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Within the last few months, multiple ranitidine and Zantac manufacturers recalled their products due to concerns that they contain high levels of NDMA, a likely carcinogen.

Zantac is sold by the manufacturer Sanofi, as well as generically under the name ranitidine.

Sanofi, manufacturer of Zantac, said it would be recalling the over-the-counter medication in both the United States and Canada. It has been recalled from major chain pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. This comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration alert to the public that the drug contains low levels of a cancerous contaminant, NMDA.

What Is NDMA? 

NDMA is used in aviation, rocket fuel, and industrial lubricants. It is also a by-product of several industrial processes, including gasoline refining and the treatment of wastewater containing nitrogen.

NDMA has also been used for inducing carcinogenesis in laboratory rats for cancer research. NDMA may also be found in a number of food products, such as cured meats, and is an ingredient in tobacco fumes. Research shows that NDMA does not appear to accumulate in tissues.

Under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), NDMA is classified as “extremely hazardous.” Due to this danger, there are strict reporting requirements for companies and individuals who produce, store, or use the substance in large amounts.

Zantac Class Action Lawsuits

Recently, two class-action lawsuits were filed against Zantac manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis LLC and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, who previously held rights to Zantac, with plaintiffs claiming that the companies knowingly put patient health at risk. Lawsuits filed against the manufacturer maintain that Zantac contains levels of NDMA that are 26,000 times higher than the levels allowed by the FDA. In the recent past, several blood pressure medications that were found to contain the cancer-causing contaminant NDMA were recalled from the market.

According to studies of the contaminant NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), possible side effects of ingestion are:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Intestinal Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer

In addition to being linked to various cancers, NDMA is also a potent hepatotoxin. This means that short-term exposure to NDMA can cause liver damage, like scarring and liver fibrosis. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of liver, kidney, and lung tumors.

Symptoms of overexposure to NDMA may include headaches, fever, nausea, jaundice, vomiting, abdominal cramps, enlarged liver, reduced function of the liver, kidneys and lungs, and dizziness.

Other adverse effects that have been associated with Zantac include:

  • Nervous system disorders
  • Arrhythmia or tachycardia (irregular or rapid heartbeat)
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver failure
  • Jaundice
  • Increased risk of pneumonia
  • Low platelet levels in the blood
  • Skin rashes
  • Hair loss

What Should You Do? 

The FDA and other institutions across the country will continue to investigate ranitidine for more information regarding any impurities. As of now, the FDA has not called for people to stop using the medication. With that said, the drug is only supposed to be used for short-term relief. 

If you have been taking ranitidine for a long time, we encourage you to speak with your doctor as soon as possible about whether you should continue taking the drug. Your doctor may recommend that you start taking utilizing different medications, like other drug classes or another H2 blocker.

Based on the studies conducted up to now, there is no proof that NDMA impurities impact other H2 blockers or other heartburn medications. Studies conducted by the FDA found that the following medicines do not contain NDMA:

  • Pepcid (famotidine)
  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole)
  • Prilosec (omeprazole)

While antacids may be effective for heartburn relief, there are other lifestyle changes that can help provide you with some relief. Avoiding certain foods and drinks can help ease heartburn episodes.

Have You Taken Zantac or Other Ranitidine Heartburn Drugs?

Our Florida Zantac Lawsuit Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are investigating claims related to the contamination of Zantac and generic heartburn drugs made from ranitidine. If you have suffered any adverse effects after taking Zantac, filing a claim against the manufacturers of Zantac and generic ranitidine could help you recover financial compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Past lost wages
  • Future lost wages
  • Permanent or temporary disability
  • Punitive damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

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‘No signs of life’ on New Zealand’s White Island following deadly volcanic eruption

A volcano erupted Monday on a small New Zealand island frequented by tourists, leaving at least five people dead and others injured, some of whom were members of a tour group from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship “Ovation of the Seas.” 

The eruption sent a large plume of steam and ash into the sky around 2 p.m. local time on White Island. 

