Tag Archives: Pensacola Zarzaur Law

Important Information About Water Safety For Florida Parents.

The month of May is a time to celebrate National Water Safety Month. The entire month of May has been officially dedicated as a time to bring awareness and education about water safety to the general community. This initiative is coordinated by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, with support from the American Red Cross, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association. Read on for more information on water safety for Florida parents

There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools and an additional 7.3 million hot tubs operating in the U.S.

Over the summer, 8 out of 10 Americans are planning to swim in a pool. For children and teens between the ages of 7 and 17, swimming remains the #1 most popular recreational activity.

Child Drownings In The United States Have Reached A Ten-Year High.

Pediatric drowning rates reached a 10-year record high. National Water Safety Month is May. Water is a “silent killer” for children. Child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among U.S. children ages 1 to 4, according to the CPSC. Three-quarters of those deaths involved children younger than the age of 5, and 83% of those occurred in residential pools.

Florida Set A New Low In 2021.

Florida hit a grim new record in 2021, reporting the most child drownings since at least 2009.

The Florida Department of Children and Families report shows that deaths rose from 69 in 2020 to 98 in 2021. Twenty-four of those children drowned in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Sarasota, and Manatee counties.

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water. The designated adult water watcher should not read, text, use a phone, or otherwise be distracted while watching children. This advice includes situations involving bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of barriers to prevent an unsupervised child from getting into the water. These measures can include door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on doors that access the pool and on gates of four-sided fences.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim. Contact your local YMCA about swimming lessons.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapment. Your pool or spa should have drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you’re not sure, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.

What About Beach Swimming?

Swimming in open water is much different than swimming in a pool, but most people are not aware of the dangers, especially for children. Florida’s beaches are a glittering playground made of sun and sand–and by all means, you should enjoy the water!

You can splash in the shallows, ride the waves, or just bob up and down in the surf.

But before you dip one toe in the ocean, make sure you know these simple ocean swimming safety rules to keep you safe.

Swimming in the ocean or a large body of water is different than swimming in a pool or most small lakes. You’ll need to watch out for:

  • Riptides and undercurrents
  • Unexpected changes
  • Drop-off water depths
  • Rocks, debris, and other hazards and obstacles.
  • Whether there’s local marine life that can sting or bite
  • Boats, ships, and other watercraft that may be in the water at the same time.
  • There is bad weather in the area, such as lightning or thunderstorms.
  • Hurricane warnings

What Do Beach Flag Colors Mean?

The list below outlines what the colored flags you’ll see posted at the beach generally mean. Your local beach may differ slightly, though.

Ask a lifeguard or beach patrol if you aren’t sure what the flag means before entering the water.

  • Double red flag: water closed, no public swimming
  • Red flag: high hazard of surf and/or currents
  • Yellow flag: medium hazard or moderate surf and/or currents
  • Purple flag: dangerous marine life such as jellyfish, stingrays, or dangerous fish
  • Green flag: low hazard, calm conditions
  • Black and white checkered flag: set up along the beach, usually as a pair, to indicate separate sections to help keep swimmers and surfers safely apart in the water

Florida Residential Pool Safety Act

Protecting these young children was the reason the Florida Legislature passed the residential pool safety act and homeowners should make certain their pools are in compliance with the Act.

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur  >

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 your child has been injured or has been a victim of a drowning due to an unsafe pool, hot tub or proper, 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:

http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/drowning-prevention/index.html

Florida statute – http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0515/0515.html

https://www.today.com/parents/morgan-miller-shares-heartbreaking-plea-anniversary-daughter-s-drowning-t221539?cid=sm_npd_td_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR3BNhSgUz3eUJ2hz_biEVcXXGLsBXC60N4Dm4gg9SA8eJPR2hk0ihWCdTE

https://pinellas.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2022/04/water-safety-month.html

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2022/05/03/florida-health-offers-advice-for-national-water-safety-month

https://nwsm.phta.org

Water Safety

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html

https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/health-news-florida/2022-01-12/florida-reports-a-rise-in-child-drownings-in-2021

https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-beaches-ocean-swimming-safety-tips/

