Hiring an Injury Attorney? Know What Credentials and Qualifications to Seek

If you have been injured in a car accident recently, most likely you are having to adjust to some (or a great deal of) lack of mobility, coupled with managing pain. You may be worrying about going back to work, managing medical bills, paying your regular bills, and stressing over exactly what to say to insurance adjusters who may be calling before you even get back home. This can be an extremely challenging time if you are hurting, your car is damaged, and you aren’t sure where to turn. You may be experiencing a great sense of isolation and even hopelessness, especially if the other party’s insurance company is giving you a hard time.

It is in your best interest to hire a skilled attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker as quickly as possible. Not only can they give you excellent legal advice and help guide you through the rest of the process if there is a case, a car accident attorney will be able to take over all communications with the insurance company; in fact, it is best not to answer any questions from the other side’s insurance company at all if you can help it.

Most of us are not in car accidents very often, thankfully (although statistics show most people will experience at least one in their lifetime) so you may be at a complete loss for what criteria to seek in hiring an injury attorney. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Ask for referrals. Your friends and family may be a wealth of information in this area.
  • While licensing is a must and education is obviously required, before you get too snobby about what law school an attorney attended, ask for a snapshot of what is most important: their track record, and training and experience.
  • Does a prospective injury attorney have a history of going to court and winning—or do they almost always settle (some will even tell you that they don’t go to court)? If you want an attorney who is going to fight for your rights, a good record in court is critical!
  • Do they represent accident victims and insurance companies? Seek out a company that is not playing both sides. Your attorney should be specialized in protecting the victims.
  • How accessible are they? If you have been injured and are going through a difficult time, the last thing you want to do is hire a legal professional who will be difficult to get through to when you need them. Will they be handling your case, or will you usually be working with their paralegal?
  • Listen to your intuition. Does this attorney seem like they are sincere in helping you? While you certainly cannot get to know someone completely in just one or two office appointments, it is important to have a comfortable rapport with your attorney, open communication, and a realistic attitude about the case.

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.

 

Research Your Car Insurance: Do Not Forgo Uninsured Motorist Coverage!

In most states, car insurance is a requirement; and usually even if it isn’t, responsible motorists end up buying it anyway. If you have bought and sold multiple cars previously, purchasing insurance may seem like a routine task that you try to do as quickly as possible, while spending as little as possible. Before checking off all the required items, writing a check, and going on your way though, take some time to get educated on what you really need. Envision what could happen in the event of a serious accident. Are you going to be sufficiently covered, or is there the possibility you could be left holding the bag financially?

In Florida, you must have car insurance to register a vehicle with four wheels, and there are standard coverages you must purchase from your insurer, to include minimum personal injury protection (PIP) of $10,000 and property damage liability (PDL) of $10,000. Additions like uninsured motorist coverage could mean the difference between having damage paid for or not if you are in a car crash with someone who for some reason does not have enough bodily injury liability insurance. This type of coverage, usually quite affordable, can help in the case of a hit and run driver too, eliminating the need for you to pay out for a vehicle damage claim you weren’t responsible for in the first place after an accident

If you have been in a car accident, you may also need help dealing with the other party’s insurance company. While they may seem extremely eager to speak with you and resolve your claim, it is rare that they are considering your best interest in any way. Hire a skilled injury attorney from Heintz & Becker to help you get the compensation you deserve, and when adjusters call, refer them directly to your lawyer. Your priority should be on healing and dealing with insurance companies can be stressful. They may request to speak with you and tape record the conversation, request medical documents from you, and even present you with a low-ball settlement—or worse, a major delay or denial.

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.

Illegal! Injury Specialists Showing up at the Hospital to take Your Case

If you have been in an accident recently, you may find yourself getting a lot of attention from individuals other than your nurses, doctors, and family who are worried about you. And while legal professionals from a firm like Heintz & Becker who do not want to see you left without fair compensation or being taken advantage of will be concerned about you, if lawyers are showing up at the hospital unsolicited to try and ‘get your business,’ please be aware that their behavior is highly illegal and they are not scrupulous professionals!

