Florida lawmakers are discussing a potential law that would make helmets mandatory for motorcycle riders under 21.

Sen. Keith Perry’s (R-Gainesville) bill would change the helmet exemption from 16 to 21. Under the change, drivers over 21 must have an insurance policy for at least $10,000 to ride without a helmet.

Any motorcyclist under 21 not wearing a helmet would be charged with a traffic infraction.

According to AAA, motorcycle accident deaths in Florida are up 30 percent since 2014, with 606 motorcyclists losing their lives in 2015 alone.

Lawmakers have tried and failed to bring back the mandatory helmet law the legislature repealed in 2000.

The new bill would require that motorcyclists and moped drivers under the age of 21 wear helmets.

Still, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds it’s not young people but motorcyclists 40 and over who are more likely to die in accidents: that age group comprised 54 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2015.

One of every five motorcycle crashes reported results in head or neck injuries. Head injuries are are far more common in motorcycle crashes. Research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of neck or head injury. Most crashes on a motorcycle happen on shorter trips and even with low-speed crashes, there can be a fatality. For most riders who are travelling at around 30 miles an hour when they get get involved in a crash, helmets can cut both the number and the severity of injuries by half. Regardless of what speed a motorcyclist is travelling at, not wearing a helmet places you at an increased risk of suffering from a head injury or wrongful death than riders who are wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

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A 2-year-old boy drowned Saturday afternoon after he wandered into the pool at his Westside home, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The boy’s father and stepmother were with him at the home.

The boy’s father went to check on the boy Saturday afternoon, thinking the toddler was asleep in his room. When he wasn’t there, the father looked for him and found the boy in the backyard pool, quickly pulling him out and beginning CPR.

When firefighters arrived, they continued CPR and took the boy to Orange Park Medical Center, where he died.

Police said the in-ground pool was gated and there were several obstacles to the child getting to the pool, but they were ones the toddler could get through, like a screen door.

There have been 43 reported drownings over the last six years reported to the Department of Children and Families since 2012 in Jacksonville.

Police are investigating the incident, but no foul play is suspected. The Department of Children and Families will be notified.

There are approximately 3,300 drowning deaths per year, according to a report by the CDC. That means there are an alarming 10 deaths per day nationwide. One in five of these drowning deaths involve a child. Tragically, almost all drowning deaths in swimming pools are the result of negligence and are entirely preventable.

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The Volusia County Sheriff was injured in a crash while riding a bicycle Friday morning.

Authorities said his bike was hit by a pickup truck in the 4900 block of South Peninsula Drive. It happened just before 9 a.m.

The driver of the truck, who remained at the scene, was found at fault and received a traffic citation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The man was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

He suffered a broken left hand, a possible ACL tear in his right knee and two fractured vertebrae. He also received sutures in his left knee.

The 54-year-old was elected sheriff in November 2016 and sworn in on Jan. 3. He formerly served as police chief in Daytona Beach.

Volusia County is a populated region, and a lot is happening here all the time. Bicycle accidents are pretty common here, sadly. The most common reasons bike accidents occur are due to the following:

  • Negligence of the drivers on the road.
  • Drivers operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drivers failed to stop at stop signs.

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A woman is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. for alleged negligence.

The woman filed a complaint on Aug. 3 in the Orange County Circuit Court, alleging that the Disney failed to follow applicable safety guidelines and regulations.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that she was a guest at the amusement park on May 3, 2016 when she fell due to a broken and defective sidewalk. The woman claims that she suffered disability, mental anguish and incurred medical expenses as a result of the fall.

She holds Disney responsible for allegedly failing to properly inspect the property, maintain its sidewalk and warn guests of the dangerous conditions.

Property owners have an obligation to keep their properties safe from unreasonably dangerous conditions such as defective sidewalks, uneven steps, and even spills on the floor. However, all too often people are injured on another person’s property because of an unsafe condition that the owner knew about and failed to repair.

Our Florida Premises Liability Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you if you have been injured on another person’s property. We will investigate your injury to help determine the cause, and help you pursue compensation for your injuries.

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A Stuart couple was hospitalized this week after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning while running a generator in their home, according to the Martin County Health Department.

The couple was brought to a hospital Tuesday after complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. They remain in the hospital, the health department said.

At least four families in Palm Beach County suffered carbon monoxide poisoning this week after keeping running generators in closed garages, according to health officials.

As of Thursday afternoon, 16,740 customers in Martin County were still without power because of Hurricane Irma, according to the Florida Power & Light website.

In Palm Beach County, 156,150 customers were still without power.

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strongly urge you to read through the operating manual before you operate a generator so that you fully understand how the machine works. You can avoid injury by always following the manufacturer’s guidelines and keeping the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never use a generator in an enclosed space. Carbon dioxide produced by the engine can build up, causing potentially fatal fumes.
  • When using a generator, keep it outdoors and at least 5 feet away from windows, vents, and doors.
  • Always use a battery-operated carbon-dioxide detector when you are running a generator. Make sure the batteries are new.
  • Before refueling the generator, allow it to cool for a minimum of two minutes, since gasoline vapors are extremely flammable. Use fresh gasoline, or stabilize gas with a fuel stabilizer if you do not use the generator for 30 days.
  • Make sure that you follow the maintenance schedule that is recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is rated for generator use and that it is grounded.
  • Power generators should never be plugged into a home outlet.

