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.

CRPS May Develop After a Heart Attack

Complex regional pain syndrome is an insidious disease, creeping up on patients after they consider themselves to have done the work in healing, and are hoping to move on with their lives after a trauma. Nerve damage is usually caused by an event such as a car accident or possibly even a medical procedure as simple as a needle stick. Other health conditions can trigger it later too, including stroke or heart attack.

There are two types of CRPS currently, although some organizations have discussed doing away with such separation and only having one category for complex regional pain syndrome overall. This chronic pain usually develops in what is labeled Type One, initially affecting the nerves without the patient knowing, as there may not be a direct impact. This is the type of CRPS that affects almost all patients suffering from the condition (around 90 percent of them). And Type Two, also known as causalgia, may have similar symptoms, but with very clear damage to the nerves. In Type One, the patient is usually very surprised to find themselves with symptoms that can be debilitating and can make their lives somewhat unbearable.

CRPS patients may experience very abnormal symptoms at first, to include burning and inflammation of the skin, including discoloration, or even blue and pink tinges topically. Their skin may be so sensitive that just a light breeze is agonizing, or the touch of someone brushing up against them accidentally. Other symptoms of CRPS are issues with mobility, stiffness in the joints, and swelling. Those suffering from CRPS may often feel alternately sweaty or cold and clammy, may experience overall weakness, muscle spasms, and they may be in such pain upon walking or moving that they become reluctant to do so at all.

Atrophy of the muscles is not uncommon, along with other uncomfortable conditions like dystonia, where the fingers or toes are fixed in a twisted or unnatural position. If CRPS is diagnosed (not always an easy feat!) and then treated early, the outcome is usually better. While over-the-counter medicines, opioids, anticonvulsants, anti-seizure medicines, or corticosteroids may be prescribed, numerous different types of physical and alternative therapy may have a positive effect too.

Did you experience a trauma 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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Car Crash? Call Us Immediately!

Florida is a hot zone for car accidents in the US (and not only that, but also for motorcycle wrecks, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian injuries and fatalities too!), and while you may have a lot on your mind when you get in the car, it is vital to make the task of driving your car your number one priority. It is incredibly easy today to become distracted—as so many different factors constantly work to take our attention from the road and the task at hand—from smartphones, to that GPS, to loved ones in the car who may need things or want to engage in lively conversation.

Distracted driving is the number one reason for injuries and accidents, and the best you can do is to drive as defensively as possible. You may see numerous erratic drivers on the roads today, and those are the ones to which you should give a wide berth! Unfortunately, there are also still far too many drivers who are on the road after drinking too much, smoking marijuana, or using other drugs (that may be illegal) making it hazardous for them to drive. Other drivers may be drowsy, falling asleep at the wheel, or stressed out from work and not paying attention. Speeding and reckless driving, however, are still some of the top reasons for crashes—and often both at once as drivers may also swerve into other lanes quickly, and tailgate, with terrible consequences. Running stop signs, ignoring other traffic signals, and failing to use turn signals can all wreak havoc as well.

In the case that you are in an accident, however, know what to do ahead of time. At the scene, make sure to call for help immediately if you or a passenger are injured, call the police, and get contact information from the other driver—as well as any witnesses on the scene (please read over our recent blog, ‘Five Steps to Take Directly After an Accident.’) In the case of injuries—and especially due to the negligence of another party—you may be shocked at how quickly adjusters begin calling you for information. Rather than speaking to them, it is in your best interest to consult with a skilled car accident attorney to protect you and guide you through the process—along with handling all communication with insurers. This could make an enormous difference in the outcome of your case.

Remember, adjusters are interested in one thing: getting as much information as possible from you—and if they can, they will use it against you so they can pay out less or even deny your claim altogether. They may ask about injuries (you may not even know the full extent yet, or other issues could develop), request medical records and ask for police reports—and they may even want to interview you and tape record the conversation. Refer them directly to your car accident attorney!

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.

Distracted Drivers Number One Killer, But Drunk Drivers Still Cause Too Many Injuries & Deaths

It is certainly no secret to anyone that distracted drivers are out on the roads in droves daily. Even though driving while texting on a smartphone is illegal, chances are you could find numerous motorists engaging in these acts on their way out of driveways, at stop signs, red lights, and while in motion on the streets and highways of Florida and the rest of the US. Distracted driving is the number one killer and top reason for injuries and traffic incidents.

While texting and talking on phones are the most obvious forms of distraction while driving, the Florida Department of Transportation reminds everyone that there are many other ways to be distracted (and a hazard to others) too, from engaging with other passengers and small children, to eating and drinking, grooming on the way to work or an event, or fiddling with other electronics or items in the car that may force you to take your eyes off the road. There is hardly a shortage of public safety campaigns regarding the issue yet distracted and reckless driving continue to persist. And sadly, so does the deadly activity of driving under the influence.

Drinking and driving has decreased significantly in the past few decades due to intense campaigns like those of MADD, but it is still one of the major reasons for accidents and fatalities, along with other unfortunate classics like speeding and reckless driving. The CDC reports that still, one in three accidents is drinking-related. Even with greater ease these days in getting a ride from a service like Uber or Lyft, far too many injuries are caused because of individuals who got behind the wheel while intoxicated and practiced impaired judgment.

If you are on the road and suspect you may be in the vicinity of a drunk or dangerous driver, call 911 if it seems necessary. In the meantime, drive defensively and try to get as far away as possible from anyone who is obviously not following the rules of the road. A drunk driver may be swerving, speeding up or slowing down erratically, or tailgating others. If you are in an accident with a drunk driver, be very careful about approaching them as they could have unpredictable or violent behavior. They may also be injured and in need of an ambulance, just as you or your passengers may be.

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.

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.

 

CRPS: Healing Through Mirror Therapy

Car accidents may yield an unfortunate range of injuries—and in many cases not just one. You may feel lucky to have escaped with your life after a car wreck or motorcycle crash, but the repercussions may still be debilitating. While fatalities are sometimes the tragic result of motor vehicle accidents, a wide range of injuries can occur. You may sustain minor wounds such as bruises and contusions or sprains, or more serious issues like broken bones, spinal issues or even paralysis, concussion or traumatic brain injury, facial fractures, amputation, or harm to the soft tissue.

Even if injuries are minor, however, and even if they have healed, you could be in for more pain later due to nerve issues or even serious damage. Complex regional pain syndrome only affects about 200,000 individuals in the US, and while for some patients it is only mild or temporary, for others it can be extremely painful, debilitating, and chronic. Car accidents may be the cause of CRPS in some cases because of the amount of trauma experienced. An arm or leg may have been sprained or broken but assumed to be resolved after a suitable amount of time for healing.

CRPS may not only be extremely surprising to the patient, but doctors may be hard pressed to diagnose it at first, being required to rule out other diseases and conditions since there is no specific test for CRPS. Treatment can be hit and miss too at first, depending on the severity of the pain. The patient may be prescribed something as simple as over-the-counter medications, or they may require opioids, corticosteroids, or numerous other types of treatment. Therapy is often required too, and there is a list of options with CRPS, beginning with conventional physical therapy to help improve mobility.

Along with more alternative therapies like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or biofeedback, mirror therapy may be helpful to patients with CRPS. Often effective because it fools the brain into believing the limb is healthy, mirror therapy involves the patient sitting in front of a mirror but moving the opposite limb. Functionality may be improved in some cases, and pain reduced.

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.