Articles Posted in Florida

A 2-year-old boy drowned Saturday afternoon after he wandered into the pool at his Westside home, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The boy’s father and stepmother were with him at the home.

The boy’s father went to check on the boy Saturday afternoon, thinking the toddler was asleep in his room. When he wasn’t there, the father looked for him and found the boy in the backyard pool, quickly pulling him out and beginning CPR.

When firefighters arrived, they continued CPR and took the boy to Orange Park Medical Center, where he died.

Police said the in-ground pool was gated and there were several obstacles to the child getting to the pool, but they were ones the toddler could get through, like a screen door.

There have been 43 reported drownings over the last six years reported to the Department of Children and Families since 2012 in Jacksonville.

Police are investigating the incident, but no foul play is suspected. The Department of Children and Families will be notified.

There are approximately 3,300 drowning deaths per year, according to a report by the CDC. That means there are an alarming 10 deaths per day nationwide. One in five of these drowning deaths involve a child. Tragically, almost all drowning deaths in swimming pools are the result of negligence and are entirely preventable.

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A woman is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. for alleged negligence.

The woman filed a complaint on Aug. 3 in the Orange County Circuit Court, alleging that the Disney failed to follow applicable safety guidelines and regulations.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that she was a guest at the amusement park on May 3, 2016 when she fell due to a broken and defective sidewalk. The woman claims that she suffered disability, mental anguish and incurred medical expenses as a result of the fall.

She holds Disney responsible for allegedly failing to properly inspect the property, maintain its sidewalk and warn guests of the dangerous conditions.

Property owners have an obligation to keep their properties safe from unreasonably dangerous conditions such as defective sidewalks, uneven steps, and even spills on the floor. However, all too often people are injured on another person’s property because of an unsafe condition that the owner knew about and failed to repair.

Our Florida Premises Liability Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you if you have been injured on another person’s property. We will investigate your injury to help determine the cause, and help you pursue compensation for your injuries.

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A Stuart couple was hospitalized this week after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning while running a generator in their home, according to the Martin County Health Department.

The couple was brought to a hospital Tuesday after complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. They remain in the hospital, the health department said.

At least four families in Palm Beach County suffered carbon monoxide poisoning this week after keeping running generators in closed garages, according to health officials.

As of Thursday afternoon, 16,740 customers in Martin County were still without power because of Hurricane Irma, according to the Florida Power & Light website.

In Palm Beach County, 156,150 customers were still without power.

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strongly urge you to read through the operating manual before you operate a generator so that you fully understand how the machine works. You can avoid injury by always following the manufacturer’s guidelines and keeping the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never use a generator in an enclosed space. Carbon dioxide produced by the engine can build up, causing potentially fatal fumes.
  • When using a generator, keep it outdoors and at least 5 feet away from windows, vents, and doors.
  • Always use a battery-operated carbon-dioxide detector when you are running a generator. Make sure the batteries are new.
  • Before refueling the generator, allow it to cool for a minimum of two minutes, since gasoline vapors are extremely flammable. Use fresh gasoline, or stabilize gas with a fuel stabilizer if you do not use the generator for 30 days.
  • Make sure that you follow the maintenance schedule that is recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is rated for generator use and that it is grounded.
  • Power generators should never be plugged into a home outlet.

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A restaurant customer is suing Taco Bell of America LLC for alleged negligence.

The man filed a complaint on July 21 in the Orange County Circuit Court, alleging that Taco Bell failed to provide a safe environment for its patrons.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he was walking towards the exit of the restaurant on Sept. 2, 2016 when he slipped and fell on a puddle of water on the floor. He allegedly suffered bodily injury, pain and suffering, the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, disfigurement, disability, mental anguish and medical expenses.

The man holds Taco Bell responsible for allegedly failing to warn him of the dangerous condition, and for allegedly failing to train its employees to properly maintain and inspect the obstructed walkway.

Restaurants, including fast food chains, owe a duty of care to people who visit their properties. Customers have the right to expect a store owner and manager to maintain safe conditions in these establishments.

