Lakeland police are currently investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle that occurred early Tuesday morning.

According to reports, a 24-year-old Lakeland man was traveling westbound on West Memorial Boulevard when a vehicle turning left from Swindell Road onto eastbound Memorial pulled in front of his motorcycle.

The man was thrown from the motorcycle on impact and critically injured.

He later died at the scene.

According to Lakeland police, there was dense fog in the area at the time of the crash, which severely diminished visibility for both drivers.

The driver of the car that pulled in front of the deceased was not injured in the crash.

At this time, no charges have been filed.

Fog is a naturally occurring marvel that is produced when a cloud settles on the ground. It can impair visibility for drivers and lead to tragic accidents. When collisions do occur in the fog, it can be difficult to establish who is at fault.

The following tips can help you stay safe on the road on a foggy day in any type of vehicle:

Pay attention – This is especially important in foggy weather as visibility is significantly reduced. If you are not focused on driving, you could miss a turn or fail to see an oncoming vehicle.

Use your low-beams – While this may sound nuts, your low beams are actually more efficient than your high-beams. High-beams will reflect off the fog, further reducing your visibility. If you have fog lights, use those along with your low-beams.

Use your Emergency Flashers – When there is dense fog, it is acceptable to drive with your emergency, or hazard, flashers on. This will increase your visibility and warn others on the roadway of your presence.

Remain calm: Speeding through the fog is not advised. Use caution and drive smart. If you reach a patch of clearer visibility, stay alert as this could simply be a break in the fog, and more could be lurking ahead as you continue to drive.

In the event that tragedy does strike while you are on the road, fog or no fog, a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can be the legal advocate fighting on your side for compensation for damages. If you have been injured or someone you love has been killed in a motorcycle crash in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Polk or Manatee County, please call us today at 727-823-0000 or contact us online for a free consultation.  


Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have made getting around town a whole lot easier and are just as safe as taking a cab or driving yourself, for the most part. It is pretty incredible how technology has made it so that in just a few taps on your smartphone you have door-to-door service and are on your way to your final destination.

However, what happens if while en route to your end spot there is an accident? If you are injured in a crash with an Uber driver or while riding in a Lyft, who is responsible?

If you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, your injuries will likely be covered by the company’s insurance. A general rule is that employers are liable for their employees’ accidents. Despite disagreements about whether Uber drivers are technically employees or not, ride-sharing companies will remit their drivers if they get into an accident while driving a customer.

If you happen to be driving another car, or are a pedestrian hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, establishing fault could get a little tricky. Even though ride-share companies cover drivers when they are working, figuring out what classifies as drivers being on the clock is a bit complex.

Let’s say Susie is a Lyft driver and is involved in a crash and did not have a rider in her car at that time, but was on her way to pick one up. If the ride-share driver is not covered under the company’s insurance policy,establishing liability in a collision will be just like any other car accident.

In that case, it is best to gather as much evidence related to the accident and your injuries as possible to support your claim. If it can be determined that the accident was the ride-share driver’s fault, then they will likely be liable. Most ride-share companies require their drivers to carry their own insurance policies for when instances like these arise.

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Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest banks in America, is being sued for establishing an overly aggressive environment for employees that’s led them to manipulate their customers in order to reach their monthly goals.

Wells Fargo employees allegedly opened multiple accounts at no benefit for the customer, opened credit card accounts for customers without their permission, and even forged customer signatures, according to a recent lawsuit.

The L.A. Times discovered in 2013 that employees were partaking in fraudulent practices to meet their quotas. Numerous employees have stepped forward claiming that they were taught and encouraged to perform these fraudulent acts by their managers. Likewise, branch managers were allegedly expected to produce 120 percent of the daily quotas established.

In May 2015, a lawsuit was initiated against Wells Fargo on behalf of employees in Los Angeles. The lawsuit claims that the company maintains a high-pressure sales system that forces employees to gain customers through illegal ways. How? The company reportedly focuses on “cross-selling,” which is the practice of aggressively selling multiple products to customers who are just looking to open a single bank account or credit card. The lawsuit also alleges that the illegal tactics can have a detrimental effect on customers’ credit scores.

This is not the first lawsuit filed against the corporation. In 2009, a class action case against Wells Fargo was settled for $100,000.

Wells Fargo officials said they make ethical conduct a priority and punish or fire employees who don’t serve customers properly, according to recent reports.

“I’m not aware of any overbearing sales culture,” Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan said in an interview.

The company recently fired about 30 Southern California workers because the bank said they cheated to hit their sales goals. Employees said other workers in the region were put on administrative leave or let go.

The company declined to comment on any additional actions.

Generally, if an employee feels intimidated, threatened, offended, disrespected, and/or scared to be at work and the employer knew or should have known of the unwelcome verbal or physical conduct in the workplace and failed to take immediate action to remedy the situation, it is considered a hostile work environment.

In order to prove a harassment claim, an employee must show that the treatment he or she endured created a hostile work environment. This is done by demonstrating that the behavior happened frequently and severely enough to alter the working environment to the point of abusive and hostile.

