Older Travelers at Greater Risk: Whether Driving, Biking, Walking, or Motorcycling

Older travelers are at risk no matter what mode they are in, and no matter what method of transportation you may have chosen. As traffic incidents continue to rise in Florida and around the US, much to the consternation of the government and infrastructure experts everywhere, we must take time to think about those who are more vulnerable. And while older citizens or anyone whose vision or faculties have diminished may need to think about discontinuing driving at some point, we must still share the road with them as they may be crossing near their homes, exercising on bicycles, or be traveling in public with the assistance of someone else.

As a rule, motorists must be especially careful when approaching others who may be less protected in traffic—mainly at intersections and crosswalks. While the safety of other motorists is always a big concern because there are more of them, those traveling on foot are always at greater risk—and along with that fact, seniors and kids are more likely than any other age groups to be involved in fatalities or sustain serious injuries during an altercation with a vehicle.

Florida currently ranks at the top of the list for pedestrian deaths, with travelers on foot over 65 being more likely to be involved in an injury or killed. As experts continue to investigate why fatalities are increasing rather than decreasing, infrastructure issues are blamed for much of the problem, pointing out that if roads, highways, and congested areas near crosswalks were designed better, there would be less catastrophe overall.

No matter what your age is, though, practice these safety tips in traffic so that you are not at greater risk:

  • Be visible. Always wear brightly colored clothing, and at night, use reflectors. You can tape them to your bike or hat or coat, or even your shoes.
  • Make eye contact with motorists before walking straight ahead or turning in crosswalk areas.
  • Know and follow all traffic rules, and never take risks in traffic, no matter how much of a hurry you may be in at that time. This includes avoiding rushing across the street when cars are coming or ‘jaywalking,’ due to a sense of urgency to get to your destination.

If you or a loved one have been injured 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.

Smartphones: Turn the ‘Driving Mode’ Setting On

Many of us still remember the days when drunk drivers were the greatest threat on the roads, and MADD was continually campaigning, getting the word out about how so many terrible injuries and fatalities could be prevented. Even with drunk driving fatalities down by a third, such incidents are still far too big a hazard to other motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists; sadly though, they have been far superseded by distracted drivers. Indirectly, what this means is that the greatest hazard to safety on the road is the creation of the smartphone.

Most of us—technology buffs or not—can agree that the smartphone does offer a long list of benefits that can be life-changing. You can set reminders; you can check your calendar, you can set appointments, you can set timers, take photos to document different personal and professional events—and so much more. But of course there is also the endless stream of communication via texts and phone calls, not to mention emails, and the ability to surf the net whether you are concerned about researching a project for work, heading up the latest sushi bar and checking out their menu, looking at movie times for the weekend, or other business. We all love these conveniences but prefer that motorists are not enjoying them while driving.

In most instances, motorists are minding their own business, operating their vehicles responsibly, and enjoying heading down the road when that familiar ding comes in alerting them to a text. If this happens while you are driving, you may find it nearly impossible to ignore the notification sound or the message, worrying that there is an emergency, or some sort of news you must read about immediately. That’s one thing, but next comes the temptation to respond to the text. This could turn into an entire conversation, and before you know it you could find yourself in a terrible car accident.

Most smartphones today, however, will help you avoid this issue with ‘do not disturb’ software that also includes a feature for fending off phone calls and texts while you are driving. Just activate the auto-reply option in your settings, and magically—your phone deals with the issue without you even knowing, telling everyone trying to get in touch with you that you are busy being safe behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one 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.

 

Injured in a Car Accident? Why You Should Consult with an Attorney As Soon as Possible

Most of us spend an inordinate amount of time in the car, so much so, in fact, that you may feel like you do live there at times. You probably have a place for your coffee, your soda or water bottles, a place to stash personal items, CDs, and perhaps even a little stash of snacks and clean-up supplies (especially if you travel with kids frequently). Because you spend so much time in the car, behind the wheel with very little happening usually, you may often not even remember going from point A to point B. As traffic incidents continue to rise across the US, though, you must be more vigilant about defensive driving than ever.

If you ever are in a car accident, know what to do ahead of time. If you are injured, medical help should be called for immediately. On your arrival to the hospital or doctor’s office, getting treatment should be your priority despite adjusters for the other side already calling. After that, it is in your best interest to call a skilled car accident attorney. When you pick up the phone, and there is an insurance adjuster on the line getting ready to pelt you with questions, you may feel stress. That is normal, and the good thing is you don’t have to deal with that stress—in fact, you should not! Direct the other insurer to your car accident attorney immediately.

Although just the act of communicating about the accident and discussing the details may be stressful (and even awkward) if it does appear that you have a case it is undeniably in your best interest to let a legal professional handle everything. Insurance adjusters are skilled at tripping up other policyholders; for example, they may ask about your medical problems from the car accident. You may be eager to be extremely forthcoming about the injuries you are experiencing or whatever pain you are in, but the extent of your medical condition may not be fully known yet by doctors, and other bodily damage may emerge later as is so unfortunately common in car accidents. It is in the best interest of your case not to speak with adjusters—they may act like your friends, but their job is to spend as little time and money on your claim as possible!

