The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has opened an investigation into why a roller coaster derailed at an amusement park Thursday night in Daytona Beach.

The accident on the Sand Blaster ride at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk sent two riders plunging 34 feet to the ground and left two others dangling in one of the ride’s cars, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department.

Four riders, all of whom were on the same car, and two others were rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach. A hospital official said information about their condition might be released sometime Friday.

Later Friday, the hospital said it “received nine patients.”

The Sand Blaster has been operating at Daytona Beach since 2013 after the 40-year-old ride was bought from a closed amusement park in Delaware a year earlier.

Thrill seekers and adventurists flock to roller coasters for an adrenaline rush. However, a roller coaster is one of the most dangerous rides at amusement parks. Each year there are an estimated 9,000 emergency room visits that stem from amusement park and roller coaster injuries.

While amusement park rides undergo extensive testing and regular inspections to ensure that they are safe, accidents can still happen, and when they do they can result in serious personal injury or wrongful death.

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A Dunedin woman alleges she was injured when an unmarked curb at Costco caused her to trip and fall.

The woman filed a complaint on April 10 in the 6th Judicial Circuit Court of Pinellas County against Costco Wholesale Corp. alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that on Sept. 5, 2017, while she exited the Costco store at the Clearwater Mall, she tripped on an unmarked curb, fell and was injured.

She holds Costco Wholesale Corp. responsible because the store allegedly failed to mark the change in elevation of the curb, failed to give warning of any latent or unrevealed dangers upon exiting the store, and failed to properly inspect and maintain premises.

Property owners in Florida have a duty to keep their property reasonably free from dangerous conditions that could potentially harm visitors. If such a hazard does exist, the property owner has a duty to warn visitors of the dangers until they can be properly repaired. Premises liability claims arise when property owners fail to acknowledge this duty and someone gets hurt on the property as a result.

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The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division, recently found that the city of Ocala and Police Chief Kenneth Gregory Graham violated the First Amendment by sponsoring or endorsing a prayer vigil.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan wrote the May 24 order granting summary judgment to a group of atheists who claimed Graham and the city of Ocala violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

The plaintiffs alleged in their complaint that a prayer vigil in 2014 held in the wake of a crime spree that left several children injured violated the Establishment Clause that prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.

The plaintiffs claimed they wanted to be a part of the community effort to help stop crime but felt unwelcome or uncomfortable because of the religious nature of the event they likened to a “Christian tent revival.” The plaintiffs claim that during the vigil, several people led prayers or sang, but no one mentioned any efforts to stop the crime spree.

The order granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in their claims against Chief Graham and the city and granted summary judgment to Mayor Guinn. The plaintiffs were denied punitive damages and awarded nominal damages from the chief and the city, as well as attorney’s fees and costs to be heard by a magistrate judge.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” U.S. Const. amend. I.

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Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a crash that killed a motorcycle rider on Florida’s Turnpike Sunday afternoon.

Troopers were notified of the crash around 4pm that happened on the turnpike southbound exit ramp to Sunrise Boulevard.

Arriving troopers found a 2007 Harley Davidson in a retention pond on the southwest shoulder of the ramp.

The 64-year-old motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other information regarding the crash is available.

Motorcycle accidents usually result in very serious personal injuries or wrongful death. After a motorcycle accident, it is extremely important to be aware of your rights to recover for injuries or wrongful death including, but not limited to, past and future medical bills, loss of wages, hospital expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, funeral costs and other damages.

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A box truck’s tire came loose Tuesday evening and struck an SUV along Interstate 95 in Oakland Park, killing the SUV driver and injuring a passenger.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the box truck was heading south along the highway when it lost its left front tire near Commercial Boulevard, just before 6:15 p.m.

Officials believe the tire bounced over the concrete barrier wall and onto the northbound lanes, smashing into the roof of a 2013 Ford Echo.

The 25-year-old driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics transported the female passenger to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale with injuries that were not classified as life-threatening.

Troopers are still investigating the cause of the accident. It remains unknown if any charges will be filed.

When a blowout occurs on the tire of a big rig, semi, 18-wheeler or other large, heavy truck, the aftermath is very different than that of a tire blowout in a smaller passenger vehicle. The resulting accident and injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal, as the above accident shows.

When accidents are caused by tires, our Florida Truck Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton work diligently to determine who the liable parties are and hold them responsible for compensating accident victims or families of those killed in these tragic accidents. We collaborate with scientific experts and accident reconstruction specialists to figure out if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect, by trucking company or employee negligence, or by other conditions.

A tire can be defective for a variety of different reasons, including failure to stand up to heat generated during driving or poor traction due to poor design or a problem in the manufacturing process. The most common tire defect that causes most 18-wheeler accident is poor treadwear and tread separation.

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The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has reached a $210 million settlement to be shared amongst 450 survivors of clergy sexual abuse as part of its bankruptcy reorganization, according to reports.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015, two years after the Minnesota Legislature opened a three-year window that allowed people who said they had been sexually abused in the past to sue for damages, according to The Associated Press. This netted hundreds of claims filed against the archdiocese.

A formal reorganization plan will now be submitted to a bankruptcy judge for approval, and then it will be sent to the survivors for a vote.

The money will go into a trust fund to pay survivors, with the amount for each person to be determined.

Because of the lawsuit, 91 clerical offenders in the archdiocese have been exposed and listed as credibly accused offenders.