Police said they believed there were fewer than 50 people present at the time of the eruption on the volcanic island, but at least five were confirmed killed.

There are a number of people on the island who are unaccounted for, however. Both New Zealanders and overseas tourists are believed to be involved. 

At least 10 people were said to be unaccounted for, and police said in a later statement that after conducting overflights, that they do not believe there are any survivors on the island.

According to reports, police are “working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already.”

At least some of those injured and missing were members of a tour group from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship “Ovation of the Seas,” the police confirmed. The number of cruise passengers affected and their nationalities were not clear, but the Florida-based cruise line confirmed in a statement to CBS News that “a number of our guests were touring the island.” 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 24 of the cruise passengers who were visiting the island were from his country.

Royal Caribbean said its ship Ovation of the Seas would remain docked “as long as needed to assist with the situation.” 

St. John medical responders said in a statement they believed there were 20 people on the island who were injured and in need of medical treatment. It said it had dispatched seven helicopters to the island with paramedics aboard.

White Island, also known by its indigenous Maori name, Whakaari, sits about 30 miles offshore of mainland New Zealand, northeast of the town of Tauranga on North Island, one of New Zealand’s two main islands. Police were asking people to avoid areas on the North Island that were close to the eruption, including the Whakatane Heads and Muriwai Drive areas.

The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit the volcano every year. 

A volcanologist with GNS Science said the eruption was significant and sent a plume of steam and ash about 12,000 feet into the air. He said it had affected the whole of the White Island crater floor.

The GeoNet agency at first raised its alert level to four, on a scale where five represents a major eruption. It later dropped the alert level back down to three because the eruption wasn’t sustained beyond the initial blast. 

There will be questions asked as to why tourists were still able to visit the island after scientists recently noted an uptick in volcanic activity. GeoNet monitoring cameras captured images of tourists walking around the crater of the volcano moments before the eruption on Friday, but the organization later said it had removed the video clips from its website, at least while rescue efforts remained underway.

GeoNet raised the alert level on White Island from one to two on Nov. 18, noting an increase in the amount of sulfur dioxide gas, which originates from magma deep in the volcano. It also said at the time that over the previous weeks, the volcanic tremor had increased from weak to moderate strength.

Cruise ship excursions can be one of the most fun and enjoyable aspects of partaking in a cruise experience. Most people that take cruises are looking for an adventurous way to explore different parts of the world, and exploring different attractions off the boat are the best opportunity for passengers to do so. However, as this tragedy shows, some aspects of cruise ship excursions can result in serious injuries and deaths to passengers.

Cruise ship excursion injuries can be quite serious. If you have been the victim of an injury, or have lost a loved one during a cruise ship excursion, our Florida Cruise Ship Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can investigate your case and hold cruise lines accountable for passenger injuries and deaths when applicable.

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A woman has filed a lawsuit that alleges employees at a Mexican restaurant and nightclub in Chicago escorted her to an alley behind the business and stood by as a man allegedly sexually assaulted her while she was intoxicated. 

No arrests have been made in the incident, which allegedly occurred October 18 behind El Hefe Chicago at 15 West Hubbard Street, commonly known as El Hefe.

According to lawyers who filed a lawsuit against the business on behalf of the woman, they believe the alleged assailant either works at the business or knows someone on the staff. 

On Wednesday, a judge ordered El Hefe to preserve any potential evidence pertaining to the alleged assault from that night, including surveillance video.

The woman’s lawyers released a security camera video, which they say Chicago police obtained from a nearby business. The video appears to show a man guiding a stumbling woman down an alley as two other men stand by a doorway.

El Hefe has not responded for comment, but the business posted a statement on Facebook saying its security staff did not witness a sexual assault.

“On the evening of October 18, a female guest became ill inside El Hefe and, per the venue’s standard protocol, was escorted by our security team to the back exit,” the statement said. “A male guest followed the female guest as she was escorted out back. El Hefe called an ambulance for the female guest and security remained with her until she left, alone, on the ambulance. During this time, our security team did not witness an assault in the alley. The male guest went back inside the venue and minutes later security witnessed the male guests leave the premises through the front door. We will work with law enforcement and cooperate in all facets necessary to help the authorities get the facts and enable a speedy investigation.”

