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A hit-and-run crash in Stuart on Monday that left a motorcyclist hospitalized is the result of a texting driver, according to police.

The suspect, a 29-year-old man, was texting while driving when he struck the motorcyclist and fled the scene.

A citizen driving near the intersection of Indian Road and Willoughby Boulevard in Stuart on Monday reported the incident to police when he noticed the man hit the biker and failed to stop.

texting driverThe 911 operator confirmed the location of the citizen and police arrived a short time later and arrested the man. According to Martin County police, the man admitted that he was texting while driving and thought he had killed the motorcyclist.

The suspect was arrested and faces several charges. The victim, whose identity has not yet been released, is still recovering in the hospital.

This is the county’s first texting-and-driving case, according to reports.

Texting has become a very popular means of communication between friends and family. However, texting while driving is not only dangerous to other drivers, but to everyone else sharing the roadway. There are a growing number of auto accidents in Florida and throughout the United States that are caused by texting drivers. If you were involved in a car accident that was caused by a driver who was texting or talking on a cell phone, it is in your best interest to speak with an injury lawyer who can help you proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. A Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyer can advise you of your rights as a victim and help you file a claim to recover damages for your injuries.

There are many expenses that are involved in a Florida car accident. The at-fault driver whose negligence caused your injuries should be held responsible for your suffering. By filing a personal injury claim you can get the money you need to pay for:

  • Repairs to your Automobile
  • Hospital Bills
  • Ambulance Fees
  • Lost Wages
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychological Therapy
  • All Other Accident-Related Damages

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Every year, more than 300 million people visit amusement parks throughout the United States. There are more than 400 theme parks in the U.S., and combined these parks take 1.7 billion rides. While most amusement park visitors have an enjoyable time, last year, more than 2,000 theme park visitors sustained injuries. Based off recent data, the Consumer Product Safety Commission identified which types of rides are the most dangerous.

The following rides were found to have the highest number of injuries:

  1. Roller Coasters – Roller coasters were responsible for 495 injuries.
  2. Water Slides – Water slides accounted for 438 amusement park injuries.
  3. Boat Rides – Water rides that use boats accounted for 93 injuries.
  4. Wooden Roller Coasters – 87 people suffered injuries from accidents that involved wooden roller coasters.
  5. Water Park Playgrounds – Water park playgrounds were responsible for 84 injuries.
  6. Alpine Slides – 72 injuries were reported from alpine slides.
  7. Vintage Style Car Rides – 72 injuries were caused by these kinds of rides.
  8. Flumes – 72 injuries were reported from these water rides.
  9. Slides – Theme parks super slides resulted in 69 injuries.
  10. Carousels – Believe it or not, 60 people were injured on carousels, with most of the victims being under the age of five.

texas giantWhile reports indicate that many of these injuries were just minor accidents, some were very serious. In July of 2013, a 52-year-old woman fell to her death while riding the Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. The roller coaster was designed without seat belts, which is one of the reasons this fatal accident occurred. The ride reopened in September with added redesigned restraint-bar pads from the manufacturer, as well as seat belts.

Park owners and operators have a duty to protect the public. The safety of all guests should be made top priority, which means all rides must be in safe operating condition and all safety equipment should work properly. Additionally, all amusement park operators should receive special training to be able to recognize potential hazards. When a park fails to live up to its duty of providing a safe experience to the public, it can be held liable for any resulting injuries.

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Distracted driving is a widespread problem throughout the United States. According to the official U.S. government website for distracted driving – www.distraction.gov, 3,328 people alone were killed in distracted driving auto accidents in 2012 and another 421,000 people were injured.

distracted drivingDistracted driving is any activity or behavior that takes a person’s attention away from operating a vehicle safely. Distractions not only endanger those behind the wheel, but passengers, other motorists sharing the roadway and innocent bystanders as well. The following are all various distractions that can divert a motorist’s attention away from the primary task of driving:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Drinking and Eating
  • Talking to other Passengers
  • Applying Makeup, Brushing Hair and all other forms of Personal Grooming
  • Reading Directions, including Maps
  • Using GPS or a Navigation System
  • Adjusting Radio Dials or Playing with CD Players, iPods or MP3 Players
  • Watching Movies or TV