This is the second largest settlement involving the Catholic church in the United States, after a $660 million settlement reached in 2007 by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and 508 people who said they had been abused, according to reports.

There are many different types of abuse that may have been committed by clergy against victims. Clergy misconduct and sexual abuse can include the following:

  • Child molestation
  • Child pornography
  • Indecent exposure
  • Lewd or lascivious acts
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Touching with or without clothing
  • Unconsented touching

When a civil lawsuit is filed against a church, the punishment is not jail time, rather it is about recovering monetary damages. Damages can include economic damages, non-economic damages, and possibly punitive damages. Economic damages are those distinguishable as medical bills and lost income. Non-economic damages are what is commonly referred to as “pain and suffering” damages. Many judges and juries award significant sums to survivors of sexual abuse for enduring such pain and suffering on a daily basis.

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A 22-year-old woman died Saturday night after an ATV crash at Dunns Creek State Park, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

The St. Augustine woman was riding with two others on a dirt trail at 8:15 p.m. when the Can-Am ATV overturned.

The woman was ejected from the vehicle and pinned under it until she could be rescued. She was taken to  Putnam Community Medical Center, where she died.

The other passenger and driver suffered minor injuries. According to FHP, none of them were wearing seatbelts or helmets at the time of the crash.

The FHP is investigating the crash.

ATVs are useful, fun, and they can be safe when used properly and when riders wear a helmet every time they ride. Sadly, ATV accidents do happen, and they can leave accident victims with catastrophic and even fatal injuries. Victims of ATV accidents, or families of people who have died in ATV accidents, may be able to recover financial compensation for their injuries or losses, which can help to ease the burden of medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, costs of living with a disability, etc.

Victims of ATV accidents can be injured in a variety of ways. While some newer models of ATVs have seat belts, many do not, so ejection from an ATV is a relatively common occurrence.

The most common ATV injuries, include:

Due to the fact that ATV riders and passengers can suffer such serious injuries, wrongful death is not uncommon in ATV accidents.

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One person was killed and three others injured after an ATV hit a tree at a park in southern Osceola County, according to Florida Highway Patrol troopers.

The accident happened around 9 p.m. in the Three Lakes Wildlife Management area in Kenansville.

Paramedics pronounced a 45-year-old Haines City man dead at the scene and transported two people to St. Cloud Regional Medical Center and another to Osceola Regional Medical Center.

A 40-year-old woman of St. Cloud sustained serious injuries and was transported to Osceola Regional Medical Center.

A 54-year-old woman and a 7-year-old boy, both of Bartow, were taken to St. Cloud Hospital with minor injuries.

It’s unclear who was driving, according to reports.

ATVs provide a great amount of fun for friends and family, but drivers and passengers can get seriously injured, and even killed, due to circumstances beyond their control. If you have been injured in an accident involving an ATV in Orlando, Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Sanford or the surrounding areas, our Osceola County ATV Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

In many ATV injury and wrongful death cases, it can be difficult to determine and prove who is liable due to the large number of contributing factors that often are involved in these crashes. At Whittel & Melton, we are prepared to investigate the situation of any accident in order to establish and verify who is at fault. We will fight to recover maximum compensation.

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Cooking oil left out on the stove resulted in a fire in a Winter Haven apartment building, leaving several families without a home.  

Four apartments were evacuated, and power company TECO cut electricity to the building.

The blaze was contained to the single apartment that caught fire, but others incurred water and smoke damage.

There were no injuries, but a dog that was rescued from a second-floor balcony was taken to a veterinarian as a precaution.

About three dozen firefighters responded to the scene.

If you like to deep fry with oil or cook with grease to prepare your meals, you are certainly not alone. While these are effective methods that often result in tasty meals, many dangers can arise out of these cooking techniques. Home chefs must take extra precautions when using oil or grease to prepare their meals.

As this article shows, using oil for cooking or frying can be very dangerous. More than 40 percent of range or stove fires begin as a result of cooking oil ignition. Another 25 percent of all home fires get started by fat or grease. When cooking with oil or grease, not all risks can be avoided, but being prepared can greatly reduce the likelihood of injury.

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Memorial Day is approaching and that means a long weekend and the start of summer! Whether it is at the pool, on a boat, or at a barbecue, plans are usually made to enjoy this time and relax with good friends and family.

We should not forget that this is a time to pay tribute to the brave men and women in the military who died in the line of service to the United States and defending our freedoms.

Spending the time with loved ones may mean a celebration at home or travelling to other places. Regardless of your plans, safety and common sense should be utilized to keep everyone free from harm. No one wants to have to spend their long weekend in the emergency room!

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have compiled a few safety tips to get you through the Memorial Day Weekend safely:

  • Grill Safely: Make sure your grill is cleaned of grease, dust, and checked before use. Do not grill in an enclosed space that could catch fire.
  • Swimming or Boating: Refrain from consuming alcohol when swimming or boating. Do not swim alone. Wear lifejackets on boats. AND ALWAYS supervise young children at all times to avoid drowning and near drowning tragedies.  
  • Travel Safely: In 2017 the National Safety Council estimated that holiday traffic injuries and deaths have climbed upward in the last two years. Because of this, we urge you to never drink and drive, wear your seatbelt every time you get inside a car, make sure children are in the proper safety seats for age and weight, refrain from distractions while behind the wheel, and make sure you are well rested before making a long trip.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death, call us immediately at 866-608-5529 or contact us online. We offer free initial consultations and are available 24/7, so you can ask all of your questions and get the help you need.  

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