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Two people died after a charter bus that departed from from Orlando overturned on Interstate 95 in Virginia.

The Tao’s Travel Inc. bus traveling from Florida to New York had 57 people aboard when it rolled and ran off the left side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp in Prince George County about 5:22 a.m., according to authorities.

One person died at the scene, while another person died a couple of hours later.

The bus driver has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the crash.

The bus departed from Orlando, Florida, and stopped in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to switch drivers, police said. It was headed to New York City when it crashed.

Bus travel is a very popular mode of transportation. However, buses can pose a serious danger to passengers if they are not operated by trained, attentive employees and if the equipment is not properly maintained. If you have been involved in an accident with a charter bus, it is important to contact our Florida Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible.

Similar to truck drivers, bus drivers must have proper background checks and receive adequate training to provide safe travels for passengers. Many bus accidents are attributed to unsafe driver conditions, such as:

Driver negligence

  • Poor bus security
  • Operating on dangerous roads and interstates
  • Operating during dangerous weather conditions
  • Driving drunk or drugged
  • Fatigued driving
  • Inadequate maintenance of the bus and its equipment

When someone you love is injured or killed in an unexpected bus accident, you may be in shock and unsure of what to do next. You or your loved one may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages resulting from the bus accident. When death occurs, the responsible driver may also face criminal charges for wrongful death.

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A Roman Catholic priest in Florida is facing charges that he drugged a female parishioner and raped her.

The man was in a Miami-Dade County jail late Saturday charged with sexual battery on an incapacitated victim.

According to reports, in October, the 64-year-old priest invited the victim to his home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead. The woman said she drank tea he gave her and passed out. She told investigators she woke up two hours later naked in the man’s bed, believing she was raped.

She did not notify police until two weeks ago after telling another priest. The Miami Archdiocese says she was told to contact authorities. Officers say the man confessed when confronted.

Priests are religious figures that you believe you can trust. However, when they violate that trust, the long-lasting effects on the victim can be devastating. They can range from depression and sleeping disorders to self-harm, suicide, and substance abuse.

If you are a survivor of clergy abuse, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. You may receive damages for medical and therapy bills and loss of income. You may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to punish the individuals and the institutions that allowed these acts of abuse to occur.

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The National Academy of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers (NAMIL) is doing an online giveaway where one lucky winner will receive a brand new 2019 FXDR 114 Harley Davidson Motorcycle valued at over $21,000.00.

The FXDR 114 is fast, agile and boasts loads of torque for blasting off from stop lights and hitting entrance ramps. The bike features a Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine, Bold 2-into-1 Exhaust, and a Softail Frame. The all-new aluminum swingarm and subframe reduces overall weight and maximizes acceleration, braking, and performance.

The promotion runs through September 30, 2019. The winner will be drawn at random on October 31st, 2019. Feeling lucky? Enter the giveaway by clicking here. The contest is limited to one entry per person.

Whittel & Melton are Founding Members of NAMIL

Our Florida Motorcycle Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are founding members of NAMIL – National Association of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers. This means we are fully competent in Motorcycle Injury Law as evidenced by the fulfillment of standards and criteria as established by the NAMIL Board of Examiners and Board of Governors: we have substantial experience in handling complex matters relating to Motorcycle Injury claims, we have been recognized by our peers as a leading practitioner in the area of Motorcycle Injury Law, and we are actively involved in improving the practice and study of Motorcycle Law as well as protecting Motorcyclists rights.

Call Us Today if You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Florida

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Holding your phone, putting on makeup or petting your dog while driving could all be illegal in Florida if state legislators pass a new bill that outlaws distracted driving.

Rep. Jackie Toledo and Sen. Wilton Simpson, who are sponsoring the legislation, contend Florida needs stricter laws for safer roads. They feel the best way to keep drivers and pedestrians safe is to eliminate distractions behind the wheel and put the focus back on driving.

“The focus of this bill is to save lives and get people’s behavior to change,” said Toledo, R-Tampa. “While you’re driving, you should be focused on driving.”

But opponents say the proposed law is too broad and raises concerns about racial profiling and unequal enforcement.

Currently, Florida drivers can hold a phone in their hands. But using one to text, write emails or send other messages is a secondary offense, meaning police officers must have another reason to pull someone over before they can issue a citation. They also need evidence that the driver was using the phone to send a message.

Toledo and Simpson, R-Trilby, filed bills that originally sought to make holding a cellphone while driving a primary offense. This would mean law enforcement would not need to prove an individual was writing a message.