Florida hit a grim new record in 2021, reporting the most child drownings since at least 2009.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db413.htm

https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/98-children-drowned-in-florida-in-2021-a-record-number-according-to-state-data/

https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html

https://escambia.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/wellness-programs/health-messages/summer-safety/drowning-prevention/index.html

https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsReports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Death.DataViewer&cid=0105

https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsReports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Death.Dataviewer

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/drowning

https://www.safekids.org/watersafety

National Water Safety Month Is Celebrated The Entire Month of May

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

The Best Way To Find An Auto Accident Lawyer After A Florida Car Wreck.

Auto accident lawyers seem to be everywhere you look these days. Auto accident lawyer billboards, auto accident lawyer television commercials, auto accident lawyer radio and internet ads, and all sorts of other auto accident lawyer-focused promotions.

But What Is The Best Way To Select An Auto Accident Lawyer For Your Car Wreck Case?

Not all auto accident lawyers are the same. Not all auto accident lawyers have the same background, experience, training, and reputation. When looking for an auto accident lawyer for your car wreck case, look for those who are board-certified in civil trial.

Board Certification Matters

The Florida Bar allows for lawyers to become certified in their area of expertise, but to do so, you must have plenty of experience and success in that area first. Then you are required to take a board certification bar exam. Once that is successfully completed, then your background and trial experience are analyzed by the Florida Bar Certification committee and you may receive certification. This certification lasts for 6 years, after which it must be renewed and you have to provide proof that you have continued to be engaged in this kind of work and that you still have a great professional reputation.

Again, the Florida Bar checks with judges and lawyers that have worked with you, and it will determine whether the lawyer’s board certification should be continued.

Only 1% of Florida Lawyers Are Board Certified In Civil Trial

One of the first ways that you should narrow the field of potential auto accident lawyers in Florida is to find those that are Board Certified in Civil Trial. Among the entire Florida Bar, that number is only about 1% of Florida lawyers. Each community in Florida has probably closer to 15% of the auto accident lawyers who are Board Certified in Civil Trial.


Here is a link to the Florida Board of Certified Civil Trial Lawyers listing >


The Lawyer You Hire Should Also Be The Lawyer Handling Your Case

What Should I Expect from my Personal Injury lawyerThen, once you have narrowed the list to just those lawyers who are board-certified, make sure that that particular lawyer will be the one actually handling your auto accident case. So, some firms will have a board-certified civil trial lawyer as part of their firm, but is that board-certified expert going to be handling your case or will your case be handled by some lawyer in the firm that is not board-certified?

Remember, pretty much all auto accident lawyers charge the same, no fee, no cost unless you win, so hire an expert to handle your case if you can.

Ask Questions

Meet the lawyer handling your case and ask them all the questions that you and your family have. If they seem unsure about some topic, then you should probably not hire that lawyer. In Florida, you can almost never go wrong (or too far wrong) if the lawyer handling your auto accident case is board-certified in civil trial. They are considered experts in the type of law that includes auto accident cases.

We here at Zarzaur Law have three board-certified civil trial lawyers handling auto accident cases. So, make sure your auto accident lawyer is also an expert, or hire one that is.

If you have questions about an auto accident lawyer or an auto accident case, you can find our auto accident lawyers on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 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.

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.

Women’s History Month: Lyda Burton Conley – America’s First Native American Woman Lawyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of WomensHistory.org

By: Emma Rothberg, NWHM Predoctoral Fellow in Gender Studies I 2020-2022

Standing before the Supreme Court, Eliza “Lyda” Burton Conley argued to protect her ancestral burial ground. Considered the Guardian of Heron Indian Cemetery, her appearance made her the third woman, and the first Native American, to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. For her, this case was personal.

