situation.

Reports from the World Health Organization indicate that about 1.3 million people die each year due to road accidents. Between 20 and 50 million more, individuals sustain non-fatal injuries, with some incurring permanent disability. It is no surprise that many people injured in car accidents have pre-existing injuries or conditions.

A pre-existing injury or condition can impact your personal injury case, but it really depends on the scenario. Personal injury laws are written to be equitable. If someone injures you, they should be held liable for the physical and emotional costs of those injuries. However, they can’t be forced to pay for the treatment of your pre-existing condition.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions

A common pre-existing condition that comes into play in car crashes is a degenerative spinal disease. The spine is made of bone and soft tissue, including ligaments, tendons, and discs. Spinal disks are like shock absorbers between the vertebrae, or bones of the spine. They help your backstay flexible. As the body ages, it can begin to show signs of wear and tear. The outer wall can become torn, and this can cause pain from the nerve fibers in the disk. 

Similarly, the bony portions of the back can develop arthritis, which can lead to limitations in motion and cause pain. These conditions may result from the normal activities of daily living, or a work injury, or a sports injury in which the pain quickly resolves. These conditions normally take many years to develop.


MOST PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 30 HAVE SOME DEGENERATION IN THEIR SPINE.


A Hidden Problem

The interesting thing about this condition is that it can be a hidden problem, with no symptoms caused by the pathology in the spine. In-car crash cases it is very common for someone with a pre-existing condition to have no symptoms until the crash. This is a very well-known phenomenon and one with which spinal specialists are very familiar. These conditions can result from even a minor crash as the spine is already weakened and more susceptible to injury than a more healthy spine. Our firm has handled many cases where a seemingly minor crash may result in a lifetime of problems.

Such injuries are often treated conservatively, with medication, therapy, or exercise. If these are not helpful, anesthetic injections, blocks, and nerve ablations may be used. It is not uncommon for these to become permanent injuries that may require lifetime care. In the most serious cases, a surgeon may decompress the spine and remove discs and fuse the vertebrae in order to alleviate pain and limitation of function.

How Does Such A Situation Affect A Car Wreck Claim?

It is very common for an insurance company to argue that your problems are related to the pre-existing condition and not the wreck. While it is true that a car crash cannot cause the degeneration seen on x-rays and scans immediately after the crash, it is similarly well known that the trauma can cause pain that did not exist before. Because of this, Florida law clearly establishes that a person can recover money damages for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

Your Settlement and The At-Fault Party

Careless Driver AccidentIf you can establish through testimony, including expert medical testimony, that the pre-existing condition was asymptomatic, and that the crash caused it to become symptomatic, you can recover the full value of your damages. This is obviously a very complex task and requires an experienced car accident lawyer to be your advocate to ensure the best result. It will require putting forth evidence of no prior problems or treatment, and subsequent problems and treatment after the crash.

The insurance companies are always very aggressive in using this as a defense, so it is best to have a capable advocate on your side. Your lawyer will be able to work with your doctors or other experts to prove the crash is the cause of your pain and maximize your recovery.

The negligent driver who caused the accident cannot use the auto accident injury victim’s condition as a defense in their case. Their defense attorneys can’t go before a judge and say, “My client shouldn’t be liable for the injury because the injury only happened due to the victim’s pre-existing condition.”

The judge or jury can order them to pay for treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the injuries that happened due to the auto accident, but not for lost wages that may have accrued before the accident.

APPENDIX FROM STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES – REPORT NO. 13-02 

As such, we first must examine, 501.5(a), “Aggravation or activation of disease or defect.” It states, “If you find that the (defendant(s)) caused a bodily injury and that the injury resulted in [an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect] [or] [activation of a latent disease or physical defect], you should attempt to decide what portion of (claimant’s) condition resulted from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by (claimant).” 

Medical Treatment and Disclosure

If you have a back condition that was aggravated in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, be transparent about your back problems before the accident and how they’ve become worse after the accident.

It is also important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident so your doctor can document your injuries and the source of those injuries and damages you suffered as a result of an accident caused by the negligent driver. 

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

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

 

Sources:

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1660736.html

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries#:~:text=Every%20year%20the%20lives%20of,a%20result%20of%20their%20injury.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/eggshell_skull_rule

Can Someone Else Be Liable For A Single Vehicle Accident?

single vehicle accident liability

Single Vehicle Accident Liability

 Sometimes, depending on the facts, there may be a liability from non-motorists that caused the injuries.

FLORIDA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST TRAFFIC DEATH RATES PER 100,000 RESIDENTS AT 14.7. 52% OF FATAL CRASHES INVOLVED A SINGLE VEHICLE.


 

What Is a Single-Vehicle Accident?

By definition, single-vehicle accidents involve just one car, truck, or other types of motor vehicle.