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Hoverboards, the popular gift of 2015 has been causing injuries all across South Florida this holiday season.

Hospitals in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have seen at least 40 visits due to hoverboards. Injuries included broken and fractured wrists, as well as concussions.

Earlier this month, the scooters made headlines after reports of some catching fire. In one Boca Raton case, a woman told police her 11-year-old daughter was playing on the board when it started making popping sounds. It was on fire moments after the child jumped off, according to a report.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it is investigating the fire hazard posed by the toy.

In most of the local cases, though, falls have been the number cause for injuries.

While some injuries have been more mild, others have been seriously harmed. A 10-year-old from the Hialeah area, had to be airlifted from Memorial Hospital Miramar to Joe DiMaggio Hospital in Hollywood for emergency surgery when his fall left his bone poking out from his skin – an open fracture.

The Hoverboard reportedly stalled as he was riding to his friend’s house and he fell.

The boy is expected to recover within three months.

The Hoverboard, a self-balancing electric scooter, was named the hottest holiday gift for 2015. In fact, to prove its popularity, on Cyber Monday one was sold every 12 seconds. Even though this gadget is a big hit among kids and adults, hoverboards have come under scrutiny due to serious safety concerns.

The U.S. National Association of State Fire Marshals and the National Trading Standards in the United Kingdom have both issued warnings to consumers that Hoverboards could potentially overheat, explode, or catch fire, mainly due to faulty charging mechanisms.

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The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer products. They have compiled some pretty surprising data on holiday decorating injuries, so if you find yourself in the hospital emergency room from a holiday decorating injury this year, you will certainly not be alone.

Last Year’s Stats

According to the CPSC, during November and December 2014, there were 12 fatalities and 145,000 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms all related to some type of holiday decorating fiasco. This equates to an average of 240 injuries per day during the holiday season!

The consumer protection organization said the top reasons for injuries were falls, lacerations, back strains, and ingestion of foreign objects. The CPSC suggests following the tips below to avoid decorating disasters.

  1. Exercise extreme caution on ladders. The CPSC says that 36 percent of holiday decorating injuries are the result of falls, and half of those are falls from ladders.
  2. Check live Christmas trees for freshness. Keep them away from heat sources. Make sure to keep trees watered.
  3. The CPSC suggests buying fire resistant artificial trees. Not as fun, but much safer.
  4. Keep lit candles away from trees. Also keep candles away from wreaths, curtains and furniture.
  5. Examine Christmas light sets for damage. Discard all sets with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or exposed wires, and loose connections. It is recommended to buy lights that show markings of a safety testing laboratory. Fires from holiday lights caused ten deaths last year.
  6. Keep small decorations away from children. Tiny decorations are huge choking hazards.
  7. Avoid decorating with sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Lacerations were the top-reported decorating-related injuries last year!

Consult With A Florida Injury Lawyer

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A 63-year-old motorcyclist was killed in Volusia County on Monday afternoon after a pickup truck pulled in front of him, ejecting him from his bike.

According to troopers, the Georgia man was traveling north on State Road 415 at about 1:20 p.m. when a 2005 Ford pickup pulled out from Lemon Bluff Road and into his path.

He was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, but passed away a short time later.

The driver of the pickup was not injured.

Charges are pending, according to reports.

Everyone on Florida roadways are required by law to operate safely and share the road with all vehicles – this includes motorcycles. When carelessness, recklessness or negligence results in an accident, you have the legal right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death.

Most motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries, including the following:

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A family who says they have suffered serious injuries in a fatal traffic collision involving Caitlyn Jenner earlier this year sued Jenner on Friday.

The Malibu family sued Jenner in Los Angeles Superior Court for negligence in the February crash, which killed one woman after Jenner rear-ended her car and pushed it into oncoming traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway.

The woman died when a sport utility vehicle driven by a Malibu man struck her car head-on. The lawsuit states the four members of the Malibu man’s family and another occupant of their vehicle sustained serious injuries in the crash.

The Malibu man suffered serious wrist injuries and his 1-month-old son was unresponsive after the accident, according to the lawsuit. The man’s wife also sustained blunt-force injuries and requires ongoing treatment, the suit states.

Sheriff’s investigators determined that Jenner was traveling at an unsafe speed for the traffic conditions.

Prosecutors declined to file a vehicular manslaughter charge against the 66-year-old Jenner, who was born as Bruce Jenner. The accident took place before Jenner announced that she is transgender and transitioned into her new identity as Caitlyn.

After the accident, Jenner released a statement expressing sympathy to those involved in the accident.

“It is a devastating tragedy,” the statement read. “I cannot pretend to imagine what this family is going through at this time. I am praying for them.”

Jenner is also facing separate lawsuits by the deceased woman’s family and the driver of another car involved in the collision.

