Tag Archives: wrongful death attorney

Pensacola Among Top Fatal Pedestrian Crash Hot Spots.

According to the Journal of Transport and Land Use, Pensacola has been named among the top cities with fatal pedestrian crashes and one of the top cities in the country for fatal pedestrian crash hot spots.

These statistics are no surprise to Zarzaur Law, P.A. Our firm has seen a dramatic increase in calls to our office in regards to accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities made up 22% of the total traffic crash-related fatalities throughout Florida in 2021, resulting in 817 deaths. 

Car and truck crashes continue to be a major public safety issue in Pensacola and the rest of Escambia County.

2021 reports show that Escambia County is among the top 25 Florida counties for pedestrian accidents.

 

In March of 2022 alone, four people were killed crossing Escambia County roads in one weekend, which has prompted The Florida Highway to work even closer with the Florida Department of Transportation to find a way to help combat this issue, specifically in Escambia County.

Some of those changes include upgrading the standard yellow pedestrian crosswalk signs to a brighter, more visible color.

In July 2022, A woman was crossing West Cervantes Street near “S” Street at about 4 p.m. when she was hit by a car traveling westbound, according to the Pensacola Police Department. The woman sustained serious injuries.

Pedestrian safety improvements are currently being made after several fatalities in recent years. In fact, 31 accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians (and cyclists) have occurred between 2012 and 2018.

Pedestrian fatalities are becoming more common in the United States and Florida, according to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The report crunched numbers from just the first half of 2021 and found a roughly 31% increase in pedestrian fatalities in Florida. Altogether, the state saw 444 pedestrian deaths in that time frame, which was the second-highest count in the country behind California.

Florida did, however, see the greatest difference in deaths between that period in 2020 and 2021.

The most dangerous streets for pedestrians are in Florida, followed by Alabama, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Delaware. Florida has seven of the 10 most dangerous metro areas, with Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford bearing the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous in the US.

Dangerous Pensacola intersections: Jackson Street between A street and Fairfield Drive

The roughly 5.5-mile corridor traverses a diverse and predominantly residential community between A Street and Fairfield Drive, connecting downtown Pensacola and the western portion of Escambia County. A lack of sidewalks, safe crossings, and dedicated bike facilities makes traveling the corridor challenging for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Jay Aber, a WSP senior transportation engineer and planner of the proposed Jackson Street improvement project , said one-third of accidents along West Jackson Street involved pedestrians and cyclists. Dangerous intersections include A Street, Fairfield Drive, New Warrington Road, Old Corry Field Road, Pace Boulevard, 57th and 65th.

Proposed improvements will complement the existing communities and address safety, mobility, and sustainable, long-term economic redevelopment.

Dangerous Pensacola intersections: West Cervantes Street Corridor.

A similar project to curb accidents in the West Cervantes Street corridor is underway. Planned improvements along West Cervantes Street include constructing seven lighted mid-block crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps, and a wider multi-use path. New traffic signals will be added at four intersections, and existing signals will be enhanced with upgraded pedestrian features.

Vehicle lane widths will be reduced, and the speed limit will be lowered to 30 mph. A raised center median with a low barrier and designated openings for pedestrians at selected locations will be constructed within the project limits. The project also includes enhanced lighting, landscaping, and irrigation improvements. In addition, crews will mill and resurface the roadway where median and signal work are performed.

All of these projects are an effort to curb the continued rise in pedestrian deaths in Escambia County.

To request traffic calming measures with Escambia County, go here >

The Causes of Pedestrian Accidents:

Many factors are involved in the rising number of pedestrian accidents in Florida. Especially considering the population, the urban design, and the number of people who walk to work, school, beaches, and other places daily. The street culture of Florida also has many people who are running, cycling, skating, or simply walking through busy streets for work, school, and other purposes; and who are most at risk for pedestrian accidents every day.

The causes of these accidents include, but are not limited to:

    •  Over-speeding on behalf of drivers 
    • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • Negligence while driving
    • Distracted drivers on cellphones or other in car devices
    • Careless pedestrians neglecting public safety
    • Breaking traffic rules at intersections and traffic signals by both drivers and pedestrians

Drivers and pedestrians distracted by cellphones and oblivious to each other could be the cause of this spike in pedestrian injuries and deaths.

