Preparing To Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney, Part 1: Information

After suffering injuries in any type of accident, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss a possible claim. There is no financial reason to delay this meeting since most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations.

Before meeting for the first time with an attorney, potential plaintiffs should gather documents and other information in their possession that relate to the incident that caused the harm involved.

This information may include different types of documentation depending on the circumstances and nature of the personal injury.

The list of information and documentation includes the following:

*Medical Information

  • Bills, invoices from doctors and hospitals, physical therapists and/or chiropractors
  • Names and addresses of any service providers such as hospitals, ambulance services, etc.
  • Dates of any treatment including admit and release dates
  • List of all prescription medications presently taken

*Insurance Information

  • Documentation detailing health insurance coverage
  • Documentation detailing auto insurance coverage if the injury was a result of a motor vehicle accident

*Miscellaneous Information

  • Documentation of lost work or income caused by the injury
  • Photos of the accident scene or injuries incurred

If clients have any questions about a document or other piece of documentary or even physical evidence that may relate to their case, they should simply bring it with them to the consultation or contact the attorney’s office for guidance and clarification. The quicker clients can provide all the information necessary to initiate a personal injury claim, the more expediently a personal injury attorney can pursue the claim.

Steven Heintz knows what it’s like to be involved in a life-changing traffic accident. Not only as an attorney – but also as a victim and client.

In 1974 in Bradenton, a car ran a red light and hit Steven broadside while he was riding a motorcycle. He lost the big toe on his right foot, and his ankle had to be fused together. Steven endured over a dozen surgeries and was in a cast for over a year.

He has experienced pain and suffering on a unique level.

At the time, he felt the insurance company was less than fair. As a result, he has made it his life’s mission to protect others from unfair and unscrupulous insurance companies. If you have been involved in any type of accident, the attorneys at Heintz and Becker possess the necessary expertise and experience to handle your personal injury matter. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation call our injury law firm at 941-748-2916. To serve you better, we have offices conveniently located in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Our website is available in English and Spanish!

Preparing To Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney, Part 1: Information
Back-To-School Driving Tips, Part 2: Young Pedestrians & Bicyclists

Children in the early years of schooling – nursery school, kindergarten, first and second grades – are the most prone to being struck by a motor vehicle. According to research by the National Safety Council, most children who are struck and killed by a car or a school bus are pedestrians between the ages of 4 to 7.

Thus, motorists must always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way. Of course, the same applies to young bicyclists. Youngsters on foot and on a bicycle often create special challenges for drivers because children lack the ability to determine traffic conditions properly and how to interact with such conditions safely.

Here are some back to school safety tips for dealing with and addressing the safety of young pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • Do not block a crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a right turn. This will cause pedestrians to leave the crosswalk and potentially move in the path of moving traffic
  • When a school zone’s overhead flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians using the crosswalk
  • Stop when a school patrol officer or crossing guard holds up a stop sign
  • Take extraordinary care to detect the presence of children in school zones, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas
  • Do not honk at children who are pedestrians, even with the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles. One of the major problems with bikes and motorcycles is that they are difficult for other motorists to see on the road.

  • Always use your turn signals, even if a car is not approaching, because a bicycle or pedestrian may be present and not within the line of sight
  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between car and bicycle
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the bicycle to pass. The most common cause of a collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist
  • When turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, permit the rider to advance through the intersection first
  • Be vigilant for young cyclists who have a tendency to turn in front of a vehicle without looking or signaling
  • Watch for bikes exiting driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening the driver and passenger doors

By exercising the necessary care and caution, motorists, young drivers, and young pedestrians may co-exist safely in school zones. At Heintz & Becker, there are no fees or costs for our representation unless we get results. To discuss your case with a Sarasota personal injury attorney, call us at 941-748-2916, or contact us by e-mail. If you are cannot come to us, we can come to you. We have offices in Sarasota and Bradenton to serve you.

