Does Your Motorcycle Helmet Pass Muster?

Motorcycles offer a range of benefits to their owners, beginning with the cool factor that has been associated with the biker culture for decades. Revving up the engine and heading out onto the highway on two wheels has been associated with good physical health due to core strengthening, added arm and leg strength, increased use of brain power in constant navigating, as well as enhanced emotional health while enjoying the outdoors, traveling with friends and likeminded souls, and feeling positive about spending less money overall for a trip or that daily commute.

The euphoria that may accompany motorcycling can have a major downside, however, and especially in in the face of a traffic incident—with over 5,000 motorcycle fatalities in the US yearly and a 28 percent greater chance of a motorcyclist fatality in a wreck over someone driving a car. It is vital that safety is on the mind foremost when operating a motorcycle, or any other vehicle (this also goes for pedestrians who must be vigilant, and bicyclists too!), putting aside distractions like the smartphone since issues like texting while driving are the number one cause of accidents today.

Protective gear plays a crucial role in the safety of motorcyclists, as always, beginning with the helmet. And although it is always a controversial topic and helmet laws continue to change—as well as vary from state to state—in Florida, you do not have to wear a helmet over the age of 21 if you are carrying $10,000 of medical payment insurance. This is an integral part of protecting the body though, and highly recommended, along with the proper protective clothing, eye-gear, and boots.

There may not be much point in wearing a helmet unless it is approved by the Department of Transportation (according to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218) and sturdy enough to protect your head in the case of a crash. The shell-built helmet is recommended, but it must fit your head properly! Along with the full helmet, there are other popular styles too such as the half shell, modular, or open-face helmets, which should be replaced every few years.

A good helmet is often heavier and should possess a quality liner along with a sturdy chin liner. While motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable in the event of a crash, a helmet may prevent serious issues such as facial fractures and traumatic brain injury, which could even cause coma or death.

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.

Should I Accept a Settlement or Sue?

At Heintz & Becker, our attorneys have decades of experience representing personal injury clients.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in helping clients decide whether to accept or reject a settlement claim.

There are several factors that influence a settlement decision. Below, the legal team at Heintz & Becker explains some factors in more detail so you can make the best possible decision for yourself and your family. Continue reading

Drinking and Bicycling Can Have Fatal Results

Millions of enthusiasts around the US enjoy riding bicycles, whether taking the healthy route for a daily commute, not to mention one that is more affordable, plus better for the environment in avoiding the use of any fuel except for that of human exertion. Bicycling is an activity that can be immensely appreciated whether riding solo or in a group with family and friends, contributing to good heart and lung health as well as burning enormous amounts of calories—all while building stronger bones and muscles.

We have produced numerous blogs about the priority that should be placed on safety for kids on bicycles, whether traveling in a group or on their way to school, but as an adult bicyclist, remember that you have the same responsibilities in traffic that other adult motorists do. This includes refraining from riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And while doing so is generally illegal and dangerous, because bicyclists are so much more vulnerable in traffic, alcohol can not only be the cause of bicycle accidents but allow for results that are further catastrophic—even resulting in fatality.

Ongoing data has shown Florida as first in bicyclist fatalities, and while the numbers may simply be higher due to the good weather in the Sunshine State, extreme caution should be exercised while on the streets and highways which are famous for senior drivers, along with many tourists who may not be familiar with the area and are driving erratically.

“You kind of mush it all together, and it helps us explain as best we can what’s going on out there,” said Pam Fischer, author of a recent report for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Data shows that alcohol use may play an unfortunate role in bicycle accidents and fatalities in Florida, with a significant number of those involved in crashes exhibiting alcohol levels in their blood at the time of the traffic incidents. Distracted driving (especially texting) continues to be the major cause of accidents in terms of motorist negligence as well. Injuries to bicyclists may include concussions or traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries or paralysis, broken bones, sprains, 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.

MRI May Be Required in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Diagnosis

Complex regional pain syndrome is complicated, making it all the worse for around 200,000 individuals suffering from this rare condition within the US. Separated into Type 1 (no directly known nerve damage) and Type 2 (more definitive, known nerve damage), CRPS can be difficult to live with, difficult to treat, and even more difficult to diagnose. While doctors are becoming more familiar with the symptoms today, historically CRPS has been challenging to pinpoint because there is no actual test for it and other similar conditions caused by central nervous disorders must be ruled out first.

Patients and medical professionals are usually alerted to the possibility of CRPS due to symptoms like extreme skin sensitivity (just the lightest touch may be intolerable), discoloration, and swelling, as well as issues with the joints, muscles, growing lack of coordination, and mobility. More complex issues may develop also, like muscle atrophy or dystonia, as fingers or toes become fixed in awkward positions.

MRIs and CTs are often used to rule out other conditions, as well as indicating any moderate to severe changes in tissue due to CRPS. Along with this, medical professionals often use X-Rays to demonstrate bone density loss and other tests to indicate problems within the central nervous system. Thermography is also a tried and true method for helping to diagnose CRPS as it allows doctors to examine the nervous system and temperature variations which may indicate abnormalities. Using this technique (in practice since the 1950s) can be especially helpful when a patient may not be suffering from all the classic symptoms, and in fact it may also serve as an indicator regarding spots that CRPS will migrate to later (generally within about six to nine months).

