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.


Burn Injuries May Be Complex and Require Long-Term Care

Complex and sometimes life-threatening burn injuries may be caused by a wide range of different accidents. While some burns may be catastrophic, many are complex in nature too—as are the healing and treatment processes. Depending on how much of the body is affected by a burn, the victim may be forced to adapt to a much different way of life either temporarily or permanently as their health is suddenly more fragile and there is a constant risk of infection. Suddenly, it may be difficult to move or complete daily tasks.

Burn types are distinguished by degrees, with first-degree burns impacting the skin; in fact, this could even be something as mild as a sunburn. A second-degree burn affects not only the outside layer of the skin but also a portion of the dermis. It is usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and blistering. The third-degree burn is the most severe, and may affect the outer skin, layers of the dermis, bones, muscles, and tendons. The patient may lose all feeling in the burn area, which in comparison to the redness of a first- or second-degree burn may be white in appearance.

Typical causes for burns are as follows:

  • Extreme heat or fire, scalding liquids, steam
  • Radiation
  • Electrical
  • Chemicals

Over 500,000 individuals in the US are treated each year for burns, with tens of thousands requiring hospitalization for further treatment. Children are most commonly seen for burns, and these occurrences are unfortunately—and usually—due to scalding.

Mild burns can usually be treated at home, healing easily. In more serious cases though, patients may require a variety of different medications and dressings for the injuries (plus tetanus shots). Physical therapy may also be required. Third-degree burns may require skin-grafting procedures, as well as plastic surgery.

Sometimes months and even years are required for burns to heal, and beyond that, patients may suffer from severe emotional trauma—made even worse for those who suffer from disfigurement due to their injuries. Antidepressants or antianxiety medication may be required, along with psychotherapy and/or support groups for others suffering from similar conditions. After working with burn specialists, some patients may need to be transferred for care in burn centers or longer term, in nursing homes.

If you have sustained a burn injury 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.


Kids on Bicycles: Be Aware of Distracted Motorists

It’s a sad state of things when kids must overcompensate for negligent drivers who may not see them because they are too busy texting and driving, but as traffic deaths and car accidents continue to increase in the US, that is the reality. The dangers of bicycle riding are starkly juxtaposed with a long list of health benefits as getting out on two wheels in the fresh air offers more than just cardio exercise but also contributes to good bone and muscle growth, and helps prevent obesity, risk of diabetes, and so much more. And while we don’t want our younger children or other family members to miss out on bike riding, safety issues abound and must be addressed.

Distracted drivers wreak havoc on the roads nationwide each day. Disturbing trends have traveled beyond impaired drivers and those talking on the phone while driving to an intense focus on eliminating texting and driving. Even with all the knowledge and statistics centered around distracted driving though, the temptation seems to outweigh good sense in far too many cases. We all understand how important communication is—and if your child has a phone so they can stay in touch when away from home, you have probably stressed to them that you would like them to return messages as soon as possible so that you know everything is okay. If you are parenting teenagers, communication can be challenging, and they may not return your texts or calls; however, it is vital that they all realize the need to put the phone away when traveling.

Along with educating kids on distracted drivers and how to be defensive on the roads, make sure they are practicing the following safety measures also:

  • Protective gear – according to Florida law, helmets are a must (“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.”), and other safeguards such as elbow and kneepads are highly recommended.
  • Visibility – while everyone traveling on two wheels or by foot should make themselves as visible as possible, children are the most vulnerable of all due to their size and inexperience. Make sure your child is wearing bright clothing, as well as a brightly colored helmet. Neon strips are helpful and can be attached to the shoes and bike also.
  • Comprehension of road signs and rules – keeping in mind that younger bicyclists are not yet driving and may not understand how traffic works, educating them on traffic rules is vital to their safety, as well as that of others.
  • Bicycle maintenance – make sure tires are in good shape and that everything on the bike is in good working order from the chain to the lights, horn or bell, and more.

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.


Careless Driving Continues to Be a Health Hazard

With record numbers of drivers licensed in the US today, most of us are hard pressed to find quiet roads to travel on; in fact, if you live in a bigger city, there could be millions commuting back and forth daily—with you joining them. Driving is a part of life for most adults, unless you are lucky enough to move to a tiny (and enviable!) community where you can walk and bike everywhere—or perhaps you have mastered the public transportation system, or prefer to Uber it most places. No matter what though, chances are you are in moving traffic each day.

Due to such repetition, driving can indeed become a rote activity. The temptation is there for many to become distracted as they worry about multi-tasking. What’s happened with that big work project? Where are the kids and what are they doing right now? Should we go out for dinner tonight or call in for pizza? Our time in traffic often allows for pensiveness—and that can lead many drivers to become engaged in intense communication not appropriate for the driving process.

Distracted drivers not only cause a multitude of car accidents daily but take thousands of lives each year. Even with countless campaigns against such activity like texting and driving (and the fact that it is illegal in Florida and most other states), not to mention cell phone use, the problem continues to grow—accompanied by a host of the same old issues too: speeding, driving under the influence, and other reckless behaviors. Recent news explains that even after adjusting statistics regarding accidents for increased numbers of vehicles on the road, crashes are continuing to increase.

Careless driving behavior has increased by staggering numbers:

  • Improper lane usage – increased by 50 percent.
  • Improper passing – increased by 47 percent.
  • Colliding with other cars traveling in same direction – increased by 40 percent.
  • Disregarding traffic signs and signals – increased by 34 percent.

“It’s an epidemic, frankly,” said Keyna Cory, coordinator for the Florida Don’t Text and Drive Coalition. Cory has no doubt that the sharp rise in accidents is the result of texting and cellphone use.

“As you drive down the road in South Florida, they’re driving in somebody else’s lane,” she said. “We all know young people do it, but I’m now seeing older people doing it as well.”

Just one wrong move by a negligent driver can cause fatalities, or catastrophic harm to include traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, broken bones, and much more—not to mention psychological trauma.

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.