Back-To-School Driving Tips, Part 2: Young Pedestrians & Bicyclists
Back-To-School Driving Tips, Part 1: School Buses & School Zones

September is synonymous with school opening. While the malls may be a little less crowded, the roads are certainly more congested with parents ushering their kids to and from school. And then there is the increase in bicycle and pedestrian traffic. With all this chaos, it pays to be calm, cool and collected. It also pays to remember some back to school safety tips.

  • First and foremost, remain alert since children are unpredictable and often assume risks and ignore dangerous hazards.
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • When school is in session, drive slowly and increase your level of attention in the cluster of hours before and after school.
  • Stop far enough behind a bus to allow children ample area to safely enter and exit the bus. The area immediately around a school bus is prone to having young pedestrians in its vicinity. Thus, the area approximately ten (10) feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children.  
  • Never pass a school bus from either direction if you’re on an undivided road, and the bus is stopped to load or unload children. A friendly reminder: Each of the 50 states makes it illegal to pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading children.
  • When driving behind a school bus, allow a greater following distance than you would normally, such as when driving behind a car. This will provide more time to stop once the school bus starts flashing its yellow lights to indicate it is coming to a stop. If the yellow or red lights of a bus are flashing and its stop arm is extended, traffic must come to a complete stop.
  • Know the rules for getting your kids to and from school. Most schools have specific procedures for picking up and dropping off students. Ignorance of these procedures may not only be disruptive and cause traffic problems but may also be dangerous to children.
  • Don’t double park since it blocks other children and vehicles from being visible and may cause traffic problems
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Use carpools when possible to reduce the vehicle traffic at the school

The attorneys at Heintz & Becker — Steven E. Heintz, David S. Becker, Danielle Lindauer, and Eric D. Bruce — all have perfect 10.0 ratings on AVVO, the top legal review site. In addition, Steven E. Heintz and David S. Becker have perfect 5.0 AV peer review ratings through Martindale-Hubbell, among other honors and awards. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our distinguished attorneys, call 941-748-2916. You may also contact us online. Our website is available in both English and Spanish. We have offices conveniently located in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Clients pay no fees or costs unless we win!

Back-To-School Driving Tips, Part 1: School Buses & School Zones
Hurricane Season: What Does Your Insurance Cover?

The potential of ‘the big one’ arriving is always a bit of a terrifying topic during the hurricane season in Florida. And while Irma—pummeling and devastating the Caribbean and the Florida Keys in 2017—showed us the power of what a Category 4 storm can do, you may still be putting off checking over your homeowner’s policy. And if you are busy shopping for a home in the Sunshine State, or a more hurricane-prone area, one of the first details you should inquire about is homeowner’s insurance and the typical rates.

While you may already own a home in Florida, one of the first questions for potential homeowners often is – or should be—regarding not only what is required, but what is most needed.  The biggest damage from a hurricane is usually wind as it drives everything else, including the water, in many cases; however, both wind and flood insurance should be purchased to protect your home against the elements. In Florida, the state does not require it, but your mortgage lender probably will ask that you purchase both wind and flood. There is not really such a thing as ‘hurricane insurance,’ but most old-timers who have purchased homes know that what insurance in Florida usually boils down to is purchasing additional windstorm coverage as well as flood insurance only available through the National Flood Insurance Program.

There is the question of the deductible, and insurance can be costly but critical to the protection of your home if you live in a high-risk area or a flood zone in what is already a low-lying area (chances are, you are aware if you live in a flood zone, as you are aware of the puddling and ponding after thunderstorms or heavy rains for days at a time). The reality is that you may end up paying thousands of dollars a year for insurance if you live in a coastal area—and even worse if you are on lower ground; however, this can be ‘the price of doing business’ for living in what many consider to be paradise.

If you have been injured 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.

The Differences between Medicare and Advantage Plans

Insurance is a tricky business, but unfortunately, this is a purchase we must all enter into—and often for multiple lines, whether you own one or more cars (or as a business owner, you could even own a fleet), a home, commercial properties, have professional liability needs, or more. But health insurance is one of the most stupefying areas—causing many of us to wonder how the process and the offerings can be so challenging, but also presenting us with confusing policies and a wide range of questions every time we go to the doctor or have the unfortunate experience to be admitted to the hospital.

