Articles Posted in Florida

A caregiver at a Florida facility for people with disabilities has been accused of impregnating a resident who gave birth in 2015.

Authorities say the 58-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a disabled person.

An arrest affidavit says the man helped care for adult clients at a facility in Rockledge.

Staff members in 2015 discovered the female client was pregnant. The baby was born a few months later and adopted by the woman’s family.

Police say the woman has the mental capacity of a small child.

Authorities say the man had previously denied having sexual contact with the woman and voluntarily submitted a DNA sample last year. Investigators say the man’s sample came back a match with the child, resulting in his arrest.

According to the Disability and Abuse Project, which focuses on physical, sexual and emotional abuse of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, 7 out of 10 Americans with developmental disabilities report they were sexually and/or physically assaulted, or neglected, or abused in some manner. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice reported 1.3 million crimes against persons with disabilities. Disabled women and men are three times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than the general population, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s data.

If you have a loved one who is or was being abused by a caregiver, our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Your consultatio is completely free of charge and you are under no obligation to us. We want to make sure that you are armed with the knowledge that you need to hold the responsible party accountable for their despicable actions.

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Officials say a worker doing construction on central Florida’s massive highway expansion project was killed after being struck by a drainage pipe.

According to the Orange County Fire Rescue, the worker was struck by a 20-foot iron pipe on Monday.

Workers were moving the pipe when it fell and hit the worker in the head along Interstate 4 near Winter Park, Florida.

The sheriff’s office is investigating.

If you have lost a loved one in a construction accident that could have been prevented, you may have a wrongful death claim. After a construction accident results in injury or death, it is important to investigate the site in the same condition as it was when the accident occurred. Construction sites are constantly changing, and owners may attempt to cover up a dangerous situation that caused the accident, or it could be fixed as part of the construction job.

Losing a loved one in a construction accident could entitle you to financial compensation for damages. Our Florida Workers Compensation Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can review the facts of your case and determine what steps to take next. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we don’t get paid unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.

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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was awarded more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses on Wednesday in his lawsuit against the neighbor who tackled him and broke several of his ribs in a dispute over lawn maintenance.

A jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, deliberated less than two hours before delivering the award to the Republican lawmaker.

Paul had testified during the three-day trial that he feared for his life as he struggled to breathe after his neighbor slammed into him in their upscale Bowling Green neighborhood in late 2017.

The jury awarded $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus $7,834 for medical expenses.

The neighbor’s attorney said they would appeal.

In his lawsuit, Paul sought up to $500,000 in compensatory damages and up to $1 million in punitive damages.

The neighbor has already served a 30-day prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting a member of Congress. Federal prosecutors have appealed, saying 21 months would have been appropriate. The neighbor also paid a $10,000 fine and served 100 hours of community service in the criminal case.

The attack in Paul’s yard was motivated by lawn care, not politics.

The neighbor told the jury that he attacked Paul after watching the senator begin forming a brush pile near their property line.

The day before the attack, the neighbor said, he had burned another brush pile that Paul had created near the boundary. He doused that pile with gasoline and set it on fire, the neighbor said. An explosion burned his face, neck and arms, and he said he was still in severe pain when he attacked Paul the next day. The neighbor testified he had hauled away previous brush piles accumulated by Paul without asking the senator.

The neighbor testified that he tried to talk to Paul about his lawn maintenance concerns, but was rebuffed. Paul maintained in his testimony that he kept any brush pile on his own property.

A successful personal injury claim may allow injury victims to recover financial compensation for the following expenses and damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage
  • Emotional injury
  • Economic and noneconomic damages
  • Harm to one’s reputation

In some cases, punitive damages will be awarded as well. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for their reckless and careless behavior, and deter future negligent or intentional illegal actions.

At Whittel & Melton, our experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorneys understand the complexities surrounding personal injury cases, as well as the importance of presenting adequate evidence to support these claims. We will work diligently to compile the necessary documentation and we will consult with medical experts to effectively pursue your personal injury claim. We are dedicated to achieving the most favorable outcome possible for our injured clients.

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A patient’s representative is suing an assisted living facility operator for alleged negligence and reckless conduct.

The woman, who holds power of attorney for the resident, filed a complaint in Cabell Circuit Court against The Village of Riverview alleging that it violated the residents’ rights to be free from abuse, neglect and mistreatment.

According to the complaint, the resident was admitted to the facility on May 12, 2017 for rehabilitation and assistance. As a result of the facility’s negligence, the resident suffered a displaced femoral neck fracture, a periprosthetic right femur fracture and facial/scalp laceration, and a scalp hematoma.

The patient’s representative holds The Village of Riverview responsible because it allegedly failed to provide an environment free of accident hazards and failed to provide adequate supervision and assistance to prevent accidents.

Assisted living facilities provide care to hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and elderly individuals throughout the nation. Sadly, the level of care these individuals receive does not always live up to the standard of care that the assisted living facilities are required to provide. As a result, those left in the facility’s care are often abused or neglected.

If your loved one suffered serious injuries or died in an assisted living facility as a result of negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility. However, there are time constraints for taking legal action in the state of Florida against assisted living facilities, so it is important to take action early to protect your rights.

When a loved one is injured or killed as a result of negligence in an assisted living facility, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Our Florida Assisted Living Facility Abuse & Neglect Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help guide you through the legal process.

