Tag Archives: Pensacola

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. 

Local 15: Law Call Featuring Joe Zarzaur & Personal Injury Questions

Local 15 Law Call: Answers To Your Legal Questions

What do you do if your medical bills are piling up after a personal injury accident?  If you can’t afford to talk to a lawyer about your personal injury claim – think again. Watch this video featuring Pensacola’s Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law P.A. and learn why most personal injury lawyers will talk to you for free.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer

So you, a family member or loved one is the victim of a reckless driver or person. So, what do you do to find the best possible personal injury lawyer for your situation?

First, there is nothing more annoying than the barrage of tacky lawyer advertisements. I can say without question that choosing your lawyer based upon the number of lawyer advertisements that you see is not the way to choose your lawyer for a case. The reason for this is simple. Simply because a lawyer or firm has a good marketing plan does not translate into the equally effective legal services. This does not mean that quality lawyers do not advertise but simply means that it is not enough to select a lawyer based upon the number of advertisement space their firm purchases. Any lawyer that passes the bar exam can advertise for personal injury cases. It is not required that they have any experience with even one prior personal injury case much less a successful trial.

Second, Florida makes it fairly easy to tell which lawyers are most qualified in a particular area of law including civil cases which include personal injury cases. You see Florida offers lawyers the ability to become board certified in various areas of law. This process however is optional and requires substantial time, experience, testing and peer review. Lawyers who are Board Certified in Florida can refer to themselves as “specialists” or “experts” in that particular area of law. Civil trial specialists are those board certified lawyers in Florida who specialize in filing and prosecuting lawsuits through trial. These lawsuits include personal injury and wrongful death cases. So, you may ask why this is important? This is important since this designation separates every lawyer who can call themselves a personal injury lawyer from those that actually handle these cases from start to finish (a jury trial). For example, when someone goes to medical school and graduates with a MD degree they are not quite qualified to call themselves a brain surgeon even though they are, in fact, Doctors.

Third, it currently cost $410.00 to file a lawsuit in Florida. This does not, however, make you an experienced lawyer in Florida. It is how you handle the case after filing and through trial that makes the difference. Ask the lawyer who is handling your case (sometimes not the same person who is on the Billboard) if he/she has any jury verdicts in the last year that are impressive victories for their clients? Ask them details about what role they played in that case. If you do not get good answers to those questions, then move on. Experience counts in this field. It counts because just like anything else in the world, your record counts and matters to all involved. It matters to you as the client since you want the expert who knows his/her field. It matters to the person who causes your injury as they need to know that the lawyer coming after them is known for not giving up and has taken many folks and companies to the bitter end. It matters to the insurance company involved since they work in this field every day and they become familiar with which lawyers tend to always settle their cases. They also know that there are certain lawyers who they have taken to trial and then were hit with verdicts well over their policy limits. If the lawyer you have hired to work on your case has never made an insurance company “sweat” because they underestimated or under-evaluated a claim only to have a jury slam them, then you may not have the right person.

In sum, in selecting a lawyer for your case. Do not rely just on advertisements. Find a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and then ask that person about the exact track record in the type of case that you have. Ask for specifics, do not assume that a lawyer is qualified simply because they work for someone who is.

Here is a direct link to Florida Board Certified Lawyershttp://www.floridabar.org/wps/portal/flbar/home/directories/certifications/!ut/p/a1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOINjIxcDf2DDbwszAOcDBx9fdzMnIOMjN1djIEKIpEV-Du7uQAVmLj4mIT4GfqaGhGn39fS0NHQxAKowMTRzcAzzDzM0zzE0MjRz5RI-3EARwNC-sP1o1CVYPEBWAEOJxr4G-JXAPYDxArcjizIDQ2NMMj0THdUVAQAJklOYg!!/dl5/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/