SAFETY TIPS FOR PEDESTRIANS

1. Be safe and seen: make yourself visible to drivers.

2. Be smart and alert: avoid dangerous behavior.

– stay sober

– walk on sidewalks

– don’t assume vehicles will stop

– don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals, be alert to engine sounds and backup lights

3.  Look before you step!

– look both ways

– don’t wear headphones

– cross streets at marked cross walks

SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS

Be Alert and Watch for Pedestrians:

1. Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians or bicyclists.

2. Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing or bicyclists coming up the road.

3. Never drive while distracted or after using alcohol or other drugs.

4. Do not use your cell phone while driving.

5. Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians, especially small children, before backing-up.

6. Keep your windshield clean and your headlights turned on for maximum visibility.

 

Be Responsible and Yield to Pedestrians at Crossings:

1. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether they are marked or not.

2. When making a right or left turn at an intersection, yield to pedestrians.

3. Do not block or park in crosswalks.

4. Be Patient: Maintain a safe speed and avoid aggressive maneuvers.

5. Never pass/overtake a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.

6. Follow speed limits and stop completely at STOP signs.

7. Use extra caution when driving near children playing along the street or older pedestrians who may not see or hear you.

8. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at all times.

 

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

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

If you or your family member has been the victim of an auto vs pedestrian 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.cnu.org/publicsquare/2021/03/15/sunbelt-leads-pedestrian-deaths

https://weartv.com/news/local/4-pedestrian-fatalities-over-weekend-prompts-florida-highway-patrol-to-combat-issue

US pedestrian deaths are reaching a new high

Reimagine Safety

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/driving-tampa-bay-forward/florida-ranks-2nd-for-pedestrian-deaths-in-us-for-part-of-2021-local-group-advocates-for-solutions

https://www.route-fifty.com/infrastructure/2022/07/deadliest-us-metro-areas-pedestrians/374107/

https://jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu/article/view/1825

https://www.vox.com/23178764/florida-us19-deadliest-pedestrian-fatality-crisis

https://www.ghsa.org/resources/Pedestrians22

https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/Pedestiran%20Traffic%20Fatalities%20by%20State%20-%202021%20Preliminary%20Data.pdf

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

https://www.yahoo.com/now/escambia-among-top-25-florida-120231002.html

Victims Right To Counsel In Florida.

victims rights FLFrom Florida Bar News – Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure that requires police to notify crime victims of their right to counsel and “encourages” The Florida Bar to develop a registry of pro bono attorneys.

Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills and an attorney, said his service as a JAG officer inspired him to sponsor SB 1012.

“This bill really comes from a few lanes, one being my experience in the Army as a special victims counsel,” Burgess said.

The Added Amendment

The bill initially called only for notifying victims of their right to counsel and urged development of a registry of lawyers willing to represent them for free.

The Judiciary Committee on February 11 added an amendment related to the 2018 victim rights ballot measure “Marsy’s Law.”

THE EXPANDED BILL NOW CLARIFIES THAT CRIME VICTIMS – “UPON REQUEST” – MAY ATTEND OR BE HEARD AT A CRIMINAL PROCEEDING.

Current law permits attendance “when relevant,” or at a “crucial stage,” if it “doesn’t interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.”

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book of Ft. Lauderdale, a children’s advocate, sponsored the Marsy’s Law implementing legislation in 2019.

The new law takes effect July 1.

What Does This New Measure Mean In Regards To Civil Trial Cases?

This new law allows a victim’s attorney to be present at various stages of the criminal case leading up to the civil case to ensure that the victim’s rights are being protected. Many times, the criminal case and civil case overlap, and so now the civil lawyer for the victim can assist, coordinate, and be included in the criminal case as well as the civil case.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC

About Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas, a beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her murder and on the way home from the funeral service, Marsy’s family stopped at a market to pick up a loaf of bread. It was there, in the checkout line, that Marsy’s mother, Marcella, was confronted by her daughter’s murderer. Having received no notification from the judicial system, the family had no idea he had been released on bail mere days after Marsy’s murder.

The experience of Marsy’s family is typical of the pain and suffering family members of murder victims so often endure. Marsy’s family was not informed because the courts and law enforcement, though well-meaning, had no obligation to keep them informed.