Your case should not be solicited at the hospital by anyone else who may be working with an attorney’s office either, or from a paralegal or anyone that you have not called and requested to represent you on your own. The Florida Bar takes these matters extremely seriously, and such behavior is considered a third-degree felony:

“Bar rules prohibit the solicitation – face to face, by phone including via a cold call, or through a third party – of a client who is not a family member or with whom the lawyer does not have a prior professional relationship,” states information from a Florida Bar news article. “Attorneys may not send direct mail solicitations to prospective clients within 30 days of an accident, and then that mailing must meet several conditions including stating where the attorney got the recipient’s name, be marked as an advertisement, and start by advising the recipient to ignore the letter if he or she has already retained another lawyer.”

It is in your interest though to hire a skilled injury attorney if you have been hurt due to the negligence of others. A car crash is a good example of this type of scenario, where you could potentially be in the hospital with insurance adjusters already calling too, hoping to get you in line for a quick and easy settlement with as little effort as possible. If you are owed damages, do not go it alone! An accident like a car crash may leave you with debilitating injuries that make it impossible to work temporarily or even permanently. You may be dealing with a serious concussion, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, broken bones or sprains, and more. In such a situation, you require honest, reliable legal assistance. If someone approaches you for representation in an atmosphere like a hospital or other immediate stopping point after an accident, they should be reported immediately to the Florida Bar.

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.

Motorcyclists: More Likely Victims of Road Rage?

Although there are hundreds of thousands of bikes on the road, there is something about motorcycles and their drivers that undeniably grabs the attention of others. Many of us are interested in what model of bike they have chosen, along with checking out their unique protective gear and varying accoutrements. Motorcyclists often have an air of excitement about them that is contagious—along with enviable camaraderie on the roads. You may find yourself drawn in, listening to the rev of the engine, and watching them take off down the highway, carefree in the fresh air.

There are drawbacks to riding a motorcycle, however, and as you are probably aware, safety is at the top of that list. Without the protection of a car weighing four thousand pounds or more, any type of accident could be very serious for a motorcyclist, and cause major injury—or even death. Other factors, such as road rage, can lead to injury and violence on the road, and should be avoided at all cost. But are motorcyclists at greater risk for being confronted with road rage?

Anyone can be a target of road rage, and other motorists often become enraged with each other over traffic issues such as driving too slowly or too fast or they may know each other personally and be chasing each other or preparing to inflict drive-by violence on one party or another. Motorcyclists are an easier target as they are not encapsulated by a metal vehicle and are out in the open where it is easier to start an argument, or in some cases, even attempt to run into them with a vehicle maliciously. These types of incidents are extremely dangerous to everyone involved as well as other motorists too who may have to stop suddenly in the face of an ongoing altercation or may become involved as the issue escalates further.

Most drivers report having driven aggressively in the past, as well as experiencing road rage while driving. If you are a motorcyclist (or motorist—or anyone else traveling on the road), always drive defensively and avoid getting into potentially volatile issues with other drivers by following traffic rules, be courteous, and avoid anyone who seems to be belligerent in traffic. Avoid stress on your own part by giving yourself plenty of time to get from one destination to another, eliminating distraction in the car, and try to make your minutes and hours in the car peaceful ones.

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.

Truck Accidents: Unsecured Loads May Cause Serious Injury or Death

As millions of cars converge on roads and highways each day, it is up to every one of us to give our complete attention to the duty of driving and look out not only for our own safety and that of our passengers, but everyone else around us too. Truck drivers have an even larger task as they are responsible for driving a vehicle that is exponentially heavier than cars (consider that the average car weighs 4,000 pounds and an 18-wheeler may weigh 80,000 pounds). A crash with another truck or a car has the potential to be catastrophic for everyone involved.

Trucking accidents are further intensified when a semi or 18-wheeler (or any size truck) is carrying cargo that may be unsecured, and hazardous. Many of us have had the experience of gravel or small debris falling on our hood while on the road traveling behind a truck, or even having a windshield cracked, but in many cases, items falling out of a truck can cause a serious accident. The trucker may be considered negligent if this happens, along with the loading company, and/or the trucking company, but with the help of an experienced accident attorney from Heintz & Becker, you should receive fair compensation for any damages.

Trucks can wreak havoc on the road otherwise during blowouts, not only causing accidents or pileups as they may begin losing control of their truck, trailer, and load, but also as they leave a trail of large tire debris everywhere. It is up to them to practice extreme diligence in maintaining their trucks and the tires, which sustain a great deal of wear and tear. Unfortunately, like so many other drivers, truckers may also cause accidents due to distracted driving, entertaining themselves over long periods of time by talking on their phones and reading or sending texts, or even surfing the internet or fiddling with other electronics or recreational devices. Truck drivers may also be exhausted after many hours of travel, falling asleep at the wheel or traveling while overly drowsy, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a truck 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.

