Rear End Collisions: Don’t Be the Negligent Party!

Many of us have an unfortunate need for speed throughout the day, and it often begins as soon as that alarm clock rings, propelling us into motion. The problem, however, is when that sense of urgency translates to the highway. This is a common problem for many drivers—and is often the reason behind traffic accidents related to speeding, whether they are simple fender benders or car wrecks or motorcycle crashes resulting in tragic fatalities.

The rear-end collision is a common result of speeding—as well as distracted driving. Although operating a vehicle should be treated as an intensely serious exercise (after all, negligent drivers may hold the lives of other motorists in their hands), that is often not the case, and especially for those who drive a lot. While typical offenses such as drunk and reckless driving are still the causes of many injuries and deaths on the road, distracted driving is now the top reason for accidents. Thousands of deaths occur and hundreds of thousands of people are hurt due to motorists who cannot resist the temptation to pick up the phone, read a text, send a message, or perform other unnecessary activities that involve holding and manipulating electronics. And unfortunately, for the innocent driving along doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, being ‘run into’ is an all too common occurrence.

In most cases, one motorist will hit another from behind due to a lack of time to hit the brakes. This is usually deemed to be their fault. Although there can be extenuating circumstances such as multi-car pileups or weather issues, the bottom line is that whoever could have prevented the accident is generally at fault. If you or a loved one were injured due to a rear-end collision, you may have experienced any range of injuries from cuts and contusions to whiplash, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, severe spinal injuries, paralysis, and more. Do not try to go it alone against the other motorist’s insurance carrier if this is the case. They may attempt to interview you and tape record conversations, request medical records, speak to witnesses who were on the scene when the accident occurred, and more. It is in your best interest to work with a skilled injury attorney!

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.

Keeping Your Distance: Rear End Collisions Often Fatal to Motorcyclist

Motorcyclists are often a rare breed, turning travel into more of a lifestyle than a commute, and forming quick bonds with other like-minded souls on the road. Those who are experienced riders have often already had an accident or two in their lifetime and are wary during their daytime commute or joyriding as they take off in much coveted down time and enjoy the natural landscape of the US.

Even most novices understand what to do to avoid accidents with cars, although they may not be as skilled at handling themselves in the event of a collision. The standard advice such as remaining visible (brightly colored clothing, neon strips on helmets, bike, etc.) usually applies to most individuals riding, along with being heard—which might be why you often hear engines revved at traffic stops. Education about riding is key, along with understanding the specific bike, and knowing how to perform basic, required maneuvers.

What is often overlooked, however, is the knowledge all motorists should have so they can avoid colliding with a motorcycle (as well as bicyclists or pedestrians, all of which are a concern with traffic accidents on the rise). Unfortunately, the most basic issues such as visibility are often a challenge to begin with as motorists’ eyes are so much more attuned to seeing larger objects like vehicles and trucks—and this is one of the biggest causes of accidents. But along with making sure they see motorcycles, motorists should always be aware of their blind spots, doublechecking for drivers behind them.

Keeping the proper distance can be the most important safety measure in avoiding a collision with a motorcycle though. Employing the three- to four-second rule is a good way to prevent accidents, and especially a rear-end collision—keeping in mind that motorcyclists may not give you immediate warning with a brake light if they are gearing down or coasting in anticipation of a stop. While it is easy to get irritated in traffic with any driver, remember that a rear-end collision could end in substantial property damage, severe injury to a motorcyclist, and even fatality; in fact, rear-end collisions tend to be much more fatal for individuals riding on motorcycles than in cars.

Think of how many fender benders you may have been in personally—or how many you may have seen occur between cars. While a tap on a bumper may have meant little in an incident between a car or a truck, in the case of a motorcycle, the motorcyclist could be thrown from their bike. While fatalities are all too common (and sadly, Florida tops the list for motorcycle deaths), serious injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, fractures, and burns may occur—along with broken bones and a variety of cuts and contusions. Motorcyclists must also be defensive in their driving and wear protective gear such as helmets.