While those accused of crimes have more than 20 individual rights spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, the surviving family members of murder victims have none.

The Marsy’s Law initiative began in California and was led and sponsored by Marsy’s brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III. When it passed in November 2008, Proposition 9, The California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law, became the strongest and most comprehensive Constitutional victims’ rights laws in the U.S. and put California at the forefront of the national victims’ rights. Dr. Nicholas said after passage of the initiative, “This is a national movement already. There are hundreds of marches across the country for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week every year. We need to harness that energy to ensure victims’ rights for every American.” Marsy’s Law was opposed by nearly every major newspaper in California state and yet the people of California passed the measure with 54% of the vote.

The message was clear – Californians wanted crime victims and their families to have guaranteed rights.

Now, Dr. Nicholas is now lending his support to equal crime victims’ rights efforts across the United States. Since Marsy’s Law passed in California, it has been overwhelmingly approved by voters in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Currently, efforts are underway in Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.

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. 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. Consult with an experienced accident  lawyer who has the knowledge and credentials 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. Offices in Pensacola, Destin and Miami.

 

Sources:

http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/main/e14e8f70d7dfe31f8525749c005012e4

https://www.sao12.org/victim-s-rights

https://www.marsyslawforfl.com

https://www.marsyslaw.us/marsy_s_law_for_florida_statement_regarding_signing_of_victims_of_crimes_bill_sb_1012_hb_697

Victims right to counsel measure signed into law

 

Bicycle Wreck Checklist

bicycle accident checklistAccording to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicycle accidents. In all, 846 bicyclists were killed in the United States, with Florida taking the lead with 161 deaths.

Most jurisdictions, whether state, county, or city, have some form of “bike law(s)” that apply to both motorists and cyclists. Understanding those laws is a great first step for many and should be reviewed on a regular basis by seasoned cyclists regardless of the purpose of the endeavor: recreation, commuting, etc.

Bicycle vs. Car Accident

In these situations, it is far more likely that the cyclist will be significantly injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths in the US (0.75 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 0.26). A higher number of bicycles on the road surely plays a part in this statistic.

Steps to Avoiding An Accident With A Vehicle

This is along the lines of what is in the personal control of the cyclist, and much of this is also addressed by bike laws:

  • A tuned, functional, and road-fit bicycle (brakes, reflectors)
  • Adequate safety lights (forward and backward facing)
  • A safe helmet intended for bicycle use
  • Bright or reflective attire
  • Eyewear for the weather or daylight conditions.

Proper planning is also in the control of the cyclist, though not mandated by bike laws:

  • Choosing a well-lit route
  • Choosing roadways with fewer obstacles such as crossroads, driveways, and construction zones
  • Avoiding dawn and dusk riding when a blinding sun may be on the horizon… The list could go on depending on the specifics of the cycling location chosen.

These factors, combined with the notion of respecting the rules of the road and anticipating vehicles and other pedestrians (“riding defensively”), are a fantastic frame for controlling what can be controlled to the best of the ability of the cyclist.

bicycle wreck checklistIn the unfortunate event that a motorist versus cyclist accident does occur, this should be treated much like any other motor vehicle accident involving cars-attention to the health, safety, and wellness of those involved with immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel and law enforcement. Documentation of the scene (photos), notation of or digital voice memos regarding the incident (document the weather and road conditions, time of day, identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, dates of birth, vehicle make/model/color, license plate or tag numbers), identification of any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries, including damage to property

Bicycle Accident Checklist

1. Call the police and report the accident (even if you don’t think you are hurt).

2. Pay attention to and remember what the other party says about how the accident occurred.

3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, lighting, and other property.

4. Report the crash to your own car insurance company as soon as possible. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accident claims (let your lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Personal Injury Protection. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills.  Allow the ER or hospital to bill you through your car insurance.

6. Keep documentation of the accident. Police report, photos of the bike (etc.), the scene, surroundings, other party’s vehicle

7. Keep track of injuries.

8. Don’t discuss the accident on social media.

9. Consult a personal injury lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

10. Always remember: you are invisible on a bicycle.

Seek Medical Care (even if you think the injury is minor)

Seeking medical care for a thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional (emergency department, urgent care, primary care provider, medical specialist) should not be overlooked or delayed.

