Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Wrongful Death?

Losing a loved one is one of the greatest challenges any of us will ever face, and sometimes it seems as if the mourning process is endless. While it is difficult to watch someone go through an extended illness, there is often more time to prepare yourself (and your children) for the loss, and to consider how you will go on without them, hard as it may be. If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of others though—and suddenly—it can be extremely difficult to get past the unexpected loss and overwhelming changes in your life. In the case of a wrongful death, you may feel the typical phases of grief more acutely, and for a more extended time—especially anger and depression.

Despite the emotional turmoil and overall sadness associated with such an event, the future must be considered for partners and dependents left behind. Clear intent to harm and a violent or criminal act may be the reason for a wrongful death, or it may have been caused by negligence, to include:

  • Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian deaths
  • Boating accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Medical malpractice or accident in a hospital
  • Defective products
  • Accidents at the workplace, a childcare facility, or public venue

As an immediate family member or dependent, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. And although the time after such a traumatic event may leave you feeling helpless and extremely worried about the future, it is your right to seek compensation with the help of a skilled wrongful death attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker. Be aware that insurance companies for the other side may be quick to step in and encourage communication; however, they do not have the best interest of you or your family in mind. If they offer you financial compensation, remember that their agenda is to settle with you for as little as possible, and as quickly as possible. Speak with an attorney first to protect yourself and your family.

You may be due damages not only for the loss of your loved one and pain and suffering, but also for hospital and funeral costs and loss of other income.

Contact Heintz & Becker today. Our wrongful death lawyers represent families in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas who have lost loved ones due to catastrophic injuries. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Too Many Motorcycle Crashes Still End in Fatality

The motorcycle is so much more than just a utilitarian mode of transportation for those traveling on the highways and byways of the US. Motorcycling is a lifestyle, with great camaraderie enjoyed by those who share an appreciation for the outdoors and a greater sense of freedom in travel. There are actual health benefits to riding a motorcycle too, and novices will usually find themselves quickly getting into shape. Financial benefits abound also: motorcycles can be much less expensive to buy in comparison to a newer car (depending on your preference!), fuel is much cheaper, and in some cases parts and maintenance can be less. The environmental footprint can also be much smaller.

Unfortunately, one of the major downfalls in riding a motorcycle is navigating safety issues while sharing the roads with motorists—and as traffic accidents involving cars increase, so do those involving motorcycles and everyone else. Motorists driving trucks and cars are protected by vehicles weighing exponentially more, not to mention a range of safety mechanisms not available to the motorcyclist. Their vulnerability on the road can lead to much greater risk of leg injuries, broken bones, facial trauma, road rash, traumatic brain injuries, and more.

Even with public access to affordable driving courses, widespread safety information, and a continuing drive for motorists to watch out for motorcyclists on the roads, fatalities have continued to rise, with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data placing Florida in the number one spot for motorcycle crash deaths. The top five counties for fatalities are listed as Miami/Dade, Hillsborough, Broward, Palm Beach, and Pinellas.

While distracted driving has taken an unpleasant hold over motorists in Florida (as well as the rest of the nation as the leading cause for injuries and deaths), speeding, reckless driving, and operating a vehicle while drunk or on drugs are still among the most common reasons for accidents and fatalities. Visibility issues are often a reason for accidents and fatalities too, but motorists are responsible for being alert to everything and everyone around them as they drive, as well as being tolerant of everyone sharing the road. Drivers should always check blind spots, give motorcyclists plenty of space, and be extremely cautious when turning at intersections.

