Choosing the Best Attorney

Anywhere you turn today, our world appears to be inundated with injury law firm or attorney photos. From billboards to pop-up ads, firms find a way to reach the public from every angle possible. Typically, larger firms with the means to market themselves on a large scale dominate the landscape. Many of these ads can lead people to think they are choosing the best representation, when quite possibly, it is far from meeting their needs. In this culture of mass marketing and billboard law, knowing the reasons for choosing the right lawyer when seeking justice or compensation, particularly in the event of an accident or injury, is critical.

After someone is involved in an accident where another party is at fault, they have a lot to consider. This is especially true when they begin to seek the services of an attorney. Before making a choice based on size or a large marketing campaign, consider these factors:

First is the overall caseload of a firm. This has a direct impact on the ability to communicate with the client. In some instances, a client may never meet or even speak with their attorney throughout the entirety of the claim. This should be unacceptable to the accident victim. Not only should an attorney readily meet with their clients as needed and be able to keep clients informed about their case status, a good firm will have policy in place that keeps lines of communication between the client and the firm open and active. Is this attorney dealing with a large number of cases while working on yours? If so, they may also lack the time necessary to achieve the highest settlement possible. Smaller firms generally have a better ability to meet with the client and to work much more personally and aggressively on each case in the office. What a wonderful advantage when you have suffered due to someone else’s negligence!

Also, the attorney’s willingness and readiness to go to trial is of utmost importance. Do not rely on an advertisement that merely portrays an attorney in a courtroom or shows a single settlement figure. In order to determine if your lawyer is prepared to fight in trial to obtain the best settlement possible, ask if they are a Board Certified Trial Lawyer. If they aren’t, ask why. Many times a case will be settled for much less than it is worth due to scared or lazy representation. A Board Certification is a great indicator of an attorney’s ability and desire to succeed at trial when the opponents refuse to cooperate fairly.

Lastly, communication and credentials matter, but does your attorney consider what is best for you? Many times on the surface, a case seems cut and dry. Elements of personal injury law can be muddled, but when concepts like liability and damages are in your favor, the work seems to do itself. Easy settlements happen daily but is an easy settlement the best settlement? A wise attorney will explore all potential avenues of recovery and fully discuss settlement options with you. Your concerns should be heard and taken into account before settlement is reached.

In conclusion, remember to ask questions before hiring a lawyer. Communication, credentials and consideration are three very important factors to consider before you hire an attorney. The best representation will be capable of taking on any defendant in trial, no matter how big. They will also have the time to personally meet and talk with their clients as needed. To get a good idea of the services you may employ, do not forget to ask if your lawyer is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer. Don’t make a decision based on mass marketing and legal advertisements alone; know if you are choosing an attorney who is prepared to take every measure needed to get the compensation to which you are entitled.

Surfing… in The Gulf of Mexico?

When most people think of the Gulf of Mexico, surfing probably never crosses their mind. However, the gulf is more than capable of producing quality surf. The gulf waves are influenced by tropical weather, such as hurricanes and cold fronts, often producing much higher quality surf that most would expect.

Hurricanes and Cold Fronts – A Gulf Coast Surfer’s Best Friends

For those in the know, it is during hurricane season that gulf coast surfers have the highest hope for quality surf. Most named storms tend to track up the eastern coast of the United States, leaving Gulf residents in the clear. While the thought of a hurricane is certainly bittersweet, many local surfers are willing to risk the potential dangers if it means they can hit the waves. Prior to this week’s Hurricane and Tropical Storm watches and warnings, 2013 was the last time we saw enough activity to warrant weather alerts and it was Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008 that created the last serious swell in the Gulf.

The most consistent time of year for surfing in the Gulf is winter. The storms brought about by cold fronts can produce great surf. Despite cooler air and water temperatures, you can see many surfers along the gulf beaches when a cold front arrives. These winter swells generally begin with strong south winds and choppy surf.  As the cold front moves across the state, the winds will switch to a west or north-west direction that can lead to some great waves and cold weather. Make no mistake, surfers in the gulf take advantage of any opportunity to catch a wave. This year, surfers benefited greatly from the El Nino weather pattern. Many days of favorable surf were enjoyed. Just a small disclaimer, if you’re a true Floridian the gulf temperatures can get cold! Take along a wetsuit if you want to give surfing a cold front a shot.