Early Years

Eliza Burton Conley was born sometime between 1868 and 1869 to Eliza Burton Zane Conley, a member of the Wyandotte tribe and descendant of a chief, and Andrew Conley, an English farmer in Kansas. Conley was one of four sisters. The Wyandotte were sometimes controversially called “Huron,” hence the name of the cemetery. A very active and independent young woman, she and one of her sisters would row across the river every day to attend school at Park College. During her lifetime, she became a lawyer, was admitted to the Missouri Bar, trained as a telegraphic operator, taught at Spalding Business College in Kansas City, and taught Sunday School at her Methodist Episcopal Church. She did all of this before women had the right to vote in the United States. 

Admitted to Missouri Bar and Kansas Bar

Conley is most well known for her attempts to protect the Huron Indian Cemetery located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. As Kansas City developed, the cemetery’s land became prime real estate. Conley— whose mother, sister, and hundreds of her Wyandotte tribesmen were buried in the cemetery—paid close attention to discussions around the land. Realizing the potential threats against the land, Conley entered the Kansas City School of Law in preparation to fight for its protection. She graduated as one of the only women in her class and was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1902.  She was reportedly also admitted to the Kansas Bar in 1910.

Protecting Her Heritage

In 1906, Congress approved legislation to sell the land and move the bodies buried there. As a lawyer, Conley filed a permanent injunction against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Indian Commissioners in U.S. District Court to prevent the sale. As a private citizen, Conley and one of her sisters, Helena, built a shack, known as “Fort Conley,” at the entrance to the cemetery, padlocked the gate, and hung a sign that warned against trespassers. As her lawsuit went through the courts, Conley and her sister guarded their family and ancestors’ graves day in and day out with a shotgun.   

In a 1906 interview, Conley said, “I will go to Washington and personally defend” the cemetery. She continued, “no lawyer could plead for the grave of my mother as I could, no lawyer could have the heart interest in the case that I have.” When asked by the interviewer if she could win, Conley smiled and responded, “If I lose, then I will admit that the constitution of the United States is as Greek to me.”

Appearing BeforeThe Supreme Court

When Conley appeared before the Supreme Court on January 14, 1910, she formally represented herself as the named plaintiff. She argued that the 1855 federal treaty with the Wyandotte prevented the U.S. from selling the land and that the descendants of those who signed the treaty had the right to enforce it. Despite her arguments, the Supreme Court argued the government had the right to sell the land. Conley and her sister were not discouraged, and continued guarding the cemetery.

Threat Of Development

While she lost in court, she won the longer battle to protect the cemetery. Her actions got the notice of Kansas state senator Charles Curtis. In 1913, Curtis wrote and passed a law protecting the cemetery from future development. Yet the threat of development was still there and Conley kept up the fight. She tried to get an injunction against the city in 1918, was arrested several times for interfering with city officials who she felt were disrespecting the graves, and in the 1930s spent 10 days in jail on a trespass charge for protecting the cemetery. In her later life, Conley and her sister continued to spend most of their time around the cemetery, near the graves of their sister and mother.

National Historic Landmark – Huron Indian Cemetery

Conley was murdered during a robbery in 1946. She is buried in the Huron Indian Cemetery next to her sister, Helena, and 400-600 other bodies. Many of the graves remain unmarked. Others, inspired by her determination to save the cemetery, kept up the fight. In 1971, the Huron Indian Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2017, the cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark, officially preventing any development from happening on the site.  

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: 

MLA – Rothberg, Emma. “Lyda Conley.” National Women’s History Museum, 2020. Date accessed.

Chicago – Rothberg, Emma. “Lyda Conley.” National Women’s History Museum. 2020. www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/lyda-conley.

https://www.abajournal.com/gallery/historical_women/762

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/lyda-conley

How Does A Personal Injury Civil Trial Work In Florida? Part I: Pre-Trial Hearings And Jury Selection.

Personal Injury Civil Trial
A courtroom jury box

While most personal injury cases settle in the pre-suit phase, a small percentage of do not settle and then have to be filed in circuit court, where the legal and factual issues are litigated. Most of those cases are settled prior to trial, either through standard negotiations between the attorneys or during a mediation conference. Generally, settlement is in the best interests of both parties in a personal injury lawsuit, but some cases are resolved through a jury trial.

