Articles Posted in Florida

An investigation from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found that the derailment of a Daytona Beach roller coaster in June that injured six people was caused by excessive speed and operator error.

The investigation said operator error was the reason the Sand Blaster Roller Coaster derailed June 14, causing a cart full of people to dangle above the ground. Of the 10 people on the ride, six had to be hospitalized.

During a post-accident inspection, engineers found evidence of previous derailments on the nearly 40-year-old coaster, including one that appeared to have taken place after it was refurbished in 2013, officials said in a preliminary report.

Had that derailment been addressed before the June accident, investigators said, the crash likely wouldn’t have happened. No other derailments had been reported to state officials before the June incident.

The coaster, which is on Ocean Avenue near the Daytona Beach Pier, has been out of operation since the accident and will remain out of operation indefinitely, officials said.

Roller coaster accidents can result in minor to severe injuries, and in some cases, death. Victims of roller coaster injuries in Daytona Beach and elsewhere throughout the state of Florida can rely on the experienced Roller Coaster Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to provide legal representation in seeking compensation for their losses. We know how devastating these accidents can be, which is why we will fight for maximum compensation for roller coaster injuries.

Ride operators are hired to run roller coasters safely. These individuals are responsible for ensuring that each passenger is seated and secured properly in the ride, and that the ride starts and stops as it is intended. Even the slightest error on the operator’s part can lead to a serious roller coaster accident.

Continue reading

A three-year-old girl died on July 1 in a bouncy castle incident in Norfolk, U.K.
She was bouncing on the inflatable equipment — a bouncy castle with a trampoline — when the trampoline exploded launching her “30 feet” in the air and causing her to land on the sand.

This tragedy comes just two months after two fairground workers were found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence for failing to properly secure a bouncy castle in Norwich, which killed a seven-year-old child.

 

According to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), there has been a vast increase in bounce house-related injuries in the last 20 years. Between 1990 and 2010, over 30 percent required medical follow up after initial treatment in the emergency department. The most common injuries were fractures and sprains.

In the U.S., the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that more than 64,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for inflatable bounce house-related injuries between the years 1990 and 2010. From 2008 – 2010, the number of injuries more than doubled to an average of 31 injured children per day. More than a third of the children injured were under the age of six.

Our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want your kids to remain safe at birthday parties, fairs, carnivals, festivals and all other celebrations. The following safety measures should be taken into consideration when your child is playing inflatable structures:

  • Always supervise children in a bounce house. ALWAYS!
  • Remove shoes, jewelry, and any hard or sharp objects from children’s pockets.
    Group children together according to size to help reduce risk of injury from collision.
    Do not allow children to perform stunts like flips or somersaults.
    Make sure children stay away from the exit points when bouncing inside.
  • If the bounce house starts to deflate, exit promptly.
  • If there are high winds, do not use the bounce house.

Bounce houses and other inflatables fall under premises liability, a legal concept that applies to situations where there is an unsafe or defective object on someone’s property. In order to establish liability in a bounce house injury, you must prove that the property owner was negligent and failed to provide reasonable care.

The main defense against bounce house claims is that they come with an assumption of risk. This basically means that while you may know that bounce houses are potentially dangerous, you still allowed your child to play in one anyway.

Continue reading

An Orlando couple is suing Wal-Mart, alleging loss of consortium and negligence in the injury of the wife.

The pair filed a complaint June 20 in Orange County Circuit Court against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging failure to maintain its premises in a safe condition.

According to the complaint, on June 21, 2014, the woman was shopping at the Wal-Mart when an unsecured sharp corner edge metal tray at the coffee station fell and landed on her left foot, causing her to suffer injuries, impairment, disability, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earnings and aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

The lawsuit alleges her husband and co-plaintiff suffered the loss of his wife’s services, companionship and consortium.

The couple alleges Wal-Mart Stores failed to provide a safe environment for shoppers, failed to warn the wife of the dangerous condition, and failed to timely repair the condition of its coffee station.

Loss of consortium pertains to the emotional, financial, and physical losses that spouses or family members experience after a negligence injury. It covers both death and personal injuries that may leave the victim without the sexual intimacy, emotional or financial support, or companionship that they had previously, and might still have, had it not been for the negligence of the at-fault party.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Contact Information