Diligent and defensive driving is more important than ever for today’s motorcyclist. Proper training and experience is necessary before heading out into heavy traffic and promoting a strong presence in traffic can make a great difference, wearing bright colors, revving the engine when necessary, and making eye contact with motorists before turning. Keeping the headlights on and shifting in lanes when needed to avoid being in motorists’ blind spots can help prevent serious accidents too.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Bicycling Safety: Using Multi-Use Paths

Bicycling is a great activity, promoting the health of all ages—from kindergartners to senior citizens. Taking off on two wheels allows you to get out into the fresh Florida air, enjoying landscapes of lush foliage highlighted by that famous sunshine and accompanying warm weather. This low-impact exercise is excellent for strengthening muscles, as well as cardiovascular and lung health. The ‘fuel’ is free and provided by you at will—offering an incredibly environmentally friendly way to get around town too. Sometimes it can be difficult to find an enjoyable area to cruise around though, whether you are in a small resort area or a mid- to large-sized city.

While serious athletes may have no problems cycling anywhere, you could sometimes find it difficult to locate a suitable and safe place for yourself or the whole family to ride. Even as so many cities have built (or are in the process of designing and building) outrageously expensive paths for residents and tourists to traverse, these narrow areas can be congested and difficult to navigate without injury. And you may not only be worried about injury to yourself or kids, but others on the path who seem oblivious to bicycles trying to pass. There are often many other activities going on in multi-use areas too such as jogging, individuals stopping abruptly to look at things along the way, moms strolling babies, or walking pets who may lunge or move unpredictably.

When riding in a multi-use area, follow these safety tips:

  • Give a wide berth to everyone in the vicinity and use normal traffic signals when necessary. Be aware of any speed limits on the path, as well as practicing necessary precautions at crosswalk areas.
  • Manage your speed – a multi-use path is obviously not the venue for high-speed cycling. If you want to ride at faster speeds, choose another area such as the road.
  • Use a loud bell or horn to warn others on the path of your presence, but keep in mind that some (especially when jogging and walking) could be listening to music and unable to hear you.
  • Always yield right of way to pedestrians.
  • Use common sense and patience as everyone moves at their own pace.

Bicycling and walking are meant to be positive activities but can also result in major injuries and even fatalities when proper safety measures are not taken. This is even more true when traveling in normal traffic areas. Defensive riding and walking measures are just as important as defensive driving in traffic.

If you have been injured in a serious bicycle or pedestrian accident due to the negligence of others, your quality of life may have been affected along with your income as you are temporarily, or permanently, unable to work. To consult with a skilled injury lawyer, contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Medical Marijuana in Florida

The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic for the last few decades. It has been considered an alternative to narcotic treatments for many different illnesses. It has been fully legalized in nine different states plus Washington D.C. It has also been legalized for strictly medical purposes in many more states including Florida. The regulations for medical marijuana in Florida that were passed in March of 2016 allow for the use of this controlled substance for the following conditions:

  • ALS
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV
  • PTSD
  • Chron’ s disease
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis

This law also allowed for “other debilitating medical conditions of the same class” in order to entitle people with less common medical conditions to be able to treat their ailments with marijuana. At the same time the law was designed to prevent doctors from over prescribing for medical conditions that are less severe. In other words, you must be debilitated enough to require this treatment.

For doctors in the State of Florida to qualify to prescribe medical marijuana they must have a medical degree and at least a year of post-graduate residency as well as complete a state-mandated two- hour course. Currently Florida has over twenty state approved dispensaries that are run by seven licensed companies. If you have qualified to receive medical marijuana, you are required to buy from one of these licensed dispensaries or you can be cited by the police.

Currently the types of medical marijuana allowed in Florida are much stricter than many other states. You are allowed extract oils and tinctures, however any flowered smokable marijuana is not available in the sunshine state. Florida’s medical marijuana is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid at this time and can only be purchased with cash or credit.

As far as opening your own dispensary goes the process is very difficult. When the law was first passed it required anyone running a dispensary to grow, extract, and sell only their product. To fulfill the first step of growing legally you must have owned a nursery for 30 years just to qualify. As the state registry continues to rise, the number of licenses issued will also rise. Once the registry reaches 100,000 people (currently at 70,000) additional licenses will be issued. These licenses are more valuable than gold to many big corporations with one recently selling for just under 50 million dollars.