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A restaurant customer is suing Taco Bell of America LLC for alleged negligence.

The man filed a complaint on July 21 in the Orange County Circuit Court, alleging that Taco Bell failed to provide a safe environment for its patrons.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he was walking towards the exit of the restaurant on Sept. 2, 2016 when he slipped and fell on a puddle of water on the floor. He allegedly suffered bodily injury, pain and suffering, the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, disfigurement, disability, mental anguish and medical expenses.

The man holds Taco Bell responsible for allegedly failing to warn him of the dangerous condition, and for allegedly failing to train its employees to properly maintain and inspect the obstructed walkway.

Restaurants, including fast food chains, owe a duty of care to people who visit their properties. Customers have the right to expect a store owner and manager to maintain safe conditions in these establishments.

Restaurants have responsibilities to their customers. If you suffered food poisoning, slipped and fell in a restroom, or otherwise suffered injury in a Florida restaurant or on the premises, we encourage you to speak with our Florida Negligence & Premises Liability Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today. You may be entitled to compensation from the owner of a restaurant to cover your damages, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

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Treasure Coast officials are ordering mandatory evacuations Saturday for Martin County for Hurricane Irma.

Residents living on Hutchinson Island, Jupiter Island and Sewall’s Point should expect to be evacuated. As of now, Martin County remains under a voluntary evacuation order, which is part of the state of emergency

After the devastating effects of a Florida hurricane, you will likely face costly repairs and rebuilding work. You may also need to replace your possessions or automobiles, and you could be without a job if your workplace suffered damage. Worse than that, you may be without a place to live in Florida or basic necessities for the days and weeks to come.

With that said, you may be left questioning what you should do next.

Our Martin County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand the terror you’ve been through, and the loss that goes with hurricanes. We know firsthand how vital it is that you receive the compensation you deserve from your insurance company so that you can start to rebuild your life.

Our goal is to protect you from the insurance company’s habit of protecting their own bottom line. We will aggressively fight for your interests so that you can rebuild after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.

Whether you are a home or business owner located near the Treasure Coast, you understand the risks, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than your insurance policy guarantees should your property be damaged by Hurricane Irma. We stand ready to help you deal with your insurance company, so that you can focus on your life, your home, and your loved ones.

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It’s looking like residents can expect Hurricane Irma to be a category 3 to category 4 storm by the time it reaches Okeechobee County.

Currently, the Okeechobee County Emergency Management team is telling residents that they recommend a voluntary evacuation to low lying areas and areas prone to flooding.

Claims to insurance companies should be answered promptly and policyholders should be fully compensated under the policy terms. Sounds easy enough, right? Sadly, many home and business owners will not have an easy time getting fair settlements for their claims after Hurricane Irma blows through.

Our Okeechobee County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are prepared to help you go to battle against your insurance company, negotiating for maximum legal compensation for Hurricane Irma claims based on:

  • Property damage or property loss
  • Business interruption
  • Structural foundation claims
  • Water damage and mold claims
  • Underpayment or “lowball” settlements

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According to deputies, a man was killed Saturday while riding a scooter in Pompano Beach.

The 22-year-old Lake Worth man died in the crash that happened shortly before 9 p.m., the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators say the man was heading west in the center lane of the 900 block of Southwest Third Street at the overpass when he was struck by a GMC Yukon being driven by a 48-year-old woman.

The woman stopped to help the man after the crash but he died after being taken to Broward Health North, according to reports.

Investigators believe the man was going around the 35 mph speed limit at the time of the crash. Neither she nor a witness reported seeing the scooter before the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.

Scooters sharing the roads with other vehicles can bring about serious dangers. Scooters can be hard to spot for driver who is not paying attention, and many motorists do not take enough care to keep an eye out for them. Scooters are always at risk of being hit, and scooter operators are always the ones at a disadvantage due to the fact that scooters offer so little fall and impact protection.

Even the most defensive scooter driver cannot be protected from negligent motorists. When someone else is responsible for causing your injury or a loved one’s death, you can file a suit for financial compensation for the damages you have suffered, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral expenses

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A new study of pedestrian and bicycle travel suggests investment in infrastructure and policies to encourage walking and biking is correlated with lower rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

The work by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also identifies the safest and most dangerous metropolitan regions for pedestrians and bicyclists in the U.S.

Using improved travel data, the study calculated the rates of fatalities for walkers and bicyclists in 46 American regions with populations greater than one million.

The safest regions identified by the meta-analysis were:

Walking

  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Bicycling

  • Portland

The most dangerous regions were:

Walking

  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa

Bicycling

  • Jacksonville
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach

The study uses data from the National Household Travel Survey, which includes work, recreational, shopping, school and social trips, so it goes beyond the “journey-to-work” data collected by the U.S. Census.

Analysis of all 46 regions also provided support for the “safety in numbers” hypothesis: More pedestrian and bicyclist traffic overall is related to lower crash risk for each person walking and bicycling.

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