Articles Posted in Hillsborough County

A third man has died from injuries he suffered in the TECO Big Bend Power Plant accident last week.

The 21-year-old died on Wednesday. He was a contractor who worked for BRACE Industrial Group.

This man was one of the six workers involved in the accident at TECO Big Bend Power plant.

Officials said molten hot slag rushed out of a coal stack, spewing onto the victims.

Two of the men in that accident died immediately.

Three other people remain in the hospital from the accident.

The families of workers who are killed in an accident while on the job may be entitled to financial compensation on their loved one’s behalf under the Worker’s Compensation Act. When an employee dies from a work injury or an occupational disease, the Worker’s Compensation Act provides benefits to cover wage loss, medical expenses, and some burial expenses to dependent spouses and children.

Worker’s compensation claims can be complex cases. Our Florida Worker’s Compensation Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can make sure you know what you can expect from your claim. We seek a full and fair settlement in every case we handle, but we always prepare for trial to make sure you are not stuck with a lowball settlement that won’t cover all of your expenses.

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Drivers should anticipate an increase in motorcycle traffic on Florida roads, as thousands of motorcyclists ride into Daytona for the 76th annual Daytona Bike Week March 10-19.

With that said, Florida has the most motorcycle crash fatalities in the nation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to the most recent crash data, Florida saw a 30 percent increase in motorcycle deaths in 2015, the highest on record. Motorcyclists accounted for 20 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in the state, yet motorcycles account for only 3 percent of registered vehicles. In 2015, 606 people died and 9,045 were injured in motorcycle crashes on Florida roads.

The top counties for motorcycle fatalities are:

  1. Miami-Dade
  2. Hillsborough
  3. Broward
  4. Palm Beach
  5. Pinellas
  6. Lee
  7. Orange
  8. Duval
  9. Brevard
  10. Pasco
  11. Polk
  12. Volusia

Motorcyclists lack the protection offered to drivers of cars and trucks. Collisions that would cause minor injuries to a car or truck driver can be fatal to motorcyclists. That is why the fatality rate for motorcyclists in accidents is six times the fatality rate for passenger vehicle occupants.

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A preliminary settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit filed against Kane’s Furniture that accused the store of failing to honor lifetime warranties for defective “bonded leather” furniture that peeled, flaked and deteriorated.

Notices to about 15,000 customers who purchased the furniture were put in the mail starting Friday providing details and asking them to submit claims by April 11 for full or partial refunds or store credits, according to court records.

Kane’s admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. It has blamed the Mississippi manufacturer that sold the furniture to Kane’s for defects and the inconvenience caused to customers. Kane’s actually filed a suit against that manufacturer in a case that was later settled.

A Kane’s spokeswoman said they are happy to settle the suit and would have never purchased the product if they had known it was inferior or defective.

Anyone who complained to Kane’s about problems with the furniture within a year of purchase is eligible for a 100 percent refund of the purchase price or a store credit, documents show. Anyone who complained after a year — but no later than two years — is eligible for a 50 percent refund or a credit valued at 100 percent of the purchase price.

Additionally, Kane’s has agreed to pay up to $2.5 million to those customers who did not complain within two years and others who never complained, ranging from 5 percent to 100 percent of the purchase price, depending on when the furniture was purchased, the claims notice says. That will be paid out in the form of a 60 percent store credit and a 40 percent cash payout.

Any payment made to Kane’s for furniture repair counts toward the refund or credit, the settlement says. Customers who have already received an exchange, credit or refund are not eligible for additional payments or credits.

The settlement involves furniture sold from July 27, 2010, through Dec. 5, 2016. At issue was furniture manufactured by Southern Motion Inc. using bonded leather, a synthetic, processed leather like substance that contains less than 17 percent actual leather.

When a product does not live up to its promise or it causes injury due to a bad design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer is responsible. Manufacturers have a duty to design their products and test them to industry standards. If they know of any hidden or potential dangers, they must warn consumers. They must also stand behind their product, so if they know of a design flaw, they must make sure consumers are aware. In most defective products cases, large numbers of consumers experience similar issues due to the same design flaw.

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A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday evening in a crash, and according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, charges could be filed against the driver who slammed into the biker.

The incident occurred just before 7 p.m.

HCSO believes the biker was operating a motorcycle on Boyette Road when he drove in between two vehicles as he was approaching the intersection of Balm Riverview Road.

At the same time, a female driver was heading westbound on Boyette Road, attempting to turn left and travel south. She pulled into the path of the motorcycle and struck the biker with the passenger side of her car.

The biker was apparently not wearing a helmet and died at the scene after he was ejected from the motorcycle, according to reports. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police, the female driver had an “odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her mouth and admitted to having consumed alcohol.”

The woman agreed to a blood draw and could be charged based on the result, investigators said.

Motorcycle accidents usually involve serious injuries, and in the worst cases, death. A motorcycle offers riders very little protection in the event of a collision, leaving bikers vulnerable to catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, neck and back injuries, knee and shoulder injuries and broken bones.

Our Tampa Bay DUI Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can protect your rights after a motorcycle accident, and help you and your loved ones pursue compensation for losses. As former DUI prosecutors, we know how to hold drunk drivers accountable for the pain and suffering they cause to motorcycle accident victims and their families.

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The final report on Hurricane Hermine is in. Heavy rainfall caused more flooding and strong winds brought down trees and powerlines.

Here are the final numbers:

Storm Surge

Cedar Key 7.5 feet

Clearwater Beach 4.41 feet

McKay Bay (Tampa Bay) 4.09 feet

St. Petersburg 3.58 feet

Port Manatee 3.21 feet

Peak Wind Gusts

Indian Shores 78 mph

Treasure Island 71 mph

St. Petersburg 63 mph

Clearwater Beach 62 mph

Cedar Key 60 mph

MacDill 55 mph

Cedar Key 54 mph

Sarasota/Bradenton 54 mph

Crystal River 53 mph

Brooksville 53 mph

Anna Maria 52 mph

Tampa 46 mph

St. Pete/Clearwater 47 mph

Lakeland 42 mph

Winter Haven 41 mph

Plant City 40 mph

Inverness 35 mph

Rainfall

Baskin (Pinellas) 22.36

Largo (Pinellas) 16.11

Gulfport (Pinellas) 14.30

Dunedin (Pinellas) 12.93

Lake Worrell (Pasco) 11.04

Seminole (Pinellas) 10.87

Belleaire (Pinellas) 10.58

Holiday (Pasco) 10.22

Clearwater (Pinellas) 10.03

Palmetto (Manatee) 9.82

Longboat Key (Manatee) 9.61

Ellenton (Manatee) 9.46

Sarasota/Bradenton (Manatee) 9.38

Port Richey (Pasco) 9.24

Tampa (Hillsborough) 6.83

Valrico (Hillsborough) 6.77

Sun City Center (Hillsborough) 6.55

Wesley Chapel (Pasco) 6.55

If your home was damaged by Hermine:

  • Get in touch with your insurance provider ASAP
  • Take any possible steps you can to protect your home from further storm damage
  • Document all damage with photos or video
  • Compose an inventory list of all damages
  • Take down notes on any information your insurance company gives you
  • Save all receipts for expenses related to the damage and/or repairs
  • Make copies of all documents sent to you by your insurance company

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Sheikra is back open at Busch Gardens in Tampa after the roller coaster stopped Thursday with 64 passengers on board.

The roller coaster reopened to riders at the amusement park Monday morning, park officials announced.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, the ride stopped, stranding 64 riders 200 feet up in the air. Riders were evacuated after the roller coaster stopped suddenly with a car stuck on a steep incline.

The roller coaster was stopped in two places — one just before the 90 degree drop and the other on the climb to the top.

Park officials said right before the coaster cars that got stuck left the boarding area, the ride was determined to be safe. However, something caused the cars to stop at the top of the ride.

Crews have been inspecting the ride and performing checks since the ride stalled.

