Safety on the Road: Understanding Basic Bicycle Maintenance

Bicycling in Florida (and all around the world) can be enjoyed on so many different levels. You may appreciate riding your bike to work as an economical means of transportation, not to mention a more rapid one in areas with traffic congestion. Your children might ride their bikes to school in the mornings, and home in the afternoons, and you may enjoy riding as a group during your leisure time on weekends—or luxuriate in solitary day trips throughout the state of Florida, where there are plenty of places to enjoy traveling on two wheels while also taking in nature and even some wildlife here and there.

No matter how old you are, it is vital to take the proper safety precautions. You should be dressed in bright colors, add as many additional lights and reflective devices as possible, and ride defensively. While everyone should take advantage of helmets and other protective gear, this is especially important for children, to avoid concussions and traumatic brain injury. Broken bones, soft tissue damage, and cuts and contusions are common too—for anyone involved in a bicycle accident. Issues often arise due to negligence on the part of distracted motorists who may collide with bikes, rear-end them, or hit them head on when turning at intersections.

And while safety in traffic is a priority, maintenance for your bike (just as for a car or any other type of vehicle) should be too so that you are not left high and dry while away from home. Again, in most situations, bicycles are the most economical route to go for ‘vehicle’ maintenance, but make sure to do a thorough onceover periodically, checking:

  • Tire pressure – Don’t be caught with a flat! Your tires should indicate which pressure is necessary. Don’t forget to keep a patch kit on hand either for a quick fix on the road.
  • Brakes – This is one of the most important components of the bike. Check brakes regularly, and especially if they are squeaking or you suspect adjustments or tightening could be necessary.
  • Bicycle chain – Make sure it is properly lubricated and in good working order so that gears shift smoothly.
  • Hardware – Check all nuts and bolts and tighten them when necessary.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others 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.

 

Take Note of Your Surroundings After a Motorcycle Crash

No one likes to look at the dark side of an activity that can be so much fun—as well as rewarding. Riding a motorcycle allows you to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors while in forward motion to a destination—as well as a sense of connection with other likeminded spirits on the road. Riding a motorcycle can also lead to a great workout every time you get on your bike, requiring a surprising amount of core and leg strength that increases with every trip down the highway. This mode of transportation is also often much more economical, with less start-up cost in buying a motorcycle, cheaper gas, cheaper maintenance, and greater ease in maneuvering through traffic during that daily commute.

Safety is a major consideration though, and no matter how defensively you drive, you may still find yourself in an accident due to the negligence of a motorist. While car crashes can lead to a wide range of serious injuries for drivers and passengers, motorcyclists are much more vulnerable as they lack the protection of the weight and steel frame of a car or truck. In Florida, you are in even more danger as it is ranked one of the highest states for motorcyclist fatalities, opening up the potential for serious wounds such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken arms and legs, and road rash—with head on collisions being most common. And although you may never have to use such information, you should definitely be aware of what to do right after an accident.

Assess injuries first. Are you okay? If so, check on the other parties involved in the accident and call for help if necessary. If you can move your motorcycle out of the path of traffic, do so, along with taking pictures of all the damage. This is where the smartphone comes in very handy. Take pictures of everything possible at the scene of the crash, including license plates of all vehicles involved, damage from all sides, the highway area, traffic signs and traffic lights, intersections, road signs, and anything that may be of help to your case later.

See more on motorcycle topics in recent blogs regarding what to do after a collision with a car, defensive driving, and more. If you or a loved one 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.

My Arm is Tingling and Numb After a Blood Draw—Could This Be CRPS?

Complex regional pain syndrome is more aptly named than many conditions. It can be very complex, and it does center around pain, which can be chronic and extreme in some cases, leading patients to be debilitated after what may have been a minor injury or procedure; in fact, car accidents are a common type of trauma that can lead to Type 1 CRPS. Symptoms usually arrive out of the blue and surprise patients who thought that they had healed from a fracture or a sprain yet suddenly are forced to deal with pain and complications in the area of the limb previously affected.

Type 2 CRPS is usually caused by direct injury to a nerve, and even minor medical procedures such as shots or blood draws have been known to bring it on. Symptoms may begin with discomfort in the skin. It may be extremely sensitive to the touch, as well as discolored (whether red, pinkish, or even with tinges of blue) or glossy in appearance and swollen. Tingling sensations are common symptoms, along with shooting pains in the affected limb. While the onset may have been caused by something seemingly minor, CRPS can develop into a nightmarish and long-term condition that is both chronic and progressive. Pain may be so bad that patients become afraid to move around, causing a vicious cycle with muscle atrophy.