Liability (Fault) In a Single-Car Accident

Single-car accidents are also no different than other traffic accidents in the sense that there’s always an underlying cause. It’s certainly true that the driver is often found at fault for the accident, but there are plenty of scenarios in which blame for a single-vehicle accident lies elsewhere.

It’s important to keep in mind that just because you’re alone in your vehicle at the scene of your accident, that doesn’t mean:

– You were the only driver (or person) involved

– Yours was the only vehicle involved, or

– The accident scene tells the complete story of how your crash happened.

When Is the Driver in a Single Vehicle Accident Not Liable?

Let’s look at a couple of examples of when a driver in a single-vehicle accident might not be negligent in connection with the crash, and therefore might avoid liability.

1. The Driver Hits An Object On Or Along The Side Of The Road (like a guardrail or a tree)

2. The driver swerves to avoid another vehicle

A pedestrian, an animal, a road hazard, or something else, and runs off the road or the vehicle rolls over, spins out, or leaves the road, due to the driver’s loss of control of the vehicle or some other cause.

As with any other kind of car accident, the things you do in the immediate aftermath of the crash (and in the days following) will play a crucial part in any insurance claim or legal action you decide to pursue.

3. Crashes Caused By Road Conditions

With the prevalence of road construction and road problems in our area, it may be that the single-car crash was caused by unreasonable road conditions. Florida generally has very poorly maintained roads that may cause car crashes. Generally, these claims are difficult because they must be brought against government agencies that are protected by Florida law. These suits require many additional procedural steps and are difficult to win. This must be investigated by an experienced lawyer.

If the crash was caused by defective construction or construction practices, a claim against a road contractor may be investigated. As with all these cases, a thorough investigation must be undertaken as soon as possible, so the state of the conditions can be preserved before they are repaired. Such road defects may include unreasonable drop-offs, missing or damaged guardrails, and missing or damaged warning signs.

4. Crashes Caused By Animals

If a domesticated animal strays into the roadway and caused a single-car crash the owner of the animal may be liable. This includes dogs and the claims may be covered by some homeowners insurance.

Similarly, if livestock wanders onto the road and is struck by a vehicle, the owner of the livestock may be liable if negligence is proven by the injured party. While there is no absolute duty to fence in animals like cows and horses, failure to the fence may be evidence of negligence leading to liability for injuries. An experienced lawyer will investigate and try and find insurance for the loss.

 

5. Crashes Caused By Falling Unsecured Material Or Debris

On our highways, we see many large trucks and many smaller trucks carrying material in the back of the trucks. Often the material is not properly secured, which may lead to it falling out at highway speeds. This may cause a crash due to direct impact or impact caused by attempting to avoid the falling material or debris. In such a situation, an injured motorist may seek compensation from the owner and or driver of the offending vehicle. If there is not sufficient insurance from the at-fault party, then the injured driver may seek damages from his own uninsured/underinsured motorist(UM) coverage.

6. Claims By Passengers

If a single-car crash is caused by the negligence of a driver, then injured passengers may seek compensation from the driver or from UM insurance. In all such cases, medical bills will be handled by no-fault(PIP) up to the limits of coverage.

Just because a car crash does not involve another vehicle, there may be a claim against a negligent party who caused the crash. Such claims involve careful investigation and the skills and expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/overview/key_data.html

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state

http://www.flhealthcharts.com/charts/DataViewer/DeathViewer/DeathViewer.aspx?indNumber=0110

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/defending-yourself-after-a-single-vehicle-accident.html

Do You Know How to Navigate A Roundabout?

While roundabouts are designed with safety in mind, these traffic signal alternatives create a significant hazard for drivers. With many drivers having very little experience navigating these circular intersections, it is important to know both how to properly operate your vehicle while utilizing one and the dangers associated with roundabouts. 

How To Navigate A Roundabout

Roundabouts Function To The Right

This means that the flow of traffic comes from the left, and you must yield the right of way to the vehicle approaching from your left.  It is important to remember to ALWAYS yield the right of way to vehicles already in the roundabout.

Do Not Stop While In The Middle Of The Roundabout

One of the leading causes of car crashes while using a roundabout happens when a vehicle already inside the roundabout comes to a stop.  The beauty of a roundabout is that it keeps traffic moving, which is why it is important to never stop while in the roundabout unless you have to.

Do Not Speed While Entering The Roundabout

Research shows that a common crash that happens in roundabouts is vehicles striking the traffic circle.  This happens because motorists enter the roundabout at too high of a speed, and lose control of their vehicle.  By entering the roundabout at a safe speed, you are able to maintain control of your vehicle and keep from getting into a crash.

Check Your Blindspots

Another easy way to avoid a crash while using a roundabout is to always check your blindspots before entering the roundabout.  While you might think there is not a car coming, by failing to check your blindspot you might be wrong.  It is so important to navigating these roundabouts with caution, which means being extra diligent in checking for oncoming traffic.

It is not all bad news, though!


