Asides

Is My Car Wreck Case Really Worth Hiring A Lawyer?

Pensacola Auto Accident LawyerAs a personal injury lawyer, not more than two consecutive business days go by when we are asked by a potential client if their case is worth pursuing with a lawyer. The answer is nearly always the same, “Maybe so.” Like everything else in the law, the question of whether your car wreck case or medical malpractice case is worthy of pursuit involves a multifactorial analysis.

The Car Wreck Scenario

In the car wreck scenario, it usually involves a discussion about how bad the damage is to the cars, what kind of symptoms the potential client is experiencing and what their medical history was like prior to this event. There is also some consideration (although only preliminary at this stage) about the potential insurance coverage or collectability of the at-fault party.

Property Damage

In regards to the amount of damage to the vehicles involved, the discussion is likely to involve some evaluation about whether the airbags deployed, whether the damage to the cars involved will likely result in their being totaled. If not totaled, how much of the car was damaged and where was the impact relative to the potential client’s position in the car?

Emergency Room Visit Is Only The Beginning

Many times, the potential client will have gone to the emergency room, where they are nearly always treated and released for follow-up care. Many people believe that the emergency room is there to diagnose ANY and all injuries sustained in a car accident. Let’s be clear, the ER is not there to diagnose any injury that is not LIFE threatening or LIMB THREATENING. Leaving the ER after a car wreck and not being admitted will be the case with nearly every car wreck victim, even those that later require hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in treatment. The ER is not in the business of diagnosing all of your potential injuries from an event, just those things that justify immediate admission and treatment. Potential clients leave the ER, and most equate not being admitted as being “OK” or “uninjured” from the wreck.  

The opposite is actually true. Being released from the ER more likely means that you have something wrong with you that will be diagnosed in the coming weeks. This diagnosis, many times, involves being later admitted for surgery or for other invasive treatments that require some level of hospitalization.

Common Injuries From Car Wrecks

It’s important to understand that the most common injury from a wreck is an injury to a disc in your back or neck. These injuries are not even investigated in the ER since the only test that is specific enough for those injuries is an MRI, and those are not usually offered in the ER setting. Typically, the ER will perform X-rays and sometimes a CT scan. These tests are excellent for diagnosing serious acute injuries that could be life-or limb-threatening, but they are equally inadequate for diagnosing common disc injuries. The thing about disc injuries that is most dangerous is that the pain is not specific and many times involves pain radiating into a limb, so you may not immediately associate it with your back or neck. MRI’s are usually not ordered until your swelling has gone down, and typically not until several weeks after the wreck.

Treatment For Disc Injuries

Treatment for disc injuries can range from therapy and medications to full-blown surgery. The cost of treatment over a person’s life expectancy for serious disc injuries can easily be well into the six figures and many times more than that. Alternatively, I tell potential clients, “Let’s assume you do not have a disc injury after a wreck.” The great thing about having the MRI is that we now have some level of security in knowing that your MRI is clean after this wreck and that 2 years from now you are not going to have a disc injury diagnosed and it be too late to bring a claim or that you settled your claim on your own too cheaply.

So Why Involve a Personal Injury Attorney?

Generally speaking, in my experience, if there are cars involved in the wreck that are totaled and you are not under the age of 30 (so you’re not a spry and somewhat elastic teenager) and you are having symptoms from the wreck, you could likely have a serious injury and your case is worth having a personal injury lawyer handle.

The conversation usually includes a discussion about the fact that hiring a Florida personal injury lawyer on a pure contingency fee agreement commits you to ZERO unless you win your case. So, that means first you have to have a case, and second, you have to win it before the law firm earns a fee. Another way to put it is this: if you sign with a Florida personal injury lawyer and there is a pure contingency fee agreement and it turns out that the lawyer decides that you do not have a good enough case to warrant having the law firm involved in or your injury turns out to not be serious enough to proceed with the claim, then you have gotten some free legal advice and, as a by product, you have gotten piece of mind in knowing that medically you are not going to have some undiscovered injury which doesn’t manifest for years.

Peace Of Mind

More importantly, since there is no case and no settlement, you owe the lawyer nothing for their advice and guidance. There is truly no downside so long as you hire the right kind of lawyer who gives you good advice on the medical treatment and actually has the ability to interpret the results or has someone in their firm that can do such medical record evaluations.