Joint pain and painful muscle spasms may affect the patient, along with dystonia—a condition affecting fingers and toes that become fixed in a twisted or abnormal position, causing even more discomfort and self-consciousness in terms of walking and getting around or going out in public. CRPS can be hard to diagnose though as there is no specific test for this rare condition affecting only 200,000 individuals in the US. Once other diseases such as Lyme disease have been ruled out, doctors are able to confirm whether a patient is suffering from CRPS or not.

Early treatment is recommended for a better outcome, and physical therapy may play a major role in recovery too, along with more alternative applications. Effective medications for CRPS vary from mild over-the-counter pain relievers to more serious treatments like anticonvulsants, antidepressants, opioids, and more.

Were you in an accident due to the negligence of others that triggered CRPS? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today to consult with a skilled CRPS lawyer. 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.

Your Injury Case: Documenting Evidence After a Car Crash

No matter how defensively you drive, chances are you will be in at least one car accident in your lifetime—and probably more. While they may just be fender benders, no one likes to hear that thud of one car hitting the metal of another, or the sickening tinkle of breaking glass. Traffic incidents are on the rise around the US though, unfortunately, even with so many different public campaigns to educate drivers on the hazards of careless driving.

Distracted driving is the top reason for car accidents, killing thousands of travelers each year. Smartphones are often an irresistible temptation for texting, making calls, and even surfing the net. Other electronics play a role in distracted driving events also, from motorists taking time to fiddle with stereo systems to DVD players, and more; in fact, when you consider all the other activities drivers may be involved in from talking to passengers, dealing with small kids, eating, drinking, and grooming—sometimes it seems like many motorists are behind the wheel focusing on just about everything except driving. Many other factors figure into car accidents though, as far too many drivers still operate vehicles under the influence of drugs and alcohol, speed, ignore traffic stops and signals, and exhibit other reckless behaviors that can lead to injuries and fatalities on the road.

While no one wants to think that they might suffer through a car crash, it is important to be prepared. Educate yourself now on what to do if you are involved in a wreck later. The first thing to do is move your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic, take a breath, and figure out whether you or any of your passengers are injured. Medical help should be called for immediately if there is any suspicion of injury—and it may be required for those in the other car(s) also. If possible, barring serious injury, all parties involved should trade contact and insurance information, along with calling the police so that a police report is filed regarding the incident.

Evidence can be the most important quotient in any car accident case, and you may be the one handling vital details right there on the scene as it unfolds. If you have a smartphone handy, be sure to take pictures not only of your car and any damage, but also the other car (including a shot with the license plate). Other details could be important too, so take as many photos as possible to document the entire area, from the road and side areas to any stop signs, lights, or intersections. If you are injured, take pictures or have another party take pictures of you immediately. You may want to write down notes about the accident as well, along with collecting the contact information of any witnesses there.

If you have been injured in a car 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.

 

Sidewalks: Safe for Bicyclists?

Unfortunately, the roads in the US are often dangerous areas to navigate, whether you are traveling on town or city streets or major highways. Distracted driving is still the major cause of accidents and fatalities, along with crashes being caused by negligent motorists who ignore speed limits, traffic rules, and may also be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This makes traveling in a car hazardous enough, but if you are traveling on foot or riding a motorcycle or bicycle, practice further caution—especially in the state of Florida, leading in bicyclist fatalities.

Exactly where bicyclists should ride can be a controversial subject for some who believe that bicyclists do not belong in regular traffic no matter their level of experience; however, they have just as much right to be there as any other ‘vehicle,’ even if they may sometimes be traveling more slowly than cars and trucks. Depending on your pace as a bicyclist, you may sometimes want to get out of aggressive traffic but feel unsure about the actual rules for riding. While sidewalks may offer a more relaxed area to ride, they are not designed for bicycles. This type of activity is illegal in some states, but not in Florida; however, if the sidewalk is typically congested with pedestrians, riding a bike there could present challenges as well as opening the potential for accidents and major injury.

While protected bike lanes may not be an option in your town or city, they are the better choice when available. Sidewalks may seem like a more protected area, but pedestrians may feel threatened by your presence there, and you may be at greater risk of being hit by a car as you emerge into crosswalks from the sidewalk area with little warning and even less visibility than usual. No matter where you ride, remember to do so defensively, and to wear bright colors, reflective gear—as well as protective gear such as a helmet and knee and elbow pads if possible, too. Bicycle accidents can be very serious for riders of all ages, resulting in fatalities, plus traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and more.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others 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.

After the Car Crash: Be Careful What You Say!

