After the Car Crash: Be Careful What You Say!

We know so much more today in the US than we did decades ago regarding the importance of safety—and we have so many progressive mechanisms available to prevent injury in the case of a car accident, not to mention so much more information available to the public on how to avoid crashes. Still, traffic incidents continue to rise, and issues like distracted driving continue to be a major problem—taking thousands of lives each year tragically, and needlessly. Motorists who can’t resist the temptation to use their smartphones while traveling are a problem of epic proportions on the roads, but drunk and reckless drivers still cause many crashes too.

If you are in a serious car wreck, you may be owed damages from the negligent party, but it is very important to protect your case from the beginning. This begins with being very careful about what you say. Being educated on what to do before such an incident occurs is extremely helpful, as you may be shaken after a collision with another vehicle. Take time to catch your breath and regain your composure, along with assessing whether you have any injuries. Upon speaking with the other party, as well as police or medical professionals, remember that there is the possibility anything you say could be used against you later; for instance, the other driver may have been negligent, but if you apologize or indicate in any way that you could have done something to prevent the accident (even when it was clearly not your fault!), such statements could have negative repercussions on your case.

Speak only to the police as they are there compiling the accident report, giving them only the basic facts about the case. You will be required to exchange contact and insurance information with the other motorist but keep any communication to a minimum. Your best bet is to contact an experienced injury attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker as soon as possible. And while it is important to consider your words and actions very carefully directly after an accident that may develop into an injury case, also make sure to speak to any witnesses who may be on the scene and collect their contact information too. That will most likely be the only chance you have to speak with them—and their account of what happened could be extremely important for you later.

If you have been injured in a car 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.


Bicycle Accidents in Florida: Beware of the Most Common Contributing Factors

One thing most of us agree on is that we would rather spend more time outdoors relaxing in the fresh air and getting much-needed exercise. Bicycling in the state of Florida fills all those requirements, affording an economical mode of travel too, whether you are traveling alone or with a group of friends or your family. Millions of Americans enjoy this healthy mode of transportation, boosting good health in so many ways as it lifts the spirits overall, burns enormous amounts of calories, promotes strong heart and lung health, and so much more. Unfortunately, amidst all that relaxing lurks numerous safety issues.

Bicycling in Florida can be especially dangerous; in fact, it has been ranked with the highest fatality rate for bicyclists in the nation. Much of the hazards emanate from obvious factors like cars and distracted drivers. With the emergence of the smartphone, texting and driving has superseded all the other classic dangers like drunk driving and speeding—although those are still major issues causing far too many accidents and deaths still. Bicyclists must be extremely defensive while on the road, and especially while riding in traffic. Here are a few tips for keeping yourself and your family safe:

  • Careless drivers – Smartphone usage, drugs and alcohol, and reckless driving are to blame for many accidents. Car doors being opened in traffic areas can cause serious accidents for bicyclists too.
  • Lack of visibility – This can be a major problem for bicyclists. If motorists can’t see you, there is much greater potential for an accident to occur. Make sure to wear bright coloring and use reflectors and neon strips wherever possible.
  • Side-swiping and rear-ending – Motorists may be driving too closely, squeezing bicyclists out of traffic, or hitting them from the side or the back, with the potential to cause major injury or death.
  • Intersections – This is one of the most dangerous areas for anyone driving, but especially motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Make sure that motorists see you if you are turning and attempt to make eye contact with them if possible.
  • Bike path obstacles – Bike paths are usually not a place to travel at high speeds as there may be branches, rocks, litter, or other items in the way, along with other people biking, hiking, walking dogs, strolling children, and more.
  • Ignoring traffic rules – Both motorists and bicyclists can cause great injury to themselves and others when traffic rules are ignored—whether that is stop signs, traffic lights, four-way stops, or more.
  • Environmental issues – Even greater caution must be practiced if there is road construction or bad weather. If you can avoid being out in rain, snow, or ice, and have alternate transportation, that may be your best option—depending on how hardcore you are about your bicycling!

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

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


Avoiding Fatalities at the Swimming Pool: Know CPR

Swimming is a year-round activity in Florida, enjoyed by all ages. And while many of us enjoy a dip in the ocean, swimming pools are much more accessible—and often situated right in the patio area or in the backyard. Unfortunately, dangers usually accompany recreation in the water too—causing boating accidents, drownings at the beach, and raising the potential for swimming pool fatalities.

