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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injuries: Warning Signs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pedestrian Accidents Tend to Be the Most Fatal

For most of us, traveling on foot allows a pleasant way to relax or complete simple errands while also reaping the health benefits of being outside in the fresh air and getting good cardio exercise. But no matter the distance being traveled, pedestrians must be vigilant for their own safety. This is even more important with significant expansion to road infrastructure in so many towns and cities—all due to increased numbers of motorists on the roads today.

Lack of focus on the part of motorists and the sheer weight and power of their cars can be a great threat to others on the road. As pedestrians, we are at our most vulnerable physically (along with motorcyclists and bicyclists), but most of us own vehicles too and do our best to practice safe driving every time we go somewhere. Unfortunately, there are myriad reasons that drivers become distracted and put everyone in danger. The smartphone is often the culprit, and even with a constant focus on the dangers of distracted driving in the US today, hundreds of thousands are injured on the roads each year. And while the number of pedestrian fatalities may sound small (around 6,000 per year), recent news points to a surprising increase in fatalities since 2009.

Analysts see a correlation between distracted driving and pedestrian fatalities, but also have concerns that everyone on the road is distracted today. The problem is that when both motorists and pedestrians are distracted, those driving the cars tend to walk away from an accident while pedestrians have a much greater chance of being killed or severely injured.

“We already know that distraction is a serious concern for both drivers and pedestrians,” says Richard Retting, general manager of Sam Schwartz, a New York City–based traffic engineering firm. “When people aren’t seeing threats, it makes everyone more vulnerable.”

The chance of fatalities is much greater when seniors are hit by cars, as well as when alcohol or speeding are involved. Pedestrians are also much more vulnerable in areas not designated as crosswalks or paths.

“In a lot of places where pedestrian crashes occur, the road isn’t inherently safe for all modes of travel,” said Laura Sandt, the director of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at the University of North Carolina.

When traveling as a pedestrian, be alert and make sure you are very visible to motorists and others. Walk on sidewalks and crosswalks as much as possible and be aware of and make use of traffic rules. Although motorists should be taking caution in pedestrian areas, that is not always the case, so make eye contact whenever possible as you get ready to cross the street.

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

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


How Doctors Diagnose Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Although complex regional pain syndrome affects at least 200,000 individuals in the US, many are not aware of the condition until it affects them or a family member. Chronic pain is one of the main characteristics of CRPS, although there may be a variety of other symptoms.

Usually caused by a trauma or direct damage to the nerves, this rare condition is separated into Type 1 and Type 2. The first is most common, leaving patients to deal with pain that usually develops after another health issue may have already been resolved; for instance, Type 1 may be brought on after a car accident or a motorcycle crash or other serious trauma. If you were affected in this way, you may have sustained an injury such as a sprain that healed quite easily, but later morphed into CRPS symptoms that were not only long-lasting but much worse. Type 2 occurs after a direct injury to a nerve, and there is usually no doubt as to why it occurred.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one of the key indicators of CRPS is a burning feeling which may be felt throughout a much larger area than was originally affected by trauma. Just the slightest touch to the affected area may be painful, and those suffering from CRPS may notice skin irregularities, transformation in texture around the area, stiffness in the affected limb, issues with coordination and mobility (or even loss of), and in more extreme cases, dystonia (with one area of the body such as the hand becoming fixed in one position).

In diagnosing CRPS, a medical professional must rule out other disorders that have similar manifestations—most often found in other muscle conditions and even Lyme Disease. MRIs and other scans are often used by doctors during diagnosis, along with a range of nerve tests, and other types of evaluation depending on symptoms and severity. As we have discussed in a previous blog, early diagnosis and treatment of CRPS often results in a better outcome overall, although that may not always be possible as the patient is not as quick to report the condition due to confusion about what it is, and diagnosis may delayed.

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.


Teenage Motorcyclists: Pros and Cons

The allure of the motorcycle can be easy to understand. With over eight million bikes on the roads in the US today, and popularity growing amongst all ages—and significantly with female riders too—chances are you will see numerous motorcyclists in one trip across town.

Constructed from a variety of different materials to include steel, titanium, carbon fiber, and more, shiny metal is just one attractive feature of the motorcycle, coupled with the deep growl of the engine and the accompanying speed. Many motorcyclists have a typical rugged style too, and although it may be considered cool, usually that is a byproduct of wearing the necessary protective gear. All these factors, along with affordability and greater ease for travel in many areas, cause consumers to take an interest in purchasing motorcycles. Teenagers can be especially impressionable though, and as they begin learning to drive, they may become convinced that a motorcycle is the best choice for them. Depending on your experience with bikes, you may or may not agree; however, most parents will be concerned about safety first—and especially when that of an inexperienced sixteen-year-old may be in question.

The average motorcycle today usually weighs in at least a few hundred pounds, requiring the driver to understand how to manipulate it properly during operation so that they are not injured, with broken legs being all too common an issue when a bike falls onto a motorcyclist. Strength is required, and if a novice doesn’t possess that upon purchasing a motorcycle, most likely it will grow quickly as so many different muscle groups are used while riding. This could be daunting for a younger rider though at first and the lack of proper strength could lead to accidents if they are not properly prepared.

