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Rue & Ziffra August Newsletter

2015 Increase in Traffic Accidents

 Traffic Deaths at a 50 Year High in 2015


Information released by the National Safety Council indicates the U.S., in 2015, had the highest one-year percentage increase in traffic deaths in half a century.  Estimates indicate that 38,300 people were killed and roughly 4.4 million sustained injuries that resulted in the need for medical attention.  The number of deaths rose by 8 percent from 2014, compared with a less than 0.5 percent increase between 2013 and 2014 and a 3 percent drop the previous year.

According to the NSC, an improving economy could be the possible cause for the increase.  Factors like lower unemployment and cheaper gas, usually combines with more miles driven.  People don’t drive to work as much or take as many vacations during a recession periods, considering they have less income for anything that is not completely necessary.

According to Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC, “Americans take their safety on the roadways for granted.  Driving a car is one of the riskiest activities any of us undertake, in spite of decades of vehicle design improvements and traffic safety advancements. Engage your defensive driving skills and stay alert.”

Traffic Accidents and Human Error


Road danger is a man-made crisis, with human error accounting for over 90 per of accidents.  The majority of all accidents are related to bad driving behavior.

Disregard of Traffic Control Devices


Failure to yield at a traffic control device, usually a stop sign, yield sign, or traffic light can pose a significant risk to vehicles which have the right-of-way.  This can often result in a “T-Bone Collision” where the risk of injury is very high.

Even with side-wall airbags, the fact remains that most car safety devices are designed to prevent injury from a front-end collision.  Seat belts do not do much to prevent sideways movement.  Dashboard airbags are also not of much help, and may not even deploy from a side impact.


Failure to Yield


Beyond traffic lights, yield and stop signs, accidents relating to failure to yield often occur at unmarked intersections, entry ramps, traffic circles, and points where lanes of traffic merge. Not everybody respects the rules of right of way, or pays attention to merging traffic. It is important to exercise additional care at such points of potential danger.


Rear-End Collisions

In most jurisdictions, a driver who rear-ends another car is presumed to have caused the accident. In most cases, that presumption is correct.  The driver at the rear follows too closely, or doesn’t pay attention to what is going on in the roadway in front of his car, and doesn’t take notice that another car has stopped or slowed in front of him until it is too late to avoid collision. In higher speed rear-end collisions involving a line of cars, such as cars stopped at a traffic light, you may see the initial collision propel the stopped cars into each other, such that three, four, or even more cars become involved.

Additional factors which commonly contribute to accident include:

Dangerous Passing:  Attempting to pass another vehicle on the shoulder, in a “no passing zone”, where the line of vision of oncoming cars is obstructed, where oncoming traffic is dangerously close, or similar passing conduct will often contribute to car accidents.

Dangerous Turning:  Attempting to turn from the wrong lane, or suddenly slowing or stopping in a traffic lane upon realizing that you are about to pass a desired intersection or exit ramp, can be extremely dangerous to other drivers.

Overcorrecting:  Avoid panic-like steering.  Many rollovers occur when drivers overcorrect their steering as a panic reaction to an emergency, or even to a wheel going off the pavement’s edge.  At highway speeds, overcorrecting or excessive steering can cause the driver to lose control, which can force the vehicle to slide sideways and roll over.

Reading While Driving:  Attempting to read instructions, road maps, or other materials while driving a car.

Use of Electronic Devices:  Attempting to change a tape or CD, dial a cellular phone, use an inappropriate entertainment device (such as trying to watch a DVD while driving), or other similar act can distract a driver from the road and increase the chance of an accident.

Vehicle Defects:  Poor maintenance of a vehicle, particularly of its brakes, can contribute to accidents. Drivers are responsible to make sure that their cars are safe to drive.

Vehicle Lights:  The failure to properly use turn signals, the failure to properly maintain headlights, brake lights, and signal lights, the failure to illuminate headlights.