We know so much more today in the US than we did decades ago regarding the importance of safety—and we have so many progressive mechanisms available to prevent injury in the case of a car accident, not to mention so much more information available to the public on how to avoid crashes. Still, traffic incidents continue to rise, and issues like distracted driving continue to be a major problem—taking thousands of lives each year tragically, and needlessly. Motorists who can’t resist the temptation to use their smartphones while traveling are a problem of epic proportions on the roads, but drunk and reckless drivers still cause many crashes too.

If you are in a serious car wreck, you may be owed damages from the negligent party, but it is very important to protect your case from the beginning. This begins with being very careful about what you say. Being educated on what to do before such an incident occurs is extremely helpful, as you may be shaken after a collision with another vehicle. Take time to catch your breath and regain your composure, along with assessing whether you have any injuries. Upon speaking with the other party, as well as police or medical professionals, remember that there is the possibility anything you say could be used against you later; for instance, the other driver may have been negligent, but if you apologize or indicate in any way that you could have done something to prevent the accident (even when it was clearly not your fault!), such statements could have negative repercussions on your case.

Speak only to the police as they are there compiling the accident report, giving them only the basic facts about the case. You will be required to exchange contact and insurance information with the other motorist but keep any communication to a minimum. Your best bet is to contact an experienced injury attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker as soon as possible. And while it is important to consider your words and actions very carefully directly after an accident that may develop into an injury case, also make sure to speak to any witnesses who may be on the scene and collect their contact information too. That will most likely be the only chance you have to speak with them—and their account of what happened could be extremely important for you later.

If you have been injured in a car 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.

Bicycle Accidents in Florida: Beware of the Most Common Contributing Factors

One thing most of us agree on is that we would rather spend more time outdoors relaxing in the fresh air and getting much-needed exercise. Bicycling in the state of Florida fills all those requirements, affording an economical mode of travel too, whether you are traveling alone or with a group of friends or your family. Millions of Americans enjoy this healthy mode of transportation, boosting good health in so many ways as it lifts the spirits overall, burns enormous amounts of calories, promotes strong heart and lung health, and so much more. Unfortunately, amidst all that relaxing lurks numerous safety issues.

Bicycling in Florida can be especially dangerous; in fact, it has been ranked with the highest fatality rate for bicyclists in the nation. Much of the hazards emanate from obvious factors like cars and distracted drivers. With the emergence of the smartphone, texting and driving has superseded all the other classic dangers like drunk driving and speeding—although those are still major issues causing far too many accidents and deaths still. Bicyclists must be extremely defensive while on the road, and especially while riding in traffic. Here are a few tips for keeping yourself and your family safe:

  • Careless drivers – Smartphone usage, drugs and alcohol, and reckless driving are to blame for many accidents. Car doors being opened in traffic areas can cause serious accidents for bicyclists too.
  • Lack of visibility – This can be a major problem for bicyclists. If motorists can’t see you, there is much greater potential for an accident to occur. Make sure to wear bright coloring and use reflectors and neon strips wherever possible.
  • Side-swiping and rear-ending – Motorists may be driving too closely, squeezing bicyclists out of traffic, or hitting them from the side or the back, with the potential to cause major injury or death.
  • Intersections – This is one of the most dangerous areas for anyone driving, but especially motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Make sure that motorists see you if you are turning and attempt to make eye contact with them if possible.
  • Bike path obstacles – Bike paths are usually not a place to travel at high speeds as there may be branches, rocks, litter, or other items in the way, along with other people biking, hiking, walking dogs, strolling children, and more.
  • Ignoring traffic rules – Both motorists and bicyclists can cause great injury to themselves and others when traffic rules are ignored—whether that is stop signs, traffic lights, four-way stops, or more.
  • Environmental issues – Even greater caution must be practiced if there is road construction or bad weather. If you can avoid being out in rain, snow, or ice, and have alternate transportation, that may be your best option—depending on how hardcore you are about your bicycling!

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others 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.

Avoiding Fatalities at the Swimming Pool: Know CPR

Swimming is a year-round activity in Florida, enjoyed by all ages. And while many of us enjoy a dip in the ocean, swimming pools are much more accessible—and often situated right in the patio area or in the backyard. Unfortunately, dangers usually accompany recreation in the water too—causing boating accidents, drownings at the beach, and raising the potential for swimming pool fatalities.

Whether you are permanently retired or enjoy your pool as a getaway from the busy life, it is probably often the center of gatherings between family and friends. Pool parties can be one of the greatest ways to kick back on the weekends, celebrate birthdays, and more. There can be a lot of distractions though and supervision may become difficult, with the alcohol flowing for the adults, and events that involve kids becoming chaotic at times. Safety should always be the first consideration, and this starts with following Florida law regarding pools, requiring homeowners to choose from one option, to include a barrier like a fence or wall (at least four feet high), alarms on windows and doors to the swimming area, a pool cover, or latching gates to entrance/exit areas.