If you 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!

Understanding Product Liability: Do You Have a Case?

As consumers, we trust in numerous companies and manufacturers to sell us products and services that are true to the promises made in marketing—as well as safe. And while there are purchases we make—both big and small—that often just fall flat, meaning they didn’t knock our socks off and we would not buy them again, others may cause serious injury.

Typical product defects you may have heard of commonly include those in vehicles. While consumers usually experience a recall and must take their car back to a dealership to be refitted for a new part, others who were hurt or killed in an automobile crash due to the defect may have been the unfortunate reason it was discovered. Children’s toys are another common type of defect (often posing threat of choking), along with tools, medical devices and equipment, and much more. Considering how many products are on the market today, there is an unfortunate amount of room for defects to occur and cause harm to consumers of all ages.

If you have a family, it is important to be vigilant about supervising what types of toys your children play with or use. While a product may not be defective, it could be inherently dangerous. This includes many different toys used during swimming, to include water-guns, water-filled slingshots, and more. Bounce houses and portable water slides are responsible for a surprising amount of injuries too, including neck and spinal injuries, and even paralysis. Beware of any objects that are pointed or inordinately heavy that could be responsible for cutting or causing a head injury.

While some defects and dangerous products may cause catastrophic injury, other product defects are responsible for serious burns, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, loss of limbs, and more. If serious injury is the case, you may not have any question about whether there was a defect—but it is important to understand the requirements for seeking damages afterward. Most likely you only have a case if there is an inherent design flaw caused by the company responsible for engineering the product, a manufacturing defect caused during production, or a marketing defect that misleads consumers, such as improper labeling.

Has your child been injured due to a dangerous toy or a product defect? If so, please call Heintz & Becker. 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.

Florida’s Bike Trails: Keeping Your Family Safe

Biking in Florida is one of the most fulfilling activities families can enjoy together. And while it is certainly an exercise that is enjoyed alone too for a variety of health benefits to include working the heart and lungs, preventing obesity, and building strong bones and muscles, bicycling can be greatly enjoyed in groups and of course, there is always greater protection in numbers. Whether you are planning a quick outing with the kids though—or mapping out a day trip on one of Florida’s great bike trails—everyone’s safety comes first.

Protective Gear is a Must

Bicycle accidents can occur due to obstacles on the road or path, collisions with others they are traveling with, efforts to avoid pedestrians or pets, and more. Be sure that everyone is wearing protective gear, with the understanding that kids under 16 must be equipped with a bicycle helmet that meets federal standard guidelines. A bike path is a better place for those who like to carry on at a leisurely pace rather than rapid cycling as there tends to be so much more traffic—including other families on foot with babies and toddlers in strollers. And although it may sound dramatic for traveling on a bike path, it is true that passing should be done with extreme caution as those walking, riding, or running may tend to be more erratic in pace and movement. Right of way should always be given to pedestrians, and all traffic signs (and yes even speed limit signs!) should be followed.

Take Note that Florida Leads in Bicyclist Fatalities

The most serious threat to you or your children while traveling on two wheels though is always other motorists. Chances are if you are out and about on bikes—whether in a small town or a larger city—you will have to navigate through some traffic. These aren’t the roads you traveled as a kid on a bike, keep in mind. Recent news continues to stress that Florida tops the nation for bicyclist fatalities, with a death rate 60 percent higher than neighboring states. Because of this, everyone—and most importantly children due to their added vulnerability—must understand how important it is to be visible, follow traffic rules, and be extremely defensive as riders.

Make Sure Your Bike is in Good Working Order 

As an added tip, don’t forget to ensure that the kids’ bikes and yours are in tiptop shape when traveling. Bicycles are usually fairly low-maintenance, but it is vital to make sure the horn and any lights work, that the chain is properly lubricated, tires are filled and able to keep air, and most importantly—that the brakes are in good working order.

Contact Us for Help!

