Depositions in My Injury Case: Will I Have to Give One?

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another party, your attorney—as well as the defendant’s side–will be gathering all pertinent evidence for the case, to include calling certain individuals for depositions, which serve as evidence in the form of out-of-court testimony. The taking of depositions is a normal part of the discovery process, summoning parties and witnesses in the case by sending out subpoenas to be served upon them.

Depositions may help your case in several ways:

  • They offer helpful information about the other parties and witnesses involved.
  • They usually eliminate surprises in court.
  • They may shed light on the case that motivates the defendant or insurance company to settle.
  • They can be used against testimony offered in court.

If you are being deposed, you will be served a subpoena notifying you of the date, time, and place where your presence will be required. Your injury attorney will be able to prepare you for the deposition, and be present when opposing counsel deposes you. It is important to be well-rested and calm at the time of the deposition, and to answer each question honestly and with as little emotion as possible. Keep in mind that although the defendant’s attorney may ask you questions about the accident and your injuries, they will have already studied detailed reports regarding the scene, as well as your medical records. The defendant’s attorney may also want to review any information about lost wages if you have been unable to work since the accident.

While the process—and some questions—may be trying, the deposition is a time to give direct answers. Be clear when the answer is that you simply do not know or remember. The deposition may be the last step an insurance company is waiting for before they offer a settlement figure. They may first want to hear what details you offer and assess what kind of a witness you will be in court—especially if there is the possibility of a jury trial.

Undoubtedly, you have already been through a lot and are probably still in pain, recuperating, as well as adjusting to any long-term health problems from the accident. While you may feel worried or nervous about the deposition, remember it is a routine part of the process and if you are completely honest—as well as organized about the facts and any data that may be required of you—you will have offered all you can. The deposition could be as short as 15-30 minutes.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of others and are seeking a skilled injury lawyer, contact Heintz & Becker today. We have offices in Bradenton and Sarasota. If you can’t come to us, we will come to you. 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.


Scooter Commuters: Tips to Stay Safe in Traffic

Although there are thousands of scooter commuters and enthusiasts in the US today, traditional motorists are often challenged to see them on the road, and may even be persnickety about giving them their rightful space. In most cases though, the road must be shared, and safely.

No matter how experienced you are on a scooter, you should still practice alert, defensive driving and remember that other motorists may not be accustomed to seeing them, or looking for them, in traffic; however, if you are navigating through a resort town like Key West, you will probably encounter plenty of your brethren—as well as seriously congested traffic in a small space, and far too many unfortunate opportunities for accidents. This is even more dangerous if you are in smaller traffic areas where large trucks, RVs and more, are traveling through. To top it off—in some areas of Florida you may be dealing with tourists who are unfamiliar with the area and twice as distracted as they attempt to get their bearings.

Here are just a few tips to help you stay safe while riding your scooter in traffic:

  • Wear your helmet. Although you may not think it looks cool, and it is not required (for those over 21), your helmet could make the difference between heading out for more fun tomorrow or lying in a hospital bed recuperating from a traumatic brain injury.
  • Remember that other motorists may have trouble seeing you – Dressing in all black is not the best idea—and especially if you are riding your scooter at night. It helps if your scooter is brightly colored – and you should dress to match, in any sort of bright and/or reflective clothing. While it may be too hot to wear a reflective jacket or pants, go for the visibility factor when getting ready to head into traffic. You may want to add extra lights to your scooter, and use the brights routinely.
  • Make Yourself Heard – Just as motorcycles often rev their engine to be noticed in traffic, don’t be afraid to use your horn, even if just offering a quick double tap to make sure others know you are there.
  • Be Cautious When Braking – Slamming on the brakes in traffic while riding a scooter is asking for trouble. Make sure you are keeping a close eye on the traffic ahead of you so you can hit the brakes lightly at least once before stopping.
  • Wear protective gear – Heat may be a factor in your decision to wear a tank top and shorts when heading down the road on your scooter, but it is a good idea to cover as much of your skin as possible for protection in the case of an accident.

Be sure to watch your speed—and always try to be one step ahead of those driving in front of and behind you for extra defensive driving. If you are injured on your scooter 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.


Auto Accident Injuries—and the Long-Term Effects

There are many common auto accident injuries, all of which we hope to avoid through defensive driving. Do you ever reach your destination, get out of the car though, and then realize you have no memory of driving there?

