A man was shot and injured Friday during a road rage incident in Manatee County.

The incident occurred around 6 p.m. on 3rd Avenue East.

Deputies said the 21-year-old and his 26-year-old friend were driving north on 3rd Avenue East when the suspect vehicle pulled up behind them.

The two men said it appeared the suspect was following closely, so the 21-year-old pulled over.

The suspect stopped at the intersection of 3rd Ave. and 25th St., and officials said the 21-year-old got out of his vehicle and approached the driver’s side door of the suspect vehicle.

That’s when witnesses stated they heard a pop and the 21-year-old fell to the ground. The suspect then fled north on 3rd Avenue.

The 21-year-old was transported to Blake Medical Center with injuries to his stomach and hand. Officials said his injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

This is an ongoing investigation.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, road rage is a major factor in traffic accidents that occur throughout the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of aggressive driving incidents is highly underreported because road rage or aggression is hard to quantify.

Examples of Road Rage:

  • Tailgating other vehicles by speeding up to them and staying close to their back bumper.
  • Weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Cutting off other drivers.
  • Stopping short for no reason.
  • Passing a person on the right because they are driving too slow and then cutting them off.

This case shows a severe incident of road rage. When an accident or injury occurs because of road rage, the aggressive driver will face criminal charges. This could make it easier for the victim to collect financial compensation for damages in a personal injury case.

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An Illinois woman visiting the Disney BoardWalk Villas in Lake Buena Vista alleges that she was injured while shopping there.

The woman filed a complaint on June 13 in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida – Orange County against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that on June 25, 2015, she was upon the Disney premises for the purpose of visiting the shops and restaurants when she tripped on a raised screwed and fell. She alleges she suffered bodily injury resulting in pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish and aggravation of a previously existing condition.

She holds Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. responsible because they allowed a dangerous hazard to exist and failed to warn of the dangerous condition.

She is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

If you were injured in a trip and fall on someone else’s property, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages. This is an area of law called premises liability.

Under Florida law, property owners have a duty to exercise ordinary care to avoid injuries to visitors on their property. With that said, if a property owner’s negligent maintenance, operation or design of the property caused you to slip, trip and/or fall, the owner could be held liable.

Two key questions in any slip and fall case in Florida will be:

  • Was the property owner aware of the dangerous condition?
  • Was the hazard “open and obvious” so that you could have avoided it, thus preventing the slip, trip or fall?

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A third man has died from injuries he suffered in the TECO Big Bend Power Plant accident last week.

The 21-year-old died on Wednesday. He was a contractor who worked for BRACE Industrial Group.

This man was one of the six workers involved in the accident at TECO Big Bend Power plant.

Officials said molten hot slag rushed out of a coal stack, spewing onto the victims.

Two of the men in that accident died immediately.

Three other people remain in the hospital from the accident.

The families of workers who are killed in an accident while on the job may be entitled to financial compensation on their loved one’s behalf under the Worker’s Compensation Act. When an employee dies from a work injury or an occupational disease, the Worker’s Compensation Act provides benefits to cover wage loss, medical expenses, and some burial expenses to dependent spouses and children.

Worker’s compensation claims can be complex cases. Our Florida Worker’s Compensation Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can make sure you know what you can expect from your claim. We seek a full and fair settlement in every case we handle, but we always prepare for trial to make sure you are not stuck with a lowball settlement that won’t cover all of your expenses.

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The 4th of July is officially upon us! Most people are focused on planning barbecues, fireworks, pool parties and drinking right about now. While there is nothing wrong with a good party, Independence Day festivities can sometimes lead to severe injuries. What you may not even know is that the 4th of July is one of the deadliest holidays. However, most of the injuries suffered on this holiday are entirely preventable.  

Being aware of the most common injuries can help you avoid them. When you know what to look out for, you can take extra safety precautions and be prepared. The following is a breakdown of the injuries seen on the 4th of July holiday:  

Car Accidents

The National Safety Council estimated that 466 people were killed and 53,600 more suffered serious injuries in auto accidents during the three-day 4th of July holiday period last year. Sadly, this was an all-time record.