Many individuals are confused about how Medicare works, as it is composed of these basic parts:

  • Hospital care
  • Doctors, procedures, medical devices
  • Prescription drugs

Medicare Advantage also plays a role as a more cost-effective option over classic Medicare/Medigap. A policyholder can purchase coverage through a private insurer offering all the above, which often includes other services too. This type of insurance usually includes minimal co-pays, with visits to doctors’ offices, tests from the medical lab, and procedures covered too.

If this is the type of insurance you are using, be sure to speak with your insurance agent or Medicare representative about all your options. There are many details—and expenses to understand, with each type of private plan having a variety of different program details. Policyholders usually have many concerns about coverages for hospital stays, prescription drugs, and what types of doctors’ visits—and doctors—are covered.

Many of these questions may come into play if you are hurt in a car accident, and especially if you sustained serious injuries like neck or spinal issues, paralysis, soft tissue damage, broken arms or legs, or more. Obviously, these types of injuries can be extremely expensive to treat, and long-term care can be an enormous consideration too. Healthcare is a challenge for so many today in the US, and medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy for consumers so understanding and managing such expenses are crucial.

If you or a loved one 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.

School Zones Require Your Utmost Attention

Even if you have children, it is sometimes hard not to find the slowdown of a school zone to be an inconvenience; after all, you may be in a hurry to get to work or to another destination with a sense of urgency, and from the main road there may seem to be little going on—and little reason to be traveling at a snail’s pace; however, this could not be further from the truth in most cases as schools are extremely busy and this activity can spill out into the road via school buses, kids walking and bicycling, and more, at any moment.

As a parent, you are probably aware that kids bring a wonderful amount of energy to any situation. But this type of chaos must be carefully controlled in the school situation, and especially just during and after school when there may be hundreds of children milling about, cars entering and leaving at multiple locations, and backpack-toting children walking and riding bicycles.

At the inner school realm is the car pick-up line, developed by your school in an organized and closely monitored fashion so that kids can be picked up easily and safely. Here, although the routine may be simple and turn into a rote exercise, this is never a place where you want to be traveling on auto pilot or distracted by a cell phone. If your child rides the bus, again, there is an area where extreme caution should be practiced as groups of younger people congregate waiting to get on their bus to start their day or piling out of one as they are being dropped off. If your child rides their bike to school also, make sure they are visible to motorists in wearing bright or light-colored clothing. Educate them fully on traffic rules and how to stay safe while traveling near cars.

Speeding or otherwise driving recklessly through a school zone is not just increasing the potential for a tragic accident, but also your chances for getting a ticket from law enforcement—with added repercussions due to the location. Accidents involving children can be catastrophic due to their smaller size, leading to broken bones, soft tissue damage, head injuries, paralysis, and more.

If you or your child has been injured 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 is Umbrella Insurance—and Why Do I Need It?

Car insurance can be surprisingly complex, but it is a necessary form of risk protection meant to save you from financial ruin in the face of an accident that could require—in many cases—a significant payout, and especially if you are liable. This is important as you don’t want an accident to ruin so many other aspects of your life if for some unfortunate reason you are sued. Often known as a PUP, personal umbrella protection takes over when your other liability limits have been maxed out; with this extra protection, if you are liable for an accident, it means that you have additional funds to pay out for the claim.

You may be considering an umbrella policy if you have significant assets to protect overall, or if you are engaged in business or other activities where you do have to worry more about liability. You may own a home that is worth a substantial amount of money or you may own a business that you would not want to lose due to a liability claim that you could not pay. Obviously, if you have a substantial amount of money saved or put away into a wide range of investments, you might be able to pay additional funds required for a claim out of pocket but in protecting yourself with the umbrella policy, you could save yourself from going broke.