Whether you are permanently retired or enjoy your pool as a getaway from the busy life, it is probably often the center of gatherings between family and friends. Pool parties can be one of the greatest ways to kick back on the weekends, celebrate birthdays, and more. There can be a lot of distractions though and supervision may become difficult, with the alcohol flowing for the adults, and events that involve kids becoming chaotic at times. Safety should always be the first consideration, and this starts with following Florida law regarding pools, requiring homeowners to choose from one option, to include a barrier like a fence or wall (at least four feet high), alarms on windows and doors to the swimming area, a pool cover, or latching gates to entrance/exit areas.

In the event of a swimming accident or a potential drowning, it is extremely helpful to know CPR. Even children as young as nine or so can take classes to learn how to save someone if they require resuscitation, and there have been numerous cases where they were able to save lives due to CPR education. CPR is performed with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing meant to start the heart again after it has failed in a drowning episode or perhaps even a heart attack that was unrelated to the activities at hand. An individual who experienced distress in the water has a much better chance of survival if CPR is administered almost immediately.

It is important to watch kids constantly while they are in the pool, and if you frequent public pools, make sure there is a lifeguard in charge. Swimming classes may also offer some of the best lessons in life that your kids can learn too, but it is important to keep them enrolled year after year until they have developed into fully capable older swimmers.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of another party, 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 is Chronic and Progressive in Many Cases

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) affects a relatively small number of people in the US, with up to around 200,000 cases currently known. If you or a loved one are affected by this condition, then statistics probably mean very little to you or offer much comfort—especially if debilitating pain and suffering are involved.

CRPS can be a confounding condition. It is usually brought on by a trauma like a car accident or a motorcycle crash, and is separated into two different types, with the first usually triggered after a health issue has healed from a car accident, medical procedure, or other injury—and often a mild one. This type of CRPS is often a major—and unwelcome—surprise; in fact, if this is the case for you, there may have just been a sense of relief over getting over a sprain or a break, only to have CRPS rear its ugly head seemingly out of nowhere. The second type of CRPS is usually triggered after direct harm to a nerve occurs. This could happen during a surgery or some other event where it was obvious right away that a nerve had been damaged and CRPS was the result.

While some forms of CRPS can be mild, this condition is known to be chronic and usually affects an arm or leg, or hands and feet. In most cases, symptoms begin with discomfort and burning around the limb that was hurt, and because the immune system is affected along with the central nervous system, there may be redness and swelling, along with extreme sensitivity to touch. Early diagnosis and treatment usually result in a better outcome, but diagnosis can be challenging until all other diseases have been ruled out. Medication may include over-the-counter pain relievers or much stronger regimens, including opioids, nerve blockers, and even anticonvulsants or antidepressants.

CRPS may worsen over time, and muscles may even begin to atrophy. While some patients may experience loss of mobility, others may become reluctant to move around, fearing the pain involved in getting up or walking around. Dystonia is another example of the progression of CRPS, with fingers or toes sometimes becoming fixed in an abnormal or twisted position. This may affect just one area or a group of muscles.

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.

 


Men Are More Likely to Be Involved in Motorcycle Accidents

The population of motorcyclists in the US continues to rise steadily, and according to a recent study, motorcycles registered doubled from 2002 to 2017, with the largest numbers licensed in both Florida and California. More women (and many who are younger than the typical demographic for men) are purchasing bikes these days too, enjoying all the same benefits that men do such as increased physical strength, a sense of camaraderie, and the excitement of being on the open road.

Men are still more likely to be in a motorcycle accident though, and especially if they are 50 years old or over. And while it may not be that surprising a statistic considering men are stereotypically considered to be a predominant force in motorcycling, a whopping 91 percent of fatalities in 2015 were men. Those over the age of 50 may not be as strong as their younger male motorcyclist counterparts, unfortunately, leading to more deaths—but realistically, anyone endeavoring to ride a motorcycle needs to possess considerable strength even for the easiest of rides. Major core strength is needed from the beginning, as well as substantial arm and leg strength.