It Really Is a Possibility

If you are a local gulf coast resident or just simply vacationing, know that surfing is a definite possibility in the Gulf of Mexico. Although fickle, the gulf can offer some fun waves along the entire coast whether you are just earning or are an experienced surfer. There are multiple websites that offer daily updated surf reports such as and These are great resources to use for checking the surf forecast. Check out the photo below for a glimpse of what the Gulf of Mexico can offer for anyone wanting to catch some waves.

rolling surf

Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 12: Anna Maria Island Sail & Power Squadron Promotes Safety and Education

There’s a wonderful non-profit community organization in northwest Bradenton that has an active social network and is dedicated to providing boating safety and educational services to local boaters.  It’s called the Anna Maria Island Sail & Power Squadron and it’s located at 1200 71st St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209.  The Anna Maria Squadron is just one of 17 other Squadrons in West Central Florida that are affiliated with the United States Powers Squadrons. If you are a Manatee County boater, you’ll definitely want to check out their page on Facebook to see all that they have to offer.

Boating Safety Education

The Anna Maria squadron provides America’s Boating Course, which is a basic boating safety and Florida boating law class, as well as a variety of advanced and specialized classes.  Their next America’s Boating Course will be held in 5 evening sessions (Mon. & Wed.) from October 24 to November 7, 2016.  They will also be hosting a Nautical Charts Seminar on November 9 and a Using GPS Seminar on November 14.  Go to the Squadron’s webpage for detailed course descriptions and more information.

power squadron logoThe Squadron also provides free Vessel Safety Checks by appointment as a community service.  Among the things that are covered in these free Vessel Safety Checks are correct display of registration numbers, review of registration documentation, personal flotation devices-life jacket check, Type IV throw-able personal flotation device check, visual and audible distress signal (flare whistle, horn, siren, etc.) check, fire extinguisher check, ventilation check, and bilge, electrical and fuel system check.  To schedule a Vessel Safety Check to see that your boat is in compliance with applicable safety standards call 941-792-0394.

Becoming an official member of the Anna Maria Squadron offers a number of valuable benefits including boat insurance discounts, access to advanced boating classes, and buying discounts with national companies.  However, it would seem that the number one benefit is becoming part of an active social and community oriented group of people.  The Squadron has one business meeting each month and frequent social events, including their popular “Cruise and Rendezvous” luncheons.  All of this is aptly summed up in their motto: “Come for the Boating Education…Stay for the Friends.”

Thank you!

Heintz & Becker extends its thanks to the Anna Maria Island Sail & Power Squadron and its dedicated members for all that they do to promote boating safety and education in our community.  We hope that our sharing this information will help more people discover the Anna Maria Squadron and become involved in its good works.  We can work to make boating safer and hold careless and impaired boaters responsible for their actions.  Call us if you or a member if your family has been a victim of a boating accident caused by a careless or impaired boater.

Related Posts: Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 7: Small Craft Advisories, Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 6: Tips for Stocking Your Boat’s First Aid Kit, Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 5: Wear It! Florida Campaign Provides a Great Holiday Gift Idea

Source(s):  Anna Maria Island Sail & Power Squadron

Heintz & Becker Motorcycle Safety Series Part 23: Helmet and Accessory Recalls

We dealt with the important issue of motorcycle recalls in our most recent motorcycle safety post, but those are not the only type of recall that motorcycle owners need to be aware of.  Recall notices can also be issued for helmets and accessories.  That means your super cool helmet, your killer handle bars or some other accessory may be unsafe.  Helmet and accessory recalls are serious.  Helmets are subject to recalls if they fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.  These helmets may not adequately protect a user in the event of a head impact during a crash.  Recalled accessories may have parts that can fail or come loose, or present some other serious safety issue.  False, missing or incomplete labeling information can also result in a helmet or accessory being recalled.

motorcycle helmetSo, how is someone supposed to find out if a particular helmet or accessory has been recalled?  While, just like for motorcycles, there is a searchable recall database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety at, it’s unrealistic to expect owners to be diligent in watching the database for helmet and accessory recall notices.  Helmet owners and prospective purchasers can check the website for helmet recall notice information.  Developed by the Motorcycle Industry Council’s (MIC) Helmet Task Force, is a voluntary website that provides information on DOT-compliant helmets from participating manufacturers and is a good source of a variety of helmet-related information, research and public service announcements.  Motorcycle newsletters and magazines do provide information about helmet and accessory recalls, but coverage is limited and hit and miss.  Practically, speaking, the best thing you can do is buy only top-quality products and take the time to register your personal information with the manufacturer at the time you purchase a helmet or accessory.  Keep this information in a file and send in an address change update if you move.  Finally, this is just one more reason that purchasing items second hand is not recommended as there is only the slightest chance that you’ll find out if the item was recalled.