Being prescribed this medication does come with a few negative ramifications. Veterans who are legally prescribed may lose their benefits due to the drug still being federally illegal, but this is a case by case issue. Luckily, being on this registry will not affect your ability to own a firearm or prevent you from losing any other civil rights.

Recreational marijuana in the State of Florida is still illegal for the foreseeable future, but this may change as soon as 2022. For now, the longer these companies hold their license, the more valuable they become. We can expect to someday see the smaller mom & pop style dispensaries to be bought out by the bigger established companies.

If you have questions or need to schedule a legal consultation, please call Heintz & Becker now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

Written by Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

 

 

Florida Bridge Collapse

On March 15, 2018, South Florida fell victim to a disastrous bridge collapse. This bridge collapse claimed the lives of six people and ten others were left hospitalized. The bridge was erected for just five days before the accident happened. This giant new piece of infrastructure was 174 feet long combined with 950 tons and intended to reduce traffic around FIU’s sprawling campus. Two days before the collapse one of the lead engineers of the project left a voicemail with a state transportation official warning them of some identified “cracking,’ but did not consider it a safety issue at the time. This voicemail was not received until Friday when the official whom the message was intended for returned to the office after being out on assignment.

The FDOT has attempted to distance themselves from this travesty led by Governor Rick Scott who claimed it is an FIU (private college) project rather than their own, as well as FDOT spokesperson Dick Kane who released a statement stating “The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team,” leaving the blame on MCM and FIGG Bridge Group, who was selected by a committee including FDOT members.

As of March 20, 2018, two lawsuits have been filed against MCM and their hired private engineering firms. One of these lawsuits is being filed on behalf of Marquise Rashaad Hepburn who was on his bicycle traveling beneath the south end of the bridge when it collapsed. Mr. Hepburn was hospitalized with serious spinal injuries. The other suit was filed on behalf of Alberto Aries who was crushed with his partner during the collapse. Litigation is expected to take years to complete and many other legal claims made by victims are expected to be filed.

As of March 19, 2018, Governor Scott suspended all future payments in federal funding allocated towards this project, an approximate $13.6 million. This funding will be suspended until the National Transportation Safety Board finishes their investigation.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

Written by Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Childcare Negligence: Steps to Take After a Serious Accident

Bringing a new life into the world is an experience unlike no other—and protecting it thereafter becomes a full-time job throughout parenthood. Today’s busy world though, along with the common need for families to produce two incomes, often means paying others to watch, teach, and entertain our children while we work; above all though, we expect childcare workers and facilities to keep our children safe.

As parents, we want to be assured that all lines of communication are open so that whoever is taking care of our kids can get in touch. Still, there is always a sense of anxiety upon finding that the babysitter, daycare center, or school is calling. And it is a terrible, heart stopping moment to hear that your child has been hurt. Along with experiencing enormous fear about what has happened to your child, you may also immediately be angry toward the party responsible for them at the time of the injury. While those in charge may have indeed been negligent, it is important to be calm for your child and get the best medical care possible for your child immediately. If they have been transported to a hospital already, be sure that the medical facility possesses the proper type of diagnostic tools and specialized care that may be required in the case of a serious injury.

After medical care has been sought, call an experienced injury law firm like Heintz & Becker as soon as possible to discuss the best course of action legally. A skilled child injury attorney will be able to examine the details of the case and fight to get compensation for your child’s injuries, whether they were the result of negligent or intentional acts. There may also be a different process for dealing with either a private or public facility, and your attorney will be able to guide regarding a claim.

Typical accidents that occur in childcare facilities are falls—and often on playgrounds. Such accidents could result in broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even fatalities. Other problems can arise due to negligence such as poisoning from toxic materials, burns, injuries due to fighting amongst children, and more. Injuries while children are in the care of others is usually a result of lack of supervision. Babysitters may become distracted or childcare facilities may simply not have enough resources to go around.

If your child has been injured while in the care of someone else or in a daycare setting, contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Road Safety: Why is Florida Getting Such a Bad Rap?

Florida is renowned around the world for drawing in a thriving tourist trade, and with obvious reason–but it is also becoming renowned for a bad grade in road safety. Visitors and locals can stroll on beautiful beaches near the Gulf or the Atlantic, along with enjoying boating, fishing, having fun at some of the most famous amusement parks in the US, and exploring the rich history of the state. To enjoy Florida fully though, you must inevitably engage in plenty of driving, whether on quaint old back roads or large highways crossing from coast to coast. And unfortunately, some of the Sunshine State’s interstates are now known to be among the deadliest.

If you are familiar with the Florida Keys and have driven up or down U.S. 1 on a beautiful day, it may be hard to imagine it as part of one of the most dangerous highways in Florida; however, recent news points out that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration data shows U.S. 1 at the top of the list in terms of traffic fatalities, with 1,079 deaths in the past ten years on this roadway spanning 530 miles along the East Coast. Hitting the number two spot for fatal crashes is Tampa’s U.S. 41 with 772 deaths on the famous highway over the past decade. U.S. 27 and U.S. 441 are also high on the list for dangerous driving, but I-75 and I-95 are also a major concern as they take the 30th and 66th spots in the list of 100.

Numerous types of collisions are responsible for car crashes and the rising death toll on Florida highways, but distracted driving continues to be one of the top reasons for injuries and fatalities due to the temptation to communicate with smartphones or fiddle with other electronics in the car. Classic problems such as speeding, drinking and driving, and other reckless behaviors by negligent motorists continue to result in catastrophe on the roads as well. Florida is also famous for its population of aging drivers, as well as tourists who may have hit the bars and in using bad judgment, drive back to their hotels or other locations under the influence.

Along with tragic fatalities caused due to the negligence of others, car crashes can also cause spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, dislocations, and more—leading thousands to end up in emergency rooms around the US each day. Defensive driving skills are more important than ever, as Florida leads not only in car crash fatalities but pedestrian and bicyclist deaths as well.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another motorist? Call our office for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Avoiding Traffic Injuries: How Motorists Can Ensure Safety of Bicyclists

Although there are millions of drivers in the US, most of us enjoy other modes of travel too such as walking, riding motorcycles, and bicycling.

The rule is to share the road—and to do so safely—but it is easy to become impatient with others who may be traveling at a more leisurely pace; for instance, you may enjoy riding bikes with your family in your free time on the weekend or while on vacation, but find yourself highly annoyed by the bicyclist ahead of you in traffic on a Monday morning.

Many of us are consumed by time as we drive from home to work to errands and other activities—and this can carry over into our attitude while driving.

Some days it may just seem like everything and everyone are moving far too slowly—especially when there is a big work project due, kids are running late to school, and you are chomping at the bit to complete one task after another. No matter the time constraints though, safety should be the priority when sharing the road.

Extra precautions must be taken when traveling near pedestrians and bicyclists because they are so much more vulnerable in traffic situations, and accidents could more easily result in serious injuries or even fatalities for them.

Here are some tips for avoiding accidents with bicyclists:

  • Be patient – if cyclists are not able to travel in bike lanes or on paths, they may be riding in front of you and can cause a slowdown. Be sure to give them a wide berth. If the bicyclist is traveling behind you, be aware of their location and proximity in case you must brake suddenly.
  • Put down the distractions – don’t let the smartphone or other electronics in the car distract you from safe driving practices. Far too many injuries and fatalities for bicyclists and others are caused by distracted drivers today.
  • Watch your speed – be especially cautious in areas where bicyclists are traveling. Check (and doublecheck!) your blind spots, use side mirrors, and pass them with great caution.
  • Be alert when turning right into a crosswalk area– lack of focus or high speeds when turning without realizing what (or who) might be right around the corner is a common reason for accidents.
  • Look out before opening your door when parking on the street – serious injuries can be caused when bicyclists collide with car doors.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Motorcycle Traffic Awareness: Watch Out for Cars Ahead and Behind You

No matter how we get from one destination to another, most of us take arriving safely for granted, whether by car or motorcycle. Because making our way through traffic becomes such a rote exercise daily, it can be easy to forget how important it is to bring our A game for driving in every single trip. Complete focus is an absolute requirement for traveling safely, but that is often tossed by the wayside as drivers are tempted by numerous distractions. Smartphones, electronics, engaging with passengers, and more, result in hundreds of thousands of car crashes each year—and far too many fatalities.

Electronic distractions are not to blame for everything, however. Speeding, driving under the influence, and ignoring traffic rules such as stopping for red lights are still many of the major causes of accidents. Because of these ongoing traffic concerns, motorcyclists traveling on today’s roads must drive much more defensively, as well as taking it upon themselves to make sure that everyone around notices their presence.

Visibility is historically a big problem between motorists and motorcyclists. And while those riding motorcycles may be doing everything right, including following all traffic rules to a tee, the car driver simply may overlook them because they are used to scanning traffic for other cars and trucks which are more easily seen—and quickly so. We all share the road and that means special attention should be given in making sure we aren’t making a left turn and cutting off a motorcyclist—or turning into a crosswalk area as a pedestrian or bicyclist are making their way across. Visual acuity sometimes prevents this from happening though and can result in catastrophe. For more on this issue, see one of our recent blogs regarding motorcycles and traffic, ‘Danger on the Road: Why Motorcyclists Are So Often Overlooked.’

Driving defensively when either in front of or behind cars will help ensure that motorists can see you and are as prepared as possible for any sudden stops or starts; in fact, the best rule of thumb is to assume cars don’t see you at all and to take every precaution possible. This includes shifting around in the lane, whether in front or behind, and making sure to avoid any blind spots. Some motorcyclists will drive closer to the dividing line in traffic, giving themselves better visibility as well as latitude for moving back and forth. If you are driving behind a car, always give a wide berth to avoid an accident if they slam on their brakes unexpectedly.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injuries: Warning Signs

If you have kids, chances are you have spent an inordinate amount of time over the years trying to keep them safe. Each stage of childhood seems to have its challenges, from toddlers ready to dive into and off nearly anything that seems particularly dangerous, to teenagers who usually bring an entirely new set of challenges—and may also be heavily involved in sports activities known to result in a wide range of injuries.

Bumps, bruises, scrapes, and sometimes even breaks are to be expected in life, no matter how hard we work to prevent any hurt or discomfort from affecting our family members. Accidents happen, and sometimes they can be so severe that the healing process is lengthy. In some cases, and especially with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the injury may be so devastating that the harm done is irreparable or even fatal.

Any type of head injury should be taken seriously, and young children should be monitored even more closely as they may have trouble explaining how they are feeling—or may be too stunned by an injury to do so. Such injuries may occur during sports activities, or due to a blow to the head after a major accident such as a car or bicycle accident. Negligence on the part of others often plays a part in catastrophic injuries, and if you or a loved one have been affected, contact an experienced injury attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker as soon as possible.

Symptoms such as loss of consciousness, seizures, disorientation and headache are common in head injuries, but sometimes the signs of a TBI are not apparent for a while. Watch for indications such as:

  • Lack of interest in eating (or nursing, if the child is much younger)
  • Changes in sleep patterns, whether overly drowsy or unable to sleep
  • Concerning mood changes, irritability, or continual crying
  • Unusual inability to focus

TBIs are classified as mild, moderate, and severe, and can cause death in some cases. While traumas such as falls or accidents at school are often to blame, car accidents due to the negligence of others are a common cause of TBIs. Seek medical advice immediately if you suspect a head injury in your child (even a moderate one), or other complications after an accident.

If you or a loved one have been affected by an injury caused by the negligence of others and are seeking a skilled traumatic brain injury lawyer, contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.