Restaurants have responsibilities to their customers. If you suffered food poisoning, slipped and fell in a restroom, or otherwise suffered injury in a Florida restaurant or on the premises, we encourage you to speak with our Florida Negligence & Premises Liability Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today. You may be entitled to compensation from the owner of a restaurant to cover your damages, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

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Treasure Coast officials are ordering mandatory evacuations Saturday for Martin County for Hurricane Irma.

Residents living on Hutchinson Island, Jupiter Island and Sewall’s Point should expect to be evacuated. As of now, Martin County remains under a voluntary evacuation order, which is part of the state of emergency

After the devastating effects of a Florida hurricane, you will likely face costly repairs and rebuilding work. You may also need to replace your possessions or automobiles, and you could be without a job if your workplace suffered damage. Worse than that, you may be without a place to live in Florida or basic necessities for the days and weeks to come.

With that said, you may be left questioning what you should do next.

Our Martin County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand the terror you’ve been through, and the loss that goes with hurricanes. We know firsthand how vital it is that you receive the compensation you deserve from your insurance company so that you can start to rebuild your life.

Our goal is to protect you from the insurance company’s habit of protecting their own bottom line. We will aggressively fight for your interests so that you can rebuild after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.

Whether you are a home or business owner located near the Treasure Coast, you understand the risks, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than your insurance policy guarantees should your property be damaged by Hurricane Irma. We stand ready to help you deal with your insurance company, so that you can focus on your life, your home, and your loved ones.

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It’s looking like residents can expect Hurricane Irma to be a category 3 to category 4 storm by the time it reaches Okeechobee County.

Currently, the Okeechobee County Emergency Management team is telling residents that they recommend a voluntary evacuation to low lying areas and areas prone to flooding.

Claims to insurance companies should be answered promptly and policyholders should be fully compensated under the policy terms. Sounds easy enough, right? Sadly, many home and business owners will not have an easy time getting fair settlements for their claims after Hurricane Irma blows through.

Our Okeechobee County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are prepared to help you go to battle against your insurance company, negotiating for maximum legal compensation for Hurricane Irma claims based on:

  • Property damage or property loss
  • Business interruption
  • Structural foundation claims
  • Water damage and mold claims
  • Underpayment or “lowball” settlements

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According to deputies, a man was killed Saturday while riding a scooter in Pompano Beach.

The 22-year-old Lake Worth man died in the crash that happened shortly before 9 p.m., the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators say the man was heading west in the center lane of the 900 block of Southwest Third Street at the overpass when he was struck by a GMC Yukon being driven by a 48-year-old woman.

The woman stopped to help the man after the crash but he died after being taken to Broward Health North, according to reports.

Investigators believe the man was going around the 35 mph speed limit at the time of the crash. Neither she nor a witness reported seeing the scooter before the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.

Scooters sharing the roads with other vehicles can bring about serious dangers. Scooters can be hard to spot for driver who is not paying attention, and many motorists do not take enough care to keep an eye out for them. Scooters are always at risk of being hit, and scooter operators are always the ones at a disadvantage due to the fact that scooters offer so little fall and impact protection.

Even the most defensive scooter driver cannot be protected from negligent motorists. When someone else is responsible for causing your injury or a loved one’s death, you can file a suit for financial compensation for the damages you have suffered, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral expenses

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A new study of pedestrian and bicycle travel suggests investment in infrastructure and policies to encourage walking and biking is correlated with lower rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

The work by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also identifies the safest and most dangerous metropolitan regions for pedestrians and bicyclists in the U.S.

Using improved travel data, the study calculated the rates of fatalities for walkers and bicyclists in 46 American regions with populations greater than one million.

The safest regions identified by the meta-analysis were:

Walking

  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Bicycling

  • Portland

The most dangerous regions were:

Walking

  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa

Bicycling

  • Jacksonville
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach

The study uses data from the National Household Travel Survey, which includes work, recreational, shopping, school and social trips, so it goes beyond the “journey-to-work” data collected by the U.S. Census.

Analysis of all 46 regions also provided support for the “safety in numbers” hypothesis: More pedestrian and bicyclist traffic overall is related to lower crash risk for each person walking and bicycling.