How Civil Trials Work: Part I – Jury Selection and Pre-Trial Hearings

Pre-Trial Hearings

In order to get a trial date, the plaintiff or defendant must file a motion to have the court set for trial. This is usually filed after the case has gone through discovery, and the courts will always require mediation before setting a trial date. The actual trial date depends on the judges’ calendar. Certain weeks during the year are reserved for civil trials.

After a trial is set, the judge will require the parties to satisfy certain pre-trial requirements and file pre-trial pleadings. These issues are discussed and resolved during a pre-trial conference, which is also set by the judge. At this conference, the judge will resolve pre-trial legal disputes and often get involved in settlement discussions.

Pre-trial Procedures in Civil Cases

Suits begin with the filing of a complaint in the proper court. The person filing the suit is often referred to as the plaintiff, while the person or entity against whom the case is filed is often referred to as the defendant. In some areas of the law, such as domestic relations, the person filing the complaint is the petitioner, and the person against whom the case is filed is the respondent.

The complaint states the plaintiff’s version of the facts, the legal theory under which the case is brought (negligence, for example), and asks for certain damages or other relief. The plaintiff also files with the court clerk a request that a summons (or notice) be issued to the defendant. In many jurisdictions, the summons will be served by a deputy sheriff or special process server. In other jurisdictions, it may be served by mail. It notifies the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against him or her.

After being notified, the defendant has a certain period of time to file an answer admitting or denying the allegations made in the complaint.

If the case is not resolved, the jury trial process will commence, usually a few weeks after the pre-trial conference.

The Juror Selection Process, or “Voir Dire”

Personal injury cases may be decided by juries or by judges. The parties must elect the trier of fact when filing their initial pleadings, either in the complaint (filed by the injured party) or the answer (filed by the defendant). If a jury trial is not demanded, the case will be decided by a judge.

If the case involves a jury trial, the jury will decide the issues and award damages if appropriate. 

Where Do The Jurors Come From? 

The clerk of the court randomly picks a number of citizens from the state’s driver’s license records and summons them to court to participate in the process. This is usually called “jury duty.” In this process, groups of potential jurors are taken into a courtroom for jury selection. If they are selected by the attorneys, they will decide the case at issue.

During jury selection, the court and the lawyers will ask questions of the potential jurors to determine if they should be chosen as jurors.

The questions generally concern knowledge of:

The parties or witnesses

Prior jury experience

Prior lawsuit or claim experience

Whether the juror can be fair in the specific case

There are complex court rules that govern this process, and the ultimate goal is to select a fair and unbiased jury to decide the issues in the case. In Florida civil trials, a jury must have 6 members and at least one alternate, who will participate in the verdict if one of the first 6 jurors cannot. For lengthier trials, there may be more alternate jurors. The jurors are not told the identity of the alternate until deliberations begin. After the jurors are chosen, they are sworn in by the judge, and the trial can begin. Jury selection generally takes the better part of the day, and in certain cases, it may take much longer. The jury selection process is extremely important and is governed by court rules to ensure a fair jury.

While Every Case In Florida Is Different, Most Personal Injury Cases Follow These Steps:

  • Filing suit. The first document filed in most personal injury lawsuits is called the “complaint.” The filing of the complaint effectively begins the lawsuit.
  • Discovery. Once the initial pleadings (complaint, summons, answer, counterclaim, etc.) have been filed, the parties begin the process of obtaining evidence from each other. This process is called “discovery.” The idea behind the discovery is that both parties should have access to all relevant information.
  • Depositions. A deposition is the taking of an oral statement of a witness under oath, before trial. It has two purposes: To find out what the witness knows and to preserve that witness’ testimony. The intent is to allow the parties to learn all of the facts before the trial so that no one is surprised at trial.
  • Expert witnesses. If the defendant denies liability for the accident or protests the amount of damages, it may be necessary to bring in expert witnesses. An expert witness is a person with specialized skill sets whose opinion may help a jury make sense of the factual evidence of a case.
  • Settlement negotiations. Settlement negotiations occur during mediation. Plaintiffs, defendants, and their attorneys gather outside of the courtroom to talk through the issues and try to agree on a monetary value. If the parties agree to settlement negotiation, the parties will sign the agreement, and it will act as a contract. If the two parties can not agree, the case will go to trial.
  • Trial. A trial can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the case.