If you travel extensively or will be out of the country a lot, protect yourself against liability. This also goes for individuals who may be involved in professions that are more prone to lawsuits such as sports (especially if they are more extreme and/or if you are coaching), working with animals, and more. One of the most basic examples—and common—would be a car or motorcycle accident. If you had the unfortunate experience to be liable for damage to someone else’s vehicle (which could be significant) and had to pay out beyond the limits of your own insurance for someone else’s extensive injuries (which could require long-term treatment), the cost could be unfathomable. On the flip side of this, of course, is the scenario where you are hit by another driver who has insufficient insurance. It is critical to speak with a skilled car accident attorney as soon as possible so they can deal with the insurance company and protect your interests.

If you or a loved one have been affected by an 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.

 

The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Shopping for a new car can be one of the most exciting ventures you may ever engage in (and this will probably occur more than once in your lifetime), but extremely exhausting too. While finances are one aspect of the experience—along with choosing a vehicle that is suitable for your needs, safe for a family with small children if that is the case, efficient on gas, and more—the haggling can be stressful. And once insurance enters the picture, you may start to wonder why you got involved in the first place, whether you are dealing with an insurance agent face to face, online, or over the phone.

In Florida, car insurance is required for any vehicle with four wheels. Upon purchasing a vehicle, you must have $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability. PIP covers you if there is an accident resulting in physical injury, and your children too if they are in the car, as well as other members of your household who may be riding along. If you do have other passengers who are injured who do not own a vehicle, or reside with a relative who owns a vehicle, and obviously do not have PIP insurance, they may be covered also. Bodily injury liability (BIL) will pay for injuries and even pay for an attorney if you were to be sued due to alleged negligence on your part in an accident.

Uninsured motorist insurance is not required for you as a resident of Florida and the owner of a car, however it is highly recommended; after all, insurance is all about risk protection—and there are far too many people driving today without insurance, unfortunately. This coverage will protect you if you are hit by another motorist who—as the name of the coverage would imply—is not covered. While uninsured motorist coverage does not include any payments for property damage, it does cover medical bills, lost wages, and even long-term payment like nursing care, wheelchairs and other medical devices, and more, including the possibility of including coverage for a wrongful death claim. In Florida, over 26 percent of motorists may not be covered. That is an alarming statistic, in comparison to other states like Maine, with only around 4.6 percent of motorists driving around uninsured. Upon purchasing insurance, the key is to be informed about the requirements, but also what is best for you in terms of protecting your health and your property. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to and make changes to your policy later upon further consideration.

If you or a loved one 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.

Heintz and Becker Attorney Spotlight: Danielle Lindauer

The Heintz & Becker law firm has been dedicated to helping clients in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for over 30 years now, representing victims of car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and other cases caused due to the negligence of others. Heintz & Becker attorneys understand that after an accident caused by another party, the insurance companies are not on your side—they are concerned with their own profitable agenda. Because they are not acting in your best interest in most situations, it is critical that you hire skilled legal assistance to protect you and ensure that you receive the compensation you are due after what may have been a traumatic and even catastrophic event. Following is a company spotlight on one of our experienced attorneys, Danielle Lindauer.

Mrs. Lindauer specializes in personal injury and wrongful death as an attorney at Heintz & Becker. She possesses a superb rating on AVVO, and is a member of the Florida Justice Association and the Young Lawyers Division. A graduate of the University of South Florida, Mrs. Lindauer began with a bachelor’s degree majoring in finance and minoring in psychology. She went on to graduate from Stetson University College of Law, participating in the Public Defender Clinical Program of Pinellas County, earning the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. She has studied law overseas traveling to Spain, Gibraltar, Switzerland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Under the Young Lawyers Division, Mrs. Lindauer has participated in Wills for Heroes, Team Up for Teachers and the building and funding of our courthouse’s Child Waiting Room. A Florida native, she was born and raised in Bradenton and has two sons with her husband, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Scott Lindauer. Her favorite hobby is competitive shooting, and she was SASS’s Women’s Long Range State Champion in 2009 and 2010; Long Range Southeast Regional Champion in 2009; 2012 Ladies’ Wild Bunch Champion; and, Top Lady Shooter at Myakka’s Annual Match in 2011, only four days before her son was born.

If you or a loved one 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.