Published on:

The Super Bowl is a major event each year that can lead to drunk driving accidents that result in severe injury or death. Super Bowl parties start mid-afternoon and run into Sunday night, which means there are a large amount of intoxicated drivers on the roads afterwards. According to reports, approximately 40 percent of deadly car accidents on Super Bowl Sunday involve drunk driving. Last year, alcohol was a factor in a fatal car accident every 52 minutes.

Drunk Driving Legal Liability

Bars and restaurants usually have what is called Dram Shop insurance, meaning they are trained on how to responsibly serve and stop serving drinks. But, if you are hosting a viewing party at your house, you could be held liable if someone you serve ends up in a drunk driving collision. Dram shop laws were set in place to hold bars and restaurants liable for not practicing responsible alcohol service, but these laws have since been applied to party hosts.

16165977478_fa0a3fc559_zIf you are serving liquor at your Super Bowl party, the best thing to do is to stop serving at the end of the third quarter. Provide taxicab numbers for your guests so that they can get home safely. Understand that liability is determined based on if the one serving knew or should have known the person’s level of intoxication would likely lead to a crash.

Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Florida

Continue reading →

Published on:

A motorcyclist who collided with an SUV on U.S. 441 and was ejected into a ditch by the impact of the crash passed away at a local hospital Wednesday.

The 65-year-old Ocala biker was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center by ambulance following the crash. He was riding a 2011 Harley Davidson and was wearing a helmet, according to Ocala police.

The afternoon crash blocked traffic heading northbound on the busy thoroughfare at Northwest 20th Street for a little more than an hour as traffic homicide investigators from the Ocala Police Department conducted their investigation.

5849701613_6dd93a4d64_zAccording to officials with OPD, a 2002 Ford Escape sport utility vehicle crossed U.S. 441 from the west, at Northwest 22nd Street, crossed through the southbound lanes and traveled through a median break. The vehicle then drove into the path of the motorcycle, which was heading north on 441 in the outside lane.

The man and his motorcycle were thrown into a ditch at Northwest 22nd Street. Police said one of the man’s legs was severed in the crash.

Officers first received a call regarding the accident at 1:29 p.m.

The SUV driver, a 21-year-old Ocala man stopped not far from the crash scene. He was not injured in the crash. The front bumper was ripped from the vehicle, officials said.

It’s unknown if speed was a factor in the collision. At this point, no charges have been filed, and the investigation is continuing.

This death is the first of 2015 for the city, which had four traffic deaths in 2014. None of those deaths involved a motorcycle, according to officials.

Regardless of how much safety gear a person is wearing while riding a motorcycle, including a helmet, many motorcycle accidents result in death. These sudden, unexpected deaths often leave family members and other loved ones angry, confused and lost as far as what to do next.

In many cases, family members of lost loved ones find themselves struggling to make ends meet. A wrongful death lawsuit can help survivors recover financial compensation to help make all necessary payments and keep the household running. At a time like this, our Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you need so you are not left worrying about your financial future.

Financial compensation may include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of companionship

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle crash, our Florida Motorcycle Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. Call us locally at 352-369-5334 or toll-free at 866-608-5529 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with us or contact us online.

Published on:

Two Disney World visitors died late last year after riding two of the resort’s tamer rides, according to a state report issued Wednesday.

In one of the incidents, a 22-year-old woman with a pre-existing condition, lost consciousness after riding It’s A Small World on Christmas Day. She then passed away. The state report did not include the date of her death.

In the second incident, a 54-year-old woman lost consciousness after riding Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in October.

Both of the rides are kid-friendly attractions that are described as moving at slow speeds.

Florida’s Bureau of Fair Rides releases reports of injuries associated with rides at major theme parks every quarter. This voluntary report includes injuries that occur on a ride and result in an immediate hospital stay of more than 24 hours, and are part of an agreement the parks have struck with the state. Because of this agreement, these parks are exempt from public regulation.

5775736087_fc1725bd92_zThe last time there were two deaths in one quarter was in early 2007, when a 60-year-old man had a stroke after riding Soarin’ and a 52-year-old man collapsed at the Downhill Double Dipper at Blizzard Beach.

The last ride-related death at Orlando’s major theme parks happened at Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool in August 2012. A 54-year-old man collapsed in the water and died of a heart attack.