STUDIES SHOW THAT INTERSECTIONS THAT ARE CONVERTED FROM TRAFFIC SIGNALS TO ROUNDABOUTS REDUCE CRASHES BY ABOUT 40%.


Research also shows that these roundabouts are generally safer for pedestrians. 

 

Roundabouts NavigationImprovements In Traffic Flow

Several studies conducted by IIHS and others have reported significant improvements in traffic flow following the conversion of traditional intersections to roundabouts.

A study of three intersections in Kansas, Maryland, and Nevada where roundabouts replaced stop signs found that vehicle delays were reduced 13-23 percent and the proportion of vehicles that stopped was reduced 14-37 percent (Retting et al., 2002).

A study of three locations in New Hampshire, New York, and Washington state where roundabouts replaced traffic signals or stop signs found an 89 percent average reduction in vehicle delays and a 56 percent average reduction in vehicle stops (Retting et al., 2006).

A study of 11 intersections in Kansas found a 65 percent average reduction in delays and a 52 percent average reduction in vehicle stops after roundabouts were installed (Russell et al., 2004).

An Institute study of two-lane roundabout conversions at two intersections near Bellingham, Washington, found substantial declines in vehicle delays on the minor roads (33 percent and 90 percent) and the proportion of vehicles waiting in queues (35 percent and 43 percent) (Hu et al., 2014).

Overall intersections delays increased (12 percent and 22 percent), due to slightly longer delays on the major approaches as vehicles slowed to enter the roundabouts.


BECAUSE ROUNDABOUTS IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF TRAFFIC FLOW, THEY ALSO REDUCE VEHICLE EMISSIONS AND FUEL CONSUMPTION.


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

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

Sources:

https://www.iihs.org/topics/roundabouts

https://www.pensacolabaybridge.com/overview/17th-avenue-interchange

https://www.pnj.com/story/news/traffic/2021/10/25/17th-avenue-roundabout-pensacola-beach-complete-and-open-traffic/6172840001/

https://www.iihs.org/topics/roundabouts

Carpal Tunnel Injuries Caused By A Car Wreck

When people hear about carpal tunnel they think of people that use computers such as secretaries or factory workers who are constantly using their hands. However, even though it is considered a repetitive use injury, it can be trauma-induced. Carpal tunnel from a car accident is possible and is referred to as CTS or acute or traumatic.

Carpal tunnel injuries are surprisingly common in car crashes. When the hands are firmly gripping the wheel, or slung off into windshields or doors as a result of a crash, trauma to the area can cause inflammation leading to serious pain and loss of function. Even relatively “minor” crashes can cause these most serious and debilitating injuries.

Recent Case

In a recent case, our client was rear-ended with her hands on the wheel, causing a flexing type motion of both wrists. Within a few days, she had significant pain in her neck and shoulders and pain and numbness in her fingers.

She sought medical treatment, which included physical therapy and pain injections. She later had nerve conduction testing in her arms which showed nerve damage consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, she needed neck surgery which helped with the pain but continued to have carpal tunnel symptoms.

The physician initially recommended she wear a splint on both hands, to reduce pressure on the nerves. This was not helpful so her treating physician recommended surgery, a carpal tunnel release, where the ligaments are cut to lessen pressure on the nerves. This surgery often requires several months of rehab and can be very painful. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a very fair settlement for her, on the eve of trial.

What is CTS?

The carpal tunnel is a small space along the wrist that houses the median nerve, blood vessels, and several flexor tendons that run from the forearm to the palm of the hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that surfaces from damage to and pressure around the carpal tunnel.

When involved in a car accident, if the forearm, wrist, or hand sustain damage and the muscles become inflamed, the median nerve can become compressed which results in CTS. Typically this kind of injury occurs when someone braces themselves in an accident like gripping a steering wheel or placing their hands on the dashboard. With the force of impact, the wrist can become injured and the soft tissues can be damaged.

Symptoms of CTS Can Include The Following:

  • Aching pain
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in the hands
  • Reduced grip strength and a tendency to drop things

Proving CTS Was Caused By A Car Accident

This type of CTS can be a mild case or so extreme that it becomes debilitating for the patient. In order to prove that CTS was caused by an auto accident, a substantial amount of medical records will need to be turned over to insurance companies for them to cover the costs or to even support the case.

Some Treatment Options Available For Those Diagnosed With CTS Include:

  • Avoiding excess strain and not performing job duties and activities that aggravate the condition.
  • Icing and using wrist splints to support the area.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Receiving corticosteroids.
  • Using opioid pain relief for cases of severe CTS.
  • Receiving endoscopic or open surgery to correct CTS.
ADWAXF Bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

Even “simple” car wrecks can pose very complex legal and medical issues. A board-certified trial lawyer will have experience in dealing with all such issues, and with the help of cooperating physicians or experts, can get your case fairly settled. If the case does not settle, such lawyers can present your case at trial in the best possible light.

 

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur and Dr. Evan Malone  >

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

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

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-make-carpal-tunnel-injury-claim.html

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet