FDOT Study Examines Bicycle Crash Patterns

If you have never been injured in a bicycling accident, then it may seem like one of the most enjoyable and healthy forms of exercise one could enjoy. After all, what could go wrong as you innocently take in the fresh air and the natural landscape, working your heart and lungs, and burning calories like crazy? Unfortunately, plenty. And this is not usually the bicyclist’s fault. As usual—and as in the case of motorcyclist accidents and pedestrian injuries—motorists are your greatest threat. Florida is evidence of this danger too, listed as one of the top states for bicyclist fatalities.

The state has been working to solve the problem, with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) performing an analysis on bike crashes last year. As far back as 2014, Florida was leading in bicyclist fatalities, and the numbers continue to be concerning each year. In their report, researchers explore causes and patterns of such accidents, along with pinpointing ‘hot spots,’ and ways to prevent crashes. They also create crash modification factors for evaluating to ‘assess safety effects of common engineering treatments on bicycle safety.’

In their analysis, the researchers examined 26,036 crashes occurring between 2011 and 2014, finding that age and sex figured into fatalities, with elderly bicyclists and men more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. Fatalities also occurred more frequently for bicyclists riding at night, for bicyclists riding against the flow of traffic, and for those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The analysis also includes many other detailed facts and statistics:

“The majority of bicycle crashes occurred on urban roadways; only 1.2% of all crashes that occurred on state roads occurred in rural areas,” states the report. “In terms of crash severity, 16.9% of all bicycle crashes that occurred on rural facilities resulted in fatalities while only 2.5% of those that occurred on urban facilities resulted in fatalities.”

“The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles was 43 years, while the average age of bicyclists involved in traffic crashes was 33.8 years. Among the different age groups, bicyclists between 45 and 54 years of age experienced the highest fatality rate of 19.76 fatalities per year per million population, and those in 65- to 74-year age group experienced the highest injury rate of 875.43 injuries per year per million population.”

The researchers point out the four main crash types:

  • The driver of a car turns right as a bicyclist is crossing.
  • Cars turn left facing bicyclists.
  • Bicyclists ride out into intersections.
  • Motorists run stop signs.

They also identified other reasons for accidents, to include lack of illumination at night in towns and cities, disregard for traffic laws, U-turns, bicyclists hitting car doors, complex intersections, and more.

As for measures to be taken in preventing further crashes, the team suggests more specific areas for bikes. Along with bike lanes, they suggest bicycle tracks and bicycle boulevards (‘defined as traffic-calmed side streets signed and improved for bicyclists to provide a safer alternative to riding on arterials’). Wider curb lanes, speed humps, lane reductions, and raised medians are suggested, along with more crosswalks and roadway lights.

Citing that bicycle crashes make up 5.6 traffic fatalities but overall only make up 1.9 percent of total accidents, the researchers point out that many bicycling accidents are severe.

“Drivers were found to be at-fault in 45.7% (1,321 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes while bicyclists were at-fault in 30.2% (871 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes. Both bicyclists and drivers were found to be at-fault in very few crashes (0.8%, 22 of 2,888 bicycle crashes),” states the report.

Both drivers and bicyclists tended to be at fault when not yielding right-of-way, ignoring traffic rules, and driving carelessly.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, 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.

 

What to Do After You’re Injured at a Hotel or Resort

When you’re staying at a hotel or a resort, you should fully enjoy your experience. It may be one of the few times of the year you can decompress and relax without any worries.

But sometimes you have been in an accident during your stay. And if you’re injured on their property, you may not know what to do.

That’s why the injury lawyers at Heintz & Becker have listed a few steps you should do if you find yourself injured from an accident at a hotel or resort.

And if you still have questions, call our law firm at (941) 748-2916.

Hotel and Resort have responsibilities to their visitors

Hotels and resorts are legally required to provide a reasonably safe environment for their guests.

While they aren’t liable for every accident that could happen, if they are aware of a hazardous situation that could cause harm, they must address the issue or inform their guests of the hazard.

If the hotel or resort fails to do either, they may be found negligent and you may be able to file an injury claim for compensation for your injuries.

What you can sue for

If you have been injured at a hotel or resort and you would like to sue, then it is important to know what you can sue for. Hotels and resorts can be held liable if you are injured on their property if they acted negligently.

A slip and fall accident is one of, if not, the most common accidents that could happen at a hotel or resort. But the situation dictates whether the business is liable.

For example, if one guest spills a soda in a common area and someone immediately slipped, fell, and suffered an injury from the soda spill, then the business would not be liable. The business did not know about the spill or have enough time to address the slipping hazard before someone was injured.

But if a room is cleaned and a slipping hazard was not addressed by the cleaning staff, then the hotel would be liable since they knew the hazard was there and did nothing to address it.

Slip and fall injuries aren’t the only thing guests may file an injury suit for. Hotels and resorts must also control any insect infestations on the property. Bed bugs would be one example.

Bed bug bites can cause infections and scars, so it is very important to document the injury and immediately visit a clinic or hospital. After receiving medical help, you can begin the process of filing and reporting your injury

When hotels and resorts are responsible for your injury

Hotels and resorts are responsible for your injury when your injury occurs on the premises. They can be held liable for your injury if they do not warn visitors of prior hazards throughout their property.

Proving that negligence was involved requires more concrete evidence, but establishing that hotels and resorts are responsible for your injury is a great first step.

Who to contact if you are injured at a hotel or resort

It is important to feel safe at any hotel or resort that you visit. If you are injured at a hotel or resort, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. With attorneys who are experienced in personal injury cases, we can help you if you have been injured at a hotel or resort. We have locations in Bradenton and Sarasota, and we can help you if you want to explore your legal options.

Contact us online, call us today at (941)-748-2916 for a free consultation, or visit one of our offices for more information.

Intersections: All Travelers Must Take Extra Precautions to Avoid Injury

The roads are full of hazards. While you may find yourself driving white-knuckled to work in rain or snow or weaving through road construction zones that sometimes seem like an extremely difficult and unfair road test, there are many, many other dangers that cannot be underestimated—and both sadly and unfortunately, most of these other hazards are presented by humans and could be prevented in many cases.

Distracted driving is one of the greatest dangers to everyone traveling today, and that goes for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone on the road. With driving and texting being one of the biggest quotients in distracted driving, states such as Florida have made such activity illegal.

Still, however, thousands of lives are claimed each year. And while that may be a host of new problems motorists and law enforcement officials are forced to deal with, most of the other issues still plague the roads too such as drunk driving, speeding, and other reckless behaviors, even including those who may simply be drowsy.

Your greatest weapon as a motorist is in defensive driving! And while this begins as soon as you put on your seatbelt and turn your key in the ignition, there are hotspots that require extra precautions, from following direction at stoplights and stop signs, to ensuring that you are giving other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians right of way as required. Intersections are the one of the most high-risk zones.

Obviously—and especially in larger cities—there is a lot going on at most intersections, and especially during rush hour. You must navigate lanes, stoplights, turning, and all the while there may be other traffic crossing too such as adults and children on bikes or people traveling on foot.

Crashes at intersections tend to be even worse. While motorists making left turns must be cautious, this is even more true for those traveling on two wheels. Motorcyclists or bicyclists in traffic should always doublecheck before turning and even attempt to make eye contact with motorists if possible.

Extreme alertness is required by all parties to avoid any potential for a crash. Motorists who run red lights also put everyone in grave danger, most commonly sideswiping others traveling innocently along. Rear-endings are a common type of accident at intersections too, with any of these crashes leading to the possibility of fatalities or harm such as:

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, 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.

Head On Collisions Most Common for Motorcyclists

The roads are dangerous for everyone. And while cars and trucks dominate the road, there are plenty of motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians weaving in and out of traffic zones too—meaning that anyone who is driving must be alert; unfortunately, in today’s driving climate it often seems that is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Cars are decked out with all the latest electronics, meaning there are complex stereo systems and DVD players to be tended to, not to mention the ever-present cell phone presenting the ongoing temptation to talk and text (or even email and surf online). Distractions cause thousands of deaths each year on the roads of the US—many of which could be prevented.

Motorcyclists Are More Vulnerable in a Crash

Speeding, driving under the influence, and other reckless behaviors continue to threaten travelers, but some are more vulnerable than others. Motorcyclists fit notably into this category as they move along on the roads and highways at the same speed as cars and trucks and in the same traffic zones—but their vehicles are exponentially lighter and offer significantly less protection, putting them in greater danger for injury and even death.

Head-On Collisions Often Occur at Intersections

While everyone should be driving defensively, motorcyclists must take extra care to make sure they are visible. This means wearing brightly colored clothing whenever possible, using neon strips on helmets, boots, or the bike itself, and adding extra lights. Visibility can be even more challenging in traffic areas such as intersections where head-on collisions are most common due to motorists being surprised by a smaller vehicle such as a motorcycle in their path. This is often compounded by speeding or other careless driving. Any type of head-on collision has the potential to be catastrophic, but if a motorcyclist is involved, the results can be fatal or seriously debilitating, to include spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, road rash, and more.

If you ride a motorcycle, make sure to be both seen (bright colors) and heard (revving the engine when necessary), avoid getting into blind spots where a motorist cannot see you, and give cars plenty of distance. Because intersections and other traffic stops tend to be areas more prone to crashes, make eye contact with motorists before turning whenever you can.

Contact Us for Help!

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!

 

Open Car Doors Pose Injury to Bicyclists

Bicycling may have changed quite a bit from the days of yore when kids (and often quite young ones!) traveled all over town daily, from going to school and seeing friends afterward, to traveling to the neighborhood candy store. As adults though, many of us still enjoy two-wheel travel. Except for start-up cost and a small amount of maintenance, bicycling is free—depending only on our energy for travel. The health benefits of bicycling are vast, from strengthening our cardiovascular health to building muscles and bones, promoting weight loss, fighting off the potential for diabetes, and so much more.

Safety is a major issue today for bicyclists though—and one that must not be overlooked as traffic deaths continue to rise in the US—and bicycle (and pedestrian) fatalities continue to be a concern for Florida especially. While recent news has examined why Florida seems to be such a dangerous place for bicyclists, cities and towns continue to try and make many areas safer, along with putting more emphasis on public safety tips. And while it might seem like a common-sense issue, car doors being opened suddenly are a common source of bicyclists who may be traveling at a good clip only to be smacked by a motorist exiting their vehicle quickly (also known as ‘getting doored’). Both parties should be watching out for each other in traffic, as severe injury could be caused to the bicyclist, and the motorist be may be found at fault for negligence; however, if you are a bicyclist, it is more important than ever to ‘ride’ defensively.

Other accidents are commonly caused at crosswalk areas, intersections, and in both rear-end and head-on collisions in traffic. Kids tend to have the highest injury rate due to vulnerability in size and lack of experience on the road, but anyone is at risk when facing a 4,000 lb. (or more) vehicle. Head injuries, paralysis, broken bones, road rash, and much more may be caused during a bicycle crash. Protective gear (beginning with the helmet) is vital, along with following traffic rules and staying alert.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, 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.

Study Examines Most Dangerous Toys This Year

Many consumers put their blind faith in manufacturers when they purchase an item, assuming it has been tested, used by others with success, and stamped with a seal of approval for safety. And although play is often called ‘the work of children,’ we want to know that they can engage in recreation in a carefree manner and enjoy themselves without being put in harms way; unfortunately, children’s toys tend to be one of the areas where we see the most product defects, whether they cause choking, burns, cuts, injuries, and in some tragic cases even fatalities. Other times, toys aren’t technically defective, but they are just bad news and should be avoided.

Organizations such as W.A.T.C.H. keep families up to date on dangerous toys to watch out for, and their most recent list highlights some surprising problems, such as a wooden car that was recalled earlier in May due to detachable wheels that could pose a choking hazard. They also point out that the most innocent toys can turn into choking hazards if any of the small parts can be removed—with the headband from a doll being a good example.

Darts are high on the list too. And while these can be dangerous for anyone when a game is going, they could lead to serious injury for kids. Lawn darts are still on the market despite many different types of these being banned (pointed darts have been prohibited since 1988). They are often for sale online, and present obvious risk to children, including traumatic brain injury if they were to be hit with the ones bearing heavy, weighted bottoms.

Slingshots are another product to avoid, and although the press release points out they have been banned in several northern states, they are easy to obtain elsewhere and can cause serious injury—especially in the form of water balloon slingshots. And as children in Florida often spend so much time enjoying outdoor activities that include the beach, pools, water parks, and more, it is recommended that parents keep a close eye on all toys for the water, as well as other contraptions like inflatable water slides which have been known to cause injuries, including paralysis. Anything that contains water and would feasibly allow a child to get into it could pose a problem—from baby pools to buckets. Water guns are warned against as well.

For older kids (and adults), ATVs offer a lot of recreation, but also the great potential for injury or death if they crash or overturn. Children should not be driving them, and even as passengers they could be hurt or killed:

“Families should know the history of serious injuries associated with ATV use when weighing the risks of children riding as passengers; the safest choice may be for children to stay away from ATVs altogether! Recommended safety precautions, such as avoiding paved roads and wearing helmets, could minimize the risk of some injuries but not prevent all injuries,” states the release.

Has your child been injured due to a dangerous toy or a product defect? If so, please call Heintz & Becker. 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.

Ten People Die Every Day from Drowning

Swimming is not just a fun activity but usually a healthy one; in fact, it is recommended for all ages, with some kids learning to enjoy the water as babies. Families enjoy outings to the beach together up and down both coasts of Florida, along with sailing, fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, and more. Unfortunately, with so much time spent on the water there is even more opportunity for accidents to happen—and Florida leads in drowning deaths for children.

In the US overall, the CDC reports that ten people die per day due to drowning. When you add in boating deaths, that increases the toll to around 330 other deaths annually too.

“About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger,” states the CDC. “For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.”

“More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).”

When it comes to keeping kids safe in the water:

  • Always make sure there is adult supervision.
  • Start them on swimming lessons as early as possible but remember—that does not mean there is not still the potential for drowning.
  • If you are going to the beach or boating, stay up to date with the weather report.
  • Require them to wear life jackets when boating.
  • Eliminate alcohol from the equation altogether—not only is supervision lax and judgment inhibited when the adults are drinking, but this can also play a part in many adult drownings and other accidents on the water.

Precautions should be taken at home if you have a swimming pool, to include proper maintenance. In Florida, you must have at least one of the required safety options such as a 48” high fence or an alarm, self-latching devices, or an approved pool cover. Drains can be a major issue in pools too, leading to drowning if children or adults have their hair caught up in the sucking mechanisms. Modern drains are designed to prevent such issues, but if you have an older pool, update drains as soon as possible.

If you have been injured on the water or in a swimming pool or boating accident due to the negligence of others, 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!

Child Drownings Increasing in Florida

Whether you have lived in Florida your whole life or just enjoyed traveling there, and perhaps far more than once, there are probably a lot of great memories centered around the pool area. Not only is swimming a great way to burn calories, get in excellent cardio exercise, build muscle strength, and offer so many more benefits to your health, gathering around the pool itself is often a great way to relax. In Florida, the pool is a popular venue for birthday parties, get togethers, cookouts, and so much more. You may find yourself dreaming about a vacation where you just spend days there, lying in the sun, reading a good book, and taking the requisite dip as needed to cool off.

While the kids play, and you relax, however, safety must always be at the top of the mind—with even more diligence due as recent news proclaims Florida the leader in swimming pool accidents, and even more frightening: more children died in swimming pool accidents in Florida last year than any other state. Warm weather year-round, and more places to swim in general, make it obvious why there are more accidents—but a 20 percent increase in deaths (from 40 to 51 fatalities) should get everyone’s attention.

A recent study by the USA Swimming Foundation showed that of the 51 children who drowned in Florida last year (all under the age of 15), the majority were under five years old. Not only that, across the US, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four. The top states for leading in child drownings are as follows:

  • Florida (51 fatalities)
  • Arizona (25 fatalities)
  • Texas (25 fatalities)
  • California (20 fatalities)
  • Georgia (12 fatalities)

What further actions can you take to ensure safety for your child while swimming? Most importantly, create strong swimmers. Attending swimming lessons throughout the years will allow them to continue honing their skills—and many children take that one step further by competing on swim teams. Along with that, be sure that kids have a safe place to swim, as improper pool maintenance (especially in terms of drain covers) can lead to injuries. Everyone who is old enough to be licensed (usually by nine) should learn CPR, and children should always be supervised while swimming, with access to a safety flotation device nearby.