Chicago police said officers went to Northwestern Hospital after receiving a report of a sexual assault involving a 23-year-old woman who was found unresponsive in the alley behind El Hefe. The victim completed a sexual assault kit at the hospital and Chicago police confirmed that she showed signs of trauma, a police spokesman said in a statement.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, says the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, was having drinks at the bar when she was approached by an unknown man who continued to buy her drinks.

A bartender noticed the man make sexual advances and said her condition was “rapidly deteriorating” after consuming drinks the man purchased, according to the lawsuit. The bartender, who is not named, believed the woman had been drugged, the lawsuit said.

The bartender told the man to stop making sexual advances after the woman vomited at the bar, but the man replied, “she could not tell him what to do,” according to the lawsuit.

El Hefe security guards removed Jane Doe from the bar due to her “deteriorated condition” and ushered her out with the man into the rear alleyway behind the establishment, according to the lawsuit.

“The security guards that escorted the plaintiff into the dark alley with her assailant stayed in the alley while the plaintiff was sexually assaulted about 100 feet away,” the lawsuit says. No employee made any attempt to stop the alleged assault, the lawsuit says.

A 19-minute, 37-second video was taken from a business across the alley and given to the Chicago police. In the video, two men dressed in black stand by the back door to El Hefe as a third man, also clad in black but wearing red shoes, guides a stumbling woman out the door and down an alley lined with dumpsters.

The man and woman move into a shadowy area and it’s impossible to tell what they’re doing. The two other men go in and out of the door, standing outside for minutes at a time and sometimes approaching the spot where the man and woman appear to be.

Other people walk down the alley and several vehicles pass through. After about eight minutes, the man in red shoes walks down the alley and goes through the back door. Men who appear to be police officers walk down the alley and eventually flashing lights appear at the end of the alley.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages sought.

Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs can be legally responsible for injuries that occur on their property. These businesses have a duty to protect their patrons from sexual assaults, shootings, and other violent crimes. Sadly, rape, fights, stabbings, and fatal shootings occur frequently in or outside these venues, especially when alcohol is involved. Incidents like these can result in serious injuries or even death.

When reasonable security is not set in place, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs can be held legally responsible for violent crime that occurs on their premises. Our Florida Negligent Security Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have extensive experience handling negligent security cases against these establishments.

What Is Negligent Security? 

There is an area of law under the general category of Premises Liability Law that is known as Negligent Security Law. Negligent security describes a situation where someone is the victim of a violent, criminal attack, such as an assault, shooting, rape or robbery, while on someone else’s property. 

Common examples of negligent security include: 

  • A customer being followed to their car in a shopping center and mugged before they can get in their car
  • A person being robbed or shot while removing money from an ATM machine
  • An assault inside a hotel room
  • A robbery at a gas station while filling up your car with gas
  • An assault in the lobby of an apartment complex
  • Lack of bouncers at a nightclub
  • Lack of video cameras at a bar
  • Lack of proper lighting at a restaurant
  • A business failing to conduct proper background checks on employees

The law imposes a duty on commercial establishments to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. That includes the obligation to be aware of what is going on around them in the community. If robberies, shootings, sexual attacks, and/or other violent criminal activity have been going on within a close proximity to the location where you were harmed, the property owner has a duty to do something about it to protect you. 

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An Oklahoma judge was three decimal places off, mistaking thousands for millions, when he originally calculated the amount Johnson & Johnson should pay for its role in the state’s opioids crisis.

Judge Thad Balkman announced his mistake on Friday and set a new fine, reduced by about $107 million. The total is now $465 million, down from the $572 million he assessed in August.

The miscalculation came when he was assessing various costs to the state to deal with addiction and prevention issues stemming from opioids. In his August order, Judge Balkman listed the yearly price to train Oklahoma birthing hospitals to evaluate infants with opioids in their systems at $107,683,000.