Early diagnosis and treatment lead to the best outcome for CRPS patients who may then undergo a regimen of medication (to include OTC treatment or more stronger ones like opioids) and therapies, from the conventional physical therapies to more alternative techniques like biofeedback. Many patients experience depression and anxiety once CRPS sets in as they may have significant challenges to adapting to lifestyle changes and restrictions. Antidepressants and consultations with a therapist may be necessary to help them with common emotional issues accompanying this condition.

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.

Lower Your Risk of Having a Motorcycle Accident with These Tips

Motorcycles can offer a much more economical way to travel to and from work during that daily commute. While some may choose to purchase lavish, high-speed bikes, if you enjoy the freedom of traveling on two wheels in the fresh air but want to save money too, it can be much more economical to purchase a moderately priced motorcycle in comparison to a car or truck, along with savings on gas and maintenance and insurance too. The benefits abound too, from getting fresh air (when traveling away from smoggy cities!) and enjoying more expedient travel all around, to using core strength and buffing up just a little more every single time you take a ride.

Amidst all the enjoyment of riding a motorcycle, however, comes a priority on continued safety, whether you are taking a shortcut on a back road, enjoying a road trip through beautiful country areas, or navigating through congested traffic. Motorcycle fatalities have continued to be a concern, despite a decrease in 2017.

“Motorcyclist fatality numbers have fluctuated from year to year over the past decade, so while we are cautiously optimistic about this projection, we really need to see a sustained trend downward toward eventually eliminating motorcyclist fatalities altogether,” said Tara Casanova Powell, who authored a new report putting the spotlight on motorcyclist fatalities for 2017.

Lower your risk by:

  • Being visible – there are many ways to add to your bike and clothing to make sure you are more readily seen by motorists, from wearing bright clothing to adding neon reflective strips to your helmet, boots, and bike. Purchasing a bike that is brightly painted is a great idea too, although not always possible if the model you have your heart set on is mainly black or gray.
  • Knowing and following all the traffic rules – remember that you are beholden to the same rules as cars and trucks, and defensive driving is even more important for motorcycles.
  • Taking extra precautions at intersections – this is one of the most common places for accidents, and is especially dangerous for motorcyclists, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. If possible, make eye contact with motorists before turning.
  • Wearing protective gear – no matter what the law is, donning a helmet may be the difference between emerging unscathed from a motorcycle crash or having traumatic brain injury or facial fractures. To avoid road rash and other injuries, wear recommended protective clothing as well as eyewear and boots.
  • Getting educated – no matter your skill level, continued education on maneuvering your motorcycle is extremely helpful.

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.

Common Symptoms of CRPS: Understanding Allodynia

Complex regional pain syndrome affects around 200,000 known patients in the US, but it often takes a significant amount of time to diagnose this unique condition centered around central nervous system damage. Unfortunately, symptoms—and the pain—can be chronic and severe, causing those who suffer from CRPS to make substantial adjustments to their lives. Symptoms often begin in a limb that was affected by a previous injury.  In many cases, the CRPS patient may have been in a car accident that caused trauma such as a broken arm or leg, or just a sprain. In more moderate cases, there may have just been bruising. Because so often the original injury has already healed and come and gone, individuals who suddenly find themselves suffering from CRPS are painfully surprised.

There are numerous unique and painful issues which may arise, such as allodynia. This fibromyalgic pain is not just restricted to CRPS; in fact, it may be seen in other conditions such as shingles and chronic fatigue syndrome—all related to central nervous system complications. Nerves become overly sensitive, and this may be so severe in topical areas such as the skin that the patient cannot tolerate any contact at all. To put the pain in perspective for those not familiar with what CRPS feels like, imagine being in severe discomfort just because your arm or leg was exposed to a slight breeze! Allodynia is also commonly caused by touch, as well as friction from clothing that is usually not uncomfortable. Mild temperature changes may also cause pain.

Burning and other issues with the skin may cause initial discomfort with CRPS also, to include discoloration, swelling, and even unusual hair growth. Skin may appear glossy in texture, and sensitivity may be so severe that the patient cannot tolerate any contact of any sort in that area—not even that of a slight breeze. Joints may ache, and using muscles surrounding the area of the affected limb can often be so agonizing that the patient becomes reluctant to use them, resulting in atrophy.

Painkillers that can be applied directly to the skin may be recommended for relief, to include Lidocaine or over-the-counter creams. For other symptoms, doctors may prescribe OTC pain relievers as well as opioids, corticosteroids, nerve-blockers, 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.

Does Your City Have Bike Crash ‘Hot Spots?

It is unfortunate that some of the most enjoyable activities in life can also be dangerous to the point of fatality; for instance, learning to ride your bike as a youngster may be a fond memory, shared with family and marked as a milestone when the training wheels came off and you enjoyed one of your first independent endeavors enjoying the fresh air and the freedom of having your own transportation—even if it was just down the road and eventually perhaps traveling to school and back.

