Ten People Die Every Day from Drowning

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

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

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

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

When it comes to keeping kids safe in the water:

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

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

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


Child Drownings Increasing in Florida

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

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

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

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

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

Were you or your child injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of others? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

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


Keeping Your Distance: Rear End Collisions Often Fatal to Motorcyclist

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

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

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

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

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

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


Understanding Product Liability: Do You Have a Case?

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

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

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

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

Has your child been injured due to a dangerous toy or a product defect? If so, please call Heintz & Becker. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

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


Florida’s Bike Trails: Keeping Your Family Safe

Biking in Florida is one of the most fulfilling activities families can enjoy together. And while it is certainly an exercise that is enjoyed alone too for a variety of health benefits to include working the heart and lungs, preventing obesity, and building strong bones and muscles, bicycling can be greatly enjoyed in groups and of course, there is always greater protection in numbers. Whether you are planning a quick outing with the kids though—or mapping out a day trip on one of Florida’s great bike trails—everyone’s safety comes first.

Protective Gear is a Must

Bicycle accidents can occur due to obstacles on the road or path, collisions with others they are traveling with, efforts to avoid pedestrians or pets, and more. Be sure that everyone is wearing protective gear, with the understanding that kids under 16 must be equipped with a bicycle helmet that meets federal standard guidelines. A bike path is a better place for those who like to carry on at a leisurely pace rather than rapid cycling as there tends to be so much more traffic—including other families on foot with babies and toddlers in strollers. And although it may sound dramatic for traveling on a bike path, it is true that passing should be done with extreme caution as those walking, riding, or running may tend to be more erratic in pace and movement. Right of way should always be given to pedestrians, and all traffic signs (and yes even speed limit signs!) should be followed.

Take Note that Florida Leads in Bicyclist Fatalities

The most serious threat to you or your children while traveling on two wheels though is always other motorists. Chances are if you are out and about on bikes—whether in a small town or a larger city—you will have to navigate through some traffic. These aren’t the roads you traveled as a kid on a bike, keep in mind. Recent news continues to stress that Florida tops the nation for bicyclist fatalities, with a death rate 60 percent higher than neighboring states. Because of this, everyone—and most importantly children due to their added vulnerability—must understand how important it is to be visible, follow traffic rules, and be extremely defensive as riders.

Make Sure Your Bike is in Good Working Order 

As an added tip, don’t forget to ensure that the kids’ bikes and yours are in tiptop shape when traveling. Bicycles are usually fairly low-maintenance, but it is vital to make sure the horn and any lights work, that the chain is properly lubricated, tires are filled and able to keep air, and most importantly—that the brakes are in good working order.

Contact Us for Help!

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

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


Motorcyclists: Know How to Read the Road

With millions of automobiles on the road today, sometimes there is a thrill in being different. Some prefer to take public transportation, while other travelers and commuters walk or bicycle everywhere. Motorcycles are extremely popular though, with over 8 million registered in the US, and many owners enjoying not only a different form of transportation, but a whole different lifestyle.

Although the biker image still prevails in many cases—especially with black leather jackets, pants, and heavy boots as protective gear—for people of all ages, careers, and cultures, there is a deep sense of fellowship. Accompanying that are so many other pros to riding, from all that outdoorsy healthy stuff like fresh air and seeing the countryside, to the physical workout experienced on every trip, the economics (less gas, cheaper maintenance, and less investment to begin with), and even a sense of spirituality or Zen.

The most significant con to riding a motorcycle is the safety issue. Even if you are a pro and have been riding for decades, chances are you have a few stories to tell when it comes to accidents. Unfortunately, other motorists are one of the biggest dangers to motorcycle enthusiasts—and because of this you must drive as defensively as possible, always assuming other vehicles are not watching out for you.

Learning to read the road is vital and centered around safety. Although most new drivers and motorcyclists are required to take educational courses, there’s nothing like experience! Getting to know your bike thoroughly before you head out onto the road is critical, along with wearing the proper gear, and making sure your motorcycle is in good working order.