The amount was actually $107,683.

He was alerted to the mistake by lawyers for Johnson & Johnson. 

The judge’s order on Friday is the final decision from last summer’s landmark eight-week trial, the first state trial to determine whether pharmaceutical companies could be held liable for the opioid disaster.

His ruling highlighted two challenges that opioid plaintiffs face: how to calculate the cost of damage wrought by opioids and how to assign blame.

Those questions are at the heart of thousands of opioid lawsuits, brought by cities, counties and states nationwide, against a much broader swath of drug manufacturers, as well as distributors and pharmacy chains. 

Two Ohio counties recently obtained settlements worth $320 million from opioid distributors and manufacturers. The next opioid trial, currently set for March 20, will be brought by New York State and Suffolk and Nassau Counties against an array of opioid manufacturers and distributors with deep pockets, including Johnson & Johnson.

Months before the trial, Oklahoma had settled with Purdue Pharma and Teva, an Israel-based manufacturer of generic drugs, for a combined $355 million. Johnson & Johnson, which said that its sales of opioids were scarcely 1 percent of the market, instead chose to fight. In August, Judge Balkman ruled that Oklahoma had proved that the company’s aggressive marketing tactics had an outsized impact on the state’s crisis.

In suing to abate the continuing “public nuisance” exacerbated by opioids, Oklahoma said it would need $17 billion over 30 years to address drug treatment, pain management and prevention education. But in August, Judge Balkman had said that $572 million represented roughly only a year’s worth, because the state had not shown sufficient evidence to merit a 30-year award.

Both sides wondered whether he intended the judgment to be a one-time fine or subject to annual renewal. Friday’s order suggested it was one time.

Another point of contention was whether the judge would deduct $355 million from Johnson & Johnson, the amount from the earlier settlements.

That money has begun to flow to the state. Fees for the private lawyers who pressed the state’s case are about $75 million before the Johnson & Johnson award, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.

But Friday, Judge Balkman said the company was not entitled to that credit. Purdue and Teva settled without admitting fault. But after the trial, Judge Balkman ruled that Johnson & Johnson was indeed at fault.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it would appeal Friday’s order, for reasons of fact and law, adding, “We recognize the opioid crisis is a tremendously complex public health issue and have deep sympathy for everyone affected.”

Estimates show that nearly 55,000 Americans die each year from a drug overdose, which has sadly become the leading cause of death of individuals under the age of 50. A majority of these deaths (60 percent) are caused by opioids. Even more shocking is that the rise in fatalities over the past 15 years more than tripled. 

The overdose epidemic has taken a devastating toll on addicts, their families, and friends. But these deaths also cost the government agencies tens of billions of dollars each year when considering public healthcare, treatment facilities, law enforcement, criminal justice, and jail expenses. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the cost is approximately $75 billion per year.

This is why thousands of government entities are suing wholesale and retail distributors and manufacturers of opioids looking to be reimbursed for government spending due to opioid addictions and overdoses.

In recent lawsuits, the defendants have included McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Endo International, Teva Pharmaceutical, Allergan (formerly Actavis), Watson Pharmaceuticals, Covidien, Johnson & Johnson, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.

The lawsuits claim that the companies exaggerated the benefits of the medication and knew the drugs were being overly prescribed, but did nothing to warn doctors of the extremely addictive nature of the narcotics and the need to strictly limit the dose. The second part of these lawsuits allege that the pharmaceutical companies lobbied politicians and doctors in an effort to increase the use of opioids and willfully allowed the drugs to enter the black market.

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A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit after having her gall bladder and parts of her stomach removed after a waiter put liquid nitrogen in her drink. 

The woman recently filed a lawsuit against The Don CeSar Hotel in St Pete Beach, Florida after a birthday meal last year. 

The woman said she went to dinner at the Maritana Grille, on the hotel premises, with one of her best friends on November 11, 2018.

They had just finished their dinner when the woman said she saw a waiter pour a liquid on another customer’s dessert that caused it to “smoke.” After her friend told the waiter that it looked cool, she said he poured the liquid nitrogen into the two women’s glasses of water.