Road Rage

There is no question but that road rage contributes to car accidents. This happens both through intentionally dangerous driving acts, such as braking suddenly in front of another car, pulling up right on another driver’s bumper or even trying to tap the other driver’s bumper, and also through the fact that angry drivers are more likely to make mistakes in their driving conduct. Worse, as road rage incidents often occur on highways and freeways, the accidents that result can be extremely serious, and can involve additional vehicles. If you are being victimized by an angry driver, try to find a way to remove yourself from the situation – slow down or take an exit. If the angry driver pursues you, try to pull into the parking lot of a police station or a busy business. If you are considering engaging in acts of road rage, you should also remove yourself from the situation, if necessary pulling over until you have calmed down.


The attorneys at Rue & Ziffra have been handling automobile accident cases for 40 years.  If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, call 386-788-7700.  For more information, please visit:   http://www.rueziffra.com/automobile-accidents

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Categories: Blog

Rue & Ziffra Celebrates 40 Year Anniversary

Rue & Ziffra Law Firm Celebrates 40 Years Serving and Supporting Central Florida Communities

40 year anniversary


Port Orange, FL: The Central Florida personal injury law firm Rue & Ziffra has announced their 40thAnniversary celebration. The company takes pride in living up to its motto: “In your community and on your side.”

 Since first opening its doors in 1976 the company has been providing clients with caring and dependable legal services after an accident or when facing a stressful situation.

 As an avid motorcyclist, Attorney John Rue founded the firm dedicated to helping bikers who had been injured because of another driver’s negligence.  He later expanded his vision to helping individuals with other types of personal injuries.

 In 1991, Attorney Allan L. Ziffra joined Rue as the co-founder of Rue & Ziffra, P.A. Sharing a passion for motorcycling, Ziffra also felt compelled to help all victims with personal injury claims to make certain theyreceived full and fair compensation.  Ziffra was instrumental in expanding the law firms practice areas as well, adding the departments of workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and many more.  For a complete list of practice areas please visit:  www.RueZiffra.com.

 Following Rue’s original mission, the firm is committed to giving back to the community in a multitude of ways. For decades they have sponsored motorcycle runs throughout Volusia and Flagler Counties to raise money for various causes. In the past few years Rue & Ziffra expanded its outreach to a broad range of other community events including the introduction in 2012 of the Text Free Zone simulator that helps bring awareness to the dangers of texting and driving, supporting area high schools with various sports and academic activities, providing refreshments during Port Orange Family Days, Teen Safety Driving Schools or helping numerous other local charities and schools throughout Central Florida.

 Rue & Ziffra has dedicated a page on their website to show all the school and charity events they sponsor. Visitors will find relevant information, as well as pictures from previous activities and dates of upcoming events. During events staff members and attorneys are on hand with free giveaways or raffle prizes under the Rue & Ziffra tent and invite community members to stop by to chat and ask questions.  Visit the “RZ Cares” section of RueZiffra.com to see all community outreach events.

 “Our families live here and we are proud to be a part of such a wonderful community,” says Rue. “We continue to set goals to help more non-profit organizations right here in Volusia and Flagler Counties.”

 Some of the company’s attorneys were born and raised locally and all have lived in the area for more than 20 years.  Their children attend local schools and participate in local sports and other activities.

 When asked about their 40-year track record of success, Ziffra says, “It has been such an honor to serve this community that we call home.  Our firm will continue to help as many locals as possible.  When they need someone to fight for them they can call on us.”

 The mid-size personal injury law firm features an “On Call” after business hours attorney service for client convenience. They also send attorneys to meet directly with clients instead of investigators to expedite cases. Rue & Ziffra serves communities throughout Volusia County, including Port Orange, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Ormond Beach, Palm Coast, DeLand, Deltona, Orange City, DeBary, Bunnell, Sanford and Orlando, Florida.

 The company has offices in Port Orange, DeLand and Palm Coast and can be reached at 1-800-JUSTICE.The public is also invited to visit www.RueZiffra.com to learn more about services and initiate a complimentary case review.