The park released a statement about the coaster on Monday:

“Out of an abundance of caution, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay conducted additional testing on its Sheikra roller coaster to confirm the ride is operating as designed,” the statement read. “The testing is now complete, and Sheikra is operational and will be open for guests today, May 16. Busch Gardens is pleased that our safety systems performed as designed and that all guests were able to safely disembark from the ride. The safety of guests and team members is Busch Gardens’ number one priority and our employees train regularly for conditions just like this. All ride attractions are inspected daily by trained technicians to ensure they are operating properly. Ride safety systems are designed that when a shutdown does occur, it is an indication that these systems are working.”

Amusements parks can be pretty dangerous when you think about it. Even when rides are working properly there is always some type of risk to riders. However, when a ride malfunctions, the chances of something bad happening drastically increases. While Busch Gardens has a pretty decent track record when it comes to safety, just one error can place innocent lives in jeopardy.

The good news is that no one was harmed in this incident at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This is not always the case when a roller coaster mishap occurs. If anyone was seriously harmed or killed, depending on the situation, Busch Gardens could have been liable for the accident.

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A 19-year-old Tampa man was killed in a motorcycle accident late Saturday night.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2005 BMW was traveling northbound on Reflections Club Drive approaching SR-580 (Hillsborough Ave).

The 19-year-old was traveling eastbound on SR-580 in the outside lane approaching Reflections Club Drive on a 2004 Yamaha motorcycle.

Troopers believe the driver of the BMW failed to yield right-of-way for the motorcycle and attempted to make a left turn onto westbound SR-580.

According to reports, the biker tried to break but ended up colliding with BMW. He was ejected from the motorcycle and died at the scene.

Charges are pending. There were no other injuries reported.

Motorcyclists must adhere to the same right-of-way rules as drivers of passenger vehicles. However, the sad truth is that many drivers fail to follow these rules and violate a biker’s right of way.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s failure to yield, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Motorcycle collisions involving a bike and another automobile are too common and are often caused by the other driver’s failure to yield. Failure-to-yield motorcycle accidents occur when:

  • A driver turns in front of a motorcyclist without using proper turn signals
  • A driver fails to check their blind spot and sideswipes a motorcycle
  • A driver runs a biker off the road or into oncoming traffic

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A motorcyclist was killed early Tuesday morning after he crashed into the back of a car on I-75, according to reports.

The crash happened at 3:05 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-75, near mile marker 250, in Hillsborough County.

Troopers believe the 27-year-old Ruskin man was riding a 2013 Suzuki motorcycle on the inside lane. At the same time, a 1999 Ford four-door was driving ahead of him, approaching Gibsonton Drive.

The man allegedly failed to slow or stop and crashed into the back of the Ford, according to troopers. He was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene of the crash.

Investigators say no charges will be filed at this time.

There are many lawyers who are unwilling to represent those who have been involved in motorcycle accidents because of the common stereotypical belief that motorcyclists are reckless or dangerous drivers. However, our Florida Motorcycle Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that many accidents are not the fault of the biker. We know that motorcycle accidents can happen to even the safest of motorcycle drivers and are dedicated to providing the best legal representation to those involved in these tragic events.

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A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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An 8-year-old boy was seriously harmed after being struck by car while riding his bicycle, according to Tampa police.

The crash occurred at about 2:15 p.m. at the intersection of Linebaugh and Taliaferro avenues.

16172457266_76f713ecc4_zPolice believe the boy was riding his bicycle north on Taliaferro Avenue when he rode into the vehicle’s path. Witnesses claim the driver was not speeding at the time.

Police allege the boy was not wearing a helmet at the time, and that some of his injuries appear to be from hitting his head on the pavement.

The boy is currently being treated at Tampa General Hospital.

Bicycle accidents typically involve a drunk or distracted driver. Sometimes these accidents are the mistake of an inexperienced motorist. The sad reality is that bicycle collisions with cars account for a large amount of catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths on Florida roadways. Driver negligence often plays a part in these crashes, usually consists of running a stop sign, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to yield to the biker or being inattentive while backing out of a driveway.

A bicycle accident can cause severe emotional trauma in addition to physical injury. A human body on a bicycle is hardly a match for a powerful automobile or impact with hard pavement. Even the most experienced bikers can be injured in one of these accidents.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Florida, you could be entitled to financial recovery for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Disfigurement

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