In her lawsuit, the woman says that she became seriously ill “within seconds” of drinking the water with the liquid nitrogen. She never suspected that drinking the water containing the liquid nitrogen was dangerous as “he had just poured it on a dessert.”

An ambulance took the woman to the hospital, where she remained in the intensive care unit for days. She ended up having to have surgery to remove her gallbladder.

According to the lawsuit, the woman also had to have parts of her stomach removed after tissue had been burned by the extremely cold temperature of the liquid nitrogen.

The woman will have lifelong digestion issues and lost 25 pounds as a result.

Liquid nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, clear liquefied form of nitrogen that remains liquid at temperatures of -320 degrees Fahrenheit. It is used as a freezing agent in food preparation and preservation, to process dry herbs and spices and to rapidly chill beverages, as well as for a smoke effect in beverages or foods to “enhance presentation and consumer appeal,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, the FDA has warned that liquid nitrogen can be extremely dangerous if consumed and must not be used in ways that make food unsafe for consumers.

“Both liquid nitrogen and dry ice can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested due to the extremely low temperatures they can maintain,” according to the FDA. “As such, liquid nitrogen and dry ice should not be directly consumed or allowed to directly contact exposed skin.”

In August last year, the FDA issued an advisory warning consumers and retailers of the potential for serious injury from eating, drinking, or handling food products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption.

This is because the liquid nitrogen “may not completely evaporate before reaching the consumer or may leave the product at an extremely low temperature, posing a significant risk of injury.”

Dining out at a restaurant has the potential to be disastrous when it comes to dangerous ingredients and potential allergens. Even what seems like minor mistakes can have big consequences.

While the circumstances of this case involving liquid nitrogen might be rare, serious injuries and illnesses can and do occur at restaurants. Other issues that can turn your dining experience into a nightmare include:

  • Food poisoning
  • Undeclared allergens
  • Foreign materials in food, like plastic or glass
  • Burns
  • Choking and improper CPR efforts

The above issues can be quite traumatic and result in serious injuries that can lead to hefty medical bills, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Let’s say someone has a peanut allergy and orders a dessert that they are told does not contain nuts. If they are served the wrong dessert they could suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction, leading to hospitalization. Restaurant owners invite guests onto their premises. Therefore, they are responsible for any foreseeable injuries or damages. In order to hold them legally accountable for any injuries, the damage must have been predictable or preventable. If a server knowingly serves a beverage at a scalding hot temperature, the injury to a patron might be foreseeable. However, if a patron spills their water and another person slips and falls within a few minutes, they restaurant may not be liable as the event was unforeseeable, and the staff just did not have enough time to prevent the mishap. 

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A 52-year-old man has been accused of touching female subjects inappropriately during sleep studies he was conducting at locations in New Port Richey and Zephyrhills, according to New Port Richey Police.

Officers arrested the man on Tuesday. He was charged with one count of sexual battery and one count of battery.

Investigators said the man was previously employed as a technician at the locations where the sleep studies were conducted. Female victims alleged that he touched them inappropriately during studies he was administering.

A visit to the doctor, dentist, a sleep study therapist, or any other medical professional should always be a safe environment. You are trusting someone with your general physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. You should always be able to trust the medical professional working with you, and they should treat you with respect at all times. Any type of medical professional who compromises the patient-doctor trust through what is called sexual medical malpractice is violating the law, not to mention medical. Any sexual abuse should be reported immediately, so that the person can be removed from the institution they are employed at. If you have survived a sexual assault from a medical professional, we urge you to speak with our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible so that we can begin helping you pursue civil action.

While it is perfectly normal for doctors and other medical personnel to touch patients during an exam, fondling or lingering touches are not normal. Sadly, because medical professionals are held in high esteem it is difficult for patients to discern what is normal and what is not. When your doctor instructs you to do something, you trust that they have your wellbeing in mind. It is not unheard of for medical professionals to use this trust to manipulate patients for their own sexual pleasure.