Most auto accident lawsuits are based on negligence, which essentially means the other party failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care while operating a vehicle. A preliminary investigation by your insurance company and your injury lawyer can help demonstrate that the other party acted negligently or violated traffic laws. In order to be successful in a negligence lawsuit, the injury victim or victims must prove that the defendant failed to meet this standard of care, this negligence in turn caused the accident, and the breach of this duty resulted in you or your loved one’s injuries.

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A 29-year-old construction worker was killed Wednesday after a piece of heavy machinery being hoisted by a crane fell and hit him as he stood on the 37th floor of an Edgewater condo building.

According to reports, the man was working on Biscayne Beach Condos, located at 711 NE 29th St., when a piece of equipment weighing more than 2,000 pounds fell at about 4 p.m.

When rescue workers arrived, the man was dead already dead.

Miami police are investigating the accident.

Construction work is a very dangerous industry. Workers are expected to perform difficult physical labor, sometimes at great heights, and usually with heavy machinery. Any number of accidents can occur on a daily basis on construction sites. In 2012, 183,000 construction workers were injured in job-related accidents in the United States. Another 775 were killed. In fact, each and every year there are more work-related injuries in construction than in most other industries.

OSHA has four categories of construction worker injuries labeled as “the fatal four” due to the fact that they account for nearly 60 percent of construction worker deaths. These four injuries are falls, electrocutions, “struck by object,” and “caught in-between.”

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December is a month filled with holiday cheer, time with family and all kinds of celebrations. The unfortunate truth is that many people celebrate to excess, and choose to get behind the wheel of a car when drunk or impaired by drugs. To raise awareness of the dangers of driving while impaired, December is recognized as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

Drunk Driving Is Dangerous

According to a 2012 study conducted over a 20-month period by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Drivers with an alcohol level of 0.08 were four times as likely to be in an accident as a sober driver.
  • Drivers with an alcohol level of 0.15 percent were 12 times as likely to be in an accident as a sober driver.

Other drunk driving statistics from the NHTSA show the following trends:

  • More than 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving crashes in 2013. This equates to approximately one life lost every 52 minutes that year.
  • Drunk drivers caused 31 percent of fatal car crashes in 2013.

Even after just one drink, alcohol begins to suppress a driver’s reaction time and ability to control their actions and thoughts. As the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream increases, a driver’s ability to concentrate decreases and motor skills become more impaired.

Drugged Driving Is Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving

Drugged driving is driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of an illegal substance, prescription drug, or over-the-counter medication.

Many prescription and OTC medications come with warnings about driving while taking the medication because they can often cause drowsiness or impairment. Drivers must pay attention to these warnings.

On the other hand, illegal substances like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy can cause severe impairment. Some drugs can cause extreme highs and erratic behavior, which can increase the risk of speeding, swerving in traffic, and ultimately result in reckless driving. Some drugs may cause euphoria and dulled senses, which can result in slower reaction times, an impaired sense of reality, and the complete inability to control a vehicle.

Drive Sober This Holiday Season

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to remind everyone to please drink responsibly and be aware of your medications’ warnings when driving. Even responsible, sober drivers are affected when other motorists choose to drink or use drugs and drive.

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The death toll on U.S. highways rose 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015.

According to new figures from the Transportation Department, low fuel prices have contributed to a jump in miles driven by Americans.

The preliminary figures represent a “troubling departure” from a general downward trend over the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report released Tuesday.

In 2014, the fatality rate hit an all-time low.

Americans drove about 51.9 billion miles more in the first half of 2015 than the same period last year, which equates to about a 3.5 percent increase, according to the NHTSA. Job growth and low fuel prices also may be factors in the sudden, unexpected surge in highway fatalities, the agency said. There was also more leisure travel and driving by young people, which can contribute to higher fatality rates.

The sad news is that the death rate also increased. Fatalities per million vehicle-miles driven rose in the first half of 2015 was 1.06 percent, or 4.4 percent higher than the same period in 2014.

In final figures for 2014, 32,675 people died in U.S. motor-vehicle crashes, a 0.1 percent decline from 2013. The fatality rate declined to 1.07 deaths per million vehicle-miles traveled, which was a record low for a complete year.

States in the Southeast — Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee — saw a 15 percent increase in fatalities. The second highest increase, 11 percent, was recorded in a group of Western states: Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. California and Arizona saw no increase in fatalities, and the New England region saw an increase of 1 percent.

The biggest factors in traffic fatalities remain the lack of seatbelt use and drunk driving, according to reports. Nearly half of all people killed in road crashes do not wear seat belts, and one-third of all fatalities are in crashes involve intoxicated drivers.

Distracted driving accounted for 3,179 deaths in 2014, about 10 percent of the total. Drowsy driving was involved in 2.6 percent of the fatalities.

States without mandatory motorcycle helmet laws saw a “far higher” number of fatalities than states with mandatory helmet laws, according to reports. There were 1,565 motorcycle deaths in 2014.

Bicyclist deaths declined by 2.3 percent, but pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1 percent from the previous year. In 2014, there were 726 cyclists and 4,884 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes.

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