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Categories: Blog News

Rue & Ziffra July Newsletter

Child Neglect/Negligence

General Newsletter – July 2016 – Child Neglect/Negligence


Suspected Child Neglect or Negligence in Florida


With over 14 million accidents being reported every year, childhood injury is perhaps one of the most dangerous and traumatic experiences that a family can face as a result of negligence.

From negligent supervision at daycare to a detrimental accident during football practice, dog bites while playing outdoors to an injury on school grounds, there are a great number of dangers that can result in an even more devastating injury for your child. Moreover, due to both a warm climate and being a top vacation destination, a great amount of these children’s injuries unfortunately occur in the State of Florida.

With smaller bodies and a lower pain tolerance than the average adult, children are prime targets for serious injury and even wrongful death in everyday life and activities.


What is the Definition of Child Neglect?


The offense of child neglect is defined under Section 827.03 Florida Statutes.  Under the law, “neglect of child” means (a) caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health,” including, but not limited to:


·         Food and nutrition

·         Clothing

·         Shelter

·         Supervision

·         Medicine and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child.


Child neglect may also occur as a result of “a caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect or exploitation by another person.”


The Most Common Injuries Resulting from Child Negligence


While there are a variety of child injury claims for negligence in Florida, the most common ones have to do with automotive, school, daycare and water.  Here are some examples of these common Florida Child Neglect Injuries.

§  Automobile and Truck Accidents (i.e. Collision, Car Seat Defect, and Parking Lot Negligence)

§  School-Related Accidents (i.e. Field Trip, School Bus, and Injury on School Property)

§  Daycare Accidents and Negligence

§  Water-Related Accidents and Drownings (i.e. Bathtub, Pool, Lake, and Retention Pond)


Negligent actions may have resulted in tragedy for you and your family, but the Florida Child Negligence Attorneys at Rue & Ziffra will diligently work to return the lives of you and your child to normal. Call 386-788-7700 to speak to an attorney for free today!  For more information, please visit:  http://www.rueziffra.com/Negligent-Supervision

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Categories: Blog

Spinal Cord Injuries from Auto Accidents & Motorcycle Accidents

How a Lawyer Can Help Victims of these Traumatic Events

rue and ziffra


Spinal Cord Injuries from Auto Accidents & Motorcycle Accidents

How a Lawyer Can Help Victims of these Traumatic Events

Written by: Allan L. Ziffra, Esq.


Few injuries can be as devastating as paralysis, the loss of muscle function that occurs when a person’s brain cannot properly transmit messages to one or more parts of the body (as described by the National Institute of Health). Although there are various causations for paralysis,as a personal injury attorney I have seen many cases where individuals become paralyzed most commonly from a car accident, motorcycle accident or other type of traumatic event where they receive injury to their spinal cord.


Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

Published incident rates for traumatic spinal cord injuries in the US range between 28 and 55 injuries per million people, with about 10,000 new cases reported every year. On average there are approximately 200,000 people living in the United States at any given time that have sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury.


The average age of a victim of a traumatic spinal cord injury is 32 years old, with the greatest frequency between 15 and 25 years of age.  In addition, males are four times more likely to sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury than females.


Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury

The most common cause of injury to the spinal cord comes from the trauma one receives in a motor vehicle accident. According to statistics, approximately 40% of all new spinal cord injuries were reported to have been the result of automobile crashes.Additional causes are violence at 20%, falls at 19% and recreational activities at around 12%.


As a result many victims can become paralyzed, suffering from either complete or partial paralysis. To distinguish this further, an individual can end up with paraplegia, paralysis of the lower half of the body including both of the legs, or quadriplegia, paralysis of the entire body from the neck down.


What is a Spinal Cord Fracture?

Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow to the individual’s spinal cord that fractures or dislocates his or her vertebrae. They are divided and categorized in a number of different ways, including location of the fracture, type of fracture, stability of the fracture and severity of the fracture.

Common Fracture Locations

Anterior column – this is the front part of the vertebra, the part that faces into your body.  It is the front half of the vertebral body and supports the intervertebral discs.