Were you or your child injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of others? If so, please call 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.

Keeping Your Distance: Rear End Collisions Often Fatal to Motorcyclist

Motorcyclists are often a rare breed, turning travel into more of a lifestyle than a commute, and forming quick bonds with other like-minded souls on the road. Those who are experienced riders have often already had an accident or two in their lifetime and are wary during their daytime commute or joyriding as they take off in much coveted down time and enjoy the natural landscape of the US.

Even most novices understand what to do to avoid accidents with cars, although they may not be as skilled at handling themselves in the event of a collision. The standard advice such as remaining visible (brightly colored clothing, neon strips on helmets, bike, etc.) usually applies to most individuals riding, along with being heard—which might be why you often hear engines revved at traffic stops. Education about riding is key, along with understanding the specific bike, and knowing how to perform basic, required maneuvers.

What is often overlooked, however, is the knowledge all motorists should have so they can avoid colliding with a motorcycle (as well as bicyclists or pedestrians, all of which are a concern with traffic accidents on the rise). Unfortunately, the most basic issues such as visibility are often a challenge to begin with as motorists’ eyes are so much more attuned to seeing larger objects like vehicles and trucks—and this is one of the biggest causes of accidents. But along with making sure they see motorcycles, motorists should always be aware of their blind spots, doublechecking for drivers behind them.

Keeping the proper distance can be the most important safety measure in avoiding a collision with a motorcycle though. Employing the three- to four-second rule is a good way to prevent accidents, and especially a rear-end collision—keeping in mind that motorcyclists may not give you immediate warning with a brake light if they are gearing down or coasting in anticipation of a stop. While it is easy to get irritated in traffic with any driver, remember that a rear-end collision could end in substantial property damage, severe injury to a motorcyclist, and even fatality; in fact, rear-end collisions tend to be much more fatal for individuals riding on motorcycles than in cars.

Think of how many fender benders you may have been in personally—or how many you may have seen occur between cars. While a tap on a bumper may have meant little in an incident between a car or a truck, in the case of a motorcycle, the motorcyclist could be thrown from their bike. While fatalities are all too common (and sadly, Florida tops the list for motorcycle deaths), serious injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, fractures, and burns may occur—along with broken bones and a variety of cuts and contusions. Motorcyclists must also be defensive in their driving and wear protective gear such as helmets.

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!

Understanding Product Liability: Do You Have a Case?

As consumers, we trust in numerous companies and manufacturers to sell us products and services that are true to the promises made in marketing—as well as safe. And while there are purchases we make—both big and small—that often just fall flat, meaning they didn’t knock our socks off and we would not buy them again, others may cause serious injury.

Typical product defects you may have heard of commonly include those in vehicles. While consumers usually experience a recall and must take their car back to a dealership to be refitted for a new part, others who were hurt or killed in an automobile crash due to the defect may have been the unfortunate reason it was discovered. Children’s toys are another common type of defect (often posing threat of choking), along with tools, medical devices and equipment, and much more. Considering how many products are on the market today, there is an unfortunate amount of room for defects to occur and cause harm to consumers of all ages.

If you have a family, it is important to be vigilant about supervising what types of toys your children play with or use. While a product may not be defective, it could be inherently dangerous. This includes many different toys used during swimming, to include water-guns, water-filled slingshots, and more. Bounce houses and portable water slides are responsible for a surprising amount of injuries too, including neck and spinal injuries, and even paralysis. Beware of any objects that are pointed or inordinately heavy that could be responsible for cutting or causing a head injury.

While some defects and dangerous products may cause catastrophic injury, other product defects are responsible for serious burns, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, loss of limbs, and more. If serious injury is the case, you may not have any question about whether there was a defect—but it is important to understand the requirements for seeking damages afterward. Most likely you only have a case if there is an inherent design flaw caused by the company responsible for engineering the product, a manufacturing defect caused during production, or a marketing defect that misleads consumers, such as improper labeling.

Has your child been injured due to a dangerous toy or a product defect? If so, please call Heintz & Becker. 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.