Disney reported nine other incidents.

A 64-year-old woman fell and fractured her leg while stepping off the Prince Charming Regal Carousel at the Magic Kingdom. A 63-year-old woman with pre-existing health conditions had a headache and lost consciousness after riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. She then underwent surgery for an aneurysm. At the Mad Tea Party, a 49-year-old man tripped while exiting the ride and fractured his shoulder. After leaving Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a 54-year-old man with a pre-existing condition felt ill, and a 72-year-old male felt nauseated and lethargic after riding Space Mountain.

At Epcot, a 74-year-old woman fractured her shoulder after tripping over another guest’s bag on Soarin’.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Rock N Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, a 51-year-old woman suffered from memory loss and dizziness after riding the ride and later lost consciousness, while a 55-year-old woman had motion sickness resulting in nausea.

At Animal Kingdom, a guest with a pre-existing condition had a seizure on Kali River Rapids.

Universal Orlando reported five incidents. A 22-year-old man with a pre-existing condition felt sick after riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. A 36-year-old woman experienced neck pain on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. A 49-year-old woman with a pre-existing condition had a seizure on Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls. An 82-year-old woman experienced shoulder pain on Poseidon’s Fury. A 45-year-old man had a “change in mental status” on the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.

SeaWorld reported two incidents on the ride Journey to Atlantis. A 70-year-old woman suffered a collapsed lung and a 43-year-old man had a “personal medical condition.” No further details were provided in the report.

Amusement park accidents can occur at various different amusement parks. As this report shows, this can include large-scale parks like Disney World, Six Flags or water parks, or even involve smaller venues like carnivals and state fairs. Technically, even something as small as a school fair or carnival could be viewed as an amusement park if an accident were to occur. Accidents can involve visitors to the venue as well as staff members.

While most people enjoy visiting amusement parks, accidents that happen on these sites can be very serious and result in permanent injury or even death. Anyone involved in an accident at a theme park can potentially file a claim. Wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against many amusement parks when a tragedy occurs resulting in death. Personal injury lawsuits can also be filed when injuries occur at an amusement park, such as neck and back injuries, heart attacks, broken bones, internal injuries, loss of limb and disfigurement.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Keurig is recalling nearly 7.2 million of its MINI Plus Brewing Systems after it was found that the machines have caused dozens of burn injuries.

The recall includes about 6.6 million MINI Plus Brewing Systems in the United States and another 564,000 in Canada. After the company received word of at least 90 burn-related injuries due to hot liquid escaping from the machine, a recall was issued.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, water from these Keurig machines can overheat during brewing, and spray out water causing burns. A Keurig vice president issued a statement that the injuries reported were “generally minor” and were “handled promptly.” Regardless, the company decided to recall the machines because of the reported malfunction.

15902483287_2ab3867fbb_zThe recalled machines are Keurig MINI Plus Brewing Systems with model number K10 marked on the product’s packaging. You can also identify these machines using the product’s serial number located on the bottom of the brewer. A full list of the recalled serial numbers can be viewed on the CPSC website.

According to the CPSC, the recalled machines were sold between December 2009 and July 2014, both online through Keurig and at major retailers such as Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.

When there is the possibility of a defective product on the market, the manufacturer is generally required to provide consumers with a recall remedy at no extra cost to the consumer. Keurig is offering a free repair kit to consumers who have purchased a Keurig machine included in the recall. Those who have one of the affected machines can contact Keurig by phone or by email using the contact information available on the MINI Plus Brewing System website.

For now, the company is urging consumers using the product to avoid brewing more than two cups in rapid succession, and to maintain an arm’s length distance from the machine while brewing.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A 20-year-old Seminole woman visiting Busch Gardens was hit by a stray bullet fired into the air during New Year’s Eve celebrations Wednesday night, according to police.

According to Tampa police, the woman was sitting in the Gwazi Pavilion area around 11:50 p.m. when she felt pain in her lower left leg. Busch Gardens Medical Services assisted the woman and transported her to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

X-rays showed a bullet lodged in her leg, according to reports. No other injuries were reported at the theme park.

902817172_d0a9bfcb7a_zA Busch Gardens spokesman said it appears the gunfire came from off the premises.

The incident just reiterates how dangerous firing weapons into the air can be.