Be visible to other drivers, follow all traffic rules, and be apprised of current weather conditions. Once on the road, each journey is much more complex than just getting from point A to point B. You must constantly assess other drivers:

  • Be sure you have enough space in front of and behind you and cars on the road.
  • Make eye contact if possible with other drivers in their rearview or side mirrors to ensure you are not in their blind spots.
  • Take extra care at intersections, especially left turns.
  • Be awake, alert, and never drive under the influence.

In most cases, ‘reading the road’ means reading other drivers! While you must follow the traffic rules, the speed limits, avoid impairing substances, and be completely aware of your surroundings always, you must also overcompensate for drivers who may be extremely distracted with smartphones or other electronics—or they may be speeding and neglect to see you. They may be inexperienced, tired, or driving drunk. Being hypervigilant about safety while riding your motorcycle can make the difference between arriving home alive or becoming another fatality on Florida roads.

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.

 


CRPS: Nerve Damage Pain May Last a Lifetime

Imagine being in a car crash or motorcycle accident and experiencing not only the trauma of such an event, but physical injury too. In more severe cases, motorists or passengers may be killed or sustain brain or spinal damage. Cuts and contusions and breaks and sprains are more common though and may heal right on target, with complex regional pain syndrome emerging as a complete—and very unwelcome—surprise.

CRPS brings a wide range of unique symptoms with it and is thought to be an inflammatory condition related to the immune system, brought on by initial nerve damage. In Type 1, this may occur after a trauma like a fall or a car accident; in Type 2, the nerve damage is usually obvious, along with the reason for it, like a surgery or perhaps an infection. While the limb previously associated with a break or sprain or other trauma is usually the only one afflicted by symptoms, over time, the patient may find both limbs affected—especially with movement disorders like dystonia where arms, legs, fingers, or toes become fixed in a twisted or otherwise awkward position.

Differences in the skin are often noted with the onset of CRPS, to include burning or swelling, along with sensitivity to temperature. The arm or leg may be discolored, and even glossy or thinned out in texture. Joints may feel stiff, and muscles may move unpredictably. The most prevalent symptom though is usually pain. Individuals suffering from CRPS are usually stymied by the sudden discomfort, and medical professionals may not be able to pinpoint the condition at first, being forced to rule out other problems before making a diagnosis, often with bone scans, X-rays, blood tests, and more.

For some, CRPS could just be episodic, disappearing after a short amount of time. For others though, this rare condition appears out of the blue and can make life permanently debilitating. Once the challenge of diagnosing CRPS is out of the way, the challenge of treating it follows. In milder cases, over-the-counter pain relievers may suffice—but for others, opioids may be necessary. Medical professionals may also prescribe corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or nerve-blockers. Physical therapy can be helpful too, along with antidepressants and psychotherapy which may be especially vital for patients with chronic CRPS who are adjusting to ongoing pain and the drastic changes it has caused in their lives.

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.


Angry Drivers Endanger the Lives of Everyone on the Road

Most of us would be hard pressed to say that we have never become irritated while driving. Traffic doesn’t even have to be heavy to hold you up in some cases; in fact, there could be one slow driver—whether they are older, younger, distracted, drunk, or lost—that makes you late for work and gets you in trouble before the day has barely started. A sense of urgency is usually what causes us to become anxious about someone else’s driving, but safety on the road must come before everything else.

Aggressive driving and road rage are the very antithesis of safety, and while such behavior may serve as an (unhealthy) outlet for other daily frustrations, it can also result in serious violence, car and motorcycle accidents, and even death. There are already far too many reasons for accidents to occur on the roads. With over 260 million cars registered in the US and millions of individuals driving back and forth in large cities each day with commutes and other transportation needs, there are more distracted motorists than ever traversing the highways.

While enraged drivers offer their own set of dangers to those traveling, distracted drivers top the list for causing accidents—and this unfortunate modern trend just continues to grow. Unable to look up from their smartphones long enough to perform the vital duty of driving, many drivers today are the cause of injuries and even fatalities. And even worse, all the other classic problems such as reckless driving, impaired driving, and speeding continue to cause harm too.

