Sheikra is back open at Busch Gardens in Tampa after the roller coaster stopped Thursday with 64 passengers on board.

The roller coaster reopened to riders at the amusement park Monday morning, park officials announced.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, the ride stopped, stranding 64 riders 200 feet up in the air. Riders were evacuated after the roller coaster stopped suddenly with a car stuck on a steep incline.

The roller coaster was stopped in two places — one just before the 90 degree drop and the other on the climb to the top.

Park officials said right before the coaster cars that got stuck left the boarding area, the ride was determined to be safe. However, something caused the cars to stop at the top of the ride.

Crews have been inspecting the ride and performing checks since the ride stalled.

The park released a statement about the coaster on Monday:

“Out of an abundance of caution, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay conducted additional testing on its Sheikra roller coaster to confirm the ride is operating as designed,” the statement read. “The testing is now complete, and Sheikra is operational and will be open for guests today, May 16. Busch Gardens is pleased that our safety systems performed as designed and that all guests were able to safely disembark from the ride. The safety of guests and team members is Busch Gardens’ number one priority and our employees train regularly for conditions just like this. All ride attractions are inspected daily by trained technicians to ensure they are operating properly. Ride safety systems are designed that when a shutdown does occur, it is an indication that these systems are working.”

Amusements parks can be pretty dangerous when you think about it. Even when rides are working properly there is always some type of risk to riders. However, when a ride malfunctions, the chances of something bad happening drastically increases. While Busch Gardens has a pretty decent track record when it comes to safety, just one error can place innocent lives in jeopardy.

The good news is that no one was harmed in this incident at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This is not always the case when a roller coaster mishap occurs. If anyone was seriously harmed or killed, depending on the situation, Busch Gardens could have been liable for the accident.

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Texas club owners failed to amp up security for a show featuring two rival rap groups and an aspiring emcee was shot in the head, according to reports.

The man’s mother alleges the fight could have been expected.

The show was on April 9 and according to the Facebook post, it was for people 21 and over. The emcee that died was only 18.   

The court documents allege that the club put profit over the safety of patrons.  

“The show featured two competing and potentially violent rap music groups whose members are believed to be prominent in local street gang activity,” the lawsuit states.

A fight broke out at the event and spilled into a parking lot and that is when the emcee received a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

He died three days later in the hospital.

His mother is seeking more than $1 million in punitive damages for gross negligence, premises liability and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Nightclub owners are obligated to exercise caution and prevent guns from entering their club. When adequate security measures are in place, shootings and other injuries can be prevented. Sadly, security at nightclubs is not always taken as seriously as it should be, and when an accident that could have been prevented occurs, this results in negligent security cases. These lawsuits seek to hold the nightclub accountable for the wrongful injury or death of a victim. While no amount of money will bring the deceased back or heal an injury, it can send a message to the negligent nightclub owner and prevent any future incidents.

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This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so it is important to note that the cost of dog-bite claims for U.S. insurers reached 16 percent last year due to higher medical expenses and larger settlements to resolve court disputes.

The average claim increased to $37,214 in 2015 from $32,072 a year earlier, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The highest figure among the 10 states with the most claims was Arizona with an average of $56,654. California has the second highest average cost per dog bite claim at $44,983 while New York, at $44,320, comes in third.

Health officials and companies such as State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. are seeking to limit the confrontations, which accounted for more than one-third of homeowners liability claims costs last year, the institute said.

About 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and almost a fifth of those incidents require medical attention, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of claims fell 7.2 percent last year to 15,352. Still, dog-related injuries cost the industry $571.3 million, up from $530.8 million. The average cost per claim nationally has risen 94 percent since 2003.

With strict liability laws set in place, a dog owner is responsible for the actions of their dog, regardless of the breed or the circumstances surrounding an attack. With that said, dogs can have vicious outbursts at any time, despite how calm or gentle their usual temperament is. All dogs can behave differently around strangers, which can be surprising to their owners. If your dog suddenly attacks a stranger, as the owner, you could be liable for any injuries or damages.

There is a lot of responsibility placed on a dog’s owner, so care and caution is so important. In order to reduce the chance of a dog attack:

  • Remember that a dog’s behavior can be unpredictable, no matter how well you know your dog.
  • When you answer the door, make sure you hold your dog back.
  • Separate your dogs from strangers, like postal workers, maintenance men, etc. when they are in your home or at your door.
  • Keep dogs away from strangers and be cautious when around other dogs.

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The family of a woman who was struck by lightning after exiting a US Airways plane in South Carolina last summer is suing for damages.