Statistics show that significantly less motorcyclists under 30 are in fatal accidents these days, but thousands still hit the emergency rooms each year with a wide range of injuries. And while some accidents are due to operator error, far too many are the result of negligence on the part of motorists. Other drivers may be unused to watching out for smaller vehicles or bicyclists or pedestrians, or they may be distracted, drowsy, or under the influence. Defensive driving skills are imperative to the safety of motorcyclists, and a 16- or 17-year-old may still be lacking in that area, and less equipped to handle a bike under duress in traffic. The reality is that injuries can be severe, and even fatal. Traumatic brain injuries and concussions are common, along with dislocations, broken bones, road rash, and more.

There are benefits in owning a motorcycle though, to include:

  • Less initial expense than purchasing a car (insurance rates can vary though)
  • Less gas and maintenance expense
  • Younger drivers gaining a sense of independence

Before you give the green light for your minor child to purchase and become licensed to ride a motorcycle, consider their knowledge, maturity level, and readiness for such an endeavor. Experience before heading out onto the road is necessary, and a beginner’s course could prove invaluable. Drivers under 21 must wear helmets also, and they must also have had a learner’s permit for a year with a clean driving record. It is very important for younger motorcyclists to understand that motorists often may not see them on the roads and unfortunately can pose significant threat to their safety every time they are riding.

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.


Florida Helmet Laws for Younger Bicyclists

Bicycling opens an entire world for kids, giving them their own free mode of transportation, whether traveling to and from school, back and forth to friends’ houses, or just enjoying fresh air and exercise. Families can bond together too outside, whether taking bike rides through a neighborhood or while on vacation. The health benefits of riding bikes abound (especially regarding cardiovascular exercise and muscle strengthening) and teach younger riders independence—acting as a precursor to years later when they will begin learning to drive. Young bicyclists must learn to be responsible for their bicycles and gear, understand traffic laws and how to use the appropriate signals—and most importantly, understand the necessity of taking all safety precautions possible.

Although protective bicycling gear is highly recommended for everyone, for obvious reasons, Florida law does require younger riders to wear helmets as follows:

“A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets, final rule, 16 C.F.R. part 1203. A helmet purchased before October 1, 2012, which meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z 90.4 Bicycle Helmet Standards), the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation (1984 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling), or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets adopted by the department may continue to be worn by a bicycle rider or passenger until January 1, 2016. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bicycle.”

The reality is that while bicycling is a great activity and a serious potential athletic interest that can carry into adulthood, it can also be dangerous. Motorists are the greatest threat, and especially if they are distracted with smartphones or other electronics, speeding, or driving under the influence. The use of a helmet is meant to protect the head against serious injuries as it absorbs impact, significantly preventing concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and hemorrhages. On impact with a car however, many other injuries can occur such as serious and even life-threatening trauma to other parts of the body, contusions, sprains, fractures, and more.

If you or your child has 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.


Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Types 1 and 2

If you suffer from one of the two different Complex Regional Pain Syndrome types, the condition probably came on unexpectedly due to a previous physical trauma. Many individuals who are in car accidents often caused by the negligence of others find themselves with sprains or broken bones that may heal easily but later nerve damage not apparent before shows up in the form of CRPS. The pain may be exponentially worse than an initial sprain, break, or tear—and last much longer, or even indefinitely.

While many experience the onset of CRPS after a physical trauma, others may find that it presents soon after a surgery (or for some, they may never understand what caused it at all). This condition is rare as it only affects around two hundred thousand people in the US—although those figures may be underrepresented. CRPS can be difficult to understand, and difficult to diagnose. Currently, it is divided into Type 1 and Type 2, with the origins/causes being different, but most of the symptoms remaining the same in those who are affected.

  • Type 1 for CRPS is most common, with the Mayo Clinic stating that it affects 90 percent of CRPS patients. This occurs after a trauma, sickness, or surgery with indirect pain arising afterward.
  • Type 2 (previously referred to as causalgia) is the result of a definite, previous nerve injury.

Although diagnosis of CRPS can be challenging, receiving treatment as soon as possible can fend off further complications like serious problems with coordination and mobility, complete atrophy of muscles, and dystonia—which occurs when hands or feet may become paralyzed in a fixed position.

While the pain and coordination issues can cause extreme discomfort, CRPS is often accompanied by emotional issues too as the patient has trouble coping and adapting to such physical changes that may seriously constrict their quality of life. There are a variety of medications that may be recommended for the pain, from basic pain relievers to anesthetic creams, corticosteroids, and more. Physical therapy may be effective as well. For anxiety and depression and mental challenges associated with what can be a debilitating illness, it is often recommended that the CRPS patient see a therapist as needed too.

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

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


Leg Injuries Common in Motorcycle Accidents Due to Riding Position

Most motorcyclists become engaged in riding out on the open road because they are drawn to a more unique way to travel, enjoying the freedom of the fresh air and the power of the bike taking them to their destination—or perhaps nowhere in particular on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The health benefits abound, from the sheer focus required, to the constant exercise one receives while operating such a weighty vehicle. While the arms, neck, and core get a great workout, the legs and thighs become more strengthened in every ride.