If you feel like you may have an anger problem, refrain from taking it out on other drivers, and seek professional help as soon as possible. If you encounter an aggressive driver or someone clearly in the throes of road rage, do not engage them by agitating them further or worse—by losing your temper too. If the situation is out of control, contact the authorities; otherwise, do your best to stay out of the way of such motorists without returning ‘fire’ such as swerving, blocking lanes, yelling, gesturing, or honking the horn.

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

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


Facial Fractures Commonly Caused by Motorcycle Accidents

As a motorcyclist, you probably enjoy a lot more than just driving back and forth to work every day. Although a faster and more economical commute makes traveling on two wheels enticing, most of the country can be enjoyed by motorcycle—including over 100 scenic byways and other roads that allow for hours of fresh air and breathtaking landscapes. The health benefits abound too, from the amount of mental acuity required during each ride to strength built in the core and legs.

Motorcyclists report feeling a great sense of freedom, traveling unfettered by the protection of a car—as well as feeling camaraderie with other riders out on the roads. The flip side of all the goodness experienced in riding, however, is an ongoing concern for safety. All the features that offer such a sense of freedom in travel can also be a major downfall if safety procedures are not followed or if you are struck by a car or truck.

You may have read some of our previous blogs regarding typical injuries caused by motorcycle crashes, with broken bones—and especially broken legs—being common. Along with serious neck and spinal injuries, and issues like the dreaded road rash, facial fractures are often the unfortunate result of a crash also. The nose, being much more vulnerable, may be broken, with accompanying swelling, pain, and black eyes. The forehead may be fractured too, along with the eye sockets, cheekbone, and/or jaw.

Many facial fractures are mild, but others can be so serious they cause death or significant disfigurement. Damage to the face may also include problems with eyesight or total blindness, as well as impeding talking, breathing, and eating. If you have any question about injury after a traffic accident, seek medical help as soon as possible. Symptoms of a facial fracture may include bruising around the face and eyes, nosebleeds or the nose appearing crooked and out of alignment, numbness or tingling in various areas of the face, broken or chipped teeth or misalignment of the jaw, double vision, and problems with speech or swallowing.

Diagnosis usually includes CT scans or X-rays, and while treatment may involve pain relievers, steroids, or antibiotics, extensive reconstructive surgery could be required too. While it may be difficult to prevent such injuries in the case of a catastrophic crash, wearing a helmet can prevent facial injuries as well as traumatic brain injury.

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.


CRPS: Pain Symptoms May Affect the Entire Body

It is said that good health is true wealth—and that escapes all too many of us until there is a serious issue like complex regional pain syndrome. Adapting to an illness or injury can be extremely challenging, and especially if it is a rare condition that can be both difficult to diagnose and treat. On top of that, when a condition like complex regional pain syndrome appears almost out of nowhere you may be dealing with pain and frustration. Although the causes of Type 1 CRPS are sometimes unknown (while Type 2 usually occurs after noted harm to the nerves), the trauma of a car accident and subsequent injury is a good example of an event that can trigger CRPS later.

The surprise factor in CRPS is not a good one. You may have had a broken arm or leg, or perhaps even just a moderate sprain that was treated and healed with ease—only to develop strange symptoms later that progressed into pain worse than the original injury! The signs of CRPS can be like other autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions, and they must be ruled out first. Diagnosis can be time-consuming, which is why medical help should be sought as soon as possible. Early treatment—often consisting of pain relievers (including topical medications), physical therapy, and more—usually means a better outcome for CRPS which can in some cases become progressive and chronic.

Often affecting an arm or leg at first (the one that may have been wounded in a car wreck or motorcycle crash, for instance), CRPS may transform the skin in unusual ways, leaving it tinged with blue or pink discoloration, along with causing extreme sensitivity to the slightest touch or change in temperature. There may be swelling, and the area may become thin and glossy in texture and feel clammy. If you are suffering from long-term CRPS there could be other issues as it spreads throughout the body to include one of the other limbs (or even all of them), the muscles and joints, bones, and immune system. Some patients may also see this condition go into a welcome remission—only to present itself again months later.

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.