Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Florida’s new distracted driving law, or texting while driving, goes into effect July 1, and law enforcement agencies across the state are preparing for how they will enforce it.

As far as enforcing the rule, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesperson said it will be done on a case-by-case basis.

The Sheriff’s Office said texting violations will be treated like any other primary offense traffic violation.

Deputies expect challenges from drivers trying to find loopholes around getting a citation, because they exist.

According to officials, drivers can still use their GPS, look at weather or traffic alerts, or call in an emergency.

Traffic judges might see more work as a result.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s officials said their enforcement will go through an education period. They’ll give out a warning the first time.

But drivers better make changes, because getting pulled over multiple times for texting while driving will end up in a ticket.

A hands-free requirement while driving in school and work zones goes into effect in October.

Citations will not be handed out for this violation until January 1, 2020.

This new law that makes texting while driving a primary offense as opposed to a secondary offense is meant to curb dangerous and deadly behavior while behind the wheel. Distracted driving accounts for more teen deaths than drunk driving, and kills 9 people of all ages every day across the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Car crashes in Florida rose by 11 percent from 2013 to 2016, but collisions caused by problems stemming from distracted driving, like drifting out of a lane, sideswiping another car or simply blowing through a stop sign, increased by 40-50 percent.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a distracted driving accident, our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can investigate your crash thoroughly and determine if the other driver involved in your accident was using their cellphone or otherwise driving while distracted. We will use this evidence to establish that the other driver was indeed at fault, which may result in a more favorable outcome when pursuing financial compensation.

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A woman who was driving without a valid license is accused of fatally hitting a 13-year-old girl Wednesday morning as the teen was riding her bike to school.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 25-year-old woman from Argentina who had been staying in the Kissimmee area.

According to deputies, the woman was driving a minivan around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday when she struck the 13-year-old student in the Poinciana/Kissimmee area.

The eighth grader was on her way to Lake Marion Creek Middle School when she was hit. The child was airlifted to Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, where she later died.

The man told deputies she has been in the U.S. on a “visitor pass” since October of 2018. She presented an Argentinian identification card to investigators.

Deputies said condensation covered approximately 80% of the woman’s windshield at the time of the crash, obstructing her view.

She has been charged with operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license causing death, a third-degree felony.

If your son or daughter has been killed in a pedestrian or bike accident, this is a tragic time for your family. It is important that you do not accept an insurance company settlement as compensation for your loss without consulting our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. A sudden death in a family can take its toll not only emotionally, but also financially. Not only are family members grieving an irreparable loss, but they are also struggling to deal with medical expenses and funeral and burial costs, which can add up quickly.

The insurance company does not care about your family’s welfare or your losses. Their goal is to offer you the least amount of financial compensation possible so they can get rid of your claim quickly. During such a challenging time, you need our Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys on your side as we have successfully handled numerous fatal pedestrian accident cases.

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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 woman and baby were killed and a man and another infant were seriously injured in a crash at a Florida intersection Sunday afternoon.

Florida Highway Patrol says a man lost control of his pickup truck and crashed into the victims’ car, as well as other vehicles. Officials say a 19-year-old and a 1-year-old were pronounced dead at the scene. The car’s driver, a 22-year-old man, was taken to a Fort Myers hospital with serious injuries, and a 1-year-old was airlifted to a Tampa hospital with critical injuries.

Several occupants of other vehicles suffered minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation. No citations were immediately reported.

Highway intersections bring multiple roads and opposite lanes of traffic together. It’s no wonder that they are the site of so many car accidents. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 40 percent of car crashes in the U.S. happen at intersections.

The at-fault driver of an intersection accident that causes serious injuries or death may be legally liable if it was caused by their carelessness or recklessness. Those who have been injured or suffered a serious loss have a right to seek financial compensation when this happens.

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A head-on collision killed a woman and seriously injured a man on South U.S. 301 in Summerfield Thursday night.

According to a witness, a 2011 BMW 5 series driven by a 34-year-old was in the wrong lane on U.S. 301 at Southeast 132nd Street Road and collided with a 47-year-old driving a 2003 Honda Civic.

Marion County Fire Rescue and arrived at the scene at 10:30 p.m. The driver of the Honda Civic was pronounced dead at 10:22 p.m., according to reports.

The BMW driver was taken by ambulance to Ocala Regional Medical Center.

According to FHP, the BMW was stopped in the outside northbound lane of U.S 301 facing south. The Honda was just south of the intersection, traveling north in the inside lane.

Troopers said the BMW proceeded south in the northbound lanes and the Honda took evasive action by swerving to the left into the outside left turn lane, but the two cars collided head-on.

There are no updates at this time if alcohol was a factor and if charges will be filed.

Wrong-way driving occurs when a motorist drives against the direction of traffic. The most common result of this error is a serious head-on collision. Wrong-way driving accidents can happen at any speed on any street, highway, or road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 350 people are killed every year nationwide in wrong-way highway accidents.

Serious injuries can result from wrong-way accidents, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and even death. These injuries can be costly to treat, which is why Florida law allows you to recover financial damages through a personal injury or wrongful death claim. These damages may include medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, costs of future medical care, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and all other losses resulting from the accident.

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More than a dozen people were taken to a hospital after two Disney World buses crashed into each other Tuesday at the entrance to Epcot’s parking lot, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened just before 10 a.m. A Disney bus driven by a 21-year-old failed to stop and rear-ended a Disney bus driven by a 62-year-old near a tollbooth on Epcot Center Drive, according to an FHP report.

According to authorities, 51 passengers were on the bus that was hit. Fourteen were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, police confirmed.

The driver of the bus that failed to stop was ticketed for careless driving, according to an FHP report.

Neither driver was injured.