The 52-year-old died from the injuries sustained on the tarmac at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Last week, her family filed a lawsuit against  American Airlines, which US Airways has merged with, and the airport for negligence, according to reports.

The plane was supposed to land at Charlotte International Airport in North Carolina, but diverted to Columbia due to weather.

The lawsuit states that although the flight landed at Columbia Metropolitan Airport at 5:07 p.m., deplaning did not begin until 5:52 p.m. Ten minutes before deplaning, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area.

The woman was struck by lightning after stepping out onto the tarmac with her husband, son and daughter.

The lawsuit also alleges that the woman did not receive prompt medical care for her condition.

The Columbia Metropolitan Airport released the following statement:

As airport operators we provide all of our carriers with passenger boarding bridges so that they can safely move passengers between the terminal and their aircraft. However, the airport is not involved in determining when or how they choose to deplane passengers. When the incident occurred, our public safety officers followed their procedures and responded within seconds. At this time, the airport and its legal team has not yet received notification that the Columbia Metropolitan Airport has been named in a lawsuit. Therefore, we are unable to provide any other specifics about the incident.

Airline negligence cases are not something we read regularly about in the news, but the most common reasons these unfortunate events occur is due to:

  1. Negligent Hiring
  2. Lack of Training

If your loved one’s injury or death was caused by careless airline employees, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death case. Our Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton may be able to help you obtain justice.

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St. Petersburg, Florida – Every company is in possession of private and sensitive personal information of their employees. Employees expect that sensitive information to remain private. We currently represent a Ocala man who is an employee at Advance Auto Parts, who along with an estimated 75,000 employees, have lost a secure hold of their sensitive private information. Local media has reported that we have sued Advance Auto Parts alleging that his employer failed to protect sensitive information about its employees, placing them at heightened risk for identity theft.

We filed the complaint, or lawsuit, in federal court on behalf of our client and all similarly situated employees on March 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division against Advance Stores Co. Inc., doing business as Advance Auto Parts Inc., citing negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and invasion of privacy.

We believe our client has suffered an increased risk of identity theft and tax fraud because of his employer’s actions.

We believe that Advance Auto Parts Inc. is responsible because the company voluntarily disclosed corporate files containing class members’ sensitive information to a third party posing as an employee. The information apparently included IRS Form W-2, Social Security numbers, 2015 gross wages and the states where the class members pay income tax.

It has been reported that employees for the national Advance Auto Parts should have also received a letter making them aware that their risk of identity and tax refund theft has greatly increased.

Whittel & Melton is seeking compensation for all damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and any further legal and equitable relief as the law may require on his behalf.

We continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of this case, and would like to speak with anyone who has been affected by this breach, or anyone with information related to this invasion of privacy.

Data breaches like this one seem to be rampant these days. In March, the IRS sent out an alert to HR professionals to be aware of phishing scams like these. This phishing variation is known as “spoofing,” and will come from an outsider posing as what appears to be a legitimate employee requesting company information.

It is imperative that companies protect their employees and sensitive data from outsiders. In order to avoid these phishing scams, HR professionals need to make sure that security protocols are in place so that these email tricks do not lead to leaked data. A review of all data protection policies, procedures and technologies should take place regularly to keep these types of threats under control.

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Three passengers and two flight attendants have been hospitalized after suffering from head injuries after an Allegiant Airlines flight en route to Pittsburgh experienced severe turbulence.

According to the FAA, Allegiant 7001, an Airbus A319 aircraft, diverted to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida after several injuries were reported on board due to the severe turbulence.

The flight originated in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and was headed to Pittsburgh International Airport.

According to Allegiant, there were 137 passengers and six crew members on board the flight.

The five people taken to the hospital sustained head injuries. It is not immediately clear their condition.

Allegiant Air issued the following statement: “The airline is currently working to accommodate all passengers and develop a plan for getting all passengers safely to their destination. Passengers are currently being cleared through customs.”

Turbulence is a common occurrence during any high altitude flight, but sadly it can also result in the injury of passengers, as this case shows. If proper protocols are not followed or if passengers are not in their seats when experiencing sudden shifts and jolts, then serious injuries can arise.

Airline workers negligence can be a factor in turbulence-related injuries on aircrafts. When flight attendants, pilots or crew members fail to abide by proper safety procedures or do not take the necessary actions to prevent injuries, then the airline and its employees can be held responsible for any costs associated with injuries that result from that negligence.

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A 19-year-old Tampa man was killed in a motorcycle accident late Saturday night.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2005 BMW was traveling northbound on Reflections Club Drive approaching SR-580 (Hillsborough Ave).