During an exam, procedure or treatment you have certain rights. If at any point you feel uncomfortable, you should always speak up and end the examination. Once you let the healthcare professional performing the exam know that you are uncomfortable, they should stop right away. You also have the following rights:

  • Requesting to have someone in the room. You are certainly entitled to have someone else in the room with you, such as a nurse, friend, or family member.
  • Expectation of privacy. If you need to undress for the exam, you should have the privacy to do so. Doctors and nurses should not be in the room while you change before or after the exam. Healthcare professionals should conduct exams private rooms or rooms. If you do have to undress, you should only have to undress the body parts that are necessary for the examination, and you shouldn’t need to stay undressed for long before or after the exam.
  • Requesting a medical professional of the same sex. It is entirely acceptable for you to ask for a healthcare professional who is the same sex as you.
  • Getting answers to your questions. You always have the right to question what the medical professional is doing, and they must respect your inquisitions and answer you truthfully.
  • Respect for your religion. You are entitled to wear religious jewelry or garments, unless they stop you from receiving appropriate care.

If a doctor invades your privacy or makes you uncomfortable during your exam, our sexual abuse lawyers can help. We can investigate your medical professional’s background and see if other victims have accused this person of sexual medical malpractice before. We take these claims very seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation without delay.

Sometimes we find that there have been other reports of inappropriate sexual behavior, and the hospitals or other institutions that employ your abuser may still allow your abuser to retain their position. When this happens, these institutions are now involved and can be held liable for failing to protect you and your peers.

Inappropriate, unwanted or coercive sexual advances from a trusted healthcare professional can be violent in nature or extremely manipulative. You can suffer traumatic physical and mental harm. We want you to know that you don’t have to go through it alone. Our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are ready to help you through this difficult time in your life.

According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), nearly 54 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to the police. Furthermore, sexual assault or abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the United States. Even worse, of the cases reported to police that make it to criminal trials, only 3 percent of abusers actually end up in jail.

These low numbers can be attributed to victims feeling ashamed or embarrassed so they do not report the injustice done to them. Other times, victims feel like no one will believe them, especially if their abuser is in a high power position, like a doctor or any other medical professional.

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An off-duty Ocala Police officer was killed late Thursday night after he was ejected from his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The 43-year-old man was traveling west on SW 95th Street Rd. when his white motorcycle suddenly veered left and traveled across the center median while spinning and then falling onto its side. The motorcycle continued to slide across the median and came to rest in the eastbound lanes, a Florida Highway Patrol report states.

The man was ejected from the motorcycle and also ended up in the eastbound lanes of SW 95th Street Rd. He was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries, the FHP report says.

An ejection from the motorcycle is a common pathway to injury or fatality, because when the bike comes to a sudden stop, there is nothing affixing the rider to the bike. Also, the rider can forcibly strike any objects within the pathway of the ejection – as well as the ground.

Ocala, and the rest of the state of Florida, is beautiful pretty much year-round for motorcycle riders everywhere. With plenty of roads, attractive scenery, and gorgeous weather, Florida is a mecca for motorcyclists, as well as other tourists. But with more bikers on the roads, this also means more injuries. Motorcycle accidents tend to be more catastrophic than passenger car accidents because motorcycles lack the protection of a metal frame that cars have. 

When a person is ejected from a motorcycle, serious injuries and death can easily occur. Since motorcycles have no seatbelts, roof, or doors to contain riders and passengers, nearly any motorcycle accident can result in ejection injuries. Riders without helmets are much more likely to suffer fatal injuries during accidents that result in ejection than riders that wear helmets.

When drivers and passengers are ejected from a motorcycle, the impact usually injures the head and neck. Motorcyclists can also easily collide with stationary objects that are in the path of the collision, which can result in more serious ejection injuries. Back and spinal cord trauma can also occur from ejection injuries due to the fact that the spine often becomes compressed during the ejection impact. However, any part of the body can be injured during a motorcycle ejection crash. It really all depends upon the way that the rider falls.

