Parents: Brush Up on Traffic Laws to Teach Your Children Bicycle Safety

Bicycling: what could be better than enjoying the fresh air together as a family? Heading out to get some exercise on two wheels is usually a highly recommended activity whether as a solitary venture, or whether you branch out into a group or travel with your partner and children. Although you probably often see families on the road—and even parents biking with babies being towed behind in little buggies—do not be fooled. There has usually been great thought and attention to safety ahead of time.

Florida has also been noted (unfortunately) for increased fatalities, to the point of being referred to as a ‘killing field’ for bicyclists in recent years. On the flip side, in the right environment, bicycling can be phenomenal for your health, helping to build muscle and bone, promoting better heart and lung health, and burning enormous amounts of calories. For the younger riders, though there is usually a period of time before the training wheels come off, and they must be duly educated regarding traffic rules; in fact, one of the interesting parts of learning to bicycle is that you must know as much about riding in traffic as an experienced adult driver. You may find your child asking questions about some signs and rules that you don’t think about much—and it may even be helpful to get a book or video about understanding what it means to become the operator of a ‘vehicle,’ which you technically are when you ride a bike.

If your child is going to be biking to school unsupervised, there are specific details that should be covered such as dealing with directions, and the possibility of taking that big ‘step’ in crossing the highway. In more recreational situations, while your children should understand how to follow all traffic rules, they must also understand and be prepared with basic safety measures.

Your child’s bicycle should be properly maintained so they have a good foundation to start. Tires should be full and holding air, the chain properly greased, and the brakes working like a charm. The bike should be equipped with a bell or horn, and if there is a possibility that your child will be riding at dusk, they should have functional lights. And while it is not recommended for a younger child to be riding in the dark, if your older child might be—or if that is the case for you—make sure you have as much lighting as possible, and reflectors. These can be applied to the bicycle, as well as your helmet and even clothing and shoes (another great tip for pedestrians to keep in mind too, minus the helmet). While explaining traffic laws to your child, you may want to brush up on the rules, signs, and signals here.

If you or a loved one 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.

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.

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.

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.

Were You in a Car Crash Involving a Semi?

Any type of car accident can be devastating, leading to catastrophic injuries and even death as heavy vehicles have the potential to spin out of control. This is even more disastrous in the case of an accident between a car and a large truck known as a semi, or semitruck—dubbed so as they are usually pulling a semi-trailer but can also go without (as you have probably seen before on the highway as they travel down the road looking rather stubby without a truck). The average car weighs around 4,000 pounds, while a semi-truck is about 80,000 pounds.

With such a staggering difference in weight, it may surprise you that anyone gets out alive when such vehicles collide—and especially considering the damage that can be done in a typical accident between two similarly-sized cars. Accidents can occur for numerous reasons, but often, truck drivers may be exhausted after days or even weeks of traveling the country. Some may not have been driving for long and inexperience may have resulted in a serious accident, along with a host of other typical issues such as distracted driving (texting or talking while at the wheel), speeding, driving under the influence, ignoring traffic signals, and more.

Contact an experienced attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker as soon as possible if you have lost a loved one in an accident with a semi or if you have sustained injuries due to the negligence of a truck driver. While injuries may cause you to lose income either temporarily or permanently, you may also be left suffering and adjusting from debilitating pain due to spinal injuries, neck injuries, head and brain injuries, burns, broken limbs, sprains, and more.

Over 100,000 individuals in the US are injured because of truck accidents, with over 6,000 of them occurring in Florida, states the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fighting the insurance companies on your own is not a good idea in any case, but especially when it comes to these types of cases as records may be tampered with and they may do everything possible to get out of paying a substantial claim.

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 relationship.

Does Your Motorcycle Helmet Pass Muster?

Motorcycles offer a range of benefits to their owners, beginning with the cool factor that has been associated with the biker culture for decades. Revving up the engine and heading out onto the highway on two wheels has been associated with good physical health due to core strengthening, added arm and leg strength, increased use of brain power in constant navigating, as well as enhanced emotional health while enjoying the outdoors, traveling with friends and likeminded souls, and feeling positive about spending less money overall for a trip or that daily commute.

The euphoria that may accompany motorcycling can have a major downside, however, and especially in in the face of a traffic incident—with over 5,000 motorcycle fatalities in the US yearly and a 28 percent greater chance of a motorcyclist fatality in a wreck over someone driving a car. It is vital that safety is on the mind foremost when operating a motorcycle, or any other vehicle (this also goes for pedestrians who must be vigilant, and bicyclists too!), putting aside distractions like the smartphone since issues like texting while driving are the number one cause of accidents today.

Protective gear plays a crucial role in the safety of motorcyclists, as always, beginning with the helmet. And although it is always a controversial topic and helmet laws continue to change—as well as vary from state to state—in Florida, you do not have to wear a helmet over the age of 21 if you are carrying $10,000 of medical payment insurance. This is an integral part of protecting the body though, and highly recommended, along with the proper protective clothing, eye-gear, and boots.

There may not be much point in wearing a helmet unless it is approved by the Department of Transportation (according to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218) and sturdy enough to protect your head in the case of a crash. The shell-built helmet is recommended, but it must fit your head properly! Along with the full helmet, there are other popular styles too such as the half shell, modular, or open-face helmets, which should be replaced every few years.

A good helmet is often heavier and should possess a quality liner along with a sturdy chin liner. While motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable in the event of a crash, a helmet may prevent serious issues such as facial fractures and traumatic brain injury, which could even cause coma or death.

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

Contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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

Drinking and Bicycling Can Have Fatal Results

Millions of enthusiasts around the US enjoy riding bicycles, whether taking the healthy route for a daily commute, not to mention one that is more affordable, plus better for the environment in avoiding the use of any fuel except for that of human exertion. Bicycling is an activity that can be immensely appreciated whether riding solo or in a group with family and friends, contributing to good heart and lung health as well as burning enormous amounts of calories—all while building stronger bones and muscles.

We have produced numerous blogs about the priority that should be placed on safety for kids on bicycles, whether traveling in a group or on their way to school, but as an adult bicyclist, remember that you have the same responsibilities in traffic that other adult motorists do. This includes refraining from riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And while doing so is generally illegal and dangerous, because bicyclists are so much more vulnerable in traffic, alcohol can not only be the cause of bicycle accidents but allow for results that are further catastrophic—even resulting in fatality.

Ongoing data has shown Florida as first in bicyclist fatalities, and while the numbers may simply be higher due to the good weather in the Sunshine State, extreme caution should be exercised while on the streets and highways which are famous for senior drivers, along with many tourists who may not be familiar with the area and are driving erratically.

“You kind of mush it all together, and it helps us explain as best we can what’s going on out there,” said Pam Fischer, author of a recent report for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Data shows that alcohol use may play an unfortunate role in bicycle accidents and fatalities in Florida, with a significant number of those involved in crashes exhibiting alcohol levels in their blood at the time of the traffic incidents. Distracted driving (especially texting) continues to be the major cause of accidents in terms of motorist negligence as well. Injuries to bicyclists may include concussions or traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries or paralysis, broken bones, sprains, and more.

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

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