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

Beauty Salons May Cause Health Hazards

After a busy week, you may be looking very forward to a special day at a local salon. For many of us, this is a rare occasion, and it means spending some extra hard-earned cash (and time off) to get pampered. While you may be getting a facial, massage, or a mani-pedi, much of the salon’s offerings are probably centered around hair—whether styling it, cutting it, or removing it.

Most of us have experienced a few bad haircuts so far (in fact, some may even have prompted tears), as well as some eyebrow waxing that has gone askew, but many consumers are completely naïve about the dangers that can lurk in any salon. You may be tempted to walk in to an unknown business to have your nails painted for an important occasion or get ‘the works’ done, but in the process, you could unknowingly be risking your health. Always get references before visiting a new salon and check their credentials as far as licensing and any required sanitation grades.

Here are hazards you should watch out for:

  • Waxing – because heat and yes, wax, are involved, there are far too many chances for something to go wrong besides just a lopsided eyebrow. Injury can be caused if wax enters the eyes, or if chemicals used to anesthetize the area drip into the eyes. Burns are one of the most frequent causes of injury though.
  • Infection – unfortunately, there is a wide risk for infection whether you are having your nails done, different parts of your body waxed, hair trimmed, or other services. Tools should always be properly sterilized, and you should be extremely careful about having services performed if you have any open sores or cuts.
  • Injury – while slipping and falling is a concern after a pedicure, especially, other injuries such as neck or back injuries while leaning to have the hair cleansed or conditioned are common.
  • Chemical burns – injury may occur while you are having your hair colored, bleached, straightened, or ‘relaxed.’
  • Laser burns – such treatments used to remove hair are another common culprit for burns.

Seek medical help as soon as possible if you have been injured or you suspect a bacterial infection—especially at the site of a toenail or fingernail.

If you have been harmed due to negligence in a beauty salon, please call Heintz & Becker today to consult with skilled injury 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.

 

Bicycling: Choose the Best Protective Gear for Your Child

As our children begin to grow over the years, most of us feel an inner conflict over wanting to protect them as well as letting them gain the necessary independence they need to mature and experience the world. What ifs abound though as we let them venture away from us, sometimes just ever so slightly. Along with all the worries about strangers and worldly dangers, there are countless anxieties regarding physical safety. And while bicycle riding is one of the greatest adventures kids can have, we can’t fool ourselves into thinking it is always safe—especially due to the threats posed by traffic and motorists who may not be paying full attention to the road.

The first step in allowing your child to enter the realm of bicycling is to make sure they have something safe to cruise on. If they don’t know how to ride on two wheels yet, training wheels should be level and secure. Protective gear is still important but becomes much more crucial when they are riding on two wheels and the potential is there for having an accident—on any level. Here are some good tips regarding gear to keep your child safe:

  • The helmet is a requirement by the state of Florida for kids under the age of 16, and it must meet federal safety standards. The helmet should fit snugly, with easy-to-use straps adjusted accordingly. Without a helmet, children (or adults) run a much greater risk of concussion or traumatic brain injury in the case of an accident. Such injuries can have long-lasting repercussions and should be avoided at all cost. You can find out more about helmets from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI).
  • Elbow and knee pads cushion other vulnerable areas of the body in the case of a bicycle accident, along with preventing nasty cuts, scrapes, and road rash. Such protection may eliminate the need for stitches after a fall. Protective gloves for the hands are helpful too.
  • Protective clothing and especially in bright or neon colors to promote visibility is recommended. Long-sleeved shirts and pants help protect the skin from trauma in the case of a fall, and sturdy shoes (not flip flops) are always recommended.

Whether on vacation, riding around the neighborhood, or going to and from school, your child should be well-educated on traffic rules. The bicycle should have a working bell and/or horn, along with functional lights should they be riding in the very early morning or at dusk. Being alert is extremely important while riding near traffic and this includes being able to hear—so encourage your child to refrain from using earbuds while riding.

If you or your child have been injured in a bicycle 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.