We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after car 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.

Buying Car Insurance? Include Uninsured Motorist Coverage!

Like most consumers in the US, you probably work very hard for your money and enjoy having a little bit left over each month to enjoy; however, there are essential life expenses that you must be continually responsible for too, and sometimes they can take a big bite out of the budget. Insurance is undeniably one of those expenses, not to mention the cost of purchasing and maintaining a car. The bottom line is that having a vehicle to drive can be both complicated and expensive, navigating traffic—and navigating saving enough each month out of your paycheck to cover everything.

The key, however, is not to lose your shirt over that new or used car if it is damaged in an accident, or if you are injured, or passengers are hurt. Keep in mind that if you have a little fender bender, there may be little to worry about, but even a minor collision could result in the need for new parts or a new paint job and be quite costly. A major crash could result in the car being totaled—and typical accident injuries may include head or neck injuries, broken bones, soft tissue damage, or more.

While car insurance is easy enough to procure and might be completed with one phone call or even just an online chat these days, there are many details that you should understand about what you are—or are not—purchasing. You can just ask for the bare minimum in terms of a policy but understand what the risk is if you do not add extra coverage for something like UM protection.

While underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Florida, there are many reasons to purchase it—and they are all centered around your financial protection. UM coverage is usually inexpensive to add to your policy and saves you in the event of an accident with someone else who does not have coverage. It isn’t hard to understand why you want to avoid that type of risk, and especially if it won’t break the bank when you purchase your policy. UM coverage also pays for injuries you may have sustained that would not be covered otherwise.

We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after car 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.

 

Please Be Careful as a Pedestrian at Night—Dark Clothing is a Bad Idea

While any mode of travel has undeniable dangers, you probably don’t worry too much about traveling on foot; after all, you are getting great exercise—building muscle, working your heart, and burning calories—and there is the perception that you can control your participation in and proximity to traffic. Unfortunately, fatalities continue to rise for those on foot. Florida is considered to be the most deadly state for pedestrians, meaning you must be extremely careful when walking—whether making that short commute through traffic, exercising, window shopping, or enjoying any type of pedestrian activities.

The most important step you can take is to stay visible. While you may not be considering safety when you make your fashion choice for heading outside, keep in mind that if you are walking at night, wearing dark clothing is a very bad choice. Without any type of bright colors or reflectors, you may be completely invisible to a car or a large truck.

Other tips:

  • When walking at night, seek out brightly lit areas. Many fatalities occur in rural pedestrian areas that have insufficient illumination.
  • Always walk with a flashlight at night. This is not only a great way to see your path, but also to be seen.
  • Be very careful at crosswalks. Even cars that travel these areas every day may forget to slow down, causing fatal accidents or severe injuries. Assume they are not watching out for you.
  • Make eye contact with vehicles before you cross or turn. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you are indeed being seen.
  • Remember that you also are beholden to traffic rules, even when on foot.

Recent news coverage shows data stating that pedestrian deaths increased by a staggering 35.7 percent between 2008 and 2017—with over 49,000 people dying.

“It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people dying every single month,” the report says, noting that if 5,000 Americans per year died in plane crashes, air traffic would come to a halt until safety solutions were implemented. “Unlike traffic fatalities for motor vehicle occupants, which decreased 6.1 percent between 2008 and 2017, pedestrian deaths have been steadily increasing since 2009.”

If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian 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.

Truck Accidents: Rear-endings Can Be Catastrophic

While we must all share the road equally, the reality is that larger vehicles on the road can do much more harm to the smaller ones. Other motorists, motorcyclists, and travelers are often responsible for accidents too and may have been negligent due to distracted driving, drunk driving, being drowsy, or just in a hurry, but when a truck driver is at fault, the results can be catastrophic—and that is why they must never forget the incredible responsibility they have to practice extreme diligence on the roads and watch out for others. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and it begins with the trucking company.

Large corporations are usually responsible for hiring well-trained, experienced truck drivers, but still some individuals may slip through the cracks with poor driving records, or they may have bent the rules and drove too long and became drowsy, or they may simply have failed to pay attention, causing a rear end collision (this is the most common reason). Most of us would like to think that truckers and the companies who hire them are looking out for everyone else on the road, but sadly there are many cases where they falsify records so that drivers can stay on the road longer (and illegally), or out of desperation when the workload is heavy, they may hire drivers who have inferior records and may have even caused serious accidents before.

While one motorist hitting another from behind could result in a car crash and serious injury, there is much greater chance of the incident resulting in a mild fender bender; in fact, there may be no damage at all, and a police report may not be filed since there is nothing to discuss further. In a truck accident, however, there is the potential for extreme property damage and extreme physical harm. Injuries such as whiplash and general cuts and contusions are expected in a minor car accident, but with a truck accident the motorist or even everyone involved could be killed. More serious injuries may include traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, paralysis, amputations of arms or legs, multiple fractures, and other serious issues that could be long term.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, 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.