 

Did CRPS Kick in After a Car Accident?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a unique condition affecting around 200,000 people in the US. Unless you or a loved one have suffered from CRPS, you would, fortunately, probably have no idea what it is. Strangely, the potentially debilitating condition usually emerges just after a limb is fractured or sprained in a trauma—such as a car accident. The patient is usually surprised and confused, not to mention extremely disappointed to have what could be a serious physical issue presenting itself just when they thought they were healed from something minor—or at the very least, not long-term and debilitating in any way.

Triggers are usually apparent, as in the case of a car accident and an obvious injury, with CRPS having caused what could only be termed as an ‘over-reaction’ in so many patients, with the original pain becoming exponentially magnified. For some, CRPS could even be triggered by a blood draw or the most minor of medical procedures—along with other more substantial surgeries, to include amputations. Diagnosis may not be easy in some cases though, and especially since there is not a specific test for the condition. Rather than arriving at a definitive diagnosis due to a positive indication on a test, medical professionals must instead rule out other similar conditions like Lyme disease.

While just figuring out what is wrong initially can be exhausting, greater success in treatment has been noted with early diagnosis. CRPS patients may suffer from so much pain that they have trouble functioning in their daily lives—and along with that, they may become so frightened of experiencing agonizing pain that they are reluctant to walk or move around. This may cause a vicious cycle of muscle loss and even complete atrophy. Patients may experience inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, and awkward symptoms like dystonia where a hand or foot becomes twisted in a fixed position.

Treatments may include simple relief like over-the-counter medication or more serious pain pills like opioids. Corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and even antidepressants may be prescribed, along with a wide range of different therapies, some of which are conventional physical therapies—and others which are more alternative but highly effective in some cases.

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.

 

Bradenton Now Fourth Deadliest City for Pedestrians

Traffic accidents continue to rise in Florida, and while two cars or a truck colliding can be catastrophic, a pedestrian may have little chance when facing 4,000 pounds or more of metal coming at them at a relatively high speed. Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths have been at an all-time high, too, and the trend is continuing in a disturbing manner according to recent news stating that Florida harbors nine of twenty of the most dangerous places in the US to be a pedestrian, listing the Bradenton-Sarasota-North Port metro area as number four.

Still ranking as the most dangerous place to travel on foot, Florida has a growing population and continues to be extremely popular with tourists who may not be as familiar with the hazards of walking while on vacation. The west coast was targeted in a recent study from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition. The danger levels in being a pedestrian in an area like Bradenton were measured by the number of fatalities, along with considering how many people live there, and how many commute to work on foot.

The numbers are startling too, showing a 35.7 percent increase in pedestrian deaths from 2008-2017, with almost 50,000 deaths. As the Bradenton Herald points out, this is over 13 people killed per day, or one every hour and 46 minutes!

“It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people dying every single month,” states the report. “Unlike traffic fatalities for motor vehicle occupants, which decreased 6.1 percent between 2008 and 2017, pedestrian deaths have been steadily increasing since 2009.”

There were 194 pedestrian fatalities in Bradenton from 2008-2017.

“Why is this happening?” asked the authors of the report. “We’re not walking more and we’re only driving slightly more than we were back in 2008. What is happening is that our streets, which we designed for the movement of vehicles, haven’t changed. In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people.”

Such fatalities, including those associated with bicyclists, point to poor infrastructure that needs to be improved, along with the continued popularity of SUVs and trucks which pose even more threat to those on foot or on two wheels.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a pedestrian 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.