This is why it is important to hire a board-certified civil trial lawyer to handle your personal injury case and navigate the complexities of the trial process. 

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.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/cases_pretrial/

https://www.juryduty101.com/states/florida

https://www.enjuris.com/personal-injury-law/personal-injury-lawsuit-steps.html

Why Would My Car Insurance Have Anything To Do With A Crash While Riding A Bike Or A Scooter?

These days, injuries and deaths are rising at an alarming rate as more and more of us are turning to alternative means of transportation, but at the same time, we continue to “share” the road with full-sized cars. This is not to mention that most people driving cars these days are also distracted with their devices, so the idea of sharing the road with a car while your only protection is a scooter or a bike frame is alarming. The incidents of scooter versus car-related injuries and deaths have more than doubled in the last several years, and as more and more communities embrace and encourage bike and scooter usage, unfortunately, this increase will continue.

 

At first thought, your car insurance may not seem applicable if you are injured while riding a bike or a scooter. If, on the other hand, your scooter or bike injury was caused by a motor vehicle (car, truck, SUV, low-speed vehicle, or motorcycle), you may have insurance benefits under your own car insurance policy (or one in your household) that would protect you.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist coverage provides compensation to an insured for bodily injury or wrongful death inflicted by the negligence of an uninsured motorist.

Brown v. Progressive Mutual Insurance Co., 249 So.2d 429 (Fla. 1971) – Underinsured motorist coverage provides the same protection when there is a deficiency in the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.

Dewberry v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 363 So.2d 1077 (Fla. 1978) – Both “un” insured and “under” insured motorist coverages apply when the at-fault driver injures or kills someone while they are doing anything, including but not limited to being on a scooter or bike. The only requirements are that the at-fault driver must be a motorist and must be either underinsured or uninsured.

Insurance Companies Are Not On Your Side

Some policies attempt to limit the definition of an uninsured vehicle to one that is only capable of being driven on a roadway. Other policies do not have limiting language. This key issue can present coverage problems for the injured party or their family, and caution should be exercised when conversing about this incident with you or your family’s own insurance company. Their first objective is NOT to serve their customer’s best interests. Every insurance company’s first objective is to SAVE MONEY. Some customers find this hard to believe since they have been paying for insurance for “X” number of years and they will take care of me. That’s not the way this world works.

Insurance companies do not have feelings; they have balance sheets and a mission statement that is both geared to saving as much of the premiums as possible. Paying LESS than they should, rather than what is fair, serves the entire business model. For this reason, when you and your family are dealing with a serious injury that potentially involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you should always consult with a personal injury lawyer first before having discussions with them.

UM Benefits For Your Injuries

UM benefits (as both under and uninsured motorist coverages are collectively referred to) are available to the named insured on the policy, the named insured spouse, and the relatives of either who reside in the same household.

Mullins v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., 252 So.2d 229 (Fla. 1971). Further, UM coverage also applies to permissive operators and occupants of the insured vehicle. (This wouldn’t be applicable to the instant discussion since we are assuming the injured party is on a scooter or bike).

The terms “resident” and “relative” have been litigated throughout the State of Florida when insurance companies have denied paying UM claims based upon their position that someone is not related or is not a resident of a household.

This issue may be relevant in scooter and bike injury and death cases because many times the rider is a younger person who may have a permanent residence with their parents, even if they have their own apartment elsewhere for part of the year. That is why it is so important to discuss these issues with a personal injury lawyer before speaking with them about the potential case.

Given the rise in usage of scooters and bikes in our urban areas, it is important to realize that injuries involving cars versus scooters or bikes will also likely rise. If you or your family has been injured or killed by a motorist while your loved one was on a scooter or bike, we would encourage you to contact our firm at 855HIREJOE or via the web at zarzaurlaw.com.