Many of us are so used to driving to the same places every day that we tend to travel along as if on autopilot. It is easy to fall into that habit, but with increasing numbers of distracted drivers on the road today we must all be even more alert, following all the rules of the road along with serious, defensive driving. As the United States Department of Transportation points out, we have one job as drivers, and that is to drive safely. We would all prefer the job were just that simple, but still thousands of people die on the roads each year—or are seriously injured—due to the negligence of others.

Even a mild fender bender can ruin your day and jangle the nerves. A more serious accident, however, can cause long-term damage and even death. While most of us will be in at least one car wreck in our lives—the hope is that it is not a serious one.

You probably have one or more friends or relatives whose lives have been significantly affected by a car accident. Those responsible for negligence may have been under the influence, distracted, tired, inexperienced, or more. And while car accident injuries are very serious, they are all too common, including:

  • Whiplash – this is one of the most common injuries, caused as the driver or passenger abruptly moves or turns the head or neck on impact. The most classic whiplash injuries occur when the victim is rear-ended by another car. Long-term effects may include lasting neck pain, difficulty in turning the head, and ongoing stiffness.
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuryhead injuries may be classified from mild to severe. Even a mild concussion could leave the car accident victim hospitalized, usually with accompanying contusions. They may experience a lack of consciousness, headaches, vomiting, and short-term amnesia. Traumatic brain injuries may not be apparent at first, but can cause serious long-term damage. Symptoms include confusion, headache, lack of coordination, agitated behavior, nausea and vomiting, and more, depending on the severity. Long-term effects may include cognitive deficiencies, difficulty with attention span, as well as challenges with coordination, speech, and more.
  • Broken bones – while the upper body is most commonly affected, the legs and knees can be seriously injured too when abruptly pushed into hard surfaces of the car. Surgery may be required in some cases, and long-term symptoms vary.
  • Spinal injuries – whether ‘incomplete’ or ‘complete,’ these types of injuries can cause long-term disability, and even paralysis.

To be a skilled, defensive driver, always be prepared for the unexpected when on the road—whether on a highway or side street. While other drivers usually present reason for worry, wildlife are responsible for many accidents too. If you have a lot of deer in your area, practice caution—along with looking for other wild animals and stray dogs and cats who have no sense of road safety. Always follow the speed limit and avoid tailgating other drivers. Take extra care in bad weather, and avoid distractions while driving whether from the phone or other passengers.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, seeking medical attention is priority. If you or someone at the scene can take photographs of the scene for evidence, this could be crucial to your case—as well as contacting an experienced car accident law firm like Heintz & Becker as soon as possible.

Our attorneys have been helping clients in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for over 30 years with car, truck and motorcycle injury accidents, as well as cases involving other forms of negligence. 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.


Car Safety: Make Sure Your Kids are Not Injured by Airbags

Over the past few decades, car manufacturers have made substantial progress in car safety, and motorists have also benefited from better information and education on how to stay safe while behind the wheel. Since the advent of airbags in the late 1980’s, tens of thousands of additional lives have been saved. As newer models of vehicles emerge, we continue to see incredibly complex airbag systems; in fact, many of us have no idea what to expect should they be deployed in an accident.

Deployed Airbags May Cause Danger to Anyone Sitting Too Close

The airbag is meant to work in tandem with the seatbelt, keeping the motorists and passengers in a safer position should they be in an accident. The irony is that sometimes the airbags themselves cause serious—and even fatal—injuries. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states, airbags inflate quickly on impact and can be especially harmful if the occupant of the car is sitting too close. This is more of an issue for shorter drivers, and children, as they tend to have their seats pulled up further.

Younger Children Should Ride in the Back Seat

Your car probably has a warning on the passenger side about allowing children of a certain height or weight to sit there as well as prohibiting placing a baby in a rear-facing seat there, unless the airbag is turned off. And as the CDC quite plainly states, ‘airbags can kill children riding in the front seat.’ Parents will often find that their children are quite eager and persistent about asking to ride up front as it seems more mature, and they imagine they will have a better vantage point while you are traveling. Quite simply though, it is not worth the danger—and even if it’s just for a short ride, accidents often happen surprisingly close to home.