Five Steps to Take Directly After an Accident

Most citizens in the US will be in at least one car accident in their lives. Hopefully if that does happen it will be mild, but far too many auto crashes result in fatalities or serious injuries to include serious concussions, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, paralysis, broken bones, and more. And at the very least, if you have been in an accident you will be shaken. That’s why it is good to educate yourself ahead of time on the steps to take afterward:

  1. Bring the car to a stop and pull over if you can, turning on hazard lights—unless damage to your vehicle has been severe. Take a deep breath and try to regain your balance after a huge surge of adrenaline.
  2. Assess whether you are injured, or whether any of your passengers are. If there is any question at all, medical help and an ambulance should be called immediately for you and those who may be injured in the other vehicle too.
  3. Call the police. Unless the accident was a completely innocuous fender bender, it is important to file a report. This will serve as proof of what happened, and the insurance companies will need a copy.
  4. Speak to the other party and make sure you have as much information as possible from them, to include insurance information, the driver’s name and number, driver’s license information, plate number, and any other relevant data. This is where your smartphone will come in handy too as you can take pictures of the entire crash scene. Photograph both cars, any intersection or relevant street area, damage, and evident injuries to yourself.
  5. Speak to anyone in the vicinity who witnessed the accident and compile as much contact information as possible at the scene; after all, that is probably the only time you will see them again, unless there is a court hearing.

Adjusters will probably begin calling you very quickly—and especially if you were struck by a negligent party who has caused you harm. Always remember that the insurance company is not your friend, no matter how charming the insurance adjuster may be, and all calls should be referred to your injury attorney.

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.

 

Relaxed Marijuana Laws—and Drivers–May Lead to More Accidents

Driving while high on marijuana comes with all the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug. And although it may be difficult to detect, law enforcement officials are becoming much more well-trained in methods for dealing with stoned drivers. It may now be legal for medical marijuana users to ingest cannabis if they suffer from debilitating illnesses, but it is not okay for them to drive while high under any circumstances.

The public perception—and this is growing around the US—is that marijuana in all its many forms is becoming more acceptable to use daily. This may lead more drivers who are users to hop in their cars and drive while high than ever before as they are led to believe, erroneously, that they have more control than they would if they had been imbibing in alcohol. They may have been drinking too, which makes the situation even worse. States like Colorado have established state laws for legal amounts of THC in the blood, but law enforcement officials overall are simply having to become much more adept at recognizing the signs as they pull drivers over, often for other offenses too other than the typical weaving in lanes.

While drivers who are high may not be three sheets to the wind (or appear so, anyway), after smoking marijuana in comparison to drinking, their reflexes may be impaired, and they may be inclined to take dangerous risks that they would not ordinarily take, endangering everyone’s lives on the roads. In recent news, David Harkey of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute points out that there are definitely risks in operating a vehicle after smoking marijuana, and there are even greater concerns without a simple way to test for THC in the blood.

“It’s certainly early in the game,” Harkey told NBC News. But in a recent interview he also warned, “We’re seeing a trend in the wrong direction.”

Recent studies by the IIHS have demonstrated that states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington with legalized recreational marijuana are showing an increase of car crashes up to six percent.

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.

 

Road Construction Areas Can Lead to Serious Auto Accidents & Injuries

As a resident or visitor to Florida—along with many other states—you may be so used to driving through road construction that you barely even notice it anymore. Still, however, following the reduced speed signs and warnings, and slowing to navigate through areas with guard rails and orange cones is vital to your safety, along with that of road construction workers, and other motorists. It may be a major inconvenience and you may not even see the need for it in some cases, but it is happening, so you must follow the rules regardless.

Significant road construction projects are gearing up all over Florida, leaving many motorists both frustrated, bored, tired, and angry; no one wants to sit on the highway endlessly stuck in traffic, and we all have places to be, but these areas are prone to more peril for motorists than others. Traffic is usually heavy in these areas, and even with a multitude of slow-moving traffic jams, accidents are frequently caused due to carelessness of other drivers, along with infrastructure issues such as temporary guarding rails or traffic cones that are built or placed improperly, or with lanes poorly painted.

Causing motorists to come to a sudden stop in road construction areas, forgetting to put up appropriate signage, or forcing drivers into unreasonably narrow lanes can lead to accidents from moderate to severe. Construction equipment may be left jutting out into traffic too, making it difficult to navigate through such areas—made exponentially worse by bad weather. Most importantly though, government workers or those contracted to work on the roads are responsible for your safety and must be vigilant while on the roads, as motorists should be too.

Traffic incidents leading to injuries and even deaths can affect motorists, truck drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Serious concussions, traumatic brain and spinal injuries, sprains and breaks, internal bleeding, and more may be the result of any type of traffic accident, also leading to the inability to work whether for a short time or forever. Unfortunately, Florida is already one of the leading states for car accidents, and especially bicycling and pedestrian incidents—including fatalities.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident due to the negligence of a truck 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