Improper Pool Maintenance Can Lead to Serious Injuries

Hanging out by the pool is one of the greatest ways to enjoy the outdoors in Florida. You may need some therapeutic quiet time to lounge away, read a book, and take a relaxing dip in the cool water when the heat gets to you—or perhaps you enjoy swimming as one of the greatest forms of low-impact, low-stress exercise, doing laps in the evening after work or on the weekends. The pool is also a great area for get togethers, whether you are hosting a kid’s birthday party, or a family get together of all ages.

Safety and swimming should always be synonymous though, as the presence of water means the potential for injury or fatalities due to drowning. Smaller children and those with little swimming experience are extremely vulnerable, and if you are planning to have a lot of activity in the pool over the summer, be sure to have at least one major safety feature installed and functioning as required by Florida law; for example, you may install a barrier such as a fence, or doors and windows fitted with alarms alerting you to anyone entering or exiting the pool area. Safety covers are always recommended too.

Pool maintenance is strongly connected to safety for your swimmers too, whether in a residential or public pool, and the following should be considered:

Use of chemicals – just as recreational water illnesses can be caused by a lack of proper chemicals, an overabundance or negligence in mixing can lead to serious irritation or harm to the eyes as well as respiratory problems, injuries to the skin, and poisoning.

Attention to deck and poolside areas – no matter how many times you remind kids not to run around the pool, chances are it is going to happen anyway. Because of this, make sure there are not areas where standing water collects, making the potential even greater for accidents due to slipping and falling. These areas should also be in good order otherwise, without cracks or signs of disrepair. Any trash or broken glass should be removed immediately too.

Functionality of pumps and drains – these areas have the potential for catastrophic injury or death if not maintained properly, as swimmers’ hair, or even limbs, can become caught and trap them underwater.

Faulty electrical systems – any problems with wiring or electricity in connection with the pool should be attended to immediately due to the potential for electrocution and serious injury or death.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation 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.

Boating Accidents: The Three Main Causes in Florida

We are drawn to the water for so many reasons—and in so many different places. In Florida alone, there are a multitude of places to go swimming, water skiing, boogie boarding, surfing, fishing, and more.

So many of these activities give us a chance to enjoy saltwater and fresh air, check out wildlife, and take advantage of therapeutic relaxation and fun. Safety is always a priority though around the water, and even more so when boating.

While operating a boat may seem easy enough, there is plenty to know beforehand. You must be fourteen or over to operate such a vessel in Florida, and if you were born after the beginning of 1988, a boating education course is required.

And even if you have been driving a car for years, when you head out on to the water there is a lot to learn. Unfortunately, injuries from boating accidents are all too common in Florida, and in the past few years, fatalities have been on the rise.

With a greater emphasis on safety, it is hoped that this trend can be reversed—and especially as boaters understand the main causes of accidents today:

1. Drinking and boating

Just like drinking and driving, indulging in alcohol while out on the water can lead to tragic consequences, and it is just as illegal if you are over the allowed limit. It is easy to get very relaxed out on the water, and it may sometimes feel like normal life just doesn’t apply as you bask in the sunshine, rocked along in the waves.

However, your body can be strongly affected by alcohol after a long day in the hot and humid weather, affecting your ability to make good judgment calls and arrive home safely.

2. Speeding and ignoring basic boating safety rules

If you are operating the boat, make sure to drive at a speed comfortable for you and your passengers, and slow down at appropriate times like turning. Take extra caution when waves are choppy, or weather conditions are poor or deteriorating. Boating in less than ideal conditions could cause your boat to capsize.

Keep the required number of life jackets on board for the size of your party, with children under six keeping them on when riding in a smaller boat. Even if everyone in your boating party can swim.

3. Ignoring boat maintenance

Along with basic care like changing the engine oil and making sure fuel levels are sufficient, always check the propeller before leaving the dock. Make sure the engine and bilge are in good shape, and check all peripheral items such as the lights, horn, fire extinguisher, anchor, radio, and more.