The motorcycle attorneys at Heintz & Becker hope that this information will serve as a reminder to motorcycle owners that product safety concerns apply to all aspects of motorcycling.  A recalled helmet or accessory is just as serious an issue as a recalled motorcycle.  If you are unsure about the safety of a helmet or accessory, don’t take chances – make safety your number one priority and get a quality replacement that meets federal safety standards.  The experienced attorneys at Heintz & Becker want motorcycle helmet and accessory manufacturers to be held responsible for the safety of their products.  If you or a member of your family has been injured by a defective product of any kind, we invite you to call us to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.


Motorcycle Safety Series Part 22: Important Recall Reminder

While newspapers, television and online news services frequently provide up to the minute recall advisories for cars and trucks, that same level of coverage is just not provided when it comes to motorcycles.  For example, there was little coverage given to Yamaha’s recent announcement that it is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 YZF-R3 F/G motorcycles manufactured Jan. 1, 2015 to April 15, 2016 for a serious problem that could prevent riders from being able to disengage the clutch, cause them to be unable to stop and create a dangerous crash risk (Yamaha Recall No. 990105).  While Yamaha will send notification to owners of record, some bikes may have been sold and some owners may have moved, meaning that some owners may have no idea that their bike may have a serious safety issue.

bw motorcycleThere are resources

With the minimal, if any, mainstream news coverage that is given to motorcycle recalls, motorcycle owners need to be proactive in keeping themselves informed of any recalls that may be issued for their motorcycles.  The number one comprehensive source for motorcycle recall advisory information is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or online at  In addition, motorcycle manufacturer hotlines and websites will be a source for recall information for that manufacturer’s models.  Make sure to register your personal information with your motorcycle’s manufacturer, and send in address change updates, so they’ll have your current contact details in case a recall notice is issued.  Another way to keep informed about recalls and other safety-related news is to be involved with a motorcycle club for owners of the same kind of bike that you own, and by subscribing to motorcycle owner newsletters and magazines.

Be responsible

Remember, you are not only responsible for your own safety, but you are also responsible for the safety of others around you.  Failing to keep current on recall information puts you and others at risk.  In addition, knowing that your motorcycle has a safety issue and failing to have recall-related or other needed safety repairs made could subject you to major liability if you end up causing harm to someone else.  Because this is such an important safety issue, the motorcycle attorneys at Heintz & Becker are publishing this reminder to all motorcycle owners to regularly check posted recalls and to get repairs made as quickly as possible after learning of a recall or other safety concern.  If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else and need an experienced motorcycle attorney, call us anytime for a free no-obligation appointment to discuss your claim.

Source(s): Powersports Business, “Yamaha issues motorcycle recall”, posted July 26, 2016

Related Posts: Heintz & Becker Motorcycle Safety Series Part 17: Airbag Protection Being Developed for Motorcycle Riders, One Person, One Accident, One Life Forever Changed, Will Emergency Workers Know to Call You if One of Your Loved Ones has been in an Accident?

Beware the Yard Sale: Are You Getting Recalled Products?

“Yard-saling,” the oft well-planned and strategized hobby of traveling to other’s yards looking to uncover treasures untold, is an American passion. A quick Google search even gets a frequent search topic of “yard saling tips.” However, underlying dangers lurk; and even the most astute salers are often unaware. Due to the frequency of manufacturer recalls, that treasure you just unearthed could be the next worst thing you own. In addition to purchasing potentially dangerous items, you – the seller – could face legal consequences for selling an unrepaired item that has been recalled!

Do you know what you’re buying?