Often, serious accidents from the older demographic also result due to motorcyclists over the age of 50 hoping to pick up where they left off many years ago in riding the highways on two wheels. Physical strength can vary in different ways after so many years, and many motorcyclists may not take that into account. Riders may have been away from their hobby (or preferred mode of transportation) for so long that they forget how much of a physical challenge can be involved, not to mention how much time it can take to adapt to a new bike and time out on the open road. And while fatalities are a reality, motorcycle crash injuries can lead to long-term repercussions, including spinal injuries, neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, serious arm, leg, or facial fractures, and even amputations.

If you were in a motorcycle accident, you may not only find yourself having to get used to dealing with minor or major physical and emotional injuries, but you may not be able to go back to work either temporarily or even permanently. This can be devastating to your finances, and you may be owed substantial compensation if you were hurt 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.


Holiday Food, Toy Drives

The holiday season is in full swing. People will exchange gifts with their family members, friends, and loved ones.

However, there are families who are unable to do the same. Holiday charity drives are a wonderful time to consider donating food, toys, and other items to those who are most in need.

In the Sarasota and Bradenton area, there are food and toy drives that you can still contribute to if you would like to help children and families. Your contribution will be helpful, as a number of charity drives and toy drives are still need your help.

Here is a list of holiday charity drives to consider donating to for this holiday season. Continue reading


CRPS Discomfort Can Be Some of the Worst Pain Experienced

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a rare and unique condition that currently causes discomfort and sometimes intense and chronic suffering for around 200,000 people in the US today. While its causes are not always known, CRPS is divided into two different types. Type 1 may occur with no warning or known damage to the nerves, but it often follows an illness or trauma. You may have been in a car accident or a motorcycle crash, experienced an unfortunate amputation, or even something as simple as having a shot administered. The impact to the body may have healed and been forgotten, only to have CRPS begin causing symptoms in the area that was affected—usually one limb (although it can spread to both). Type 2 is usually caused by something that directly affects the nerves and is realized at the time; for instance, Type 2 CRPS may occur after a surgical procedure with complications.

The condition is usually a surprise to the patient, and often medical professionals too who may be challenged to make a diagnosis until all other more conventional diseases can be ruled out with specific tests. There is no specific testing for CRPS, but once it has been diagnosed, treatment should begin as early as possible for the best overall, long-term outcome. The symptoms are unusual too, and often present themselves around the skin, causing discoloration, tenderness, burning and swelling, and more; in fact, the pain can be so severe that just the lightest touch or even a faint breeze can be intensely uncomfortable.

As the name would suggest, CRPS is centered around pain, and sometimes it is so bad that the patient may become almost unwilling to use the limb or limbs that are affected. Joints may be stiff and swollen, and muscles may spasm, along with becoming weaker over time—even to the point of atrophy. Dystonia is often associated with CRPS too, with fingers or toes becoming fixed in an abnormal or twisted position. Pain may be extreme, and continual, in some cases. Treatments vary from over-the-counter medications to opioids to nerve blockers, accompanied by physical therapy at some point. Anti-convulsant medication may be prescribed, as well as antidepressants and therapy.

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.


Bicyclists Riding Against Traffic More Likely to Be Severely Injured or Killed

Bicyclists abound around the US, but as the population in Florida continues to grow, so do outdoor enthusiasts. Traveling on two wheels is not confined just to enjoying the fresh air and beauty of the natural landscape, however. Commuting on bicycles is becoming more popular—and especially in cities. If you are physically active, or working on being so, bicycling to work often means less time traveling as you can circumvent traffic bottlenecks, accidents, and the inconveniences of rush-hour traffic. It is also much more economical, with absolutely no need for fuel other than your own leg power. Maintenance generally requires little expense, and the start-up cost in purchasing a bike can usually fit any budget.

Whether you are traveling alone or with your family or in a group of friends, however, safety should always come first—and unfortunately, the greatest threat is motorists. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths each year (and hundreds of thousands of injuries), whether this means bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or other motorists. Defensive ‘traveling’ is necessary no matter your mode of transportation. If you are riding a bike, it is vital to be seen. Wear bright clothing, ride a brightly colored bike, and apply reflective devices wherever possible. When riding at night, make sure you have proper lighting, as well as devices to make you heard such as a bell or horn.