The most common injuries, such as skin abrasions (i.e., road rash), may be a harbinger of an underlying injury such as fractures, dislocations, cardiopulmonary or vascular injury, or disrupted tendons/ligaments, while a broken helmet could be an indication that an evaluation for intracranial, neck, or cervical spine injury may be warranted.

Test Your Bike Law Knowledge

Test your knowledge

https://flbikesafetyquiz.com

For more information review the links below and research the organizations specific to your locale:

CDC Bicycle Safety

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

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.2065.html

Florida Bicycle Association

https://floridabicycle.org

Bike Pensacola

https://www.bikepensacola.org/

West Florida Wheelmen

https://www.westfloridawheelmen.org/advocacy

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 bicycle accident involving a 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://media.acg.aaa.com//content/1205/files/2019%20Q2%20Consumer%20Pulse_Bicycle%20Safety.pdf

2019 data release – published October 2021

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813197

https://divingdaily.com/2022/04/24/5-bicycle-safety-tips-every-rider-should-know/

Wrongful Death Series Part 10: How Is A Private Forensic Autopsy Different From A Medical Examiner Investigation?

In regards to a potential Florida Wrongful Death case, the case may require a private autopsy to be performed to ensure that critical evidence is collected and analyzed.

A private autopsy is one performed for a fee and usually paid for by a law firm investigating a potential wrongful death case, usually as part of a potential medical malpractice case. The private autopsy is usually performed by a Board Certified Forensic Pathologist who will have no connection to any potential defendant in the case and is usually geographically distant from the county where the case arises. This ensures objectivity on behalf of the examiner and increases the credibility of the eventual court case.

The private autopsy typically follows the investigation conducted by the medical examiner, which did not involve the performance of an autopsy. Meaning, the medical examiner was able to certify the cause and manner of death based upon investigative input from factors other than the autopsy.

A private autopsy may be pursued by the deceased’s personal representative if there is additional question or concern about the cause of death as it relates to the mechanism of injury, illness, or medical intervention. A private autopsy is generally performed by a forensic pathologist specifically trained in this field, akin to a medical examiner.


A medical examiner can perform autopsies and is appointed, not elected. Forensic pathology specifically focuses on determining the cause of death by examining a body.


The Private Autopsy Will Include Exhaustive Documentation Of The Following:

– Chain of custody of the human remains

– Photographic documentation of all aspects of the gross and microscopic evaluation of the human remains

–  Explicit labeling and preparation of tissue or fluid samples intended for further laboratory analysis

The Forensic Pathologist will prepare a full report of the findings that summarizes all aspects of the autopsy process (gross description, microscopic evaluation, toxicologic assays) as well as the cause and manner of death supported by such findings.

It is almost required for any successful medical malpractice case that the plaintiff in a Florida Wrongful Death case has a professional autopsy. This will ensure that the evidence in the case is analyzed and preserved so that the defendants will have a harder time blaming the death on something other than their own carelessness.


The function of a forensic autopsy is to provide information through a postmortem examination of the body and analysis of the fluids to determine the cause of death, manner of death, and mechanism of injury.


It is imperative that an experienced Florida Wrongful Death lawyer be hired to direct the death investigation and ensure that the right expert is hired to perform the post mortem exam. The findings of the private autopsy can make or break a potential wrongful death case, and this examination should be treated with the utmost respect.

If you or a loved one is faced with the unfortunate position of having to consider a private autopsy as part of a Florida Wrongful Death case, you should first discuss the matter with one of our lawyers at zarzaurlaw.com. Call us as soon as possible with any such questions.  855HireJoe

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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://learn.org/articles/What_Certifications_are_Needed_to_Become_a_Forensic_Pathologist.html

 

Wrongful Death Series Part 8: When Is An Autopsy Required In The State Of Florida?

In regards to Florida Wrongful Death cases, it is important for a personal injury lawyer to know the law in regards to when an autopsy is required and when it is in the State of Florida.

In Florida, the Medical Examiner for a particular jurisdiction is held to conduct an investigation yielding both the cause and manner of death.