Injuries that are commonly suffered during a motorcycle ejection include:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations 
  • Severe foot and leg injuries
  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis injuries
  • Concussions
  • Eye and facial injuries

A motorcycle collision can cause extreme violence to riders and passengers. More than 80 percent of traffic accidents involving motorcycles result in either injuries or death to the motorcyclist. As we mentioned before, motorcycles offer no protections to its driver or passengers. There is nothing to prevent the riders from being thrown off the motorcycle in the event of an accident. When ejected, the rider is quite likely to be injured again when hitting the ground or any other obstacle in the rider’s path of flight, including walls, trees, signs, other cars, etc. 

There are many different types of motorcycle crashes, and some are more common than others. Here are the top ten reasons for motorcycle crashes:

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Car doors opening
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A sudden stop
  • Left turn accidents
  • Speeding
  • Lane splitting
  • Head-on collisions
  • Road hazards

If you are a motorcyclist, there are preventative measures you can take to eliminate the possibility of a crash. You should wear a helmet, wear bright clothing, and invest in reflectors that shine brighter when illuminated by headlights. You should also limit the number of times you weave between lanes when traffic is stalled, as distracted drivers that are not paying attention can easily change lanes unexpectedly and strike you and your bike. 

Our Ocala Motorcycle Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton also recommend the following to prevent tragic accidents:

  • Ride with a group to improve visibility
  • Avoid lane-splitting
  • Avoid riding on unfamiliar surfaces, such as gravel, loose asphalt, potholes, oil slicks, and other debris
  • Always ride defensively 
  • Do not ride above your skill level. Take a safety course or refresher class to help improve your skill level.

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A new study from Smart Growth America has found that between 2008 and 2017, drivers struck and killed 49,340 people who were walking on streets across the United States.

The study shows that 5,433 of those people died in the state of Florida, but an alarming 656 of those fatalities occurred in Central Florida.

That makes the Orlando, Sanford and Kissimmee metropolitan area the most dangerous place in the United States to walk, according to the report.

The top six spots on the list of most dangerous metro areas for walking in the United States are in Florida. No. 1: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, No. 2: Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, No. 3: Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, No. 4: North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, No. 5: Lakeland-Winter Haven, No. 6: Jacksonville.

The next most dangerous states for pedestrians in the United States after Florida are Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia.

You can view the full list on Smart Growth America.

Pedestrian deaths are at an all-time high. In addition to the above report, according to findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report, pedestrian traffic deaths are at a 30-year high. According to the study, there were 6,227 traffic-related pedestrian deaths in 2018. This does not include those who were injured in pedestrian traffic-related accidents. One of the main contributing factors to this increase is distracted driving. 

Pedestrian accidents are far from rare, and actually happen all too frequently in the state of Florida. Pedestrians may not only include those walking along city streets, but joggers, skateboarders, people in wheelchairs or other assistive devices, and scooters. Pedestrians also include anyone who may be on or near a roadway, such as people crossing the street to visit their neighbors, or children playing on the sidewalk.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident approximately every two hours, and a pedestrian is injured in a traffic-related event accident about once every eight minutes. Pedestrian accidents can be especially dangerous because pedestrians do not have the same protections that drivers and passengers have being inside a vehicle.

As we mentioned before, many pedestrian accidents are the result of distracted drivers who are not paying sufficient attention to their surroundings. Pedestrians are frequently struck by a car while:

  • The car, truck or SUV is turning at an intersection or into a driveway or parking lot
  • The pedestrian is walking through a parking lot and the vehicle is driving through
  • The car, truck or SUV is backing up out of a parking space or driveway

Drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles in a responsible and safe manner. This duty of care is extended to motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, people in wheelchairs, and so on. Our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton like to point out that this means drivers should be defensive on the road, rather than aggressive. 