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A Florida jury has awarded nearly $500 million to the family of a woman fatally shot during an argument in a car in 2011.

The family of the 20-year-old Jacksonville woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man who shot her and two other men who helped dump her body.

The man who shot her was sentenced to 45 years for second-degree murder in 2017. The other men pleaded guilty to accessory charges.

On Tuesday, a Duval County jury awarded the family over $495 million for emotional distress and punitive damages.

Deciding whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit after losing a loved one is a personal matter. While no one else can make this decision for you and your family, our experienced Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide you with useful information about the benefits of filing a lawsuit so that you can make the best decision.

There are two main reasons people choose to file wrongful death suits:

  1. Hold the person responsible for the death accountable for their actions. A wrongful death lawsuit holds the at-fault party legally accountable for a wrongful death.
  2. Obtain and protect your financial recovery. The only way to recover monetary compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one is to file a wrongful death claim. This can provide you with money that you need to pay any outstanding medical bills and funeral costs caused by the other person’s negligence. It can provide you with compensation for the lost income your family has suffered, and will continue to suffer, and it can also compensate your family for other damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.

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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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Six elderly Florida residents are alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in their lawsuit against the state over the length of time it takes them to get in-home Medicaid care.

Approximately 50,000 state residents remain on a waiting list for in-home Medicaid services which can take over three years to access, driving some to enter nursing facilities to get the care they need, according to reports.

National statistics show that there are more older adults and adults with disabilities on the waitlist for community-based services in Florida than any other state.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida contends that patients face hardships without proper in-home services, placing them at risk during a long wait to get the service. Thousands of elderly residents have died while they were on the waiting list, and in addition to their suffering, it places a strain on families trying to provide the care their elders need.

Florida has a capped system of long-term in-home care through Medicaid with a limited amount of space, and people are kept waiting to be accepted.

According to the suit, the present system is forcing elderly residents to enter nursing homes seeking the care they need which is an alleged violation of the Olmstead provision of the ADA, which dictates that people with disabilities and older people have the right to acquire care services in a setting appropriate to their needs.

The majority of people on the waiting list are over 60, with more than half over 74.

About 22 percent of Florida’s Medicaid spending for long-term care goes to home-based services, making it among the worst in the nation. The average among states is 45 percent.

The lawsuit asks that in-home care services be increased to handle greater capacity and speed up the waiting period to provide personal care such as bathing, dressing, or assistance using the bathroom.

In the state of Florida, there are different levels of Medicaid care. The Medicaid Waiver Program provides benefits for in-home and assisted living care. The requirements are that the patient is Medicaid-eligible and needs a nursing home level of care. Sadly, as this case shows, the program is underfunded and there is a long wait list.

Depending on the level of need and existing support, individuals may wait up to three and a half years before getting care at home. Between July 1, 2016, and March 8, 2018, more than 1,400 people on the waitlist had to move to nursing facilities. In this same time period, more than 8,600 people died while on the waitlist.

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A sex abuse investigation is underway in Phoenix after a woman in a vegetative state in a healthcare facility for 10 years gave birth.

Staff at the facility had been giving round the clock care to the female patient, according to AZ Family.

She gave birth on December 29 after apparently being raped at the facility some months earlier.  

A source added that: ‘None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth.’

Reports indicated that confused staff heard the woman moaning before she gave birth to the child.

Her vegetative state is a result of an incident in which she nearly drowned ten years ago.

As a result of the incident, male staff members wanting to enter the room of a female patient must be accompanied by a female staff member.

The facility issued a statement to AZ Family and said it has been in business in the valley for over 50 years and ‘has an outstanding reputation providing high quality specialized care for our patients’.

We trust that health care providers will look after not only our own welfare, but that of our children and loved ones. We expect them to be places of care, rather than abuse. Sadly, sexual predators are everywhere and prey on vulnerable people seeking medical attention.

Our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton routinely represent victims that are sexually abused in nursing homes, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care facilities. Health care facilities are rampant with sexual abuse. It is the facilities’ job to prevent sexual assault and abuse from happening. State law also dictates how these facilities are supposed to supervise patients, such as regular bed checks. As this case shows, these guidelines are often violated.

If you or someone you know has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a healthcare provider, please let us help you file a claim against the at-fault party. We can help you obtain a sense of justice, and most importantly, ensure that those at fault pay for their crimes.

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Florida has revoked the license of a nursing home where 12 elderly patients died in the heat after it lost power during a 2017 hurricane.

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued its order Friday, saying an administrative law judge correctly concluded the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills “created an unsafe environment” in September 2017 after Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning.

Patients began dying three days after the storm passed. Investigators believe the center did not evacuate patients as temperatures inside rose, even though a fully functional hospital was across the street. The home’s license was suspended days after the storm and it closed.

Police have been investigating the deaths, but no charges have been filed.

Nursing homes have a legal obligation to make sure their patients are properly cared for, even in the midst of a hurricane. When the facility and staff are not prepared, residents can suffer serious personal injuries and even wrongful death. For those who suffer injuries in a nursing home, or families who have lost loved ones in a nursing home, our Florida Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can investigate if the nursing home is liable for any wrongful actions.

We proudly help injured nursing home residents, and surviving family members, recover financial compensation to cover medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitative care, as well as wrongful death expenses. We start with looking into nursing home policies and practices to determine if negligence caused a resident to suffer harm. From there, we can help your pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

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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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