Articles Posted in Florida

Authorities say a Florida police officer is dead following an all-terrain vehicle crash.

Miami-Dade police say the officer was patrolling an area near a canal Wednesday afternoon when he hit a tree.

He was following up on nuisance and theft complaints by residents. Police say the officer had been called to an enforcement action just before the crash.

Police are still investigating the crash.

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in an ATV accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering. ATV accidents can result in serious injuries, even death, as this case shows. Our South Florida ATV Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you receive the compensation that you deserve for ATV accident injuries and death.

ATV crashes can deliver serious injuries that may affect you for the rest of your life. Without the protection offered by cars, ATV drivers and passengers are more likely to suffer from life-threatening injuries. This is especially true because ATVs are highly prone to rollovers. We commonly see the following injuries from ATV accidents:

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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 44-year-old man was injured Saturday on a raft ride at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the water park at about 1 p.m. The man was riding Miss Adventure Falls when his arm became stuck between the ride’s conveyor belt.

Disney cast members attempted to free the man’s arm before deputies arrived. The Reedy Creek Fire Rescue responded to the water park and were able to free the man’s arm.

The man was flown to Osceola Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The attraction is currently closed while Disney reviews the incident.

Miss Adventure Falls debuted at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in 2017.

In 2017, the latest year for statistics on Disney parks, 2.163 million people visited Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. That breaks down to 5,926 visitors a day.

The rides and activities at most water parks have the potential to cause very serious injury if things go wrong. Because of this, operators must exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of their rides and their riders.

While it is very important to document an injury and report it to park officials, obtaining legal representation swiftly following the accident is essential in prevailing in a lawsuit against a water park. You may be entitled to recover for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death, or other losses.

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In a Baptist Church, the Pastor and Church leaders are looked up to by members of the congregation, especially young children. This enormous amount of power and influence the church has over its members creates dangerous opportunities for childhood sexual abuse in the Baptist faith.

The Star-Telegram investigated and discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada.

Twenty-one abuse allegations were uncovered exclusively by the Star-Telegram, and others were documented in criminal cases, lawsuits and news reports. But victims said the number of abused is far greater because few victims ever come forward.

One hundred and sixty-eight church leaders were accused or convicted of committing sexual crimes against children, the investigation found. At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement.

This confirms that childhood sexual abuse is as prevalent in the Baptist Church as it is in the Roman Catholic Church. The crazy thing with the Baptist Church is that they have no procedures set in place for tracking abusive clergy members who are transferred out of state, for removing accused abusers from the Church, or for informing members that their officials have been accused of abuse against children. The absence of a central agency for Baptist Churches to report child molesters has resulted in church officials moving from one church to another without their new home ever learning about the history of sexual abuse.

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A Cooper City Islamic school and mosque have agreed to a multimillion-dollar legal settlement with three former students who allege a teacher sexually abused them over a decade ago.

A lawsuit filed in Broward County Circuit Court in 2014 alleged Nur-Ul-Islam Academy and mosque were negligent as a teacher, now 39, sexually abused at least three female students in their young teens from about 2004 to 2008. The women, who are now all in their mid- to late-20s, will benefit from the undisclosed amount.

The lawsuit claimed that, for at least one of the girls, the teacher allegedly would write in “code” on the blackboard in class to arrange times to meet up with her and also communicated with her through social media and late-night phone calls.

The women say the school knew of the teacher’s abuse and worked to cover it up. According to a psychologist working on the case, when the secret got out at the Islamic private school, the girls were mocked by students, teachers and the school president, who, according to the lawsuit, told one of the girls she was “equally responsible.” One girl’s family tied her up and abused her in their home, according to reports.

The lawsuit says the school’s president was approached by a parent of one of the girls who discovered a late-night phone call between their daughter and the teacher. He is alleged to acknowledge that the teacher confessed that he had improper contact with “numerous female students,” and solicited a letter of resignation from the teacher, according to the lawsuit.

According to a complaint taken by Pembroke Pines Police in 2014, a victim came forward to say she had sex with the teacher over 100 times when she was 12 to 14 years old. The teacher told her she was pretty and gave her a lot of attention, the report said, and the two spoke over the phone and by text.

The complaint said the pair met almost every weekend at either a west Broward Publix to have sex in the teacher’s car or at his home in Pembroke Pines. Similar to what was alleged in the lawsuit, the victim said they developed “codes” that the teacher wrote on the board in class to make arrangements to meet.