When you are driving on any type of road, or riding as a passenger, you are trusting that everyone on the road will follow the laws and operate their vehicles with caution. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, drivers get careless with the way they maneuver their vehicles. Careless driver accidents can result in serious injuries and damage, possibly even wrongful death.

Once you have recovered from the shock and pain of your injuries, obtaining legal representation can help you financially recover after an auto accident caused by a reckless or careless driver. Seeking legal help from Whittel & Melton is one of the first steps to returning to your normal life after the accident. In preparation for your lawsuit, it is important to collect:

  • Information about the accident
  • Medical records and bills
  • Wage loss information
  • Pictures of injuries

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A deadly Sunday crash that killed a cyclist and injured six others in South Florida is sadly the latest reminder about the dangers of distracted driving.

Investigators are still working to piece together what happened, and state lawmakers are continuing their push to strengthen Florida’s traffic laws in the hopes of making people safer on the road.

And it’s not just lawmakers calling for change. Families who have lost loved ones are joining in the effort, saying the laws don’t do enough to crack down on texting while driving.

Legislation has been trying to enhance existing laws since 2015, but concerns about racial profiling and potential privacy issues have put the brakes on any substantial change.

Under the latest proposal, drivers could still use cell phones for navigation. To talk on their phones, however, they would be required to use a hands-free device.

Last year, state Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville, now the Senate Minority Leader, suggested that moving to hands-free devices would erase concerns about racial profiling.

Keeping with current law, the legislation allows for cell phone records to be accessed in cases dealing with deal or physical injury. That could curb some of the privacy concerns voiced in years past.

Though this year’s version of the bill has not been assigned to any committees yet, lawmakers will return to Tallahassee in December for the first rounds of committee hearings.

On highways, interstates and roadways throughout Florida, drivers who allow distractions to interfere with their driving cause serious accidents that can lead to fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you don’t need to go through this difficult time on your own. Our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help.

We will investigate your case and determine if the other driver involved in your accident was using their cellphone or otherwise driving while distracted. We can use this evidence to establish liability, so that you can seek financial compensation for your losses.

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The Thanksgiving holiday will have over 54 million drivers hitting the road to visit with their families and friends. With an increased number of cars on the road, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are at greater risk for being involved in a car accident resulting in serious physical injuries. Our Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have outlined traffic tips below to keep you and your loved ones  from becoming another car accident statistic this holiday season.

Delete Distractions

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents at any time of the year. When driving, even the smallest distractions can become disastrous. Some of the most common driving distractions include texting or talking on cell phones while driving, eating and drinking while driving and adjusting car radio or temperature control dials. Please keep your eyes on the road the entire trip and pull over when you must use your cell phone or interact with other passengers.

Travel Delays Will Happen

Speeding is another major cause of car wrecks. Anticipate that there will be holiday traffic, so plan ahead so you aren’t speeding to make it to Thanksgiving dinner. Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the destination without the need to break speed limits. You can even choose alternative travel days to avoid being on the road during peak travel days like Thanksgiving and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is in Top Shape for Travel

Drivers and their passengers should always wear seatbelts and follow traffic safety rules. If an accident does occur, wearing a seatbelt can be the difference between a minor injury and a serious injury or even wrongful death. Infants and young children should be using properly installed car seats and pets should be adequately secured in the vehicle. Make sure your car has been properly maintained with adequate amounts of gasoline, oil, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid and air in the tires. Turn signals, brake lights and headlights should be functioning properly, and if a service light is illuminated on the car’s dashboard, have the car checked out by a certified mechanic to make sure everything is safe before leaving for your destination.

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A Florida sheriff’s deputy who was involved in a recent crash that killed a pickup truck driver has been involved in yet another collision.

The 29-year-old Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy was cited for improper lane change on Tuesday.

Th deputy swerved into another car while trying to avoid traffic near Orlando, causing a three-vehicle crash. No one was injured in the crash.

On Oct. 5, the deputy didn’t stop at a red light and crashed into a pickup truck that then hit two other vehicles. The crash killed a 34-year-old man.

The deputy was placed on administrative during an investigation into that crash.

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even police officers. However, It is the duty of any operator of a motor vehicle to be alert and aware of all the motorists on the roadway. A safe lane change is one that is executed carefully, using turn signals, and checking side-view and the rear-view windows, always remaining aware of blind spots. If a driver fails to perform a lane change safely or engages in reckless driving and causes a collision, all injured parties are entitled to make a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle crash or lost a loved one because of a negligent automobile driver, contact our Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton soon as possible following the accident to protect your right to a recovery. Florida has a relatively short statute of limitations, which is the time you are legally allotted to file a lawsuit to recover compensation, so it is important to act fast.

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A 3-year-old is in critical condition after being shot in the head during a road rage incident.

Port St. Lucie police say the toddler is a victim of a shooting incited by road rage. The child was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in critical condition.

Police say the incident happened at 1000 Southeast Bywood Drive around 2 a.m on Sunday.

Most car, truck and motorcycle accidents are just that – accidents. However, sometimes deliberate acts of drivers cause collisions. Drivers in the Orlando area should be familiar with the term road rage, as it is to blame for numerous unnecessary and avoidable crashes.

There are multiple signs of road rage, including:

  • Tailgating another driver
  • Deliberate acceleration or deceleration too close to another vehicle
  • Cutting-off of another vehicle
  • Slamming on brakes in front of another car
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Constant honking of horn
  • Displaying inappropriate hand signals or yelling at another driver

Road rage and aggressive driving contribute to hundreds of accidents every year. Sadly, innocent victims can get in the way of a driver’s road rage, as this case shows. If you find yourself caught in the midst of a road rage incident, the best thing you can do is allow the other driver as much space as possible in order to avoid an unnecessary collision. If at all possible, get out of the way of aggressive driver so that you can protect yourself and your passengers.

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