In 2012, a stray bullet came down and pierced the skull of a 12-year-old boy as he watched fireworks outside his family’s home in Ruskin. The bullet traced diagonally through his brain, leaving him comatose for several days.

Many people celebrate New Year’s Eve by firing guns into the air. However, what these people fail to realize is that this can cause serious injury or death. When bullets are fired into the air, they fall with great force, creating an impact substantial enough to cause serious injury and even death. The risk of fatality is usually far greater than for gunshot injury victims due to the fact that victims are usually struck in the head. Head injuries like these can mean loss of cognitive abilities, sensation and movement. Traumatic brain injuries from gunshot wounds often entail a lifetime of rehabilitation and medical bills.

Continue reading →

Published on:

The national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign began this week and will run through New Year’s Day 2015. This federal effort will be coordinated with state and local law enforcement officers in order to eliminate drunk driving auto accidents this holiday season.

These National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that these campaigns are working to reduce the number of drunk driving accident deaths on roadways throughout the country. In fact, the number of drunk driving deaths fell 2.5 percent in 2013. Even though there have been a decrease in deaths caused by people driving under the influence, there is still a big problem with DUIs in the U.S. In fact, last year a person died every 52 minutes from a drunk driving crash.

16051621572_eff5e1caf8_zDrunk Driving Safety Tips

  • Before you go to the bar or party, plan a safe way home.
  • Choose a designated driver for the night who will commit to staying sober during the evening.
  • If you are drunk, or even buzzed, use the SaferRide app, or otherwise get a ride home from a taxi, bus, sober friend or car service.
  • If you spot a drunk driver out on the roadway, call the police. You may save a life.
  • If you see someone attempting to drive away drunk, do your best to stop them. Take away their keys and make sure they get a safe ride home.
  • Don’t get into a car with someone who may be intoxicated.

2014: SaferRide App

The NHTSA has developed a free app, SaferRide, that is available online and allows you to call for a cab or a friend for a ride home that gives them your location automatically. You can get the app here.

Continue reading →

Published on:

GM has agreed to compensate 42 claimants for deaths related to its ignition-switch defect.

These recent claims are a part of more than 2,000 death and injury claims that have been filed against the car manufacturer so far.

Those that were injured by the faulty ignition switch, as well as family members of those killed, have until January 31 to submit their claims, which will be categorized based on the severity of the injuries, according to reports.

GM has anticipated that the total compensation related to the ignition-switch defect to reach $400 million to $600 million.

5006079901_a69dbc38a2_zGM established a victim compensation fund because they needed to handle the thousands of potential claims that arose from its faulty ignition switch. This fund allows victims and their families to submit their claims and settle with the company out of court instead of suing GM individually or joining a class action suit.

The compensation fund only covers claims involving physical injury or death from the GM defect. They have detailed the acceptable claims as follows:

  • Deceased
  • Category One: quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns
  • Category Two: injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident

According to reports from the GM compensation fund, a total of 2,326 claims have been filed since GM started accepting claims in August. As of December 12, only 100 have been deemed eligible.

GM has recalled 2.2 million vehicles in the United States because of the ignition-switch defect, including Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Chevy HHR, Pontiac Solstice, Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models. This defect has cost at least 42 people their lives. The GM compensation fund is still reviewing 34 death claims for eligibility, according to reports.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Leesburg City Commissioner Jay Hurley failed to convince a Lake County judge Wednesday morning that he made a wide turn and not an improper lane change that caused a crash that resulted in a biker’s death earlier this year, which lead to his driver’s license being suspended for six months and a $1,000 fine.

The one-hour hearing took place Wednesday morning and included testimony from Hurley, Leesburg police and witnesses as friends and family members of the victim.

The crash happened April 27 in front of Gator Harley-Davidson on U.S. Highway 441 during the last day of Leesburg Bikefest. According to police statements, Hurley was driving his Ford F-150 east on U.S. Highway 441 in the center lane and was preparing to turn into the motorcycle shop, which is on the south side of the highway.

The deceased was riding his 1987 Yamaha behind Hurley, but was in the right lane.

2335156733_3aa396e693_zAccording to police evidence, Hurley made a right turn from the center lane into the dealership and drove into the path of the Yamaha, causing the deceased to crash head first into the truck.