And although you may have heard conflicting views on traveling against traffic while bicycling (or walking), it is not only illegal in Florida but also considerably more unsafe. A recent study by the Florida Department of Transportation shows that bicyclists traveling on the roads against traffic were involved in more severe crashes, as well as more fatalities. Additional data shows that the following contributed to many bicycle crashes:

  • Poor lighting in city areas
  • Unusual intersection patterns
  • Reckless driving
  • Bicyclists hitting parked cars or opening doors

“Engineering countermeasures, including signal optimization, turn restrictions, and sign and pavement marking improvements, could improve the overall safety situation for bicyclists. Agency-wide education campaigns on the laws pertaining to bicyclists and extensive driver education campaigns that focus on driver compliance with bicyclist right-of-way laws and stricter enforcement could improve bicycle safety,” state FDOT researchers.

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

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


Motorcycle Accidents More Common at Night, Especially on Weekends

Motorcyclists may be in the minority in traffic today, but this portion of the driving/riding population continues to grow, with data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstrating that Florida is one of the most dangerous places to ride. While landscapes in other states may pose a threat due to curving roads lacking guardrails or snow, ice, and rocky conditions—even those with landslides or more—Florida’s typically flat streets, highways, and byways pose hazards generally created just by other motorists, and a lot of them!

It isn’t called the Sunshine State without good reason, meaning that Florida’s abundantly good weather all year round leads to more motorcyclists, runners, pedestrians, and bicyclists. There are a multitude of different areas where you can get out and drive, ride, walk, or run, but in most cases, there are still traffic dangers. Statistics show that careless drivers continue to pose a hazard on the roads, and Florida leads in motorcycle fatalities.

In the case of a negligent motorist causing harm to others on the road, individuals choosing any other mode of transportation are much more vulnerable due to the lack of protection when facing the weight of a car or truck weighing more than 4,000 pounds. And whether motorcyclists are in harm’s way due to a drunk, distracted, speeding, or otherwise reckless driver, data shows that more deaths and fatalities occur at night and on weekends. Visibility and illumination issues continue to cause challenges when it comes to accidents, with motorists not ‘seeing’ motorcyclists—but this threat applies to pedestrians and bicyclists too. On the weekends, it makes unfortunate sense that there are more accidents in general as less people are indoors at work all day.

Motorcyclists are urged to drive defensively and wear the appropriate protective gear, but also to stand out with bright colors. This doesn’t just mean avoiding darker clothing, either. Choose a bike that is brightly painted, and a helmet that follows suit so that you stand out in traffic. Reflective stickers can also be added to your helmet, motorcycle jacket, boots, and more. Additional lighting is always recommended too.

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

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


Motorcycle Protective Gear: Don’t Expect Jeans to Offer Protection

If you own a motorcycle, chances are you enjoy it for a lot more than just the simple commute. This alternative style of transportation allows for a much greater sense of freedom in travel, and many bikers think they enjoy the world’s natural landscape and fresh air more without the constraints of a car or truck. The flip side of that, of course, is that there is much greater chance for injury or fatality; in fact, Florida is one of the most dangerous places to travel on a motorcycle, leading in fatalities.

And while you may enjoy a sense of freedom, traveling down the highway unprotected is a bad idea. This begins at the top, with your helmet, helping prevent serious physical harm such as traumatic brain injury and more. Wearing the proper clothing is vital too, and while many may expect a hardy pair of denims to play a starring role in motorcycle wear, this type of material is not recommended for true protection. Jeans may seem more than thick enough for normal wear, but this is not the case while riding a motorcycle—and especially if you have the unfortunate luck to hit the pavement.

If you wear jeans daily, the best plan may be to wear motorcycle pants that fit over them, or purchase a type of jeans made specifically for motorcyclists. One-piece suits are also highly recommended, especially if you live in an area with colder weather and want to choose more insulation (or you may opt for leather jacket and pants). Don’t forget a sturdy pair of motorcycle boots, along with gloves and protective eyewear. While considering what to wear, keep in mind too that visibility is a major issue to avoid collisions with cars and trucks. While black leather is common, reflective material is highly recommended. Brightly colored bikes are extremely helpful, and this applies to helmets too. Make sure headlights and tail-lights are in good working order—and like many motorcyclists, you may want additional lighting.

See more on motorcycle topics in recent blogs regarding what to do after a collision with a car, defensive driving, and more. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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