Middle column – this is the back half of the vertebral body and supports the intervertebral discs and is the key part for spinal stability.  A fracture of the middle column of the vertebral body in conjunction with a fracture through either the anterior or posterior column usually results in nerve damage and spinal instability.

Posterior column – this represents the back side of the vertebral body closest to your skin and includes the pedicles, lamina, facet joints and spinous processes.

Spinal cord injuries can occur in the cervical, thoracic or lumbosacral areas of the spine.



Cervical or neck injuries usually result in full or partial quadriplegia.  The specific location and severity of the trauma greatly affects the amount of function that may be retained by the victim.


  • Injuries at the C1, C2 and C3 levels result in a complete loss of motor and sensory function of the arms and often results in a loss of breathing, necessitating mechanical ventilators.
  •  Injuries at the C4 level result in significant loss of function of the shoulders and upper arms.
  •  Injuries at the C5 level result in potential loss of function of the shoulders and upper arms and complete loss of function at the wrist and hands.
  •  Injuries at the C6 level result in limited wrist control, but complete loss of hand function.
  •  Injuries at the C7 and T1 levels result in lack of dexterity in hands and fingers, but allows for some use of the arms.


Victims of traumatic spinal cord injuries above the C7 level cannot handle the normal activities of daily living and cannot function independently.  As a result, extensive in home nursing care is necessitated to help with the normal activities of daily living.


Complete injuries at or below the thoracic spinal level result in paraplegia.  Functions of the hands, arms, neck and breathing are usually not affected.


  • T1-8 results in the inability to control abdominal muscles thereby affecting trunk stability.  The lower the level of injury, the less severe the effects.
  •  T9-12 results in partial loss of trunk and abdominal muscle control.



The effects to the lumbosacral region of the spinal cord are decreased control of the legs and hips, urinary systems and bowel control.


  • Bowel and bladder function are regulated by the sacral region of the lumbosacral spine.  Therefore it is very common to experience loss of bowel and bladder function with any type of traumatic spinal injury that results in paralysis.
  •  Sexual function is also regulated by the lumbosacral region of the spine.  As a result sexual dysfunction is very common when a victim of traumatic spinal cord injury results in paralysis.


Specific Fracture Types

Compression fracture – this type of fracture results in a compression or collapsing of the vertebral body.  A minor compression fracture can heal without surgical intervention or long term medical problems.  A compression fracture that is in excess of 50% of the normal vertebral height usually results in significant spinal instability and requires surgical instrumentation to stabilize the spine and prevent additional injury such as paralysis.

Burst fracture – a burst fracture is a severe compression fracture that results in the vertebral body essentially being crushed with fractures in multiple places.  Because the vertebra is completely crushed, bone fragments can go into the spinal cord or exiting nerve roots causing severe neurological damage or paralysis.  Burst fractures almost always require surgical intervention in order to stabilize the spine and prevent additional injuries.

Flexion distraction fractures – a flexion distraction type fracture usually fractures in the posterior and middle columns.  It results from a sudden severe forward movement that places more stress on the spine than the body can tolerate.

Fracture dislocation – any type of vertebral fracture which results in significant movement of the vertebral body is classified as a fracture dislocation.  This usually results when you have fractures of all three columns of the vertebral body and your spine becomes very unstable.  All fracture dislocation injuries require surgical intervention and a high percentage result in severe neurological damage including paralysis.


Stable and Unstable Fractures

Stable fractures usually involve only the anterior column or posterior column of the vertebral body.  As long as the middle column stays intact, a victim of a traumatic spinal fracture has a much greater chance of having a stable fracture.  With the stable fracture, the spine can usually still carry and distribute your weight and doesn’t cause spinal deformity or neurological problems.

A fracture that involves both the middle column and either anterior or posterior column has a much greater chance to be an unstable fracture, making it difficult for the spine to carry and distribute weight.  Unstable fractures can result in vertebral body dislocations which can severe the spinal cord causing paralysis.  In addition, unstable fractures can result in the migration of bone chips into the spinal cord which can tear into cord tissue, causing irreparable damage and paralysis.