The Cause Of Death Is Typically An Injury, Illness, Or Pathologic Process.

The manner of death will be classified as one of the following: natural, accidental, suicide, homicide, or undetermined.

The investigation conducted by the Medical Examiner may include: General inquiry (identification of the deceased, terminal circumstances, medical history, social history)

Medical chart review

Evaluation of the death scene

Autopsy of the body

Microscopic tissue examination

Laboratory evaluation (i.e. toxicology).

It is important to understand that the medical examiner does not always deem an autopsy necessary depending on additional factors or variables that constitute the whole of the investigation.

In Florida, The Medical Examiner Is Held To Investigation By Florida Statutes In The Following:

Florida Statutes 406.11 Examinations, investigations, and autopsies.

(a)When any person dies in this state:

1. Of criminal violence.

2.By accident.

3. By suicide.

4. Suddenly, when in apparent good health.

5. Unattended by a practicing physician or other recognized practitioner.

6. In any prison or penal institution.

7.In police custody.

8.In any suspicious or unusual circumstance.

9. By criminal abortion.

10.By poison.

11. By disease constituting a threat to public health.

12.By disease, injury, or toxic agent resulting from employment.

(b) when a dead body is brought into this state without proper medical certification.

(c) when a body is to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea.

Further, The Medical Examiner Is Held To An Autopsy As Part Of The Investigative Process Per Florida Administrative Code:

Florida Administrative Code 11G-2.003 Investigation (Medical Examiners Commission).

(5) Absent good cause, an autopsy shall be performed when:

(a) A reasonable suspicion exists that death might be by criminal violence or by any violence sustained in prison, a penal institution, or police custody.

(b) A reasonable suspicion exists that the death was by accident, suicide, or poison, unless:

1. The death is by poison and the deceased has survived in a hospital for a period sufficient to metabolize the poison, or

2. The death is by accident or suicide, and the cause of death can be determined from a review of the circumstances, history, and available medical records.

(c) The death of a child is apparently natural and occurs suddenly while in apparent good health.

(d) the circumstances of death are unusual or suspicious by reason of the body’s being unidentified after investigation, charred, or completely or partially skeletonized.

If you or a loved one finds yourself seeking answers following the death of someone close and you are faced with the proposition of having to decide whether the medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy or whether you should seek out a private autopsy, you should call us at 855HIREjoe or contact us via our website at zarzaurlaw.com.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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:

http://flrules.elaws.us/fac/11g-2.003

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0406/Sections/0406.11.html

 

Wrongful Death Series Part 7: What Should You Do If Your Loved One Dies Unexpectedly In The Hospital Or While Under The Care Of A Doctor?

Loved One Dies UnexpectedlyMany Florida families are faced with the real-life occurrence of a loved one dying unexpectedly in a hospital. They go in for what sounds like a routine type of procedure and end up having significant complications that cause their death. The family is rarely provided the full story and they are usually left to wonder what could have gone wrong. The hospital risk management may have even visited with your family to discuss the issue and perhaps offer some monetary settlement in an effort to get you to not visit with a lawyer.

They may have even offered to conduct an autopsy in their hospital to get you the “answers” you deserve. Again, all of this is in an effort to de-escalate the situation in hopes that they can keep you out of an office like ours.

So, what should you and your family do?

Here is Attorney Joe Zarzaur’s Advice.

Document

First, everyone needs to write out or dictate on their phone exactly what they recall happening in the hospital. This will be important later, so make sure everyone does it asap.

Consider a Private Autopsy

Second, your family should seriously consider a private autopsy before the funeral home does anything to your relative. These usually run between $7,000 and $12,000 plus transportation to and from the medical examiner’s office, unless the forensic pathologist comes to the funeral home.

Make sure to only hire a board-certified forensic pathologist. Keep in mind that a board-certified pathologist is not the same thing as a forensic pathologist.


Do not settle for a “hospital” based autopsy that is performed by the same facility and same employees that you are suggesting could have prevented your relative’s death.


Consult With An Attorney

Third, your family should consult with a law firm that has experience with medical malpractice wrongful death cases and whose firm is set up to handle these serious matters.

For a free consultation and advice on what your family should do in this tragic situation, please feel free to call us at 855HireJoe or email us at info@zarzaurlaw.com.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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.