The Worth Of Insurance Information

The other big topic in these conversations is insurance. This topic is fairly easy to dispose of. We always tell clients that Florida law permits a claimant to request insurance information directly from the insurance company for any party involved in an injury-causing event. The insurance company has to provide not only the information about the policy but the actual policies and they have to provide a sworn statement that the insurance company either knows of other insurance that might also have coverage for the event or must state that it is not aware of any other insurance policy that might have coverage for the event. As you can imagine, having this information at the outset of a claim is invaluable since it can save a ton of time and resources in determining which party will be financially viable to go after and which ones may not be.

FREE Consultation: No Fee Unless We Win

In sum, hiring us to evaluate your personal injury case makes sense and is free, unless you end up with a claim and that claim wins and is paid. If your case ends up not being good enough to pursue (which thankfully means your injury turned out to not be serious), then we part ways and there is no cost or fee since we didn’t have a case and it wasn’t won. If, however, you do end up with a diagnosis that is serious and involves a lifetime of medical care and medical bills, we will get you paid.

If you have further questions about whether your case is worth having a lawyer, please feel free to call me at 855-HIREJOE or find us on 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 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.

January is “Move Over” Month in Florida.

How important The Move Over Law in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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


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


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

The Move Over Law

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

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

What If You Can’t Move Over?

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

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

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

Safety First For You And Emergency Responders

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

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

To Comply With The Move Over Law Drivers Must:

Multi-Lane Roadway:

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

Two-Lane Roadway:

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

Report Aggressive Drivers

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

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

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

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

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

Important Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury Case

“Time is of the essence” is a very well-known phrase. It generally means that something important must be done in a timely manner in order to preserve your legal rights. While it usually applies to cases involving contracts, it is also a very important rule for Your Car Accident Injury Case.

Seeking Medical Treatment Immediately

The most important thing to do if you’ve been in a car accident in Florida and have sustained injuries is to go directly to a medical provider/clinic / or ER to identify and seek to treat your injuries. Waiting to see a medical professional can significantly impact your personal injury claim. According to Florida Statute § 627.736, you have 14 days to see a doctor after an accident. If you fail to seek medical treatment for your auto accident injuries, the insurance company may deny your accident claim.

Filing An Accident Report

Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury CaseWhile it is best to contact the police and file an accident report at the scene and as soon as the accident happens (and all of the information is fresh in your mind), in the state of Florida, you have up to 10 days to file a car accident report. Typically, the police are called on-site when a car accident occurs. In this situation, the officer will file a police report. If an officer files a police report for a car accident, you are not required to file another report.

Hiring An Experience Car Accident Lawyer

Contacting an attorney experienced in car accidents directly after Your Car Accident Injury Case is a very important step towards winning your personal injury claim. The sooner you contact them, the better. This is because the more time your lawyer has to look over the scene, ask for medical records, negotiate with the insurance companies, and interview eyewitnesses the more time they have to build your case.

Contacting a lawyer within a week of the statute of limitations being up does not give the attorney enough time to adequately prepare and research your case.

Following Your Injury Treatment Plan

After you see a doctor for your injuries following an accident, they are likely to recommend a specific plan of action for dealing with any injuries and preventing any future pain from developing.

It might be overwhelming to start a new routine to take care of your body, but it is very important! Your body went through a very traumatic experience, so you want to be proactive to ensure it stays healthy.

Not only will following through with your treatment plan will ensure your body recovers, but it will also ensure your injuries are properly documented from start to finish. This will be important for Your Car Accident Injury Case. Be sure to ask your doctor for copies of all treatment documents throughout the process.

Statute of Limitations

All civil cases arising from car accidents are governed by “statutes of limitations” This is the period of time that an injured person has in which to file a lawsuit. The state legislatures pass laws that require such claims be timely filed, or the right to file a claim is forever lost. In other words, if you do not settle your claim, or file a lawsuit over your claim within a specified time period, you lose the right to do so.

The purpose of such laws is to protect wrongdoers from defending stale claims or claims so old that any evidence to support a defense has disappeared.

The time the statute begins running is the day of a car accident, or in the case of a wrongful death claim arising from a car accident, the date of death. In certain cases involving a minor’s injuries, the time begins to run from the day the minor becomes an adult. In such cases the statute of limitations is “tolled” or delayed to a certain date after the minor becomes an adult.

Important Timelines In Your Car Accident Injury CaseStatutes of limitations vary from state to state. In Florida, a claim for personal injury must be brought within 4 years of the crash. In other states, such as our neighboring state of Alabama, the claim must be filed within 2 years. This means that the Alabama statute of limitations will apply if the crash is in Alabama, even if all the parties are residents of different states.

