Tag Archives: Pensacola Lawyer

How Does Mediation in a Personal Injury Case Work?

Most personal injury cases settle before trial. The settlement may occur before suit is filed, or after suit is filed. Most injured persons and most insurance companies realize that a good settlement is better than a bad trial and a settlement has advantages to both parties to such cases.

As we have mentioned before, it is advantageous if the injured party has an experienced board-certified trial lawyer, because insurance companies generally pay more if they realize the opposing lawyer has substantial trial experience.

What is the Difference Between Mediation and Trial?

Mediation is different from trial in the sense that mediation is an informal process and trial is a formal process. In personal injury mediation, it is most common to have the plaintiff and his or her lawyers in one room and the defense counsel and insurance adjuster in the other room. The mediator then moves between the rooms in hopes of bringing both parties toward common ground in order to resolve the lawsuit before trial.

Settling a Personal Injury Case Through Mediation.

This is a private process where a neutral third person, a mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve a dispute. In a mediation, the parties have the opportunity to describe the issues, discuss their interests, and provide each other with information so as to settle a dispute. The mediator does not have the power to make a decision about the case, but can help the parties find a resolution that is satisfactory to both.

In an arbitration, the third-party arbitrator is empowered to make a decision, but not in a mediation.

The parties can agree to a presuit mediation, which is common now in Florida. After suit is filed, all Florida state courts require a mediation at a certain time, but always well in advance of trial. The courts have found that mediation is often successful, and a good way to settle cases and clear the crowded court dockets. The federal district courts also regularly issue mediation orders for their civil cases. Family law, divorce and criminal cases can be mediated too.

If your lawyer cannot settle your case with direct negotiations, a mediation is often a good way to settle a case presuit. If both parties agree, a voluntary mediation can be scheduled. If a case is filed, the court will order a mediation. Although a court ordered mediation is not voluntary, the rules and process of both mediations are generally the same.

How Do Mediations Work?

Generally your personal injury lawyer will prepare a report to the mediator, and a presentation for use at the mediation. Depending on the case, these presentations may be simple or as complicated and complex as an opening or closing argument at trial. Media type presentations such as power points and PREZI can be very effective in getting across the message to the opposing party. The summary to the mediator, which usually describes the facts of the case, the court status of the case, and the current state of negotiations, is usually confidential.

– In most states, and in Florida, a mediator has a duty of confidentiality to both sides, and generally cannot disclose confidential facts unless authorized.

– The mediator cannot disclose the status of settlement negotiations to anyone outside of the mediation, unless compelled by the court. If a case does not settle, the mediator simply tells the court it did not settle, with no further comment.

The Mediation Process

After scheduling with both parties and the mediator, the parties convene the session. With the advent of ZOOM and other similar technology, most mediations in Florida are now done remotely, which can be very convenient and cost effective, as it often eliminates the costs of travel. The parties generally split the cost of the mediator’s fees. The fees for mediators vary from city to city, but generally are very reasonable for the level of expertise and experience provided by the mediator. Most mediators are experienced lawyers, who have been certified by the Florida bar. Such certification requires submission to the bar and completion of intensive training, including conducting mediation sessions with a certified mediator.

Mediation Joint Session and Breakout Sessions.

– The mediator will describe how the process works, will explain the mediator’s role and will help establish ground rules for the session.

– Usually, the parties will then make an opening statement which may incorporate the presentations of counsel. There is rarely any need for one of the parties to talk in the joint session, unless counsel thinks it will be helpful.

– No one is put under oath.

– After a joint session, the mediator will break up the parties and move to separate sessions, shuttling back and forth between the parties. In the normal personal injury case, these are usually negotiation sessions.

How Long do Mediations Last?

A mediation may last an hour, or last a full day or several days, depending on the complexity and the number of parties. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator may help document, which is generally an enforceable agreement. There is no requirement that a case settle at mediation. Often, soon after a mediation, the case may settle as the parties get information that helps them evaluate the case.

Trial lawyers in Florida have been mediating cases for almost 30 years, and there are many skilled mediators in all areas in Florida. It is often a cost-effective way to settle a personal injury case.

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.





Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer

Pensacola Product Liability: Baby Monitor Recall Over Burning Hazard

Pensacola Product LiabilityWhat Is Pensacola Product Liability?

Like other Pensacola product liability claims, those relating to children’s products can be made against manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers. This can include toys, children’s equipment such as cribs, strollers, baby food, and other products sold for use by babies and children. Pensacola Product liability claims can result in compensation for serious injuries, illness or deaths caused by products which are unduly dangerous either in their very design, through a manufacturing flaw, through unsafe handling along the path from manufacturer to the consumer, or through inadequate warnings of risks.

Please call Pensacola Product Liability Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law if you think you may have an issue against a toy manufacturer.

Recalling All Monitors: Burn Hazard

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerOfficials have recalled thousands of video baby monitors sold in the U.S. and Canada over what they say is a possible burning hazard.

The recall affects 26,000 Lorex Care ‘N’ Share monitors, which come with a blue lithium polymer battery that officials say can overheat and swell, which creates a burning hazard, WishTV.com reported. No injuries have been reported.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the monitors are sold at Babes “R” Us, B&H, Best Buy, Target, The Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Amazon and LorexTechnology.com.

There have been 488 cases reported of batteries overheating and expanding, WishTV.com reported. About 140 of those reports including instances wherein the battery’s plastic casing came off.

The model numbers in the recall included WL3520, WL4320 and WL3401.

The Effects Of Medical Professionals Making Mistakes (aka Medical Malpractice)

horse racing

What could be worse than receiving a diagnosis for a serious illness? We can think of a couple. Receiving a diagnosis for a serious illness and then being mistreated by your medical care provider for that illness or a hospital error that led to preventable death are at the top of the list.

Medical malpractice is defined as a breach in the standard of care for a physician or other health care professional that results in injury or illness to a patient. Medical malpractice can be a consequence of mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, or management.

Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to a recent article published in The Washington Post. Horror stories of nurses giving potent drugs meant for one patient to another and surgeons removing wrong body parts are making their way to news coverage and the public.

mal200x267The facts about diagnostic errors are very dark. A new study by patient safety researchers, recently published on BMJ, shows that “medical errors” in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common — claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s. To further put this into perspective, that means that more people die from medical errors every year than die from breast cancer, prostate cancer and drunk driving combined.

Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained in a recent interview explained that medical errors include everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.

With the calculation of 251,000 deaths of year equating to nearly 700 deaths a day — about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States, what is being done to prevent and fight this shockingly growing number?

The answer? Not much.

184399153The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t require reporting of errors in the data it collects about deaths through billing codes, making it hard to see what’s going on a national level.

One study found that, between 1991 and 2005, 5.9% of all doctors were responsible for 57.8% of all malpractice payments. Given that each of these doctors had committed at least two acts of malpractice, this evidence clearly indicates the importance of going after the few deeply incompetent doctors that are responsible for the majority of medical negligence.

To make matters worse, only 8% of these doctors who made multiple (over 2) malpractice payouts were disciplined by state medical boards. Only 17% of doctors with more than 5 malpractice payouts were disciplined.

“The CDC Should update its vital statistics reporting requirements to that physicians must report whether there was any error that led to a preventable death,” Makary said.

Furthermore, a Harvard School of Public Health study examining over 1,400 medical negligence claims found that 97% of the claims had merit and 80% of the malpractice referenced by the claims resulted in serious injury or death.

The striking majority of all medical malpractice results from preventable human error.

What should you do if you think you’ve been the victim of medical negligence? First, get a second opinion from another health care provider right away to make sure that any treatment your current provider has been administering does not immediately jeopardize your health or safety. Once you’re found yourself in better hands, call Zarzaur Law of Pensacola and Destin, Florida.

zarzaur-law-logo-1If you’re unsure your case qualifies under the definition of medical malpractice — contact Zarzaur Law. We are a highly experienced Pensacola, FL medical malpractice team that can help uncover the extent of your medical malpractice claim and get the justice you deserve against the parties at fault. Not only do you owe this to yourself, but you also owe it to any other patients who might be hurt by the responsible doctors (who are statistically likely to be repeat offenders).