The most dangerous distracted driving activity is text messaging, as it demands visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. According to the 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at any moment across the country an estimated 660,000 motorists are using cell phones or operating electronic devices behind the wheel. This number has only increased since 2010, and the survey goes on to show that when operating a vehicle, 1 in 2 drivers answer incoming calls, 1 in 4 drivers make outgoing calls, 3 in 5 teen drivers answer phone calls, 1 in 3 teen drivers make phone calls and 2 in 5 teen drivers regularly use their hand-held cell phones or smart phones. Sadly, thousands of people die every year due to negligent distracted drivers.

Because April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, our Florida Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to encourage everyone to put their cell phones and all other electronic devices away when behind the wheel. Sending and receiving text messages while driving is very dangerous, but regardless many people still choose to do so. In fact, when you send or receive a text message, this activity takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds which is the same as driving the length of an entire football field at 55 mph, blind. We urge you to remember these facts and statistics every time you get into a vehicle.

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According to a new report, the overall number of staged auto accidents in Florida so an insurance claim could be filed has dropped by more than half since the laws governing personal-injury protection were reformed.

The number of PIP claims involving accidents that appear to have been deliberately caused plummeted from 712 in 2012 to 328 last year, according to a study conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The bureau, which partners with insurers and police, found that questionable PIP claims filed in Florida dropped by nearly 8 percent in a year.

insuranceThe 2012 law requires those involved in motor vehicle accidents to seek treatment within 14 days and limits non-emergency medical claims to $2,500. The reforms also created tougher penalties for medical providers who commit PIP fraud, including a five-year license suspension and a 10-year restriction from PIP reimbursement.

Based upon on a review of 20 insurers that offer coverage for more than 75 percent of the Florida market, premiums for PIP coverage are expected to drop by an average of 13.2 percent.

Even with the new changes, the National Insurance Crime Bureau ranks several Florida cities as having the greatest number of “questionable claims” in the country.

Florida is one of several states that require residents to purchase PIP insurance. The amount of coverage a person receives depends on their auto insurance plan. PIP insurance is limited to medical expenses and does not cover property damage.

Many people confuse PIP coverage with bodily injury liability. The main difference between PIP and bodily injury liability is that PIP only covers the costs associated with the insured party’s medical treatment. Bodily injury liability plans can cover the costs of another person’s injuries that the insured driver may have caused, as well as potential legal fees.

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A pilot and his passenger are listed in serious condition after their single engine plane crashed into a back lot near a Lowe’s home improvement store in Palatka on Friday morning.

The plane, a Cessna 400, was attempting to touch down at the nearby Kay Larkin airstrip, but crashed to the ground just before 11 a.m., almost smashing into the store on Highway 19.

The pilot, a 73-year-old man, and his passenger, a 71-year-old man, were transported to a local hospital.

The pilot suffered debilitating injuries and the passenger is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, according to reports.

cessna 400The plane smashed into a set of wood pallets and slid into other items before coming to a shuddering halt. No one on the ground was harmed.

Authorities are unsure as to what caused the crash. They have cordoned off the scene for the National Transportation Safety Board to review the crash site.

Plane accidents are usually very serious, resulting in severe injuries and even death. Even just minor accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, broken bones and severe burns. Plane crashes can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common include:

  • Pilot Error
  • Equipment Malfunction
  • Equipment Failure
  • Inclement Weather
  • Miscommunications by Air Traffic Controllers
  • Fuel Problems

Any of these errors could lead to an unfortunate crash. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed in a private or commercial plane accident, a Florida Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help.

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A total of ten people were injured in a school bus crash on Monday near Walt Disney World.

According to Orange County Fire Rescue officials, 50 students were on the bus headed to a local middle school. Nine of those students were transported to local hospitals with injuries.

The crash happened near Winter Garden Vineland Road and Mystic Circle just before 9 a.m.

Ten people were injured in a school bus crash on Monday near Walt Disney World.

Ten people were injured in a school bus crash on Monday near Walt Disney World.