In Florida, a claim involving wrongful death must be filed within 2 years. In wrongful death cases, a personal representative must file the claim, so opening an estate and having a PR appointed can take many months. Thus, a crash involving death is even more time-sensitive.

To further complicate the law, claims for personal injury against your uninsured motorist carrier have a five-year statute of limitations. This is the standard “contract” period in Florida, and the claim arises from a contract, thus the 5 year period. Such claims arising from crashes in other states have similar time deadlines but are governed specifically by state law.

The statute of limitations for claims involving Florida governmental agencies, is 3 years, except for wrongful death claims, which is 2 years. This includes claims against law enforcement agencies, emergency services, sanitation services, and other governmental agencies that operate motor vehicles. Moreover, there must be a statutory notice sent out 6 months before suit is filed. The time periods and notice requirements may differ from state to state.

A claim against the Federal government must be filed within 2 years, whether for personal injury or death. Similarly, there is a statutory notice requirement before a suit is filed. Thus, you can see that time is even more of the essence when suing a state or federal governmental entity.

What Does This Mean For Your Accident Case?

In Florida, it means you must either settle your case or file a suit within the applicable statute of limitations. If you fail to do this, your claim will be extinguished, no matter how badly you are injured. As there are different deadlines for each state, and for claims involving the government, you need an experienced car accident lawyer to analyze your claim. Also, it means that you need to contact a lawyer immediately as the time begins running when the crash happens, not when you first talk to a lawyer.

Follow the CAR WRECK CHECKLIST for a comprehensive list of what to do right after a car accident >

 

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.

New Year’s Eve Safety – Drinking and Driving, COVID, and Other Considerations

New Year’s Eve can be a fun holiday to celebrate solo or with loved ones. Keep yourself safe by considering all of these New Year’s Eve safety tips.

Drinking and Driving

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 427 people may die on U.S. roads this New Year’s Day holiday period. Holidays traditionally are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often caused for celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor-vehicle crashes.

There Are Many Reasons Not To Drive On New Year’s Eve This Year – Here Are Just A Few:

1. The Cost of a DUI is Not Worth the risk – If you are charged with a DUI it can easily cost you up to $2,000 (just for a first offense), not to mention a night in jail, fines, hours of community service, participation in a treatment program, and your license being revoked.

2. NO traffic – You can skip all the traffic and frustration, by leaving your car in the driveway

3. Celebrate with the Ones You Really Care About (at home) – Cheers to you and your loved ones as you celebrate at home. There is no risk of injury or issues of being around thousands of people you don’t really know. Make your at-home celebration an event.

4. Save Money and Make Better Drinks at Home – The average price of a cocktail (that is normally watered down) is jaw-dropping…. Especially on New Year’s Eve! So buy your own quality ingredients and make your own or even try a new recipe and don’t worry about emptying your pockets on a high-priced cocktail out or the cost of a DUI or even worse a car wreck that injures or kills another person.

COVID – Omicron 

There is uncertainty associated with any estimate. The 90% confidence interval for the estimate of traffic deaths this holiday is 347 to 514. This confidence interval cannot account for the unknown impact the evolving response to COVID-19 will have on holiday travel. 

Because of the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having on social activities, the uncertainty of this year’s estimate is increased.

You should skip New Year’s Eve parties this year because of the omicron wave, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The omicron variant has been spreading rapidly throughout the United States. In fact, there have been so many cases that airline crews have had to call out sick, leading to hundreds of canceled holiday flights, according to CNBC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking extra precautions during the holidays, especially if you’re gathering with multiple households.

Other Safety Considerations

Champagne

It’s a strange one, but a projectile champagne cork can absolutely be a danger, especially if you are not used to opening bottles! Use the “45 Rules” for bubbly. Chill champagne to at least 45 degrees F, as this will make the cork less likely to pop. When ready to open, place a towel over the top of the bottle and hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, pointing it away from yourself and others.