Use Proper Child & Booster Seats

The best rules to follow for keeping your kids safe in the car are to make sure that babies and toddlers are in age- and size-appropriate car or booster seats. Babies should not graduate to front-facing seats until after the age of two, where they should ride until age five. After that a booster seat is suitable until they’ve grown enough to wear a seatbelt comfortably. Older children should always be wearing their seatbelts, and be riding in the back seat of your vehicle unless they are 13 or over.

Contact us Now if You Have Been Injured

Due to the number of distracted drivers on the roads today, not to mention those who are inebriated, tired, or inexperienced, it’s more important than ever to drive defensively and take every precaution necessary. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of 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.


Danger on the Road: Why Motorcyclists Are So Often Overlooked

Considering how popular the motorcycle is today, it seems like motorists would be more inclined to see them on the road. Not only are lone enthusiasts increasing in numbers, but clubs have become more and more popular—from veterans riding together to touring groups enjoying their Harley Davidsons; in fact, the popular manufacturer of motorcycles has announced they will release a total of 50 new bike models by 2022.

It’s clear that motorcycles are just meant for more than just the tough, grizzled biker types. Today on the road you may see a CEO in a suit and tie riding to work, along with women bikers, seniors, and more. The true key though is in really seeing them—and avoiding hitting them with your car. Despite all the attention drawn in recent years to how important it is to watch out for motorcyclists on the road, one of the biggest reasons for crashes is that motorists will say they just never saw the bike in front of or behind them.

Part of the problem on the roads is the growing number of distracted drivers. While they may not see motorcyclists, they also may not see much else as their heads are down staring at their phones, sending a text, or making a call. While the motorcyclist is often not seen, they on the other hand must watch out for everyone and everything. Speeding motorists are a concern, along with cars pulling out in front of them or running traffic lights and stop signs.

A major issue for motorists is that their eyes simply are not well-trained for seeing motorcycles all the time. In heavy traffic, this becomes even more of a challenge. Motorcycles may also—like other cars—be hidden in the blind spots of cars. More importantly, as cars are moving quickly with action going on all around, it may be difficult for some drivers to see everything. They may even suffer from motion-induced blindness, which can prevent them from seeing motorcyclists because they have been staring ahead at one point for so long, while driving past the landscape, and other cars—and motorcycles.

Motorcyclists must do everything possible to make sure they are seen (from flashing lights and wearing brightly colored clothing) and heard (revving engines), as well as driving defensively. Hopefully the more that motorists know, they will be able to train their eyes to see all motorcyclists near them on the road.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a motorcycle or auto accident, please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of 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 your enjoyment and informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.


National Safety Council Survey Examines Driver Concerns & Reported Behavior

Can you remember the last time you went an entire day—or more—without driving? Unless you live in a metropolis like New York City, it’s probably hard to think of a twelve-hour span, or much less, where you were not getting in and out of an automobile; in fact, many of us find ourselves joking at one time or another that we live in our cars. Some of us do love to drive, but generally we are in our vehicles out of total necessity. With such a constant connection to the automobile, it’s not surprising that we find ourselves worrying over traffic, becoming incensed by those who don’t follow the rules, along with feeling concern over whether we and our family members are safe on the roads.

NSF Surveyed Over 2,000 US Citizens

Earlier this year, the National Safety Council performed a survey meant to explore the concerns of today’s motorists, along with their behavior on the roads. The Council created the survey for help in making future policies, as well as developing educational programs and more—all centered around preventing car crashes and related deaths.

Drunk, Distracted & Drugged Drivers Are Major Concerns

With just over 2,000 surveys taken, the NSC administration learned that most individuals spend 30 minutes to under an hour in the car on weekdays. They also pinpoint concerns of those surveyed to focus heavily on driving as a safety issue, worrying individuals about family members on the roads. Many different driver issues, often associated with substances or mood, worried those taking the survey. Topping the list were concerns over drunk, distracted, and ‘drugged’ drivers, along with those suffering from road rage, exhaustion, and inexperience.

Few Surveyed Had Been in an Accident or Driven Under the Influence

Surprisingly, 76 percent of those surveyed stated they had not been in an accident in the past few years. The majority said they had not driven drunk, while the ten percent who confessed to doing so stated they did so unsafely (48 percent), nearly had accidents (47 percent), or did have wrecks (43 percent). Few said they had driven under the influence of marijuana or pills.