Police reported that the victim did not disclose the sexual relationship sooner because, “she is a member of a conservative Muslim community and it would have caused ‘shame and disgrace’ to her family.” The complaint also notes that police made contact with another former student who said that she also had a sexual relationship with the teacher when she was 15 to 16 years old.

Police made contact with the teacher and his attorney at a police station in July 2014, but the man denied any sexual relationships with either student, according to the report.

A warrant is still out for the man’s arrest, according to a Broward State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman. He was charged in 2014 with five counts of sexual battery by a person who is in a position of familial or custodial authority to a minor — which indicates that there may have been more than just three students affected — and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. His whereabouts are not known.

The investigation is still active and charges are still pending.

Teachers are in a position of power of their students, and many look up to them as role models and authority figures. Teachers are around their students for a good majority of time each day, possibly more than their parents. When a teacher abuses his or her trust by engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct, it can cause psychological and emotional problems that may last a lifetime.

When school officials are aware that illegal behavior is happening and do nothing to stop it, both the staff/school district and the teacher can be held liable. Our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have access to highly respected investigators who are able to thoroughly dissect all aspects of a sex abuse scandal and get to the truth to identify if the school administration was aware that child abuse was taking place. Through a careful investigation, we can build a strong case against school districts, administrators and individual child abusers.

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A Florida woman is suing Texas Roadhouse Inc., a national chain, after she slipped and fell down at one of the barbecue restaurants in Orlando.

The woman filed a complaint on Nov. 8, in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court for Orange County, alleging that the restaurant failed to keep the premises safe.

She alleges that she slipped and fell down on a wet or slippery substance on the floor while at the Texas Roadhouse. She suffered injuries that resulted in pain, disability, disfigurement and scarring. She also has suffered mental anguish and lost enjoyment in life. She incurred medical costs and lost income as a result of the accident.

She holds Texas Roadhouse responsible because the restaurant failed to follow its own corporate policies regarding the dangerous condition, failed to have adequate staff on duty and/or assigned to the task of inspecting and maintaining the premises, and failed to provide warning signs of debris and/or a slippery substances.

Restaurants have basic duties that are owed to customers they invite onto their premises. A restaurant must ensure that the property is inspected regularly to identify whether there are any hazardous or dangerous conditions that could cause an accident to occur. Things like slippery floors, uneven tiles, broken stairs or railings and other unsafe conditions must be corrected or at least have warnings that are visible to guests so that they can avoid the unsafe area.

If there are not adequate warnings, and if dangerous conditions are the direct cause of an accident, a slip and fall victim can pursue a claim for financial compensation. Restaurants can be held accountable for any injuries that can be traced back to their negligence. The restaurant can be held responsible for costs associated with medical care and treatments, missed time from work, lost wages or loss of earning potential. Victims may also be able to recover non-economic damages as well, including pain and suffering and mental anguish.

Our Florida Slip & Fall Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide assistance if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at any restaurant or other premise. We can mount a strong case on your behalf with the hopes of recovering maximum monetary compensation for your slip and fall injury claim.

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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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James Cordier, head of a Tampa hedge fund with clients all over the world, has lost $200 million or more of clients money, which includes Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

Cordier founded OptionSellers, named for the financial tool that gives investors the right to buy or sell stocks or commodities at a fixed price.

In trading natural gas options for his clients this month, Cordier assumed that gas prices would drop because of a milder than expected winter. But on Nov. 14, natural gas futures shot up as much as 20 percent — the biggest gain in eight years — and wiped out all of his clients’ investments.

Many of Cordier’s clients also had retirement accounts with a New York brokerage and had borrowed money from those accounts to try to stem their option losses. Now those clients will have to pay back the brokerage.

Our Tampa Bay Negligence Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you notice when stockbrokers take unnecessary risks. When stockbrokers are negligent in upholding their fiduciary duty and provide risky investment advice to their clients people can lose large sums of money, as the above article shows. However, people should know that they have rights and recourse to hold negligent stockbrokers accountable for their failure to live up to their fiduciary duties.

Negligence that can lead stockbrokers to give unsuitable investment advice may include stockbrokers’:

  • Failure to thoroughly research an investment
  • Failure to disclose all of the potential risks associated with the investment
  • Failure to provide all material information related to a particular investment
  • Failure to provide unbiased investment advice, which could be a form of investment fraud
  • Failure to disclose the terms of credit when credit is used to purchase stocks, bonds or mutual funds

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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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