Drivers need to be especially careful when driving through areas that are likely to have more children present, such as residential neighborhoods, school zones, shopping areas, and parks. Drivers need to be vigilant as young children are usually less aware of their surroundings and of the dangers posed by moving vehicles. Also, children are often harder to spot because of their small stature. It is equally important for parents to educate their children about the dangers of vehicles and roadways, as tragic parking lot and back-over accidents are common among this age group. Parents with young toddlers along roadways should always have them by the hand or carry them, if at all possible.

Distracted drivers that hit pedestrians usually fail to notice them crossing the street or walking behind a vehicle. Sadly, it is the pedestrian, not the motorist, who pays the price. Our Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton represent pedestrians and surviving family members who have been injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. We can pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf, or a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one who has been killed in a pedestrian accident in Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakeland, Daytona, Jacksonville, or the surrounding communities.

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A Vietnam War veteran was bitten more than 100 times all over his body by ants while laying in his bed suffering from cancer in a nursing home on the campus of an Atlanta Veteran Affairs hospital just days before he passed away.

The Air Force veteran’s daughter was visiting him at the Eagle’s Nest Community Living Center, a nursing home for veterans on the Atlanta VA Medical Center campus, where he was being treated for cancer, when she noticed her father’s hands were swollen and his body was covered with red bumps.

The woman said she alerted a medical center staffer to her father’s new ailments. The staff allegedly told the woman that they thought the man was dead because the ants were all over him. 

The man died just days later.

The Atlanta VA Hospital released a statement in response to the man’s case describing the actions they had taken including stripping all the bedrooms and inspecting them for ants, removing all open food containers, hiring a pest control company to do an inspection and purchasing plastic containers for the resident’s snacks.

“The Atlanta VA Health Care System leadership team has been notified that ants were found in our Community Living Center and impacting patients. CLC staff immediately cared for the Veterans and took action to ensure no other CLC residents were impacted. We would like to express our heartfelt remorse and apology to the Veterans’ families and have reached out to them to offer appropriate assistance,” the statement read.

After the incident, the woman said that the health center workers bathed her father and cleaned his room, but the next day, the ants came back. He was then moved to a new room where he would later die, according to reports. 

“Atlanta VA Health Care System always strives to provide Veterans with the very best health care available. When we don’t meet that standard, we hold ourselves accountable. That’s why we have initiated a fact finding on the nursing and environmental care processes to ensure we are providing safe and effective care,” the Atlanta VA Hospital statement concluded.

An infestation of any kind (ants, bed bugs, lice, cockroaches, rats, etc.) is a very strong indicator that a nursing home or assisted living facility is not taking the proper steps to make sure that their facility is clean and free from pests and contagious parasites. Moreover, this is a sign that the nursing home or assisted living facility is falling below the standard of care that they are required to provide to their residents. If your loved one is the victim of an insect infestation in a nursing home or assisted living facility, our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to speak with us as soon as possible. 

Nursing home abuse or neglect is a serious issue that affects thousands of residents. Indications of nursing home abuse or neglect include:

  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Bedsores and pressure ulcers
  • Soiled clothing or bedding
  • Generally unsanitary conditions

If you have a loved one who is living under poor conditions in a nursing home, you need to take immediate action. When neglect or abuse is prolonged, serious and fatal consequences are possible. 

The best way to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect is by visiting your loved one on a regular basis. Frequent visits will help you become familiar with the daily conditions of the facility. You will also get to know the staff and gain a better understanding of day to day operations. The more involved you become, the lower the chances of injury or death to your loved one. 

We understand that it is not possible to spend every moment in the presence of our loved ones, which is why many people turn to trusting medical professionals to care for their elderly family members in the first place. When nursing homes or assisted living facilities fail to provide the standard of care your loved one deserves, you may be entitled to take legal action. Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to review your case completely free of charge and help you determine the best way to proceed.

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Actor and comedian Kevin Hart suffered major back injuries after a car crash in Malibu, California, early Sunday.

Hart was riding as a passenger in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, with the driver and another passenger in the vehicle, when it rolled into a ditch at about 12:45 a.m. local time, the California Highway Patrol confirmed. 

The driver crashed the muscle car after turning onto Mulholland Highway.

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