There are strict and statutes of limitations for filing medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida, so it is important to take action as soon as possible to protect your rights. Call us for a free consultation.

More Wrecks On The Bay Bridge: How to Avoid And What To Do…

Wrecks On The Bay Bridge

Last week the Pensacola News Journal (PNJ) ran an article quoting Gulf Breeze Police Chief Robert Randle who noted that the Bay Bridge wrecks this year were up 20% from previous years.  If you have any connection to a daily eastern commute or work route then you will have noticed this increase in the form of nearly daily delays for the last 6 weeks.

So, what’s the cause of this increase?  First, it must be noted that we, as drivers (bay bridge or not) are more distracted than ever.  We have these devices practically attached to our hands that can do more for us each day.  Add to that wrist watches and bands that monitor every vital sign and movement of the day then you have a recipe for diversion.  When you overlay this new normal level of distraction with the typical tourist, sightseeing excitement of arriving spring breakers, we now have an entree of disaster on any road.  Bridges, however, are a bit worse since there is no margin for error in bridge driving.  The shoulder areas are quite limited not even wide enough for the average car to be completely off the road.  A near miss on a regular road is a certain crash on the bridge. 

The typical three-mile bay bridge wreck occurs either at or near the Distracted Dirvers Pensacola“humps” or the elevated portions of the bay bridge or the termination points of the bay bridge.  Having personally observed these wrecks from a safe distance, this is generally what happens:  everyone is traveling along during one of the rush hours during the week (7am-9am or 4pm-6pm).  The cars are a pretty good mix of locals and tourists (starting March and ending in September).  As you near the elevated areas of the bay bridge there is some sudden slowing of the traffic.  Think of it as a large speed bump.  Anyway, traffic slows and all of us who know this expect this slowing of the traffic flow and generally space our cars a safe distance away.  However, the folks from “out of town” have no concept of this slowing and just figure traffic flows constantly and consistently. They are anxious to be nearing their final destination and now they can virtually see the beach from their car.  They are looking at the water, sunset, boats etc and then they are confronted with a sudden stopped of traffic.  The natural reaction is for drivers to slam on brakes and then steer around the car in front of them.  Of course on a  regular road, this might work, however on a bridge like our three-mile bay bridge, there is nowhere to go and the wreck occurs.  It happens suddenly but not with warning. 

Pensacola Bay BridgeThe warning signs are simple.  First, the time of year is quite predictive.  If it’s March through August, there is a high potential for this issue.  The hour of the day is another warning sign.  If it is a time of day when traffic on the bay bridge is congested there the chances of a wreck are mush more likely.  These times are the rush hours during the work week and between 10:30am and 7pm on the weekend days.  The better the weather on the weekend the worse the traffic. 

If you find yourself navigating these three miles think about the time of the year, the day of the week and the time of day.  Then think, “I am going to leave twice the room between cars that I usually leave.”  This will give you time to drive and avoid a collision. 

If, however, you are involved in one of these wrecks on the bay bridge.  The steps you take following the wreck can be the most critical to your safety.  First, call the police.  For southbound traffic, that is Pensacola Police Department.  For the northbound traffic, that is the Gulf Breeze Police Department.  They will immediately report to the scene and provide safety for all involved.  The most dangerous time for your safety is the period of time immediately following the wreck but before the police arrive.  This is when you and those persons in your car can easily be killed by subsequent wrecks.  So long there is no threat that your car could catch fire (when there is damage significant enough to cause a fuel leak), you and your passengers should stay belted and in your car.  It is the safest place on the bay bridge following a wreck.  Add headingWait until the scene is completely  being controlled by police and there is a complete blockade of traffic behind your vehicle before exiting your car.  Then only do so with the knowledge and approval of the responding officers. 

As far as liability is concerned, nearly every case is investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol and virtually all result in a ticket.  So, liability is rarely in dispute.  However, the significance of the crash is often in dispute.  So, once everyone is safely barricaded away from other traffic, a few phone pictures demonstrating the damage to all vehicles and the markings left on the road are helpful but not critical.  Always remember that insurance company adjusters get paid incentives for settling cases within 24 hours and you should always wait and speak with a lawyer before proving a statement to any (even your company’s adjuster) insurance company.