FDOT Study Examines Bicycle Crash Patterns

If you have never been injured in a bicycling accident, then it may seem like one of the most enjoyable and healthy forms of exercise one could enjoy. After all, what could go wrong as you innocently take in the fresh air and the natural landscape, working your heart and lungs, and burning calories like crazy? Unfortunately, plenty. And this is not usually the bicyclist’s fault. As usual—and as in the case of motorcyclist accidents and pedestrian injuries—motorists are your greatest threat. Florida is evidence of this danger too, listed as one of the top states for bicyclist fatalities.

The state has been working to solve the problem, with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) performing an analysis on bike crashes last year. As far back as 2014, Florida was leading in bicyclist fatalities, and the numbers continue to be concerning each year. In their report, researchers explore causes and patterns of such accidents, along with pinpointing ‘hot spots,’ and ways to prevent crashes. They also create crash modification factors for evaluating to ‘assess safety effects of common engineering treatments on bicycle safety.’

In their analysis, the researchers examined 26,036 crashes occurring between 2011 and 2014, finding that age and sex figured into fatalities, with elderly bicyclists and men more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. Fatalities also occurred more frequently for bicyclists riding at night, for bicyclists riding against the flow of traffic, and for those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The analysis also includes many other detailed facts and statistics:

“The majority of bicycle crashes occurred on urban roadways; only 1.2% of all crashes that occurred on state roads occurred in rural areas,” states the report. “In terms of crash severity, 16.9% of all bicycle crashes that occurred on rural facilities resulted in fatalities while only 2.5% of those that occurred on urban facilities resulted in fatalities.”

“The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles was 43 years, while the average age of bicyclists involved in traffic crashes was 33.8 years. Among the different age groups, bicyclists between 45 and 54 years of age experienced the highest fatality rate of 19.76 fatalities per year per million population, and those in 65- to 74-year age group experienced the highest injury rate of 875.43 injuries per year per million population.”

The researchers point out the four main crash types:

  • The driver of a car turns right as a bicyclist is crossing.
  • Cars turn left facing bicyclists.
  • Bicyclists ride out into intersections.
  • Motorists run stop signs.

They also identified other reasons for accidents, to include lack of illumination at night in towns and cities, disregard for traffic laws, U-turns, bicyclists hitting car doors, complex intersections, and more.

As for measures to be taken in preventing further crashes, the team suggests more specific areas for bikes. Along with bike lanes, they suggest bicycle tracks and bicycle boulevards (‘defined as traffic-calmed side streets signed and improved for bicyclists to provide a safer alternative to riding on arterials’). Wider curb lanes, speed humps, lane reductions, and raised medians are suggested, along with more crosswalks and roadway lights.

Citing that bicycle crashes make up 5.6 traffic fatalities but overall only make up 1.9 percent of total accidents, the researchers point out that many bicycling accidents are severe.

“Drivers were found to be at-fault in 45.7% (1,321 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes while bicyclists were at-fault in 30.2% (871 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes. Both bicyclists and drivers were found to be at-fault in very few crashes (0.8%, 22 of 2,888 bicycle crashes),” states the report.

Both drivers and bicyclists tended to be at fault when not yielding right-of-way, ignoring traffic rules, and driving carelessly.

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.

 

Intersections: All Travelers Must Take Extra Precautions to Avoid Injury

The roads are full of hazards. While you may find yourself driving white-knuckled to work in rain or snow or weaving through road construction zones that sometimes seem like an extremely difficult and unfair road test, there are many, many other dangers that cannot be underestimated—and both sadly and unfortunately, most of these other hazards are presented by humans and could be prevented in many cases.

Distracted driving is one of the greatest dangers to everyone traveling today, and that goes for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone on the road. With driving and texting being one of the biggest quotients in distracted driving, states such as Florida have made such activity illegal.

Still, however, thousands of lives are claimed each year. And while that may be a host of new problems motorists and law enforcement officials are forced to deal with, most of the other issues still plague the roads too such as drunk driving, speeding, and other reckless behaviors, even including those who may simply be drowsy.