The legs are used almost constantly, not only as you grip the bike while riding, but also as you nudge it from its stand while in a sitting position, giving support while idling at a red light, and more. If you are new to the world of motorcycling, you may find it useful to employ strength training before buying a motorcycle or as you begin getting used to it slowly. Hitting the gym can help you build up the proper muscles and prevent fatigue while you are on the road.

Along with increasing strength and enjoying all that the world of motorcycling has to offer though, it is important to remember that the legs are one of the most vulnerable areas in the case of an accident. This is mainly because the entire weight of the bike could fall on one of your legs—and leg fractures are one of the most common injuries resulting from crashes. As the bike topples or the motorcyclist is thrown, they commonly break arms and wrists also as they reach out to try and protect themselves from a fall.

The head/brain area is one of the most vulnerable areas also, which is why helmets are so heavily encouraged, often preventing instances of concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI). When traveling on your motorcycle, remember to work overtime watching out for motorists. Unfortunately, they are your greatest danger on the road as not only are they often too distracted to see other cars but have much more trouble ‘seeing’ motorcycles as they are smaller, and the eye is not as well-trained to look out for them.

Intersections are one of the most common areas for motorcycle/car crashes as well; again, this is an area where motorists may speed ahead or turn without seeing a motorcycle (or a bicyclist, or a pedestrian). Alcohol, speed, and distractions are often to blame in such crashes as well.

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

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


Bicycling Tips: Staying Safe on Two Wheels in Florida

Florida is famous for so much goodness: white, sandy beaches and the Gulf. Sophisticated cities nestled near the Atlantic. Islands and great fishing. Disney World!

There is much to enjoy while traveling up and down this long stretch of area so popular with vacationers and retirees. The Sunshine State also boasts weather and terrain that is all too tempting for bicyclists. Unfortunately, looks can be deceptive though as while Florida may be enticing, it has also gained a reputation for being dangerous for cyclists overall.

More than one report has confirmed that the state of Florida has an inordinate amount of bike crashes; and in fact, a recent news article reported that the Florida Department of Transportation is now closely examining why their state is responsible for as much as 20 percent of cyclist deaths (as in 2014). New data from Florida International University shows that motorists were found negligent in 46 percent of crashes, while those riding bicyclists were at fault in 30 percent of the incidents.

As a bicyclist in Florida, you may feel completely at ease on the road. The problem, however, is usually other motorists who are distracted, impaired, speeding, or driving carelessly due to other issues. Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Be especially aware at intersections. More bicycle crashes tend to happen at intersections and especially during left and right turns.
  • Try to avoid congested traffic areas when possible. Although you may be an extremely experienced cyclist, and the road is supposed to be shared, motorists may not always have the best attitude (or manners) regarding your presence on a busy road.
  • Use bike paths whenever possible.
  • Learn and employ hand signals for use while riding in traffic. Always ride (on the right side) with the flow of traffic, not against it.
  • Watch for parked cars. Not only can running into one cause significant injury to you, your bike, and even the car—but you can also be seriously hurt if someone flings open a door unpredictably just as you are passing by.
  • Make sure your bike has a working horn, as well as lights for traveling at dusk or night.
  • Make your presence known with brightly colored (neon is always a good choice!) clothing.

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

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


Motorcycle Accidents: Traumatic Brain Injuries All Too Common

Although your drive to work today and back—and perhaps a quick stop to the drugstore or grocery store—may have seemed safe enough and completely without complication, there is no doubt that the roads can be a deceptively dangerous place. Traffic injuries and fatalities have been on the rise, with tens of thousands killed each year, and millions injured in car crashes.

Other motorists can be your greatest danger. Although drivers who are inexperienced, impaired, or tired are major concerns, distracted driving is an enormous threat today to everyone on the road. And due to their vulnerability, motorcyclists must practice even greater diligence as they travel the roads and highways of the US. Data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in 2016. Of those fatalities 61 percent were wearing their helmets.

In the case of a motorcycle accident, and especially in more violent crashes with cars, all involved—but especially the motorcyclist and any passengers—are at risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a scenario where all the ingredients are present for catastrophe, and especially if the motorcyclist or their passenger is not wearing a helmet. The impact of hitting the pavement can be severe, even if the motorcyclist is traveling at a relatively slow speed when struck or becoming involved in an accident.

The traumatic brain injury ranges from mild to severe and may even include permanent brain damage or result in fatality. The recuperation time after such an accident can be long-term, and it may be difficult for someone who has experienced a TBI to go back to work either temporarily or permanently. Symptoms vary, to include:

  • Mild – drowsiness, headaches, memory loss, sleep issues, anxiety and depression
  • Moderate to Severe – loss of consciousness, vomiting, seizures, weakness, lack of coordination, confusion, sleep issues, speech issues, and more

If you have experienced a serious blow to the head after a motorcycle wreck, or due to any other accident, seek medical help as soon as possible. Any state of unconsciousness should raise major concern and be addressed quickly.

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

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


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