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

If you’ve been the victim of  a car versus scooters or bikes, 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.justice.org/resources/publications/trial-magazine

https://weartv.com/news/local/pensacola-city-council-takes-steps-towards-changes-to-bird-scooter-pilot-program

https://www.wkrg.com/northwest-florida/after-crash-pensacola-man-urges-riders-to-use-caution-on-bird-scooters/

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

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

What is PIP?

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

How Does PIP Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Many Times Can You Use Your PIP?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Important Toy Safety Tips This Holiday Season

While wandering the toy aisles of your favorite store to find your favorite children the perfect holiday gift is a great way to choose what to put under the tree, it is important to remember to keep them safe.


IN 2020, THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) REPORTED THAT THERE WERE NINE DEATHS AND MORE THAN 149,000 TOY-RELATED INJURIES THAT WERE TREATED AT AN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.


What can you do to prevent the children in your life from ending up at the emergency department or wrongful death?

Shop Smart.

Always choose toys that are age-appropriate — that means making sure that the toys you put under the tree this year match the interests and abilities of the child. Don’t buy a toy with small parts for small children to avoid choking hazards and follow the labels on the packaging.

Watch Magnets.

Magnetic toys must adhere to a strong safety standard that prevents swallowing. But high-powered magnet sets that have small magnets are dangerous for kids. Keep building and playsets with small magnets out of the reach of small children.

Beware of Batteries.

Button batteries and lithium coin batteries (small, shiny round batteries) can cause serious injury if stuck in a child’s ear or nose or swallowed. Make sure that the battery compartments of all toys are secure and taped shut.

Toss Old Balloons.

Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8. Discard torn balloons immediately.

Keep Toys With Small Parts Away From Babies And Toddlers.

For children younger than age 3, avoid small balls and toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Also, stay away from toys with sharp edges away and toys with long strings, loose ribbons, or cords that could get wrapped around a child’s neck.

Avoid Flying Toys.

These can injure eyes in particular. Arrows or darts should have rubber suction cups or other protective tips to prevent injury.

When Shopping For Infants And Toddlers, Buy Toys That Are Larger Than The Child’s Mouth.

This will help prevent choking. If a toy is large enough but has smaller parts that could break off, do not give it to a young child. For example, a large stuffed bear may have beaded eyes that could fall off.

The CPSC reported that nearly 8% of all emergency department-treated injuries came from toy balls. While toy balls can make a great gift, it is important to remember that when you give small children (especially under the age of three) small toys, it creates a significant choking hazard.

Watch that younger kids aren’t playing with toys designed for older kids. Even if toddlers get upset after being told they can’t play with the same toys as their older sibling or cousin, it is better to play it safe.

RECALLS!

When shopping for toys this year, always make sure to check for recalls. The CPSC offers an easy way to search for product recalls here (www.cpsc.gov/recalls,). You can also look on safekids.org for a list of recalls.

Have Hand-Me-Downs Or Other Older Toys?

Although some of these toys may hold sentimental value, be careful before giving them to children. Older toys may not adhere to today’s safety standards. Toys like “Ralphie’s BB gun” from “A Christmas Story,” followed more lenient rules compared to toys made today.

Safety Gear.

While gifting a helmet may not seem like the most exciting present this year, it is one of the most important ones. Making sure that your child has a properly fitting helmet before getting on their new scooter, bike, or toy vehicle is crucial to keeping them safe this year.

Supervision Is Key.

The holidays can be exhausting, but always make sure to keep an eye on children while they are playing. Some of the most dangerous situations occur when a toy malfunctions or breaks, and it is important to be able to recognize the hazard as soon as it happens. If you notice that a toy seems to be dangerous, immediately take the toy and keep it in a safe place away from your child.

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 your child has been injured due to a defective toy, 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.eehealth.org/blog/2021/11/holiday-toy-safety/

https://www.safekids.org

https://www.cpsc.gov