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A tenant is suing a property owner for alleged negligence in the Orange County Circuit Court.

The woman filed a complaint on June 23 alleging that the property owner failed to provide a safe environment for her tenants.

According to the complaint, the tenant alleges that she suffered a severe injury to her left fibula on Oct. 5, 2014, which allegedly necessitated two months of orthopedic exercises, one year of disability for a year, and caused her to be unable to work. The tenant claims that the injury was caused when she struck tree roots and a mole hole due to the alleged poor lighting and maintenance of the lawn.

The tenant holds the property owner responsible for allegedly failing to warn her about the existing dangers of the premises, maintain and supervise the premises where the accident occurred and for allegedly allowing a dangerous condition to exist.

Property owners are responsible to adequately operate, manage, maintain and supervise their property to protect tenants and others from risk of harm. However, when property owners fail to maintain a safe environment for that results in serious injuries, they may be held liable for negligence.

The time following an accident can be a difficult and confusing time for injury victims. Our Florida Premises Liability Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand this and work closely with clients through the legal process. We know you might be facing a lengthy recovery process and unable to work, which brings up the stress of paying your normal bills on top of medical bills and other accident-related losses. We can take care of your injury claim. If your accident was caused by your landlord’s careless or negligent behavior, we don’t think it is fair for you to be held responsible for paying somebody else’s mistakes.

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Uber knowingly leased unsafe cars to its drivers in Singapore, according to new reports.

One of those cars, a recalled Honda Vezel with an Uber driver at the wheel, spouted flames from its dashboard in January, melting the car’s interior and cracking its windshield. The driver had just dropped off a passenger when he began smelling the smoke.

Uber had bought more than 1,000 of the defective cars, which were recalled by Honda in April 2016 due to an electrical component that can overheat and catch fire.

And though Uber knew the cars needed repairs to make them safe, the company continued to lease them to drivers unfixed.

Word of the fire apparently reached Uber’s executives in San Francisco shortly after the company’s insurer in Singapore said it wouldn’t cover the damage to the scorched Vezel due to the known recall.

When Uber launched in Singapore in early 2013, it marked the company’s first expansion into Asia.

It was a good market to enter: In addition to all the rain you might expect in a tropical climate with two monsoon seasons, owning a car in Singapore is extremely expensive. The government requires owners to buy a certificate of entitlement, which represents “a right to vehicle ownership and use of the limited road space for 10 years.” The certificates are released through competitive bidding, and recently they’ve fetched prices from $44,000 and up.

That kind of expense made it hard for Uber to find drivers, and so the company created a unit, Lion City Rentals, that would lease cars to drivers. It represented a new approach for the company, which avoids owning assets.

Instead of buying cars from authorized Honda and Toyota dealers, the company reportedly began importing hundreds of used cars a month from small dealers in the “gray market”, where safety standards are hard to enforce. At least one of those dealers didn’t get the Vezels fixed before selling them to Uber. While Uber was aware of the problem and asked the dealer to hasten its repairs, the company continued to lease the defective vehicles to drivers without warning them of the safety issue.

Even after the fire, Uber told drivers that the Vezels needed “immediate precautionary servicing” — without mentioning the risk of fire and overheating.

Uber says it took action, but “could have done more.”

“As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion City Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts,” Uber said in the statement. “But we acknowledge we could have done more—and we have done so. We’ve introduced robust protocols and hired three dedicated experts in-house at LCR whose sole job is to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve proactively responded to six vehicle recalls and will continue to do so to protect the safety of everyone who uses Uber.”

Uber lost nearly $3 billion in 2016 but is nevertheless is one of the largest privately held companies, valued at nearly $70 billion.

Uber’s actions are quite appalling. Uber reportedly bought the defective, recalled vehicles from what is known as the “grey market” and knowingly leased them out to drivers. Knowingly leasing defective vehicles to drivers, knowing that drivers and passengers are at a great risk of suffering injuries or even being killed, is absolutely shocking. Uber should be held accountable for its careless actions and it is extremely likely that federal regulators will launch a full blown investigation into the type of vehicles that the company is leasing out to drivers in the United States.

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