According to troopers, the driver of the school bus, a 55-year-old woman, was travelling east attempting to make a left turn when she drove into the path of a PT Cruiser travelling southbound on C.R. 535. The 26-year-old driver of the PT Cruiser tried to avoid hitting the bus, but was unsuccessful and slammed into the left side of the bus. She also suffered injuries in the accident.

According  to the Florida Highway Patrol, the bus driver was ticketed for violating the right of way.

Another school bus arrived to take the remaining students to school, according to officials.

While bus accidents might not occur that frequently in Florida, when they do, the results are often catastrophic. Due to the tremendous size and weight of these vehicles, and the fact that they have a high center of gravity, many bus accidents result in wrongful death or leave those involved with very serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, burn injuries, broken bones, loss of limbs and disfigurement.

School buses, charter buses, city buses and other commercial buses and passenger vans are classified as “common carriers” under Florida law. For these vehicles to operate, drivers must follow certain industry specific regulations that are designed to protect the general public. Drivers of common carriers must be extra cautious when on the roadways in order to keep passengers and the general public safe from harm.

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A 28-year-old cruise ship worker has been arrested after being accused of raping a passenger aboard a Holland America Line vessel and then trying to throw her overboard, according to authorities.

The FBI arrested the man Sunday when the MS Nieuw Amsterdam returned to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The incident apparently occurred early Friday morning in international waters off the coast of Roatan, Honduras.

The victim, a 31-year-old U.S. woman, told detectives that she was attacked and raped in her stateroom. She went on to tell authorities that her attacker attempted to throw her from the balcony, but she escaped and received help from another passenger.

holland america cruiseThe accused eventually turned himself in. According to reports, the 28-year-old Indonesian man told investigators he attacked the victim because she had disrespected him earlier.

The man has been charged with attempt to commit murder and aggravated sexual abuse.

Holland America Line issued a statement on Tuesday stating that they are working with the authorities to understand how the incident occurred and what additional actions the company can take to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

“At Holland America Line, the safety of our guests is our highest priority, and we are shocked and deeply saddened by this incident,” Holland America Line president and CEO Stein Kruse said in a news release. “To our knowledge, no incident like this has occurred in our company’s 140-year history.”

The MS Nieuw Amsterdam took a seven-day western Caribbean charter cruise that left from Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 9.

If you are a cruise ship passenger that has been injured on a cruise ship then you need to seek experienced legal help as soon as possible. Special laws govern injury claims for passengers of cruise lines, limiting the time you have to file a lawsuit, sometimes as soon as six months from the incident date. A Fort Lauderdale Cruise Injury & Maritime Law Attorney at Whittel & Melton proudly helps passengers that have suffered harm in many different cruise ship accident situations. From criminal assaults or sexual attacks committed by other crew members or passengers to slip, trip and fall accidents and other mishaps arising from negligence, we can help you hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.

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Four construction workers were rescued from collapsed scaffolding under an Interstate 95 bridge in Fort Lauderdale on Monday and taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

Their conditions were unknown late Monday, according to the Fort Lauderdale Fire rescue Division.

One construction worker was buried under the collapsed scaffolding and three others were left dangling in the air for about two hours.

Four construction workers were rescued from collapsed scaffolding under an Interstate 95 bridge in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.

Four construction workers were rescued from collapsed scaffolding under an Interstate 95 bridge in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.

The men were part of a crew working under the southbound lanes that extend over the New River between State Road 84 and Davie Boulevard. The collapse was reported on Monday around 3:30 p.m. near the 2000 block of Southwest 21st Avenue.

It took the firefighters a bit more time to rescue the workers due to unforeseen circumstances.

As the Tri-Rail train travelled by on the train bridge, it would cause vibrations. Even the cars driving by caused the scaffolding to shake.

Eventually, the one worker was extricated from the rubble of the scaffolding. Another two workers were brought down with an extended bucket truck.

The location of the fourth victim over the water required a Technical Rescue Team to get involved. A firefighter was lowered on a harness and attached himself to the dangling worker. They both made it to the ground by 5:15 p.m.