Your greatest weapon as a motorist is in defensive driving! And while this begins as soon as you put on your seatbelt and turn your key in the ignition, there are hotspots that require extra precautions, from following direction at stoplights and stop signs, to ensuring that you are giving other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians right of way as required. Intersections are the one of the most high-risk zones.

Obviously—and especially in larger cities—there is a lot going on at most intersections, and especially during rush hour. You must navigate lanes, stoplights, turning, and all the while there may be other traffic crossing too such as adults and children on bikes or people traveling on foot.

Crashes at intersections tend to be even worse. While motorists making left turns must be cautious, this is even more true for those traveling on two wheels. Motorcyclists or bicyclists in traffic should always doublecheck before turning and even attempt to make eye contact with motorists if possible.

Extreme alertness is required by all parties to avoid any potential for a crash. Motorists who run red lights also put everyone in grave danger, most commonly sideswiping others traveling innocently along. Rear-endings are a common type of accident at intersections too, with any of these crashes leading to the possibility of fatalities or harm such as:

If you 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.

Head On Collisions Most Common for Motorcyclists

The roads are dangerous for everyone. And while cars and trucks dominate the road, there are plenty of motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians weaving in and out of traffic zones too—meaning that anyone who is driving must be alert; unfortunately, in today’s driving climate it often seems that is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Cars are decked out with all the latest electronics, meaning there are complex stereo systems and DVD players to be tended to, not to mention the ever-present cell phone presenting the ongoing temptation to talk and text (or even email and surf online). Distractions cause thousands of deaths each year on the roads of the US—many of which could be prevented.

Motorcyclists Are More Vulnerable in a Crash

Speeding, driving under the influence, and other reckless behaviors continue to threaten travelers, but some are more vulnerable than others. Motorcyclists fit notably into this category as they move along on the roads and highways at the same speed as cars and trucks and in the same traffic zones—but their vehicles are exponentially lighter and offer significantly less protection, putting them in greater danger for injury and even death.

Head-On Collisions Often Occur at Intersections

While everyone should be driving defensively, motorcyclists must take extra care to make sure they are visible. This means wearing brightly colored clothing whenever possible, using neon strips on helmets, boots, or the bike itself, and adding extra lights. Visibility can be even more challenging in traffic areas such as intersections where head-on collisions are most common due to motorists being surprised by a smaller vehicle such as a motorcycle in their path. This is often compounded by speeding or other careless driving. Any type of head-on collision has the potential to be catastrophic, but if a motorcyclist is involved, the results can be fatal or seriously debilitating, to include spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, road rash, and more.

If you ride a motorcycle, make sure to be both seen (bright colors) and heard (revving the engine when necessary), avoid getting into blind spots where a motorist cannot see you, and give cars plenty of distance. Because intersections and other traffic stops tend to be areas more prone to crashes, make eye contact with motorists before turning whenever you can.

Contact Us for Help!

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!

 

Study Examines Most Dangerous Toys This Year

Many consumers put their blind faith in manufacturers when they purchase an item, assuming it has been tested, used by others with success, and stamped with a seal of approval for safety. And although play is often called ‘the work of children,’ we want to know that they can engage in recreation in a carefree manner and enjoy themselves without being put in harms way; unfortunately, children’s toys tend to be one of the areas where we see the most product defects, whether they cause choking, burns, cuts, injuries, and in some tragic cases even fatalities. Other times, toys aren’t technically defective, but they are just bad news and should be avoided.

Organizations such as W.A.T.C.H. keep families up to date on dangerous toys to watch out for, and their most recent list highlights some surprising problems, such as a wooden car that was recalled earlier in May due to detachable wheels that could pose a choking hazard. They also point out that the most innocent toys can turn into choking hazards if any of the small parts can be removed—with the headband from a doll being a good example.

Darts are high on the list too. And while these can be dangerous for anyone when a game is going, they could lead to serious injury for kids. Lawn darts are still on the market despite many different types of these being banned (pointed darts have been prohibited since 1988). They are often for sale online, and present obvious risk to children, including traumatic brain injury if they were to be hit with the ones bearing heavy, weighted bottoms.