But the legislation took a new direction in a Senate committee hearing last week. Senators on the Infrastructure and Security Committee decided to broaden the bills and target any action that distracts a driver.

The amended legislation lists several tasks that would be illegal while behind the wheel: reading, writing, performing personal grooming, applying a beauty aid or similar products, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo, and using a “personal wireless communications device” such as a cell phone.

The bill also includes a clause that could apply to any number of actions not listed: “engaging in any other activity, conduct, task, or action that causes distraction.”

That provision could be a problem, according to Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.

“This gives law enforcement license to pull anyone over at any time for anything,” he said. “It’s completely subjective,” and would lead to uncertainty about what is and isn’t legal.

Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, signed on as a co-sponsor of the Senate bill when it dealt with cell phone use while driving. But he said the broader nature of the amendment makes him think twice about supporting it going forward.

“I understand the intent and purpose,” Rouson said. “But what creeps into this is what constitutes a distraction and can it open drivers up to profiling or discriminatory treatment based on culture or personal choice.”

Currently, Florida is one of three states that doesn’t allow law enforcement officers to pull drivers over just because they are on their cellphones. It is currently a secondary offense, meaning officers can cite drivers for texting only after stopping them for other reasons, such as speeding. The current offense brings a $30 fine, plus local add-on fees.

The bills, if passed, would give Florida some of the toughest laws against distracted driving in the nation.

Florida is one of the worst states in the country for distracted driving. According to the state department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted drivers in Florida in 2016. This breaks down to more than five crashes every hour. These distracted driving crashes accounted for more than 3,500 serious injuries and 233 deaths.

Distracted drivers can cause severe accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help.

We can investigate the cause of your crash and determine if the other driver involved was using their cellphone or engaging in other acts of distracted driving, like eating, applying makeup, or even tending to a pet. We can use this evidence to establish liability, with the hopes of obtaining financial compensation for your losses.

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Longtime Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a man along an interstate highway late Wednesday night as he tried to avoid hitting the man’s disabled vehicle, according to police.

Syracuse believe the 51-year-old deceased man was an occupant in a black Dodge Charger with three others when they apparently lost control on a patch of ice and hit a guardrail before midnight Wednesday on I-690 in Syracuse.

Boeheim struck the man with his GMC Acadia while trying to avoid the disabled car, which was resting perpendicular on the darkened highway. The group had been heading toward the median for safety. The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Another man in the group suffered minor injuries in the accident, police said.

Police said Boeheim has been cooperating with the investigation. He even used his cellphone light to warn other drivers of the disabled car after the accident, police said.

Police said sobriety tests administered to Boeheim and the unidentified driver of the other vehicle were negative for any signs of impairment.

No tickets have been issued to Boeheim at this time and the investigation is continuing. Police did say that they do not believe criminal charges would be filed.

When it comes to pedestrian accidents, many drivers will attempt to blame the accident on the pedestrian to avoid legal liability. Sadly, pedestrians involved in car accidents can suffer from the following:

  • Severe head trauma
  • Brain damage
  • Leg injuries
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Amputations
  • Disfigurement
  • Death

At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys will conduct a thorough accident investigation to determine who exactly is to blame. The smallest details may become the evidence needed to prove speed or driver inattention caused the crash, even when the driver states otherwise.

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A resident is suing Pinellas Park nursing home operators, alleging breach of duty and negligence.

The woman filed a complaint Feb. 1 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against Pinellas Park Facility Inc., doing business as The Care Center at Pinellas Park, alleging they failed to exercise reasonable care in operating a nursing home in according with the state statutes.

According to the complaint, between July 29-Aug. 20, 2018, the woman was a resident at The Care Center of Pinellas Park. As a result of the facility’s negligent acts and omissions, the woman suffered a fall and injury Aug. 14, 2018.

The woman says this resulted in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, medical and hospitalization expenses and aggravation of a pre-existing condition. She alleges the facility failed to chart changes in her medical condition, failed to consult with her power of attorney, family and/or legal representatives and failed to monitor and provide a safe environment.

Many nursing home residents are injured in falls every day across the country. They may suffer hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries. In a majority of these cases, these injuries could have been prevented if staff and management had been supervising residents properly and administering appropriate care.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a nursing home fall, you may have the legal right to seek financial compensation from the person or company responsible. Our Tampa Bay Nursing Home Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide you with an immediate, free consultation about your case so that you know what steps to take next.

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An Epcot patron is suing Walt Disney, alleging negligence caused a ride to malfunction and cause injuries.

The complaint was filed Feb. 1 in Orange County Circuit Court against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., alleging failure to design, construct and operate Epcot’s Fast Track ride in a safe manner.