After two weeks in a coma, the deceased passed away at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

After the accident, Hurley received citations for improper window tint and improper lane change resulting in death. The State Attorney’s Office recently cleared Hurley of any criminal charges from the accident.

At the hearing Wednesday morning, Hurley pleaded not guilty and stated that he was in the right lane but, due to the size of his four-door truck, he had to make a wide turn into the center lane in order to turn right into the business.

Leesburg police showed video and pictures of the crash site that displayed the truck at an 80-degree angle at the turn, with the bike pinned underneath. Police argued that it would have been impossible for the truck to have crashed at that angle if it had been turning from the right lane, even if a wide turn was the problem. Police even reconstructed the accident with similar vehicles to prove their case.

The judge found Hurley guilty, despite the fact that Hurley’s defense lawyer pointed out that police found no evidence of the bike braking and asked the judge to ignore the reconstruction video as well as a taped police interview of Hurley.

While no criminal charges will be filed against Hurley, the family of the deceased can still file a civil suit against the man, contending negligence. In these types of cases, financial compensation may be awarded for lost wages and benefits, loss of companionship and any emotional pain and suffering that is caused by the death. In order to recover these damages, it must be shown that specific actions were responsible for the death, and that the death would not have occurred without those actions.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A Jacksonville area woman has filed a lawsuit against Disney Parks and Resorts, claiming  she has a permanent disability after she fell from a carousel horse at Walt Disney World in September 2013.

The lawsuit states that Disney was negligent.

According to the lawsuit, “Disney changed the design of the stirrup that had been in use on the Carousel for many years, in favor of another model, which provided less tread traction, without anti-slip resistant features and therefore was slippery and dangerous to patrons.”

The suit has been filed in Orange County Circuit Court. It also also states that Disney “failed to warn its invitees … of the dangerous condition.”

5678476090_f1df5324e5_zA Disney spokesman issued this statement: “We believe the lawsuit is without merit and we will respond to it in court.”

Disney has publicly appeared to place a strong emphasis on safety at its parks through various publications such as its “Report on Safety” and on its website.

According to the report, the company takes “pride in everything we do to promote safety at our properties – from the Imagineers who apply advanced safety technologies to our attractions to the Security Cast Members who patrol our properties in vehicles, on bicycles and on foot 24 hours a day.”

The lawsuit alleges that the woman hit her head on the ground after falling from a carousel horse and suffered brain damage.

Numerous factors can cause an amusement park injury. The most common reason these types of injuries occur is because an individual falls off of a ride. In fact, a study published in Clinical Pediatrics shows that individuals falling off of rides at amusement parks makes up 31.7 percent of all amusement park injuries. The second most common injury is riders striking their arms or other body parts against a wall or part of the ride. Injuries to body parts accounts for nearly 20 percent of all injuries. Other causes of injuries at amusement parks include clothing getting caught in a ride, injuries when boarding or exiting a ride and individuals being hit by a ride.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A Howey-in-the-Hills man died Sunday after losing control of a motorcycle he was driving on a curved road in Volusia County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 50-year-old Howey-in-the-Hills resident was pronounced dead after a crash that involved three motorcyclists around 10:40 a.m. Sunday.

FHP believes the man was joined by two other bikers all driving Harley-Davidson motorcycles and traveling eastbound on Maytown Road near Maytown Spur Road in Volusia County.

11128854704_453964609d_zAs the three motorcyclists entered a curve, the deceased lost control of his bike and collided with the other men, according to the FHP.

All three men were ejected from their motorcycles.

Two of the men were not wearing helmets. The two surviving crash victims were taken to Halifax Medical Center. One was listed as having serious injuries and the other had minor injuries.

A spokeswoman for FHP said in a statement that the fatal crash remains under investigation, and that the crash was not alcohol-related.

While many bikers like to take solo excursions, an organized motorcycle ride with a group of friends can be an exciting change of pace. However, as with anything that involves more people, there are increased safety risks in group riding.

Safety experts recommend a staggered riding formation where riders are spaced at least two bike lengths apart. This is the best riding format because it creates a gap between the motorcycles so riders have the time and space needed to maneuver around hazards or react to an emergency situation. When visibility is poor or there are road hazards, riding single file is best. It is recommended to avoid riding side-by-side, and of course, always follow traffic laws.

Continue reading →