Slingshots are another product to avoid, and although the press release points out they have been banned in several northern states, they are easy to obtain elsewhere and can cause serious injury—especially in the form of water balloon slingshots. And as children in Florida often spend so much time enjoying outdoor activities that include the beach, pools, water parks, and more, it is recommended that parents keep a close eye on all toys for the water, as well as other contraptions like inflatable water slides which have been known to cause injuries, including paralysis. Anything that contains water and would feasibly allow a child to get into it could pose a problem—from baby pools to buckets. Water guns are warned against as well.

For older kids (and adults), ATVs offer a lot of recreation, but also the great potential for injury or death if they crash or overturn. Children should not be driving them, and even as passengers they could be hurt or killed:

“Families should know the history of serious injuries associated with ATV use when weighing the risks of children riding as passengers; the safest choice may be for children to stay away from ATVs altogether! Recommended safety precautions, such as avoiding paved roads and wearing helmets, could minimize the risk of some injuries but not prevent all injuries,” states the release.

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.

Ten People Die Every Day from Drowning

Swimming is not just a fun activity but usually a healthy one; in fact, it is recommended for all ages, with some kids learning to enjoy the water as babies. Families enjoy outings to the beach together up and down both coasts of Florida, along with sailing, fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, and more. Unfortunately, with so much time spent on the water there is even more opportunity for accidents to happen—and Florida leads in drowning deaths for children.

In the US overall, the CDC reports that ten people die per day due to drowning. When you add in boating deaths, that increases the toll to around 330 other deaths annually too.

“About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger,” states the CDC. “For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.”

“More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).”

When it comes to keeping kids safe in the water:

  • Always make sure there is adult supervision.
  • Start them on swimming lessons as early as possible but remember—that does not mean there is not still the potential for drowning.
  • If you are going to the beach or boating, stay up to date with the weather report.
  • Require them to wear life jackets when boating.
  • Eliminate alcohol from the equation altogether—not only is supervision lax and judgment inhibited when the adults are drinking, but this can also play a part in many adult drownings and other accidents on the water.

Precautions should be taken at home if you have a swimming pool, to include proper maintenance. In Florida, you must have at least one of the required safety options such as a 48” high fence or an alarm, self-latching devices, or an approved pool cover. Drains can be a major issue in pools too, leading to drowning if children or adults have their hair caught up in the sucking mechanisms. Modern drains are designed to prevent such issues, but if you have an older pool, update drains as soon as possible.

If you have been injured on the water or in a swimming pool or boating 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!

Motorcyclists: Know How to Read the Road

With millions of automobiles on the road today, sometimes there is a thrill in being different. Some prefer to take public transportation, while other travelers and commuters walk or bicycle everywhere. Motorcycles are extremely popular though, with over 8 million registered in the US, and many owners enjoying not only a different form of transportation, but a whole different lifestyle.

Although the biker image still prevails in many cases—especially with black leather jackets, pants, and heavy boots as protective gear—for people of all ages, careers, and cultures, there is a deep sense of fellowship. Accompanying that are so many other pros to riding, from all that outdoorsy healthy stuff like fresh air and seeing the countryside, to the physical workout experienced on every trip, the economics (less gas, cheaper maintenance, and less investment to begin with), and even a sense of spirituality or Zen.

The most significant con to riding a motorcycle is the safety issue. Even if you are a pro and have been riding for decades, chances are you have a few stories to tell when it comes to accidents. Unfortunately, other motorists are one of the biggest dangers to motorcycle enthusiasts—and because of this you must drive as defensively as possible, always assuming other vehicles are not watching out for you.

Learning to read the road is vital and centered around safety. Although most new drivers and motorcyclists are required to take educational courses, there’s nothing like experience! Getting to know your bike thoroughly before you head out onto the road is critical, along with wearing the proper gear, and making sure your motorcycle is in good working order.