Drunk driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents. If you plan to drink this 4th of July, please make alternative plans for getting home safe. There are too many outlets nowadays (Uber, Lyft, taxis, DDs, etc.) for you to not be able to avoid driving drunk. If you cannot find a ride, then stay put! Don’t jeopardize your life or anyone else’s because you had too much to drink.  

Fireworks Injuries

Fireworks are fun, but also quite dangerous! If you want our advice: leave the fireworks to the professionals!

If you’re planning a holiday fireworks show, you  should be aware that not all fireworks are legal in Florida. Even if you see it at a store or roadside stand, this does not mean that it is legal to buy or use it.

The only fireworks legal for use by consumers who don’t possess a special permit are sparklers. If you’re unsure of what fireworks are legal, the Florida Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year, and you can view the list here.

Please keep in mind that in Florida, possession or use of illegal fireworks is classified as a misdemeanor. Violating this law can result in fines up to $1,000 and up to one year behind bars.

Heat Stroke

It is hot! If you stay outside too long in the hot sun, you could be at risk for dehydration and heat stroke. If you feel weak, faint, confused, dizzy, or have a headache, this is a sign to get to a shaded area and drink some water.  

Swimming Injuries

Swimming and alcohol do not mix. When people become drunk and are near large bodies of water or a swimming pool, they can make poor judgement calls that can result in serious injuries, or even death.

Make sure all children are supervised by an adult when swimming. Drowning accidents and other tragedies can occur in the blink of an eye.

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A Boynton Beach, Florida man has filed a wrongful death suit against a cruise line after his wife died in a hospital in France.

The man filed a complaint on May 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Princess Cruise Lines LTD alleging wrongful death and negligence.

According to the complaint, the man claims that on April 2016, his wife fell in her cabin on the ship and was seen by the ship’s doctor. The suit states the woman also had a fever and the ship’s doctor ordered the pair off of the ship for treatment at a hospital in France. The suit states the woman died five weeks later while still in France.

The man holds Princess Cruise Lines LTD responsible because the they allegedly negligently forced them to disembark the vessel and failed to hire qualified ship’s doctors and nurses.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensatory damages of more than $75,000, all damages, interest, all legal fees and any other relief as the court deems just.

Sadly, people can fall ill or die while on vacation. Passengers can suffer terrible tragedies while onboard an ocean cruise. Typically, cruise lines specify a limited time and a particular place for you to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Regardless of where you took your cruise, certain cruise lines require you to file suit in a specific location. Our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how to further research your cruise contract in order to determine when and where you can file a claim for damages.

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The Florida Supreme Court came to a decision this week that overturned the state law limiting pain and suffering, and other non-economic, monetary awards in medical malpractice cases.

Previously, a person that suffered an injury due to medical malpractice could only be awarded $500,000 for pain and suffering by the court regardless of what a jury decided. If a person was catastrophically injured, the limit capped out at an even million. However, these limits do not include monetary damages for lost wages, medical care, or any other losses – they strictly cover pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.

The Supreme Court based its decision on a 2007 case where a woman was undergoing surgery for her carpal tunnel syndrome. After the surgery, her throat was injured when removing a breathing tube, and this injury led to a six week coma and other serious injuries. When her case finally came to trial, a jury awarded her $4 million, however, the court reduced the award by half due to the state law limiting medical malpractice damages.

In 2014, the woman’s appeal verdict was found in her favor, striking down the cap. The court ruled that the limit violated the equal protection clause due to the arbitrary basis for reducing damages in the law. The court basically found that the law did not make sense, and now the Supreme Court has weighed in. They agreed with the appellate court and upheld the decision.

It is unclear if the caps on medical malpractice claims in other states will be challenged now. The Florida Supreme Court only impacts Florida law.

Medical malpractice is classified as any negligence of a health care provider that causes an injury. When a doctor, nurse or healthcare facility fails to provide a patient with quality medical care, they can be held liable for their carelessness.

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A motorcyclist was killed Sunday after traveling the wrong way on an entrance ramp to Florida’s Turnpike and smashing into a Toyota Corolla.