The 19-year-old was traveling eastbound on SR-580 in the outside lane approaching Reflections Club Drive on a 2004 Yamaha motorcycle.

Troopers believe the driver of the BMW failed to yield right-of-way for the motorcycle and attempted to make a left turn onto westbound SR-580.

According to reports, the biker tried to break but ended up colliding with BMW. He was ejected from the motorcycle and died at the scene.

Charges are pending. There were no other injuries reported.

Motorcyclists must adhere to the same right-of-way rules as drivers of passenger vehicles. However, the sad truth is that many drivers fail to follow these rules and violate a biker’s right of way.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s failure to yield, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Motorcycle collisions involving a bike and another automobile are too common and are often caused by the other driver’s failure to yield. Failure-to-yield motorcycle accidents occur when:

  • A driver turns in front of a motorcyclist without using proper turn signals
  • A driver fails to check their blind spot and sideswipes a motorcycle
  • A driver runs a biker off the road or into oncoming traffic

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According to police, a city solid waste truck collided with a sports utility vehicle early Thursday in Tallahassee.

The SUV’s driver died of his injuries at a hospital.

The truck’s driver was not injured.

No additional information is available at this time.

Homicide investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence from the crash.

Garbage trucks provide a critical service to the community – they haul and dispose of waste.  But just like any large vehicle on the roadway, when an accident happens, garbage trucks can cause serious injuries like brain injuries, spinal cord trauma and even wrongful death.

Our Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melon know that trucking accidents are quite serious matters, which is why we conduct an in-depth investigation into the cause of the crash so that we can hold all negligent parties accountable for your losses. We leave no stone unturned and will obtain and analyze the driving history of the garbage truck driver and the maintenance records for the vehicle, interview witnesses, review the accident scene, and even hire accident reconstruction and engineering experts to inspect the crash site. We make sure your rights are protected.

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Crews responded to a construction accident at a parking garage on the Miami Dade College Campus Friday.

The accident happened around 2:30 p.m. at the West Campus at 3800 Northwest 115th Avenue in Doral.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said two injured construction workers were being treated on the third floor for their injuries. According to reports, they had to hoist them down to the ground before transporting them to the hospital. One is believed to have suffered a leg injury.

The accident is currently under investigation with MDFR.

Reports indicate that one of the concrete plates that interconnect to make up the structure, came crashing down on the third floor. Crews are not calling the accident a collapse at this time.

MDC released the following statement after the accident: “There was a construction incident at MDC’s West Campus garage that is currently under construction. There are some minor injuries reported. Because it is Friday, there are not many classes taking place or many people around. Classes and operations have not been impacted. The Campus is open.”

Crews began construction on the $22.5 million, five-story garage to accommodate the increasing number of students at the campus in January 2012. That October, part of the nearly completed garage collapsed, killing four workers.

Miami Dade College reached a $33.5 million settlement with the contractor and subcontractors hired to build the garage after the collapse occurred.

Working on a construction site is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. As this case shows, construction accidents injure or kill thousands of workers each year. Construction accidents account for one in five workplace fatalities in America. Accidents like these happen when safety engineers are negligent or when safety programs are absent. Regardless of what type of injury was suffered, the injured worker is entitled to some kind of compensation. A Florida Worker’s Compensation Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help injured workers and families pursue personal injury or wrongful death claims to make sure injured workers are fully compensated for any damages suffered.

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A man in a wheelchair died Tuesday morning after he was hit by a box truck in Osceola County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened at about 9:45 a.m. on U.S. 192 at the intersection of International Drive.

The 82-year-old Celebration man was travelling southbound in a motorized wheelchair on International Drive when he tried to cross U.S. 192. That’s when a box truck driven by a 35-year-old Kissimmee man struck the man in the wheelchair as the truck tried to turn right onto U.S. 192, troopers said.

The man in the wheelchair was taken to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where he passed away.

The crash is currently under investigation.

Did you know that everyday drivers share the roads with countless 80,000-pound semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles whose drivers are working to complete their routes in the least amount of time possible? Due to time constraints, they often cut corners when it comes to safety regulations, not to mention they can become easily distracted from the primary task at hand – driving their truck safely.

The sheer force of a collision with a commercial vehicle, especially a fully loaded 18-wheeler, is far greater than the force of just your typical car wreck between passenger vehicles. The weight of a truck combined with speed and a negligent driver is truly a recipe for disaster.

Truck drivers, just like drivers of other vehicle, can be easily distracted due to:

  • Texting or talking on cell phone
  • GPS system or radio use
  • Eating, drinking or smoking while driving
  • Reading while driving
  • Driver fatigue

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