Be visible to other drivers, follow all traffic rules, and be apprised of current weather conditions. Once on the road, each journey is much more complex than just getting from point A to point B. You must constantly assess other drivers:

  • Be sure you have enough space in front of and behind you and cars on the road.
  • Make eye contact if possible with other drivers in their rearview or side mirrors to ensure you are not in their blind spots.
  • Take extra care at intersections, especially left turns.
  • Be awake, alert, and never drive under the influence.

In most cases, ‘reading the road’ means reading other drivers! While you must follow the traffic rules, the speed limits, avoid impairing substances, and be completely aware of your surroundings always, you must also overcompensate for drivers who may be extremely distracted with smartphones or other electronics—or they may be speeding and neglect to see you. They may be inexperienced, tired, or driving drunk. Being hypervigilant about safety while riding your motorcycle can make the difference between arriving home alive or becoming another fatality on Florida roads.

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!

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: Nerve Damage Pain May Last a Lifetime

Imagine being in a car crash or motorcycle accident and experiencing not only the trauma of such an event, but physical injury too. In more severe cases, motorists or passengers may be killed or sustain brain or spinal damage. Cuts and contusions and breaks and sprains are more common though and may heal right on target, with complex regional pain syndrome emerging as a complete—and very unwelcome—surprise.

CRPS brings a wide range of unique symptoms with it and is thought to be an inflammatory condition related to the immune system, brought on by initial nerve damage. In Type 1, this may occur after a trauma like a fall or a car accident; in Type 2, the nerve damage is usually obvious, along with the reason for it, like a surgery or perhaps an infection. While the limb previously associated with a break or sprain or other trauma is usually the only one afflicted by symptoms, over time, the patient may find both limbs affected—especially with movement disorders like dystonia where arms, legs, fingers, or toes become fixed in a twisted or otherwise awkward position.

Differences in the skin are often noted with the onset of CRPS, to include burning or swelling, along with sensitivity to temperature. The arm or leg may be discolored, and even glossy or thinned out in texture. Joints may feel stiff, and muscles may move unpredictably. The most prevalent symptom though is usually pain. Individuals suffering from CRPS are usually stymied by the sudden discomfort, and medical professionals may not be able to pinpoint the condition at first, being forced to rule out other problems before making a diagnosis, often with bone scans, X-rays, blood tests, and more.

For some, CRPS could just be episodic, disappearing after a short amount of time. For others though, this rare condition appears out of the blue and can make life permanently debilitating. Once the challenge of diagnosing CRPS is out of the way, the challenge of treating it follows. In milder cases, over-the-counter pain relievers may suffice—but for others, opioids may be necessary. Medical professionals may also prescribe corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or nerve-blockers. Physical therapy can be helpful too, along with antidepressants and psychotherapy which may be especially vital for patients with chronic CRPS who are adjusting to ongoing pain and the drastic changes it has caused in their lives.

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.

CRPS: Pain Symptoms May Affect the Entire Body

It is said that good health is true wealth—and that escapes all too many of us until there is a serious issue like complex regional pain syndrome. Adapting to an illness or injury can be extremely challenging, and especially if it is a rare condition that can be both difficult to diagnose and treat. On top of that, when a condition like complex regional pain syndrome appears almost out of nowhere you may be dealing with pain and frustration. Although the causes of Type 1 CRPS are sometimes unknown (while Type 2 usually occurs after noted harm to the nerves), the trauma of a car accident and subsequent injury is a good example of an event that can trigger CRPS later.

The surprise factor in CRPS is not a good one. You may have had a broken arm or leg, or perhaps even just a moderate sprain that was treated and healed with ease—only to develop strange symptoms later that progressed into pain worse than the original injury! The signs of CRPS can be like other autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions, and they must be ruled out first. Diagnosis can be time-consuming, which is why medical help should be sought as soon as possible. Early treatment—often consisting of pain relievers (including topical medications), physical therapy, and more—usually means a better outcome for CRPS which can in some cases become progressive and chronic.