Wrongful Death Series Part 6: Why Does Age Matter In Florida Wrongful Death Cases?

Why Does Age Matter?The simple answer as to why age matters in Florida Wrongful Death cases is that Florida’s Wrongful Death Act makes age matter.

First, age matters in relation to whether a person has a claim and what type of damage the person may claim. As we have discussed in other blogs, Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is a creature of statute and not common law. This means that the rights provided to bring a Florida Wrongful Death case come exclusively from the words in the statute, and the law should not be read any less or any more. The judicial system is there to interpret the laws, but if they are clear, then the judges are simply there to give effect to that language in the form of their rulings.

Minor Child Defined In Florida’s Wrongful Death Act

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act makes it clear that minor children are defined as children under the age of 25. The wrongful death act goes on to prescribe that only minor children can qualify as survivors in regards to certain types of wrongful death claims. For this reason, a seasoned and experienced lawyer who has handled many Florida Wrongful Death cases is necessary to ensure the advice you and your family are receiving is expert advice.

Even though some laws define that age of majority as 18 years old in Florida, the only statute that matters for purposes of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is the age set out in that law. In fact, the legislature included in the Florida Wrongful Death Act a line that says exactly that. That language reads, in relevant part, “The term “minor children” is defined as children under the age of 25, regardless of the age of majority established by any other statute. Fla. Stat. § 768.18(2)

What Type of Damages Can Be Recovered?

Damages that are most often sought after in wrongful death lawsuits include compensation for:

  • Funeral, burial, medical, hospital expenses
  • Pain & suffering experienced prior to death (degenerative diseases / debilitating injuries)
  • Losses incurred by the deceased’s family: loss of wages; mental anguish; financial support; companionship; parental guidance (in cases where deceased has children)
  • The pecuniary compensation provided for by wrongful death lawsuits serves to void any financial issues related to the passing of a loved one.

What Can A Minor Child Recover?

A child of any age may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to the date of death, with interest. He may also recover for future loss of support and services from the date of death, but his recovery will be limited to the present value.

What If No Surviving Spouse?

If the decedent dies without leaving a surviving spouse, a child of any age may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s injury. 

However, adult children may not recover these damages if the death was caused by medical negligence. Fla. Stat.  § 768.21(8).

Death Of A Child

Parents of a child of any age may recover from loss of support and services, future loss of support and services, and mental pain and suffering. However, unless there are no other survivors, parents of an adult child may not recover damages for mental pain and suffering.

If the adult child dies as a result of medical malpractice and dies without other survivors, the parents may not recover damages for mental pain and suffering since those are prohibited by Florida’s Medical Malpractice Act.

So, as you can see from this brief overview, Florida’s Wrongful Death Act makes the age of the decedent and the survivor relevant for evaluation. If you or your family is dealing with a potential wrongful death case and desires a free consultation with a board-certified Florida personal injury lawyer , please do not hesitate to contact us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or by phone at 855HireJoe.

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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.

Wrongful Death Series Part 5: Statute Of Limitations On Florida Wrongful Death Cases.

The statute of limitations All civil cases have an expiration date. This date is known as the “Statute of Limitations.” The statute of limitations is the date upon which your claim must be filed, or you lose the right to assert it forever.

The statute of limitations is an unforgiving deadline, and it is nearly impossible to argue any exceptions to the filing of a case after the statute of limitations.

This is also true in Florida Wrongful Death cases or cases brought under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. The statute of limitations in Florida for wrongful death cases is 2 years from the date of the death. 

 How The Statute Works

Let’s assume that your relative dies on July 15, 2020. You seek out counsel for a possible wrongful death case, and this means that your lawyer must file the lawsuit on or before July 14, 2022. If the lawsuit is not filed by that date or is filed with the improper plaintiff or defendant, it may be lost forever.

Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute

Good lawyers make it a habit to not wait and file cases at the last minute, and you, as a client, should not wait until the last minute to seek out a lawyer for a wrongful death case. In fact, since the Florida wrongful death process requires that the probate court establish who the proper party is to bring the wrongful death case, all of this process should start as soon as possible following the death. 