Texting is Viewed as a Danger

Regarding texting, the group was relatively firm regarding the dangers, as well as fiddling with hands-free or voice-only devices. Over half thought both of those activities were too dangerous to do while driving. 39 percent surveyed thought it safe to use voice commands, while only 5 percent found texting while driving acceptable.

Individuals participating in the survey were middle-class on the average, with 51 percent being women. The information was taken from individuals surveyed around the US.

Contact Us Now for Help

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an auto accident, please call Heintz & Becker 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.


Modern Addictions: Are You Unable to Put the Phone Down?

You may remember a time not long ago when most of us were still suffering through the day using flip phones and landlines. The smartphone user was rather rare at first, but usually easy to spot with their head down and an intent focus on what seemed years ago to be a very oversized screen. Many of us eschewed the new technology but as time went on and the features became more and more enticing, the majority gave in and purchased smartphones.

Many Drivers Have Trouble Resisting the Urge to Text

Along with the smartphone came greater expense and long periods of somewhat lost time as we became immersed in apps, games, texting, and using the internet and social media. Unfortunately, this transferred to our time in the car too, elevating distracted driving to a whole new form—and a much more dangerous one. For years, motorists driving and talking on the phone were a major concern—along with other hazards like drunk drivers on the road. Texting came along, however and has eclipsed most other distracted driving activities. While many drivers are impatient to read or send communications, much of the usage of cell phones in cars is simply due to a constant need to be looking at the handheld screens whether they are imparting anything useful at the time or not.

Smartphones Offer a Steady Stream of Information & Communication

What is it about those small electronic devices that allows us to become so entranced? Most likely the constant information and attention coming our way is a big part of that. News is zooming in, texts are appearing, and emails ding in—all causing us to keep our focus on the phone. According to the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, most of us are spending an inordinate amount of time on our smartphones, but around ten to twelve percent of users are truly addicted.

Most users have a routine they fall into upon picking up their smartphones. They may start with reading texts or emails, then go on to exploring social media, checking financial accounts, online dating sites—and once they’ve finished with a few sites or platforms, a bevy of new information has flooded in everywhere else so that the cycle starts all over again. Dr. David Greenfield at the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction sees the smartphone as a device that is constantly pleasing us, rewarding us with information and messages at unpredictable—but pleasurable—intervals.

It May Be Time to Break the Habit

Do you feel anxiety when away from your phone? Do you find yourself needing to use it more and more? Are you staring at the phone as a coping mechanism? These may all be red flags indicating that you are becoming overly dependent on this now ubiquitous electronic device. If so, there are ways to break the habit—from setting up a schedule when you allow yourself to use it, to going cold turkey and stopping use of it altogether, at least for a while. This may sound drastic, but if you find yourself unable to drive without staring at the phone or checking for messages—or sending them—then it’s important to face the issue so that you can perform important activities like driving without endangering others.

Contact Us if You Have Been Seriously Injured

Have you or a loved one suffered injury due to a distracted or drunk driver’s negligence? If so, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury law firm that will look out for the needs of you and your family. The lawyers at Heintz & Becker have been helping clients in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for over 30 years with car, truck and motorcycle injury accidents, as well as cases involving other forms of negligence. 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 Drivers: When is it Okay to Use Your Smartphone While Behind the Wheel?

Today’s distracted drivers have created a whole new category of problems and concerns on the roadway. These troublesome drivers come in many different forms. The distracted driver who is eating, drinking, and looking everywhere but the road has been around since the advent of the automobile, unfortunately. They may even be grooming—brushing their hair, applying lipstick, and more. Passengers may be distracting the driver, as well as other factors.

Often weather and other drivers play a factor in diminishing the focus of the driver. But the smartphone has become a central focus of problems. Not only are many distracted drivers today busy talking on the phone, but they may be in the habit of texting too—putting everyone else on the road in further danger.

Many motorists are extremely conscientious, however, and along with being safe—they also don’t want to be involved in illegal activity. Like many other states today, Florida has banned texting and driving, with the intent to save lives—and not only of motorists but also individuals walking, riding bicycles, and sharing the road. The ban on texting was also created in the hopes that there would be less property damage from accidents, along with a reduction in costs for both car and health insurance.