Often affecting an arm or leg at first (the one that may have been wounded in a car wreck or motorcycle crash, for instance), CRPS may transform the skin in unusual ways, leaving it tinged with blue or pink discoloration, along with causing extreme sensitivity to the slightest touch or change in temperature. There may be swelling, and the area may become thin and glossy in texture and feel clammy. If you are suffering from long-term CRPS there could be other issues as it spreads throughout the body to include one of the other limbs (or even all of them), the muscles and joints, bones, and immune system. Some patients may also see this condition go into a welcome remission—only to present itself again months later.

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.

Burn Injuries May Be Complex and Require Long-Term Care

Complex and sometimes life-threatening burn injuries may be caused by a wide range of different accidents. While some burns may be catastrophic, many are complex in nature too—as are the healing and treatment processes. Depending on how much of the body is affected by a burn, the victim may be forced to adapt to a much different way of life either temporarily or permanently as their health is suddenly more fragile and there is a constant risk of infection. Suddenly, it may be difficult to move or complete daily tasks.

Burn types are distinguished by degrees, with first-degree burns impacting the skin; in fact, this could even be something as mild as a sunburn. A second-degree burn affects not only the outside layer of the skin but also a portion of the dermis. It is usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and blistering. The third-degree burn is the most severe, and may affect the outer skin, layers of the dermis, bones, muscles, and tendons. The patient may lose all feeling in the burn area, which in comparison to the redness of a first- or second-degree burn may be white in appearance.

Typical causes for burns are as follows:

  • Extreme heat or fire, scalding liquids, steam
  • Radiation
  • Electrical
  • Chemicals

Over 500,000 individuals in the US are treated each year for burns, with tens of thousands requiring hospitalization for further treatment. Children are most commonly seen for burns, and these occurrences are unfortunately—and usually—due to scalding.

Mild burns can usually be treated at home, healing easily. In more serious cases though, patients may require a variety of different medications and dressings for the injuries (plus tetanus shots). Physical therapy may also be required. Third-degree burns may require skin-grafting procedures, as well as plastic surgery.

Sometimes months and even years are required for burns to heal, and beyond that, patients may suffer from severe emotional trauma—made even worse for those who suffer from disfigurement due to their injuries. Antidepressants or antianxiety medication may be required, along with psychotherapy and/or support groups for others suffering from similar conditions. After working with burn specialists, some patients may need to be transferred for care in burn centers or longer term, in nursing homes.

If you have sustained a burn injury 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.

Tailgating Causes a Third of All Car Crashes

Most of us are forced to keep up with a busy schedule. Work, kids, and other myriad tasks keep us running daily; in fact, you may often find yourself thinking if there was just one thing you could wish for, it would be more hours in the day! There may not be much time to smell the roses (and especially on busy weekdays), with this sense of urgency usually translating into a lot of time spent in the car too.

Motorists are often frustrated by traffic moving too slowly overall, or especially by those traveling in front of them who may seem to be dilly-dallying down the road at a luxuriously ‘relaxed’ speed. While some drivers may just be driving more slowly than you would like, other times they may be distracted, driving under the influence, tired—or just inexperienced. Tailgating is never good under any circumstance, and it is one of the leading causes of car crashes—contributing to one third of accidents in the US. Not only that, recent studies even show that tailgating reduces efficiency and speed in traffic flow.

Having someone too close to your bumper in traffic is usually unnerving. Motorists may do so because they just don’t realize they are driving too closely, or indeed, they may aggressively be trying to pass you. The dangers of such behavior are clear, as there obviously is little time to stop if the motorist in front is forced to brake abruptly. Tailgating and road rage are connected as well, and such activity is all too often accompanied by honking, swearing, and gesturing. Such activity can lead to more serious altercations, and even violence in some cases. If you find yourself having road rage while on the road, it may be time to consider how to manage your anger better—and if you are on the other side of things with an aggressive driver threatening you, consider calling 911.

Serious injury can result if there is an accident due to a rear-ending, including neck and spinal injuries, broken bones, head injuries such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and more. 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.