Scaffolding is a platform or other type of structure that is temporarily used to help build, install or repair an area that cannot be reached by a ladder or another tool. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are approximately 4,500 scaffolding accidents every year.

Scaffolding accidents can occur in a variety of situations, but most of these accidents involve the following:

  • Scaffolding that is wrongly constructed
  • Scaffolding that is improperly manufactured
  • Supports that Collapse
  • Broken Scaffolding
  • Slick or Slipper Surfaces on the Scaffolding
  • Defective Equipment
  • Insufficient Safety Training

The height in scaffolding accidents can result in very serious or even fatal injuries. Injuries often include broken bones, severe fractures, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, paralysis and death. On top of the physical harm suffered in scaffolding accidents, victims and their families are usually left to deal with a great amount of financial and emotional stress. Medical bills, lost wages and disability are all cost factors that could be an issue following such a serious accident.

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A 4-year-old child died Monday after being found unresponsive in a swimming pool on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship off the North Carolina coast.

A 6-year-old boy was also found in the pool Monday morning, but a medical team was able to revive the boy and he was flown to a hospital.

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A 4-year-old child died Monday after being found unresponsive in a swimming pool on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. A 6-year-old boy was also found in the swimming pool and was airlifted to a hospital by helicopter.

A Marine helicopter flew to the Norwegian Breakaway about 40 miles off Cape Lookout to pick up the 6-year-old child. The helicopter flew the boy and his grandmother to the hospital. There is no word yet on the child’s condition.

The cruise line claims that a medical team on the ship performed CPR on the two children, but the younger child died. No additional information has been released from the cruise line.

The 4,000-passenger ship is based in New York and was travelling to Florida.

Drowning accidents can happen in a matter of minutes and with little to no warning. Children who are submerged under water start to lose consciousness after approximately two minutes. Brain injury tends to occur after a child has been under water between four and six minutes. Children that survive near drowning accidents without any neurological damage are usually found within two minutes of being underwater. In most cases, drowning fatalities occur after a victim has been left under water for more than 10 minutes.

Even if a child does survive a near drowning accident, they can still be left to suffer lifelong consequences, including permanent brain damage. Once a child has been submerged between four and six minutes, sadly, the damage done to the brain is usually irreparable.

Cruise ship passengers expect to be taken care of while on vacation, as they should be. As soon as travelers set foot aboard a cruise ship their lives are placed in the hands of crew members, who may not be trained to handle unexpected emergencies. The reality is cruise ships can be very dangerous vessels, and a tragic accident can happen in the blink of an eye.

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A 72-year-old man was killed after being struck by four vehicles near the intersection of County Road 44 and South Fish Camp Road in Grand Island northwest of Eustis shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday.

According to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, the Fruitland Park man was on the south shoulder of County Road 44 trying to cross when, for an unknown reason, he stepped into the path of oncoming westbound traffic.

The man was hit once by a Saturn car driven by a 30-year-old Umatilla man and a second time by a Jeep driven by a 28-year-old Eustis woman. Witnesses at the scene said two other vehicles also struck the man, but did not stop.

pedestrian accident

A 72-year-old man was killed after being struck by four vehicles in Eustis Thursday.

A Grand Island resident drove up to the scene before paramedics arrived and saw the man lying on the ground. Another person was trying to revive him while another person called for help, according to reports. The FHP noted the area was rainy, without streetlights and very dark.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Troopers are still looking for the third and fourth vehicles that struck the deceased. Anyone with information can call FHP at 407-737-2213.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 5,000 reported deaths are the result of motor vehicle v. pedestrian accidents each year. Sadly, more than 78,000 pedestrians suffer serious injuries every year from an accident involving a car or truck.

A pedestrian collision can result in death, head and brain injuries, disfigurement, nerve damage, scarring, loss of a limb and other serious physical and mental impairments. In many cases, pedestrian accident victims require specialized treatment, such as long-term physical and psychological care. The physical pain and mental anguish suffered by pedestrians injured in auto accidents are often extreme, and the cost for medical care can be astounding. A Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can make sure that you and your family has the help they need to deal with these injuries.

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