Many drivers may be surprised to find, however, that there are some cases where you would not be penalized for having the cellphone in hand while behind the wheel. Examples include:

  • Calling law enforcement to inform them of an emergency or criminal activity
  • Activities ‘related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle’
  • Engaging in seeking information related to city traffic, weather, or emergency issues
  • Listening to the radio
  • Using a device with ‘wireless interpersonal communication’ that is hands-free
  • When operating a self-driving vehicle

Obviously, it can already be very difficult for law enforcement to prove that someone was texting and driving, unless they caught them in the act. It’s hoped that motorists would not abuse the latitude allowed for activities like navigating or seeking emergency information. For those who are caught texting while driving, penalties include fines, points on the driver’s license—and repeat offenders may eventually lose their right to drive.

Have you or a loved one suffered injury due to a distracted driver’s negligence? If so, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury law firm that will look out for the needs of you and your family. The lawyers at Heintz & Becker have been helping clients in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for over 30 years with car, truck and motorcycle injury accidents, as well as cases involving other forms of negligence. 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.


Is That Smartphone Responsible for Higher Insurance Rates?

Insurance companies are big business, and today they are big data too. These corporations specialize in understanding risk—and if they don’t want to provide insurance to you because of an activity or occupational choice, it may be important to take note of that.

The insurance companies have access to enormous amounts of information, and if they are worried—basically we should be too. It can’t come as much of a surprise to anyone though that distracted driving has caught the attention of the data-driven industry giants.

Unfortunately, distracted driving is causing so much mayhem on the roads, much of it centered around smartphone usage, that it has superseded the attention formerly placed on drunk driving (which is still a substantial problem in the US, and may even be continuing to increase). Continue reading


True Driver Safety Means Watching Out for Everyone

Most of us spend what we might consider to be too much time in the car, whether that’s due to commuting, kids’ activities, traveling to see family in other areas, or more. Have you ever arrived at a destination and thought to yourself that you really did not even remember driving there—as if you were operating on autopilot? Often all it takes is one close call to snap us out of what can be a driving daze, or a complete exercise in distraction with phone calls, texts, food, passengers engaging us, and more. (Note: if you tend to be a distracted driver, make a pact with yourself to stop, and today!)

It’s not enough just to be alert one hundred percent of the time though, and if you’ve spent any time helping a friend or a teenage son or daughter learn to drive, you’ve probably broached the topic of defensive driving. This is more important than ever today, as so many drivers are so distracted, and often on the verge of causing an accident if others are not paying close attention.

Keep an Eagle Eye Out for Distracted Drivers

To all the daring multi-taskers out there, take heed as the National Safety Council points out that the mind really can’t do two things at once. If another driver is busy on the phone, their perception is undeniably diminished in terms of driving skill and the ability to gauge distances. This means the rest of us must be twice as alert in giving them plenty of room, and avoiding rear-ending them when they slam on the brakes absentmindedly—or being swerved into as their eyes are on the electronics instead of the highway ahead.

Drunk Drivers Still Take Lives Every Day

While distracted driving has taken the number one spot for causing accidents, drunk drivers—as well as those who are high on illegal or prescription drugs—still pose a terrifying danger to other drivers, pedestrians, and themselves. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one person dies every 53 minutes in an accident related to drunk driving. Obviously, you have more chance of being on the road with drivers under the influence later in the evenings and unfortunately, during times of celebration such as Memorial Day, July 4th, or during the Christmas season.

Keeping drunk drivers off the road whenever possible is imperative as well—even if you must drive a tipsy friend home or call them a cab from a party. And if you see a car on the road that seems to have an intoxicated driver at the wheel, do not hesitate to call the police.

Always Be a Defensive Driver

Sometimes you may simply have to watch out for those with poor driving skills. They may not have taken a drink or be looking at their phone, but they may not understand the rules of the road—or may be overly tired. Perhaps you are driving in a rain or snowstorm. It’s best to assume that you should be vigilant regarding every car around you. Make sure to give every car enough braking room whether you are driving behind or ahead, and never pull out in front of another driver just because they have their turn signal on. While it may be tempting to speed if you are in a hurry, rush through that traffic light, or expect that other drivers are going to follow all rules properly, remember that ultimately, safety on the road means you must always be on the defense.

Contact Us Now If You’ve Been Injured

Have you or a loved one suffered injury due to a distracted or drunk driver’s negligence? If so, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury law firm that will look out for the needs of you and your family. The lawyers at Heintz & Becker have been helping clients in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for over 30 years with car, truck and motorcycle injury accidents, as well as cases involving other forms of negligence. 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.