According to the complaint, on Feb. 16, 2015, the visitor was at Epcot’s MGM Studios when the ride malfunctioned, causing him to be thrown about the Fast Track car. The suit says the man sustained bodily injuries, resulting in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life, medical treatment and loss of earnings.

The man alleges Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. failed to provide sufficient restraints to ensure that persons would remain firmly seated on the ride and failed to ensure that guests were properly seated and restrained prior to the ride operation.

Amusement parks like Epcot, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, etc. are held to a higher standard of safety of care knows as common carrier, a term that also applies to entities that operate airplanes, buses and trains. Theme parks are required to follow more thorough procedures to ensure rider safety.

When an injury occurs at an amusement park, negligence on the part of the staff is usually a key issue. Some of these issues may include:

  • Improper ride design or construction
  • Improper replacement parts
  • Botched inspection procedures
  • Careless or reckless ride operators failing to follow procedure

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Seven former employees, including a nurse practitioner, have been indicted after prosecutors say conditions at an Ohio nursing home got so bad that one patient “rotted to death.”

The contracted nurse practitioner and two workers are being charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly neglecting two patients, according to reports, which says the four other employees are accused of neglect or falsifying patient care records.

The group worked at a care center in Columbus.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, nurses failed to properly care for a male patient who died of septic shock after his wounds led to gangrenous and necrotic tissue in 2017.

According to reports, an attorney for the nursing facility said all the employees involved were fired two years ago.

Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one. Selecting the right home can be a stressful and emotional process. Regardless of how much research and thought is put in to choosing the right facility, you may end up with a facility that fails to provide quality care and treatment.

Too many Florida nursing home residents are victims of neglect and/or abuse. The result of this abusive treatment can be devastating to family members. That is why our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help loved ones of nursing home abuse and neglect discover what they can do to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

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A west Pasco County parent has sued the school district, alleging its negligence allowed her child to be sexually abused several times by a Ridgewood High teacher at the school campus.

The teacher was arrested in March 2018 and faces two charges of sexual assault of a minor child by a custodial authority.

The family contends that the school district should be held financially responsible, as it failed to properly supervise the teen or the teacher, and it did not provide adequate security as a precaution to “foreseeable criminal acts on the premises.” The family argues that the district should have known about prior instances of sexual misconduct by employees against students, and done something about it.

The complaint says the victim suffered physical and psychological injuries, and incurred medical expenses for treatment. It asks for a judgment in excess of $15,000.

The physical, mental, and emotional effects of sexual abuse and assault are very real and far-reaching. Victims often struggle for years following sexual assault or abuse. In many cases, victims find need therapy, counseling, medication,and more in order to heal. Treatment can undoubtedly be beneficial, but also costly, which can be be even more stress added on victims who are already struggling to move forward with their lives.

Our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton offer compassionate legal representation for victims of sexual abuse and assault. Many people do not realize that they can take civil action against the responsible party. We can help you pursue financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.

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Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said Thursday that he was the target of an extortion and blackmail effort by the National Enquirer, which he accused of threatening to publish intimate pictures of him unless he backed off an investigation of the tabloid.

Bezos said the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc., made the threat after he began investigating how the tabloid obtained text messages that revealed his relationship with a former TV anchor.

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, wrote that the Enquirer wanted him to make a false public statement that he and his security consultant “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

Bezos declined to do so.

Instead, he published what he said were emails from Enquirer executives to a lawyer representing his security consultant. In one, a top Enquirer editor appears to suggest that the tabloid would publish a series of photos of Bezos and the TV anchor, some of them salacious, if AMI’s terms weren’t met.

The story spilled into public on Jan. 9 when Bezos and his wife revealed they would be divorcing after 25 years of marriage – roughly two days after the Enquirer had informed him it would be publishing a story about his relationship with the former TV anchor. The Enquirer later published what it called “sleazy text messages and gushing love notes” between Bezos and the former TV anchor, raising questions about how the tabloid was able to get such intimate material.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan did not immediately comment on Bezos’ assertion that AMI had committed extortion.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this case unfolds and if, in fact, the National Enquirer committed sextortion. Extortion is defined as the use of non-physical force or threats to persuade another person to do something for you. With the growth of the Internet, extortion has been taken to the extreme, bringing us to sextortion or the use of sexual exploitation/blackmail to compel someone to do something for you.

Extortion/sextortion crimes can be charged as state or federal offenses and involve some type of bribery, blackmail, coercion or demands. This crime is a second-degree felony in Florida, carrying potential consequences of up to 15 years in prison.

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