Further, as with any legal matter, valuable evidence is lost the more time passes from the death. Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer will also mean that the firm’s investigator and medical/nursing experts will have more time to conduct their investigation into the death.


EVIDENCE IS LOST THE MORE TIME PASSES FROM THE DEATH


Investigation Takes Time

Death cases also mean that a private autopsy has to be conducted, which is much more preferable to occur before the funeral home has modified the body. All of these things that have to occur in wrongful death cases, from investigations and autopsies to expert reviews of the scene and medical care, take time. The lawyer handling your file will want to perform as many of these functions before filing a suit as possible, some of which are required to be performed before the case is filed.

So, the earlier you get the wrongful death lawyer, the better the opportunity for the law firm to handle the matter properly.

There are some limited extensions to the statute of limitations in rare circumstances.  You should never assume that one of those rare exceptions will apply to your case.  You should assume only that your wrongful death case will be subject to Florida’s 2 year statute of limitations.

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As you can see there are many complicated legal issues involved with the statute of limitations. Failure to file timely can extinguish even the most worthy case. This is why you need to consult a board-certified Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you have a claim.

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 auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Instead, follow the car wreck checklist and 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.findlaw.com/state/florida-law/florida-wrongful-death-laws.html

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

 

 

Wrongful Death Series Part 4: Survivors And Damages In Florida Wrongful Death Cases.

Wrongful Death Series Part 4: Survivors And Damages One of the initial items that should be considered by a lawyer handling a Florida Wrongful Death case is determining who the proper parties, claimants, and survivors will be.

Florida’s wrongful death provision designates the proper party to bring a wrongful death action in pertinent part as follows:

The action shall be brought by the decedent’s personal representative, who shall recover for the benefit of the decedent’s survivors and estate all damages, as specified in this act, caused the injury resulting in death.

Section 768.20 of the Florida Statutes: This means that the only person that can legally bring a Florida Wrongful Death case is the personal representative.

Our firm has separate videos and blogs on this topic. Click here to watch part 1 of this series.

Nomination Of The Personal Representative

The initial question about who the plaintiff will be is resolved by the probate court in the nomination of the personal representative. Consideration of the proper claimants and survivors under the action is a more complex question.

First, the estate of the decedent is always a party to a Florida Wrongful Death case. The estate is basically the financial transactions and accounts of the decedent. The estate has to handle accounts payable, checking accounts, credit card companies, loans, mortgages, and other financial accounts that were in the name of the decedent. The estate will also be a claimant in the wrongful death case for all things related to expenses associated with the death of the decedent, like medical and funeral expenses, that are recoverable in the wrongful death case. The estate may also collect for loss of earnings from the date of the decedent’s wrongful injury until the date of death. Following death, all such earnings claims will be transferred as net accumulation claims to the survivor(s).

Survivors Of The Decedent

Other than the estate being a claimant with limited potential to recover certain financial losses, the lion’s share of damages collectable from a Florida Wrongful Death case will be made on behalf of the survivors of the decedent. A surviving spouse from a legal marriage is a survivor under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. The marriage must be legal and must have occurred prior to his/her death. Florida law does not recognize any common law marriage entered into after 1968 unless the claimant and his spouse are permanent residents of a state that does recognize common law marriage.

What About Divorce?

A divorce that is final will terminate the survivorship status of a spouse. A divorce that is pending, however, does not terminate such status. The court hearing the wrongful death case can consider the fact that the parties were intending to be divorced at the time of death, and this will likely affect the amount of any recovery.

Surviving Children’s Age And Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death

For purposes of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, children are also survivors of a decedent. The age of the child doesn’t matter UNLESS the wrongful death case is based upon medical malpractice allegations. If the case is a medical malpractice wrongful death case, then only minor children will qualify as survivors.

A minor is defined by the medical malpractice amendments to the wrongful death case as any child under the age of 25. A child of any age may collect for loss of support and services from the date of injury to the date of death with interest. He or she may also recover (regardless of age) for future support and services from the date of death.

If the decedent dies without leaving a surviving spouse, a child of any age may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s injury. However, adult children may not recover damages if the death was caused by medical malpractice.

Adopted Children and Step-Children

Legally adopted children may also qualify as survivors under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Also, a legally adopted child loses its right to be classified as a survivor of the biological parent that gave the child up for adoption. Step-children may not recover from the death of their step-parent.