The recent IKEA furniture recall should put into perspective how careful one must be in regard to product recall awareness. With nearly 30 million items on the recall list, it’s easy to see how a yard sale or two might contain a dresser that is on the IKEA recall list. The age of the product line (nearly thirty years old) makes it highly probable that many recalled products have been or could be resold unknowingly. This could result in injuries like those caused in the “tip over” accidents that led to the massive recall.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, made the resale of recalled items illegal. The Act places liability on both companies and individuals reselling the products. The regulations require the sellers to ensure that the sale of their items does not violate federal laws. Obviously, greater concern is with larger online and retail shops such as Craigslist, Ebay, or local consignment shops and policing these is easier than tracking down wayward yard sale sellers, but we believe knowledge is power! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) expects anyone participating in the sale of used items to visit and confirm that their items are safe to resell. It’s an easy step that could bring serious peace of mind.

We’re here to help

The attorneys at Heintz & Becker hope that by helping to keep you better informed, you are better able to avoid potentially harmful situations. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a faulty product or someone’s negligent actions, visit or call 941-748-2916 to speak to a member of our staff.

Hurricane Season 2016

As of June 1st, the 2016 tropical season is officially upon us. The National Weather Service has predicted a very active season, which should make safety preparation for Floridians and other high risk area residents a top priority. This summer’s predicted strong La Nina weather pattern indicates that the southeastern United States could experience anywhere from 10-16 named storms. Hurricane Alex formed in the Atlantic early this year and was the first hurricane to form in the month of January since 1955. If Alex is an indication of things to come, we should take the message of getting prepared very seriously.

The lack of tropical activity in previous years has more than likely placed thoughts of dangerous weather in the back of my people’s minds. With consistent and favorable conditions for tropical cyclone development upon us, now is the time for you to prepare and have a plan in the event of an unexpected catastrophe. There are numerous resources available, including many websites, that can help you keep abreast of current weather conditions and provide how-to’s for getting “Hurricane Ready.”

Aside from awareness, having a plan to avoid disaster is essential. Ideally you will know if evacuation is necessary a few days before a storm hits. However, we all know weather can change very rapidly which is why readying family and home with supplies is key for residents of higher risk areas. In 2004, Hurricane Charley took an unexpected turn from the predicted path and devastated unsuspecting residents of Punta Gorda, FL. A full tank of gas in your vehicle and healthy quantities of bottled water and non-perishable food reserves are a good start to making the best of a disastrous scenario. The American Red Cross has detailed advice and instruction for how to prepare for and recover from catastrophe. As Florida residents it is important to stay in the know and expect the unexpected!

The team at Heintz & Becker hopes you’ll take this short blog to heart and beef up your hurricane preparations. Should you or a loved one need the help of an attorney, please call our office. If we are unable to help, we are always happy to try and provide you with an alternative.

Looking for a New Pet? Manatee County Adopt-A-Palooza is this Saturday, August 6, 2016 with all Adoptions only $5.00!

If you have been thinking about getting a new pet, the attorneys at Heintz & Becker ask you to mark your calendar and don’t miss this Saturday’s Adopt-A-Palooza at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, Haben Boulevard, Palmetto FL 34221.  All adoptions will be offered at the incredibly low price of only $5.00, plus $15.00 Manatee County License Fee and will support Manatee County’s No Kill Shelter Program.  The event starts at 11:00 a.m. and runs through 4:00 p.m., with free parking and free admission.  Attendees are encouraged to bring pet toys to be donated to the animal shelter.

In addition to pet adoptions, the event will feature rescue groups, specialty retailers, a
“Monster Mutt Truck”, food, beverages and raffle prizes.  Click on the video link below to watch the promotional video:

For more information, contact Manatee County Animal Services at 941-742-5933.  If you can’t make to Adopt-A-Palooza, Heintz & Becker urges you to check the Manatee County Animal Services Website for available dogs and cats, or plan a visit to the Palmetto Shelter or Downtown Meowtown:

Palmetto Shelter

305 – 25 Street W

Palmetto, Florida  34221


Monday -Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Downtown Meowtown

1002 Manatee Ave. W.

Bradenton, Fl.