The 42-year-old Orlando man was ejected from the motorcycle and died, according to a crash report.

The Toyota was driven by a 37-year-old Kissimmee man who was traveling southeast approaching a toll plaza on the ramp.

It’s unclear at this time as to why the biker was driving the wrong direction.

The Toyota driver, who was driving in the correct direction, couldn’t avoid the motorcycle, and the front left of his car struck the motorcycle.

Troopers are still investigating the crash.

Wrong way crashes occur when a car drives the wrong way in a lane, against the flow of traffic. This usually requires a driver who enters a highway or interstate entrance or exit ramp the wrong way. These tend to end pretty badly, with two cars colliding head-on at high speeds.

Wrong way collisions are almost always fatal. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, wrong way crashes have a fatality rate of up to 27 percent compared to .3 percent for all other highway collisions.

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A school bus accident in Williston sent 13 students to Regional General Hospital with minor injuries Wednesday.  

According to reports, Levy County school bus 0409 was stopped at a railroad crossing in the 800 block of East Noble Avenue shortly after 7:30 a.m. when the driver of a 2006 Dodge truck struck the bus from behind.

The driver of the Dodge truck was cited for following too closely, according to reports. The students on the bus attend Joyce Bullock Elementary and Williston Elementary schools.

As a parent, there is nothing scarier than finding out your child has been injured while getting to and/or from school on a school bus. When you send your children on a school bus, you trust that they will arrive at their intended destination safely. Even though school buses are widely considered to be the safest form of transportation for school children, the reality is that injuries on school buses can and do happen. If your child suffers an injury on a school bus, you may be entitled to financial compensation for any medical bills or other damages endured. After an accident like this, you should always contact a Levy County Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible to discuss a potential legal claim.

There are many complicated issues surrounding school bus accident cases and it is important to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for your child’s losses. Losses/damages can include:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disabilities
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

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A woman is suing Wal-Mart Stores for negligence in a store accident that resulted in a stack of tables falling on her arm.

The woman filed a complaint on March 20 in the Orange County Circuit Court against Wal-Mart alleging that its store failed to provide a reasonably safe environment for its patrons.

According to the complaint, the woman says that on May 21, 2016, she suffered bodily injury, disability, medical expenses, loss of earnings and aggravation of a previously existing condition resulting from the negligent action of an employee as he allowed a stack of tables to fall on her arm.

She holds Wal-Mart responsible because the store failed to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance, inspection, customer service or mode of operation of the premises.

The woman is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $15,000 together with interest and costs.

When you set foot inside a retail store you expect you will be provided with a reasonably safe shopping experience. In fact, retail stores are legally obligated to maintain safe premises. If you slip, trip, fall or suffer another type of injury in a retail store you may have a valid legal claim against the store for financial compensation.

Many retail store injuries can leave you emotionally traumatized and physically unable to work. When you are unable to work, your finances can wind up in complete disarray. If you have suffered due to the negligence of a retail store employer or owner, let our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton help you obtain the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

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Hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until June 1, but President Donald Trump has proclaimed this week ‘National Hurricane Preparedness Week.’

The time to prepare is now, before any storms make it to Florida. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard- this could be a deadly mistake.

Many people facing tropical storms and hurricanes last year in Florida, wish they had been more prepared, and for good reason. This is why President Trump hopes people get prepared right now during Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Your to do list should include:

  • Coming up with an evacuation plan
  • Getting your disaster supplies together
  • Calling your insurance company for a checkup to make sure you have the right coverage
  • Checking your home to make sure it’s in good condition and can withstand a storm
  • Checking in with your neighbors on their storm plans
  • Writing down your hurricane plan so your whole family is in the know

Our Florida Hurricane & Storm Damage Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to recap the 2016 hurricane season. We started with a rare January hurricane, Alex, and ended with Hurricane Otto which made landfall in Nicaragua on November 24. This year was an above-average season. There were 15 named storms and 7 hurricanes. There were 3 major hurricanes: Gaston, Matthew and Nicole. Category 5 Matthew was the strongest one.

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