Parents of A Minor Child

Parents of a minor child may recover in a wrongful death action for the value of support and service from the date of injury to death, future loss of support and services from the date of death, mental pain and suffering from the date of injury, and any medical and funeral expenses paid by the parents. Parents of an adult child may also collect this damage so long as there are no other survivors.

Although there is an action for the wrongful death of a stillborn fetus, it is not considered a death under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. The test for the wrongful death act is the definition of the term “person,” and the law looks for an independent circulation of blood from the mother.

Dependent Relative

A blood relative that is also a dependent of a decedent may also have a claim for loss of support and services following a death.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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 or a loved one is in need of a FREE legal consultation in regards to your wrongful death case, speak with Zarzaur Law’s Florida Wrongful Death Act experts. 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.

Boppy Newborn Lounger Recall Alert!

Newborn Loungers Recall AlertAs you may know, on September 21st, 2021, The Boppy Company recalled over 3.3 million of their “Boppy Newborn Loungers” after eight reported infant deaths. These products pose a significant threat to infants, as the design itself creates an asphyxiation hazard. Specifically, asphyxiation caused by the position of the baby’s neck against the Boppy Newborn Lounger.

What Exactly is a Boppy Newborn Lounger?

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was placed on the market in January of 2004, and was designed for infants to “lounge” on. Many parents are familiar with the original Boppy nursing pillow, a product originally placed on the market to assist nursing mothers. What separates the two products is their intended use, with the Newborn Lounger designed for “lounging” purposes rather than as a nursing aid.

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was removed from the market in September/August of 2021. At that time, it was one of the leading products sold by the Boppy Company. The product had been called into question about a year prior by a journalist who noted that there were several deaths that were being associated with the pillow.

The Boppy Newborn Lounger is different from the original Boppy Pillow in that the original design was specifically designed and sold as a nursing aid. This nursing pillow has been used by many mothers to assist in the breastfeeding process. The company designed this Boppy Newborn Lounger by basically using the general pillow design and adding a piece of fabric to the center, and then encouraging it to be used as a baby lounging device.

Lounging Danger

But, if you have an infant, you know that they do not lounge. Infants spend the vast majority of their time sleeping, which is what makes this product so dangerous. In the event that an infant falls asleep on one of these loungers or is left unattended for too long, parents run the risk of suffocating their babies to death. Due to the shape and design of this particular product, it is far too easy for an infant to find itself in a position that blocks its airways.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, between December of 2015 and June 2020, eight infants died after being placed on the lounger while lying on their back, side, or stomach. Meaning, if the child is not placed perfectly inside of this product, parents run the risk of their baby suffocating.


If the child is not placed perfectly inside of this product, parents run the risk of their baby suffocating.


Previous Recalls

To make matters even worse, this is not the first product manufactured by the Boppy Company that has created such a potential for infant suffocation. In July of 2019, The Boppy Company again had to recall one of its products, this time the Infant Head and Neck Support Accessories. This particular product, shown below, features a similar design and, unfortunately, the same risk. Due to the head support area’s allowing for infants’ heads to become tilted too far forward, this product again posed a suffocation hazard.

Zarzaur Law has filed the first case in the United States against the Boppy Company. The allegations in the Boppy Lawsuit include allegations that the Boppy Newborn Lounger was defective by its design, manufacture, and inadequacy of warnings. The Boppy company is defending this lawsuit and is first contending that they are not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the court here in Florida. This particular issue is before the Court currently.

Review previous recall articles below:

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2019/The-Boppy-Company-Recalls-Infant-Head-and-Neck-Support-Accessories-Due-to-Suffocation-Hazard#

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2021/The-Boppy-Company-Recalls-Over-3-Million-Original-Newborn-Loungers-Boppy-Preferred-Newborn-Loungers-and-Pottery-Barn-Kids-Boppy-Newborn-Loungers-After-8-Infant-Deaths-Suffocation-Risk

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/23/1040203150/boppy-recall-infant-baby-deaths-suffocation-risk-sleep

 

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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 or a loved one is in need of a FREE legal consultation in regards to your wrongful death case, speak with Zarzaur Law’s Florida Wrongful Death Act experts. 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.