Getting stranded out on the water can lead to catastrophic results—when issues causing such a problem could have been easily diagnosed or prevented before leaving.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of others? Call our office for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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

Floridians: Five Ways to Avoid Bicycle Accidents

People travel from all over the world—all times of the year—to bask in the Florida sunshine and enjoy a wide range of fun outdoor activities. Bicycling offers healthy recreation for the whole family, often including even the youngest family members—from tots riding in attached mini-trailers or mounted seats to school-age children who may have shed the training wheels a while ago. And whether you are on vacation or enjoying an area you have lived in for years (gasp, you might even be one of those rare natives!), it is obvious that many Florida roads can be busy, and even slightly treacherous for crossing.

The scene may look innocuous enough as you head out on a quite Sunday morning, but even with its quiet beauty and distinction for idyllic vacationing and living, Florida has reached an all-time high for bicycle crashes and deaths. Experts theorize that more cars on the roads today are the reason for so many accidents and deaths, to include that of pedestrians also. The bottom line is that you and your loved ones are vulnerable in traffic, riding lightweight bikes amidst countless vehicles that on average weigh over 4,000 pounds.

Here are five ways to avoid injury in a cycling accident:

  1. Wear a helmet! While this is especially important for young children who are prone to even worse repercussions from a concussion or traumatic brain injury, cyclists of all ages should protect themselves from the potential of catastrophic head injuries. Before purchasing a helmet, make sure it is US Department of Transportation approved.
  2. Maintain your equipment properly. Having a blowout with a tire bicycle or chain can be dangerous if you are traveling in traffic. Also, make sure you have working tools including a light, bell, or horn.
  3. No matter what time of day you are riding your bike, always wear brightly colored clothing. And although you may be concerned about what type of fashion statement you are making, safety comes first, and neon vests can be extremely effective if you are sharing the road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Motorists are used to looking out for cars and trucks—but may have trouble focusing on motorcycles, bikes, and pedestrians. Do everything possible to be visible.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings all the time. This is especially important if you are traveling near or in traffic and approaching areas like intersections. Making eye contact before turning or crossing is helpful. Also, be alert to anything or anyone in your path, whether you are on the road or traveling in a designated side area.
  5. Know the traffic rules and follow them—especially when crossing traffic, making turns, and more. Essentially, you should use the same traffic rules that you do when driving—along with employing the proper hand signals.

If you or your child has been injured in a bicycling 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.

Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Wrongful Death?

Losing a loved one is one of the greatest challenges any of us will ever face, and sometimes it seems as if the mourning process is endless. While it is difficult to watch someone go through an extended illness, there is often more time to prepare yourself (and your children) for the loss, and to consider how you will go on without them, hard as it may be. If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of others though—and suddenly—it can be extremely difficult to get past the unexpected loss and overwhelming changes in your life. In the case of a wrongful death, you may feel the typical phases of grief more acutely, and for a more extended time—especially anger and depression.

Despite the emotional turmoil and overall sadness associated with such an event, the future must be considered for partners and dependents left behind. Clear intent to harm and a violent or criminal act may be the reason for a wrongful death, or it may have been caused by negligence, to include:

  • Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian deaths
  • Boating accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Medical malpractice or accident in a hospital
  • Defective products
  • Accidents at the workplace, a childcare facility, or public venue

As an immediate family member or dependent, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. And although the time after such a traumatic event may leave you feeling helpless and extremely worried about the future, it is your right to seek compensation with the help of a skilled wrongful death attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker. Be aware that insurance companies for the other side may be quick to step in and encourage communication; however, they do not have the best interest of you or your family in mind. If they offer you financial compensation, remember that their agenda is to settle with you for as little as possible, and as quickly as possible. Speak with an attorney first to protect yourself and your family.

You may be due damages not only for the loss of your loved one and pain and suffering, but also for hospital and funeral costs and loss of other income.

Contact Heintz & Becker today. Our wrongful death lawyers represent families in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas who have lost loved ones due to catastrophic injuries. 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.