Bicycle safety is a big issue for kids, along with making sure they are donning the correct protective gear no matter where they are riding. For adults traveling in traffic though—and for some who may use their bicycles as economical commuting vehicles—the stakes can be even more dangerous navigating through high-speed traffic or the opposite, with congested traffic that can be even worse in some cases despite slower speeds. Although we have so much more information today about how to stay safe in traffic, and infrastructure is so much more progressive, bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities have continued to rise. Sadly, Florida tops the list for dangerous areas for bicyclists, and you may be surprised to find out that there are actual ‘hot spots,’ often in areas with colleges or more nightlife, and this may be associated with bicyclists traveling in areas lacking illumination. Distractions and alcohol levels on the part of either the bicyclist or motorist cause more accidents, along with busy intersections, areas featuring higher speed limits, and those with multiple lanes.

Bicycle accidents can be harmful enough due to simple errors on the part of the rider, but when combined with negligence on the part of a 4,000-pound plus car or truck (exponentially heavier), the results can be devastating. Injuries may include severe concussions or even traumatic brain injuries which can lead to a host of different and long-term symptoms such as mood disorders, memory loss, coma, and more. Crashes may also lead to spinal injuries and paralysis, road rash, broken bones, contusions, and more—along with emotional distress that can last over the long-term due to the trauma of being involved in such an incident.

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.

 

Central Nervous System Damage May Cause CRPS

Complex regional pain syndrome is a condition that may plague patients long-term with a variety of unique and uncomfortable symptoms. Many are centered around the skin in terms of more topical discomfort like sensitivity to touch (and this may be even the slightest bit of contact—or even as extreme as exposure to a light breeze), discoloration, swelling, and more. And while that may seem intolerable enough, pain can be chronic and extreme too, affecting the joints and muscles and even making it difficult to move around.

While CRPS can be confounding in many ways, affecting around 200,000 people in the US, experts consider it to be caused by damage to the central nervous system, with Type 1 often being caused by a trauma like a car accident (with gray area in regards to ‘direct nerve damage’) or in some cases even a minor medical procedure like a blood draw, and Type 2 being related to known central nerve damage in cases such as a surgery or other defining event. For some patients, the condition may be self-limiting but for others it could last indefinitely and cause significant issues; in fact, the pain may sometimes be so terrible that those afflicted with CRPS dread trying to walk simply because of the agony they associate with movement.

Patients may experience moderate to severe pain in Type 1 or Type 2, but diagnosis of the rare condition is not always easy at first as other diseases (such as Lyme) must be ruled out first. There is no actual test for CRPS, and it could take months or even years to diagnose, unfortunately. Treatment usually includes pain relievers first, although they could be as simple as over-the-counter medications. If OTC pain relievers do not work or if the CRPS pain is too severe from the outset, doctors may prescribe a variety of other treatments to include opioids, steroids like prednisone, nerve-blockers, and even antidepressants or anticonvulsants. Therapies may be in order too, including conventional physical therapy for muscles that may be painful or even beginning to atrophy, along with more alternative treatments like biofeedback.

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.

Complications from Your Hernia Repair with Mesh?

While surgery is usually the only way to resolve a hernia, for many it turns into a watch and wait situation. Some hernias may be congenital, but most present themselves as bulging in the abdominal/groin area where the muscles have become not only weakened over time but are then strained by an activity like lifting furniture during a move or hauling around inventory at work. Some hernias can even be caused during allergy season due to repeated coughing and sneezing, or when a patient is obese and may also be prone to negative lifestyle habits like smoking and enjoying too many rich, calorie-laden foods.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that the most typical hernias include:

  • Inner groin
  • Upper thigh
  • Via a scar or incision
  • Abdominal wall
  • Belly-button area
  • Inner abdomen

Once complications to the hernia require surgery, doctors will examine the best route, which may include the use of mesh in either laparoscopic or open repair surgery. Because weakened tissue is commonly seen in hernia cases, surgical mesh is often used to create a more solid foundation internally. Such materials can be made synthetically but are often derived from animals such as pigs and cows. Absorbable mesh is meant to disintegrate within the body over time as tissue strengthens and the implant is no longer needed, while non-absorbable mesh is implanted for permanent use.

Unfortunately, complications can occur and cause severe repercussions to patients, especially in the case of defective or already recalled mesh implants. If you are suffering due to this type of surgery, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker as soon as possible. Typical adverse reactions include pain and infection, along with blockages and bleeding, buildup of fluid, perforations, and more. Mesh may be defective or could migrate or shrink, causing painful complications, along with affecting other organs and tissue unrelated to the original hernia.

You may be owed significant monetary damages for physical and emotional suffering due to mesh hernia implants, and especially if you have been forced to lose your normal source of income, leaving work temporarily or even permanently due to negative repercussions from your surgery.

If you have been adversely affected by a mesh implant for your hernia surgery, 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.