In the event of a swimming accident or a potential drowning, it is extremely helpful to know CPR. Even children as young as nine or so can take classes to learn how to save someone if they require resuscitation, and there have been numerous cases where they were able to save lives due to CPR education. CPR is performed with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing meant to start the heart again after it has failed in a drowning episode or perhaps even a heart attack that was unrelated to the activities at hand. An individual who experienced distress in the water has a much better chance of survival if CPR is administered almost immediately.

It is important to watch kids constantly while they are in the pool, and if you frequent public pools, make sure there is a lifeguard in charge. Swimming classes may also offer some of the best lessons in life that your kids can learn too, but it is important to keep them enrolled year after year until they have developed into fully capable older swimmers.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of another party, 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.

CRPS is Chronic and Progressive in Many Cases

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) affects a relatively small number of people in the US, with up to around 200,000 cases currently known. If you or a loved one are affected by this condition, then statistics probably mean very little to you or offer much comfort—especially if debilitating pain and suffering are involved.

CRPS can be a confounding condition. It is usually brought on by a trauma like a car accident or a motorcycle crash, and is separated into two different types, with the first usually triggered after a health issue has healed from a car accident, medical procedure, or other injury—and often a mild one. This type of CRPS is often a major—and unwelcome—surprise; in fact, if this is the case for you, there may have just been a sense of relief over getting over a sprain or a break, only to have CRPS rear its ugly head seemingly out of nowhere. The second type of CRPS is usually triggered after direct harm to a nerve occurs. This could happen during a surgery or some other event where it was obvious right away that a nerve had been damaged and CRPS was the result.

While some forms of CRPS can be mild, this condition is known to be chronic and usually affects an arm or leg, or hands and feet. In most cases, symptoms begin with discomfort and burning around the limb that was hurt, and because the immune system is affected along with the central nervous system, there may be redness and swelling, along with extreme sensitivity to touch. Early diagnosis and treatment usually result in a better outcome, but diagnosis can be challenging until all other diseases have been ruled out. Medication may include over-the-counter pain relievers or much stronger regimens, including opioids, nerve blockers, and even anticonvulsants or antidepressants.

CRPS may worsen over time, and muscles may even begin to atrophy. While some patients may experience loss of mobility, others may become reluctant to move around, fearing the pain involved in getting up or walking around. Dystonia is another example of the progression of CRPS, with fingers or toes sometimes becoming fixed in an abnormal or twisted position. This may affect just one area or a group of muscles.

Were you in an accident due to the negligence of others that triggered CRPS? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today to consult with a skilled CRPS lawyer. 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.

 

Men Are More Likely to Be Involved in Motorcycle Accidents

The population of motorcyclists in the US continues to rise steadily, and according to a recent study, motorcycles registered doubled from 2002 to 2017, with the largest numbers licensed in both Florida and California. More women (and many who are younger than the typical demographic for men) are purchasing bikes these days too, enjoying all the same benefits that men do such as increased physical strength, a sense of camaraderie, and the excitement of being on the open road.

Men are still more likely to be in a motorcycle accident though, and especially if they are 50 years old or over. And while it may not be that surprising a statistic considering men are stereotypically considered to be a predominant force in motorcycling, a whopping 91 percent of fatalities in 2015 were men. Those over the age of 50 may not be as strong as their younger male motorcyclist counterparts, unfortunately, leading to more deaths—but realistically, anyone endeavoring to ride a motorcycle needs to possess considerable strength even for the easiest of rides. Major core strength is needed from the beginning, as well as substantial arm and leg strength.

Often, serious accidents from the older demographic also result due to motorcyclists over the age of 50 hoping to pick up where they left off many years ago in riding the highways on two wheels. Physical strength can vary in different ways after so many years, and many motorcyclists may not take that into account. Riders may have been away from their hobby (or preferred mode of transportation) for so long that they forget how much of a physical challenge can be involved, not to mention how much time it can take to adapt to a new bike and time out on the open road. And while fatalities are a reality, motorcycle crash injuries can lead to long-term repercussions, including spinal injuries, neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, serious arm, leg, or facial fractures, and even amputations.

If you were in a motorcycle accident, you may not only find yourself having to get used to dealing with minor or major physical and emotional injuries, but you may not be able to go back to work either temporarily or even permanently. This can be devastating to your finances, and you may be owed substantial compensation if you were hurt 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.