 

When the Insurance Adjuster Asks You for a Tape-Recorded Interview

If you have had to file an insurance claim recently, chances are you have been through a difficult, and possibly traumatic, experience. While some cases are cut and dry and claims may be paid out easily, others involve the need for skilled legal help and may end up in a settlement or the courtroom. Car wrecks are a good example of what can go right—or wrong—when there is a significant claim. If you were struck by a negligent driver, you may have been seriously injured, forced even to spend time in the hospital, undergo physical therapy, and experience a long period of recuperation.

Some cases may result in absolutely nothing from the insurance company—no calls, no requests for records—while others may cause such an immediate flurry of calls that you are startled and a bit confused regarding what to say about the ordeal. You may be tired and in pain, and certainly not be in the mood to speak with an adjuster, and that is just fine, because if you were injured due to the negligence of another and there is a possible case, you should be referring the adjuster to your car accident attorney for all communications.

Car accidents may result in a wide range of injuries, from traumatic brain injury to paralysis, to fractured limbs, and so much more. You could be debilitated temporarily or permanently, and unable to work. Your finances may be substantially affected, and you may be owed a large settlement to compensate you for property damage and physical injury. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster is calling to collect information and then undoubtedly, pay out as little to you as possible!

While they may ask for the basics about the accident and win you over with a friendly, charismatic manner, soon they will move on to asking for police reports, medical records—and they may even ask to record your conversation. Regarding all these issues, just keep referring them to your attorney. Going up against an insurer on your own is not a challenge you want to take on under any circumstance. Insurance adjusters may have a much different attitude when speaking with an attorney, and especially in discussing a settlement.

If you or a loved one 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.

Understanding the Definition of Reckless Driving

With millions of cars on the roads in the US every day, accidents are inevitable. And while sometimes they may be the result of bad weather, issues with infrastructure, road repairs, or more, other motorists are usually the problem. It is easy to see why too, unfortunately. Just in one trip to work and back, or even to the grocery store, you may encounter multiple distracted drivers. Sometimes you can even see drivers in the next lane reading messages at red lights (or while in transit!), texting, engaging in conversation, or fiddling with the GPS settings. There may be lively interactions with passengers, eating and drinking after getting through the fast-food drive-thru, brushing hair and applying makeup—and as a result of this, you may also notice erratic driving, swerving, slowing down and speeding up, and other dangerous behavior.

Not surprisingly, distracted driving is the number one cause of injuries and fatalities, claiming thousands of lives each year—with just texting and driving alone being the cause of hundreds of thousands of injuries. Whether you are in a fender bender or a serious crash, you could experience anything from cuts and contusions to a broken arm or leg, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injury, or even complex regional pain syndrome (with trauma sparking off painful nerve damage) and serious long-term effects.

Smartphones came along and added an entirely new quotient to the range of hazards already continually present in traffic, such as reckless driving. This is a broad category, encompassing every type of driving that puts other property or motorists at risk, to include fleeing from law enforcement. One of the most blatant (and common) types of reckless driving is speeding, and when this occurs as offenders also sail through red lights and/or intersections, the danger is exponentially worse for everyone present.

Driving under the influence is another example of terrible judgment and reckless driving, whether the motorist has been drinking or using drugs. Disregard for traffic signs and traffic rules also causes far too many crashes each year, involving other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a reckless 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.

Accidents Often Occur Due to Roadside Activities Like Mowing, Trimming, & Trash Removal

Some days may be a breeze, with beautiful weather, light traffic—and absolutely no delays or issues; others, however, may seem like a death-defying adventure trying to get from point A to point B with fender benders at several different locations, serious accidents, ambulances, motorists stopped at various points for speeding, and more. Depending on how large the city you live in is, or how dangerous to drive in, it could be a real obstacle course (and a dangerous one) every day. And while fellow motorists are usually the issue, other peripheral issues can be extremely hazardous too.

Road construction is a real hazard for motorists if they are not following the slower speed limits and being careful about narrowed lanes and complicated detours, along with other possible issues like weather conditions that can make driving in more complex situations both scary and dangerous. In Florida, however, landscaping is an ongoing activity. Although you might prefer to mow your lawn and prune trees and bushes yourself, like so many others, you may have a service that comes to your home often to maintain the yard. If so, you are probably familiar with unusual parking habits these companies often have, from taking up the driveway and then some, to parking on the side of the street, and sometimes even blocking the way for your neighbors.

On busier roads and highways, there may be times when trucks or workers are parked or moving around erratically in places that they should not be. While you should have plenty of time to stop and the roadside work area should be carefully delineated with cones (and perhaps even someone stopping traffic before the work area), this is not always the case if mowing or trimming companies lack organization or foresight regarding safety. Most of us have had to slam on the brakes before or veer around landscaping activities, almost as if it should be expected—even though they may blatantly be breaking traffic rules!

Equipment, trucks, and workers may present hazards in the road (and of course, workers are vulnerable too), and long landscaping trailers are often the culprit of car accidents, but often bicycle or motorcycle accidents too. Serious injuries can occur, from broken bones and soft tissue damage, to concussions or traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, whiplash, and more.

If you or a loved one 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.