Fireworks

First of all, make sure to check your local regulations regarding the personal use of fireworks. If it is illegal or if you are unfamiliar with how they work, leave them to professionals! If you still decide to use legal fireworks, make sure to keep children and pets away from the area – even sparklers, which are often used by kids, burn at temperatures of about 2000 degrees and can be incredibly dangerous. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose at the ready. Light fireworks one at a time, then move back away from them. Never attempt to re-light a firework that did not go off the first time; douse them and other spent fireworks with plenty of water before discarding them. And of course, never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Pets

Between fireworks, noisemakers, and general revelry, pets can experience high anxiety on New Year’s Eve. Scared pets can bite or run and potentially get hurt, cause accidents, or become lost. The best way to keep pets safe is to keep them indoors and comfortable; Make sure fences and gates are secure and that your pet has a current ID tag and that all microchip information is up to date. If your pet has shown signs of extreme anxiety in the past, you might also consult your veterinarian and ask for anti-anxiety medications or a thunder coat.

Guns

In some cultures, it was previously a tradition to participate in celebratory gunfire at midnight, shooting handguns into the air. Not only is this illegal, but it can be deadly; falling bullets can be fatal. In Phoenix in 1999, a young teen was killed outside of her home by a bullet that was fired into the air more than a mile away. Deaths have resulted in harsher penalties for this crime, so leave all firearms safely locked inside this holiday.

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:

Deaths by Transportation Mode

New Year’s Day

https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/impaired-driving

Client Testimonial – Rick D.

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

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

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

Always remember:

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

• 2. Contact Joe at Zarzaur Law, P.A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Is A Personal Injury Severe Enough For A Lawsuit?

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

Why Is The “No-Fault” Law Important?

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

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

Permanent Injury.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Compulsory Medical Examination.

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Bicycle Accident Law – What You Need To Know

Whether a cyclist is riding a bicycle as a means of commuting, recreation, or exercise, it is imperative that those taking to the roadways, sidewalks, or pedestrian travel lanes on anything other than a motorized vehicle understand the rights extended to the cyclist as well as the responsibilities expected of the cyclist.

Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicyclists, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 783 bicyclists were killed in the United States with Florida taking the lead with 125 deaths.

Almost every jurisdiction be it state, county, or city has some form of “bike law(s)” which dictates (s) to both motorist and cyclist. Understanding those laws is a great first step for many and should also be routinely reviewed by the seasoned cyclist no matter 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 more significantly injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths in the US (0.57 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 0.23.). A higher number of bicycles on the road surely plays a part in this statistic.

Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road, just as drivers are. 


For example:
– They must ride with the flow of traffic instead of against it.
– They must yield the right of way when indicated.
– They must stay in the designated bike lane. If there is not a bike lane, they must ride as far to the right as possible. (However, they may edge closer into the lane to avoid obstacles like potholes.

Always be on the lookout for this type of maneuvering. Paying attention can prevent many accidents.)


So, YES, cyclists have to stop at stop signs. They have to wait to turn left at a green light when there is oncoming traffic. They have to stop for pedestrians!


The rules apply to them as well, and when they disregard them, it can have devastating consequences.

In addition to that, taking the basic steps to mitigate the ever-present risk of an accident or avoiding/limiting the likelihood of a  car accident altogether should also be something that is requisite among all cyclists.

Florida Biking Laws, Broken Down

– Bikes are treated as vehicles.
– Cyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
– Cyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
– You cannot carry passengers on a bike that is not intended to carry more than one person.
– Parents must not allow minors to violate any of Florida’s provisions.
– All bikes must come equipped with a braking system.
– If riding on the sidewalk, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
– Bikes must be equipped with a lamp when operating between sunset and sunrise.
– Bicyclists must use the designated bike path when not traveling at the speed of other traffic.

More Laws at FLORIDA BICYCLE. ORG

 

Steps To Avoiding A Wreck With a Vehicle

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, 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 locale one is opting to use for cycling.

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.

What Do you Do If You Are Hit By a Vehicle?

In 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.

Following that, 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), identify any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries including damage to helmet and attire, and documentation of the damage to the vehicle(s) and bicycle(s).

Bicycle Accident Check List

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

2. Listen and remember what the other party says to you about how the accident happened. Don’t agree to anything said by the at-fault driver/party that caused the accident.

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 bike accident lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Seek medical assistance. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills. Have the ER/hospital bill your car insurance company.

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

7. Document injuries.

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

9. Consult an accident lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

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

Always Seek Medical Attention! (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 accident 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

Take the tests, for both cyclists and drivers!

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

CDC Bicycle Safety

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

Florida Bicycle Association

Bike Pensacola

West Florida Wheelmen

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.

https://media.acg.aaa.com//content/1205/files/2019%20Q2%20Consumer%20Pulse_Bicycle%20Safety.pdf