Major and Minor Fractures

A minor fracture usually refers to a fracture of a part of the posterior column of the vertebra, the parts that are not as vital to spinal stability.  A fracture to a spinous process and the facet joints usually is not too serious.

A major fracture usually refers to fractures of the vertebral body, the pedicles, or the lamina.  A fracture to the vertebral body is major because it carries and distributes so much weight.  If it is broken, you can have serious problems with migration of the spinal fragments or proper spinal alignment.  A fracture to a pedicle or lamina is major because it usually results in impingement on the exiting nerve roots and possible severe nerve damage.

The American Spinal Injury Association defined an international classification based on neurological responses and are graded from A to E, with A being the worst, and E being normal.

  • A indicates a complete spinal cord injury where no motor or sensory function is preserved below the site of the injury.
  • B indicates an incomplete spinal cord injury where sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level.
  • C indicates incomplete spinal cord injury where motor function is preserved below the neurological level and more than half of the muscles have a muscle grade less than 3.
  • D indicates an incomplete spinal cord injury where motor function is preserved below the neurological level and at least half of the muscles have a muscle grade in excess of 3 which indicates active movement or full range of motion against gravity.
  • E indicates normal motor and sensory function.


How a Lawyer Can Help Victims of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries

When someone suffers a spinal cord injury in an auto accident, motorcycle accident or other traumatic event, he or she will often need the help of an attorney. This is because a lawyer who is knowledgeable in personal injury can help to properly file the claim and get the support of appropriate experts which will help protect the victim from the enormous expenses that will occur in the future.

Examples of the types of medical expenses and damages that a victim of a traumatic spinal cord injury from an automobile or motorcycle accident can incur include:

  • past medical costs
  • future medical costs
  • physical rehabilitation
  • in home nursing care
  • medical equipment
  • handicap accessible vehicles
  • construction costs to modify their home for wheelchair bound individuals
  • past and future lost income
  • loss of earning capacity
  • past and future pain and suffering
  • loss of enjoyment of life and companionship


Rue & Ziffra maintains a team of attorneys who handle automobile and motorcycle accident claims where victims often have traumatic spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Together, they posses over 30 years of experience which can contribute to recovering full compensation owed to their client and help them lead as normal of a life as possible.  Our lawyers can help a victim realize what type of physicians are needed to help them with their spinal cord injuries, have experience in properly documenting traumatic spinal cord injuries and have experience in testifying in court.  If you have been injured in an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, or other type of traumatic event, you are always welcome to contact the spinal cord injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra.


All pictures displayed were received from the Learning Radiology website.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.


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Categories: Blog


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DAYTONA BEACH SHORES – A public-service video created by Blue Dog Video for the Port Orange-based law firm of Rue & Ziffra took home one of the top honors at the annual awards gala of the Daytona Beach Chapter of the American Advertising Federation.


The “Most Impactful Video” award – presented Feb. 28 at The Shores Resort in Daytona Beach Shores – recognized the body of work by Tim Stockman, owner of Blue Dog Video, as well as Rue & Ziffra’s commitment to their longtime anti-texting and driving campaign.


Committed to the effort since 2012, Rue & Ziffra purchased a $30,000 state-of-the-art texting and driving simulator and a Ford Mustang that are offered free of charge to area high schools to educate students about the dangers of texting while driving by simulating what happens when drivers are distracted, said Luis Gracia, a partner in the firm.


“Every time we take the simulator to schools the students are eager to participate,” said Gracia, who often is on hand during the simulations to share what he has learned first-hand representing cases – many with tragic endings – that involved texting and driving. “Winning an award for this video makes us very proud.”

 Like Gracia and his law partners, Stockman also is pleased with the kudos the video received from the advertising federation. “It’s very special, not only for its content, but because our entry was selected from all of the videos submitted in every category.”

 Stockman, who has created videos for the personal-injury firm the past four years, isn’t new to the winner’s circle, as he already has a silver Addy, a gold Addy and a Best in Show award.


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