Tues-Sat, 11 am – 3 pm

Source(s): Manatee County Animal Services

Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 11: Boating with Kids

There are few things more exciting to many kids than getting to go on a boat.  Not only is it a great way to have fun and enjoy the outdoors, it can be a great way to teach kids about safety, teamwork and responsibility.  When kids are introduced to safe boating at an early age, they are much more likely to become safe boaters for life.

Life Jackets and Sunscreen are a MUST! Alcohol is NOT!

sailboat kids cartoonWhatever the age, all children and adults should wear age-appropriate life jackets – no exceptions.  The better the fit and comfort, the less fussing and complaining you’ll get, so invest in a good quality, comfortable life jacket.  Remember, what you do while boating with your kids teaches your kids by example.  So, put on a life jacket yourself and leave the alcohol at home.  Before strapping on the life jackets you need to slather on the sunscreen.  Getting sunscreen on a bunch of wiggling kids is real work, but make it a rule – no sunscreen – no boat.  Top it off with protective clothing, hats and sunglasses.


Get The Kids Involved!

Next, bring on the gear and provisions.  Assign each kid some age-appropriate tasks like counting out 2-3 bottles of water for each person, helping make sandwiches, and packing healthy snacks.  Someone also needs to be responsible for making a list of what you’re bringing with you so you don’t accidently leave things behind.  More mature kids can also help check the weather forecast, make up your Float-Plan and communicate your plan to friends and relatives.

Be prepared to spend more time preparing, packing, unpacking and cleaning up than boating itself.  The smaller the kids, the shorter the trip should be.  Take things slow and teach boating safety in increments – what things are called, what they do, etc.  Kids want to learn how to do things themselves, so encourage them: give kids short lengths of rope and begin teaching them how to tie basic knots, let them help chart your course, check your lights, first-aid kit and other safety gear, and show them how to use your GPS.

Can I Drive?

Of course, what do kids want to be allowed to do more than anything?  Drive the boat!  Letting your kid drive the boat will give them a feeling of independence, control and responsibility.  Florida has no minimum age requirements to operate a boat.  A child may be allowed to “drive” under the supervision of a qualified, responsible adult who is responsible for the safe operation of the vessel (a person who is least 18 years old who is either exempt from the educational requirements or who possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card).  Use this time to teach kids how to safely operate the controls, how to read channel markers and how to operate around other boats with courtesy.

Heintz & Becker hopes that parents will find this information useful.  Remember, be a good example, teach and explain, and give kids a chance to help and be involved.  We thank all of our readers who have helped to make our boating safety series a big success.  As always, Heintz & Becker’s experienced boating accident attorneys are standing by if you are ever injured as the result of someone else’s careless boating.

Source(s): Boating Magazine, “Boating With Kids”, posted February 4, 2009; BoatUS, “Boating With Children”, posted April/May 2015

CRPS/RSD PART 26: Woman Writes Emotional Letter to Life Altering Car Crash

We recently came across an item on a website called The Mighty that we found especially moving.  It’s a letter that starts with three simple words: “Dear Car Wreck.”  Written by a woman in her thirties named Jessica, it’s a letter to the car wreck that happened when she was a teenager that changed her life and left her in chronic pain.  It begins with her description of waking up in the hospital having no memory of the crash that had slashed her face, crushed her legs, broke her ribs, and caused her lung to collapse.

lettersJessica’s letter describes the painful process she endured in the hospital, going through physical therapy and going home to try to keep up with school.  She describes her struggle to learn how to walk again and the pain that never stopped and still continues to this day.  “I don’t remember you,” car wreck, “but you will never be forgotten,” she writes.  Nearing the end of her letter, she realizes that she wasn’t writing a letter to the car wreck itself, but to the pain that just would not go away and that no one could tell her why.  Despite her pain, and her years of feeling broken, she writes that she is able to find joy, and expresses her hope that someday her doctors will find the cause and a solution to her pain and that her pain will someday end up helping others.

There is something special and emotionally moving about this letter.  We hope you will read the letter in its entirety and share it with others.  Heintz & Becker knows how chronic pain can forever change the lives of car accident victims and their families.  We hope that by sharing this letter and continuing to post information about CRPS/RSD we can increase awareness about the reality of chronic pain.  If you need an injury attorney who understands chronic pain, call us at Heintz & Becker.  We can schedule an appointment to discuss your case at our office, at the hospital or in your home.

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